Being Human U.K. fans figured Aidan Turner’s bloodsucker Mitchell wasn’t long for the show the second Peter Jackson cast the actor in The Hobbit. But did they also assume he wasn’t long for the world? Perhaps… primarily because the majority of this current season centered on a prophecy that Mitchell (who murdered 20 people on a Bristol train) would be slain by a werewolf – the knowledge of which sent him spiraling from a determined hero to paranoid lunatic. Not even the love of a good woman – or ghost, i.e. Lenora Crichlow’s Annie – could save him. (If you haven’t seen the final episode, it’s probably best to stop reading now. Spoilers ahead!)
Yet, Mitchell’s mercy killing at the hands of wolf-buddy George (Russell Tovey) in Saturday’s finale still hurt. Bad. Maybe it was all the tears and “I love yous” between the pair and flatmate Annie, or that new evil vampire Wyndam (Lee Ingleby) popped up at the last minute to unsuccessfully keep Mitchell alive as his henchman. Either way, it was brutal watching one of the roomies, literally, turn to dust in the wind – so EW called Being Human creator/executive producer Toby Whithouse to talk about why Mitchell couldn’t have just retired to South America, if we can expect new vamps in his place, and what could have happened if he lived.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you know you were going have to write Mitchell out of the show?
TOBY MITCHELL: To be honest, the first time I met Aidan. I knew he was somebody we’d only be borrowing from movie stardom. In the U.S. you’ll contract actors for seven seasons – we don’t have the finances to do that. So every time we start a new series, we have to renegotiate with the actors and see whom we have left. Sure enough, Peter Jackson came along and saw Aidan and whisked him away to New Zealand. The thing is, I was kind of preparing myself for that on series 2 when I wrote the sequence where he kills all those people on the train. I always knew that would ultimately be the reason for the character’s exit, whether it happened at the end of series 3 or 33.
But did you have to kill him?
As it was, we had Aidan for series 3. He got offered the job toward the end of filming that [season], so I hadn’t written the last episode yet. I think even the shooting script had a number of different endings, including one where he gets whisked back to Bolivia with the other vampires. As a matter of fact, it was really Aidan who pushed for Mitchell to be killed, because he thought that was the appropriate ending for the character.
But when EW interviewed Aidan in February, he said he’d be willing to return to the show if the dates could be worked out. He must have known by then Mitchell was doomed.
We mentioned to him that there might be a chance of bringing him back in flashbacks. We’ve done them before. But ultimately those things sound very well, but in practice they are very complicated. We’d have to secure him so far in advance, and with the way The Hobbit’s filming dates keep shifting around, we’d never be able to guarantee that we’d properly get him. Somebody like Aidan, God knows we’d absolutely love to have him back, but because our budget is so small, we have to be pragmatic. We have to acknowledge that our chances of getting him back are pretty slim.
Are you going to add to the cast in season 4?
Lee Ingleby [as 1,000-year-old vampire Wyndam] is coming back for some of [season] 4. We’re also bringing back Tom [Michael Socha], the young werewolf. The cast of the show is constantly changing and evolving and growing and shrinking. We’ve been very lucky that pretty much every single guest actor we’ve had, as they’ve been leaving, has said “You know, I could come back if you wanted me to.” Being Human is a bit like a Mexican daytime soap – even if someone dies, it doesn’t preclude them from coming back at some point.
How about resurrecting Paul Rhys’ Ivan?
I absolutely love Paul Rhys’ performance. I know that he was a big hit with the fans. We don’t have a policy of not bringing anyone back. The bottom line we always have is that there be a good story for them.
What about teen vampire Adam (Craig Roberts) from the Becoming Human web spin-off?
If a story comes up for him, yeah. He’s another one of these people that when he first auditioned we just thought, “Well, he’s a star, simple as that.” We’re really lucky in that we tend to get a lot of people in their ascendancy, if you know what I mean. We did it with Aidan and we also did it with Craig [who’s starring in The Weinstein Company’s Submarine, which opens June 3]. We feel as though we discovered them, and pretty soon after we can’t afford them.
Will you ever have a good vampire on the show again?
Yes. [Laughs] We will.
What’s going to happen to George now that he killed his best friend?
I couldn’t possibly say. We have a very loyal, tenacious, passionate fan base. They often ask me questions through the website. On the one hand they’re saying, “Can you tell me what’s going to happen on the next series?” On the other, when some of the press kit went on the Internet, they bemoaned that there were spoilers in it. I write on Doctor Who and I think I feel the way about Doctor Who that Being Human fans feel about Being Human: The downside of working on it is that I know the stuff that’s coming up, so I don’t watch it as an audience member. In a way I sort of want to say to the fans, “Hang on to that lack of knowledge [about George]. You’ll regret it when you don’t have it.”
Is there anything you wish you could have done with Mitchell that you didn’t?
I don’t think there was, but I’m sure we could have found something if we’d gone for another series. There was a moment in the finale where Herrick says to him, “So you’ll be the villain now,” and Mitchell says, “I always was.” I wonder whether there is an alternate version where there’s a fourth series of Being Human where Mitchell is the villain in the way that Herrick was and the way that Kemp and Jaggat were in series 2. I wonder if there’s a series in which Mitchell is the villain – but I guess we’ll never know.