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So, it was announced yesterday that the currently running fifth series of Being Human will be the last.

I have to say I’m really disappointed about this news. After never really being a big fan of Being Human over its first three series, I found myself finally falling for the show last year. I loved the new cast. I was never overly fond of Mitchell and when it was announced that he was leaving for Hobbiton in 2010 I can’t say I was too disappointed. The news that Nina (Sinead Keenan) and George (Russell Tovey) would be leaving the show as well bothered me much more, but having not really enjoyed the show for a while I wasn’t overly sad to see a possible ending to it. I was far more upset over the off-screen departure of Nina, my favourite character, between series three and four.

As I said, I was never really in love with the show. I watched because my other half watched and I’d felt series three really lost its way, so I wasn’t that concerned about a new cast or the prospect of the show ending. To be honest I only tuned into series four to see how they dealt with the departure of the main cast; for a sense of closure, I suppose.

At least that was my reason is until I actually watched series four last year. George had an emotional early departure from the show. And Annie (Lenora Crichlow), who was finally being used in an interesting way after always feeling like a character the writers didn’t know what to do with, left the show too. But as she departed, she left behind a whole new cast. A new vampire, a new werewolf and a new ghost. And I ended up enjoying series four the show far more than I ever had before; the new cast was brilliant and the show seemed refreshed and new.

Tom was already a great character and I was happy to see him moved into a more central role. The introduction of Damien Molony as Hal was a revelation; he swiftly became my favourite character. I found myself liking the new vampire/werewolf duo of Hal and Tom far more than I ever liked Mitchell and George. And with the introduction of Alex the new trio was complete. To me they were far better than the old bunch.

New lease of life

With series four pretty much tying up the plotlines of the old cast and setting up our new odd trio, I was looking forward to the show’s return this year with its new cast in place and ready for a series that they could claim as their own. I thought this new blood could give the show a new lease of life and could theoretically lead to the show going on and on.

So, when I tuned in to watch the start of series five last Sunday it was with a new and hopeful eye. The first episode was great; with the promise of some interesting new characters and plotlines to be wheeled out I was settled in for perhaps the best series of Being Human so far. And then yesterday the BBC announces that the show has been cancelled and these six episodes will be the last. I gotta say I’m pretty gutted.

Over the last few days there has been some talk about that first episode having low viewing figures. Lots of people missed the show simply because they didn’t know it was back. Maybe if the BBC had actually advertised the show’s return it would have done better. But it seems they had other plans. Why waste advertising on a show you’ve already decided to get rid of?

After announcing that series five of Merlin was to be that shows last well into its broadcast run, and saying this was always the plan, even though they hadn’t told anyone that, you’ve got to wonder exactly what is going on with regards sci-fi and fantasy TV at the Beeb. It’s not the cancellation I have issues with – after all, if the official reason is to be believed the choice was made by Merljn’s producers, not the BBC – and all shows come to an end. But why wait until that final season was already half way through before announcing it’ll be the last? Whatever the reasons behind it just seems a little odd.

And if this can happen with a very popular Saturday night BBC1 show like Merlin, then a little supernatural show from BBC 3 really didn’t have much chance. They don’t seem to know when they’ve got a great show on their hands these days do they? And they don’t seem to be bothered about keeping the fans of their shows informed about what’s going on or even when things are going to air or are being cancelled. I wasn’t a big fan of Merlin, but I do know lots of people who were, and I know they weren’t happy about the way that show departed so abruptly. And now, just a few months later it’s happening again.

I understand that shows get cancelled. I’m a sci-fi fan for God’s sake; we, more than anyone else, should be used to unexpectedly losing shows we love. I know there’s no right or wrong way to cancel a TV show and that there will always be disappointed fans. But the way this has been done seems really off; it seems underhanded. I’ve been looking forward to the return of Being Human since the end of series four. And now it’s finally here and I’m excited about it, I suddenly feel like it’s been taken away; like I’ve been swindled somehow. It feels the same as hearing about US shows being cancelled before they’ve even started showing over here. It changes the way I watch.

This news isn’t going to lessen my enjoyment of the final series, but it is going to make me watch with much more of a sense of loss than I expected. Last Sunday I was eagerly awaiting the return of a show I had finally fallen in love with, a show that I thought was coming back with a new cast and a sense of purpose and now, just a few days later, I’m mourning its loss. Last week I thought the show could go and go. Now I have just five hours of it left to enjoy. I’ve heard that this final series will be epic and give the character a good send off. I hope so. But I’ll still be thinking I could have stood to see them around for a few more years…

Steven Ellis