BBC3’s hugely popular drama series Being Human returns on Sunday for a fifth series. Though the majority of the original cast have moved on the series is showing no sign of slowing down. In this BBC interview veteran actor Phil Davis discusses his role as villain Captain Hatch.
What can you tell me about Captain Hatch?
He’s pretty disgusting, nasty, spiteful, old man, at least to start with. Captain Hatch is very sick, he’s in a wheelchair and he suffers from all kind of ailments, but as he manages to set the vampire and the werewolf against each other, he gets more powerful and it restores his health. By the end he’s able to do all the things he couldn’t do to start with.
What is Captain Hatch’s plan?
Captain Hatch is staying in the hotel where Tom and Hal come to work and he can’t believe his luck because he thrives on supernatural conflict. So he when a vampire and a werewolf come to his hotel, he goes about trying to stir them up and set them against each other.
Were there any scenes you enjoyed filming?
They’re all fun. I liked it more when he gets his powers back and turns into this dapper, quite amusing kind of chap. He’s not pleasant but it was fun to play someone like that.
Being Human has had some great villains in the past. Was there any pressure to be the best villain Being Human has ever seen?
No, I didn’t feel under a great deal of pressure because I had never seen it before, so I didn’t have anything to measure myself up against. But I did what I always do, which is to make the best of the material and do it as well as I could.
You’ve described Captain Hatch as ‘wonderfully disgusting’; did it take a lot to get you to look the part?
I had some pretty unpleasant looking make-up. My teeth were blackened and I was made to look very grubby and I had to wear a colostomy bag and stuff like that, but nothing very elaborate for me; nothing like what Michael Socha (Tom) had to go through.
Toby Whithouse has said that he had difficulty finding Captain Hatch’s voice until he imagined you in the role and then it the character fell into place…
I read that and I think that’s fantastic! It’s very flattering and very gratifying. I must say it wasn’t difficult for me to play the role and he writes very good dialogue that rolls of the tongue easily.
You’re well known for playing a bad guy, do you have a ‘villain’s repertoire’ to call upon?
Not really. I approach all my characters freshly and I think of all as them as different. I don’t have a gallery of types that I think ‘oh I’ll just wheel out that one’. Also Hatch changes so much, you know as well as being very wicked and spiteful, he’s also funny. I had to keep an eye out and make the best of that.
Why do you think Being Human appeals to fans?
I know it has a huge following and obviously this thing about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost all sharing a flat and having tea together is such a bizarre concept, I suppose is one of the things that appeals. I also think the supernatural genre has always appealed to people and especially when times are tough, I think people like being scared and they like having a laugh. And if you can deliver those two things in a show then you’re on to a winner.
Being Human Series 5 starts Sunday at 9.00pm on BBC3