Being Human: will fresh blood bring new bite to Honolulu Heights?

Hal, Annie and Tom tell Dan Martin that they're ready to vamp it up as BBC3's supernatural comedy drama returns for a fourth series

It's all change at Barry Island's Honolulu Heights as Being Human returns for its fourth series on Sunday. Aidan Turner's Mitchell is slain, we know Russell Tovey won't be around for long, and Sinead Keenan has not even filmed an exit. So where next for our favourite supernatural flatshare? We spoke to the revamped cast to find out.

Hal (Damien Molony)

As vampire Hal, newcomer Damien Molony perhaps has the most difficult job. Not only is he the new boy, but Aidan Turner's smouldering Mitchell cast an ever bigger shadow over what was always supposed to be an ensemble cast. That wasn't lost on the Irishman. But, he says: "As soon I talked to Toby and read the scripts, I realised I'm not replacing Mitchell. Hal is a new character with new problems. I thought it was exciting to play a vampire who tore the world apart for 500 years and now suddenly has had a change of heart and now suddenly wants to become clean. He develops OCD tactics to overcome his bloodlust.."

Hal's insular methods of dealing with that bloodlust are a marked contrast to the craven Mitchell. "I always approached Hal as a kind of a drug addict rather than a sex addict," says Molony.

But while an elegant, upper-class English gent, Hal is perhaps a more dangerous proposition for the residents of Barry than Mitchell. One of the fabled Old Ones, we pick him up in the present day, following the online prequel that saw him befriend werewolf Leo. Along with their ghostly friend Pearl, we find he's been living in a rather more functional version of the Being Human set-up in Southend, since 1955. "Unfortunately something happens and Hal is left on his own without his two best friends to keep him dry and to keep him safe. There's this house in Barry which promises safety but so much shit goes on in that house that it's not a good place for him to be." With the Old Ones said to be returning, none of this can augur well.

Annie (Lenora Crichlow)

As the last supernatural standing from the original series, it falls to Lenora Crichlow to take centre stage. Lucky then, that the ghostly Annie, still stuck in that grey cardigan five years after her murder, has spent the last three series building her confidence. It's been hinted at for some time that Annie is more powerful than anyone could possibly imagine, and with a devilish wink, Crichlow nods: "Definitely. She has no idea of her own strength; she's going to shock us all – she shocks me. It's almost like she's destined for some great things if she can just believe in herself, so it's a journey for her to get to that point."

Last year, Annie had her big love story with Mitchell, but this time she takes a different role with Michael Socha's orphaned werewolf, Tom, not to mention George and Nina's baby. "Annie's found her inner maternal side definitely this series; she's gone into Earth Mother mode big time," says Crichlow.

"And reaching the ripe old age of 27, I really related to Annie because those nesting maternal instincts are certainly buzzing around my head and it's been lovely to be able to play them out on screen. We had four sets of twins on set – I was broody as hell!"

But, with this series looking to belong to Annie as last year's did to Mitchell, is Crichlow still pledging her own future to the show? "To be honest I don't know. With all the characters, I do trust the journeys they've been on. We don't even know if we've got another series yet, but this one is quite epic for Annie, and I do trust that she's kind of done everything she came to do. If this was it, it would be ending on a really good high."

Tom (Michael Socha)

When Toby Whithouse and producer Phillip Trethowan asked Michael Socha if he would return for series four, he had no idea that Tovey was leaving and he would be promoted to a lead character. But after years in the shadow of his talented sister Lauren (Misfits), Being Human now gives him a chance to take centre stage. "I thought 'fucking hell, this is the biggest job I've ever had in my life and the best opportunity I've ever been given."

Werewolf Tom spent his life living ferally in the woods with his father McNair, killing vampires and searching for his "pack". When McNair was revealed to not be his father, and was then slain by Herrick, Tom was left adrift. "He is desperate to be part of that pack. He's had enough of living on his own catching rabbits; he wants to be part of this human world. I think it's time for Tom to grow up."

Tom takes refuge at Honolulu Heights, and it's the tender parental relationship with Annie that lends this increasingly dark series a lot of its comedy and heart. "I think Tom needs to be mothered," says Socha "because he's never had that. He's never learned the little details of life that we all take for granted, he hasn't got a clue. He doesn't understand that you can't be bringing weapons into the house; you can't be leaving your mess everywhere. Annie's teaching him along the way and he's probably getting on her nerves half the time. But Tom's a polite lad."

But where George has never really come to terms with his lupine "curse", Tom sees it as a blessing. And hating vampires wholesale, he's unimpressed at the arrival of Hal. "At first Tom's not having it … [but] he learns things along the way and he decides to be a friend to Hal. He's told not to judge and to treat everybody fair until they do something wrong …"

• Being Human: Sunday 9pm, BBC3

Dan Martin

The GuardianTramp

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