‘Being Human’: Series 4 Episode 5 spoiler-free review

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Teen vampire Adam’s back, there’s a new monster, and Cutler’s anti-werewolf campaign is accelerating. What does this all mean? It means that, for yet another week, Being Human is on incredible form.

Before Series 4 started Toby Whithouse promised the appearance of a brand new kind of monster, and to paraphrase The Automatic, what’s that coming over the hill? Why, it is indeed said monster.

As this is a spoiler-free review, and the monster’s whole schtick is integral to the plot, we’re not going to tell you what it is, but if you know your horror, or you’re willing to spend ten minutes on Wikipedia, you might be able to make a good guess.

Last seen in Series 3’s Adam’s Family, Adam returns and he’s brought his new girlfriend with him; fifty-something headmistress Yvonne, played by Selina Griffiths. If you don’t already know, see if you can guess who Griffith’s famous mum is. The genes run so strong that it’s distractingly obvious at times, but she’s the perfect choice as prim and proper school ma’am Yvonne; a mixture between Mary Poppins and Victor Meldrew’s wife Margaret.

Submarine‘s Craig Roberts doesn’t put a foot wrong as Adam, the 47 year old vampire who looks (and still acts) 15, nailing both the Inbetweeners-style crudity and the tricky emotional moments.

It’s due to superb performances from both Roberts and Griffiths that their unusual romance comes across as sweet rather than salacious. A 47 year old vampire who looks like a 15 year old, dating a woman in her fifties: against every preconception in your brain it feels believable and – in one moment that’ll no doubt remind Doctor Who fans of The Girl Who Waited – rather touching.

What has helped make Series 4 so engrossing is that it’s returned to the bones of the show by asking what it means to try and be human when you’re not. Hold the Front Page doesn’t deviate from that; in fact it probably does it more than any episode in the current run, and so it feels very much like the kind of episode you’d have encountered in Series 1.

Is it better to try and be human by accepting what you are and attempting to build a relatively normal life around that condition? Or to try and be human by ignoring your true nature entirely and pretending you’re like everyone else, no matter who around you is hurt? They’re just the sort of tricky questions we love Being Human to pose us and Tom Grieves’ script gives us no easy answers.

Though we’ve kept praising the main cast (and rightly so, for once again they can’t be faulted) it’s important not to overlook the good work Andrew Gower’s been putting in as Cutler. The social-media savvy vamp is reminiscent of Herrick, in that you actually quite like him until you remember what he’s trying to achieve.

So complete is his manipulation of the media and those around him that it looks like the werewolves will need Max Clifford on their side if they’re to weather what’s to come. Things are about to go to the dogs. Literally.

Airs at 9pm on Sunday 4th March 2012 on BBC Three.

> Order the Series 4 DVD on Amazon.

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