Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Toby or not Toby? Yes, it's Toby

I've just spent an informative and pleasant evening at the Soho Theatre in London in the company of a number of my writer chums. We were all there for a Q and A session with Toby Whithouse - creator and writer of Being Human. For my overseas chums, I'll explain that Being Human is a comedy drama series set in Bristol. It asks the question, 'If werewolves and vampires and ghosts were actually real ... how would they fit into society?' Enter George the house-proud werewolf who's terrified he'll hurt someone - especially his girlfriend; Mitchell the vampire with a conscience who wants to fit in with his neighbours; and Annie, the ghost of a woman murdered by her fiance and now haunting the house she once lived in, now rented by George and Mitchell. It's a clever, witty and wonderful series that has the format to explore all kinds of issues like alienation, being different, and what it means to be human. The first season has just finished its run and I enjoyed every minute.

This evening, Toby confirmed that a second season has been commissioned (8 episodes instead of 6) and regaled us with tales of his career as an actor, stand-up, failed sitcom writer and now series creator. We also got his take on writing for a living - he's written for all kinds of shows including Hotel Babylon and Doctor Who. His School Reunion episode was the one that reunited the Doctor with former old companion Sarah-Jane Smith for the first time. Tonight, he freely admitted that the hardest part of that gig was writing for K9 ... to the extent that he even 'accidentally' left the robotic pooch out of the first draft hoping that no one would notice. As if that was ever going to work ...

Will he be writing another Who? He did coyly hint at 'writing another episode for an established TV series' so who knows? Meanwhile, a splendid evening was had by all. If you ever get the chance to see him do one of these talks or Q and As, grab it. He's a natural raconteur, has a great sense of humour and is more than happy to share what he knows.

I asked him if he could find a way to introduce the Mummy and Frankenstein's monster into the mix. He looked at me, grinned and said ... 'Awww ... now you've got me thinking ...'

5 comments:

Mari said...

Well I do hope Being Human shows up on BBC America eventually. Sounds entertaining and original!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Mari - I hope so too. When the pilot episode was shown here, it created a huge storm of interest with on-line petitions and internet chat rooms demanding a series. A six part series was then commissioned (essentially because of public demand) and it's been hugely successful. Success usually equals distribution so fingers crossed!

Mari said...

I'll keep them crossed. In the meantime, I am amused by the occasional Top Gear.

John Soanes said...

That's a terrific picture, I have to say. The text underneath it I can obviously take or leave, but that picture... wow.
J

Stevyn Colgan said...

Mari - Top Gear. What a joy.

John - It is a terrific pic isn't it? Can't remember who took it though. Tall. Vaguely Oscar Wilde-ish. Drank fizzy water. John something or other. Slobes? Strone? Oh bother ...