Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Toby Whithouse's "Being Human" (2009-2013): A retrospective

One of the SF/fantasy success stories of the 2010s, Being Human ran on BBC3 for five seasons between 2009 and 2013, gaining a large and devoted fanbase in the process. Its cast ranged from the already well-established (star turns from Mark Williams, Julian Barratt, Jason Watkins, and the like) to up-and-comers who went on to even greater things – such as Aidan Turner (who dazzled viewers as Kíli in the Hobbit film series, Ross Poldark in Poldark and Philip Lombard in And Then There Were None) and Lenora Crichlow (who was handed one of telly’s most sickening twists in the Black Mirror episode White Bear). The show was created by Toby Whithouse, formerly of medical drama No Angels but best known for his six – soon to be seven – episodes of the 2005 revival of Doctor Who, and who returns to the stage later this month in his own one-man play about capital punishment. 
The core premise of Being Human was straightforward: a flat-share sitcom mashed up with the supernatural horror genre that was exploding in popularity among young adults circa 2009. Or, to put it another way: “it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but everyone’s in their twenties instead of at school”. The Fresh Meat to Buffy’s Inbetweeners, if you like. 

Broadchurch Series 3, Episode 5 by Chris Chibnall (2017)

At the end of last week’s episode, viewers saw Laura Benson (Kelly Gough) coming forward to inform the police that she was assaulted two years ago in a similar manner to Trish. Gough does a good job over the course of her brief screen-time; her role in this story was never going to be as traumatic or as powerful as Trish’s, and Chibnall takes us through it perhaps a little too quickly, but the recount of her own attack is delivered well nonetheless, and, as we have all learned long ago by now, what Olivia Colman can’t convey with her understanding, sympathetic eyes isn’t worth conveying.

As ever, Broadchurch condemns the tabloid media but champions local coppers: “I read the papers,” says Laura. “I know how women like me get treated.” “Not by us,” Hardy tells her. Her role in the drama ends on a pleasingly unfinished note – asking the difficult question whether she tells her new husband about her experience or not, a question Hardy and Miller cannot answer. Beth’s superior, Dawn (Sunetra Sarker), then turns up with evidence of a third attack, eleven months ago, which also went unreported at the time. Though at first it seems as though these developments might help the investigation, for now they only seem to broaden the net – illustrating a wider, more systemic problem about the frequency of unreported rapes and the difficulties involved in being brave enough to come forward.