“William Herrick. Born 1843. Made vampire in 1890.”
This may not come as a surprise to some of you but my favourite character in Being Human is Herrick. I adore Herrick! Cheerful evil, chilling and smiling, always in control, how can he possibly be that scary?
What’s not to like?
A great character, created by Toby Whithouse and written brilliantly, and enhanced further by a fantastic performance by Jason Watkins. It all fits together to make Herrick an unexpectedly brilliant villain.
As it’s a week before Christmas this is my present to myself – a quick run through of Herrick’s best bits! There are far too many and there’s a temptation to just list every appearance – that’s OK isn’t it? However, I’ve been rather firm with myself and restricted the choice to just a few magic moments – with a little creative licence of course.
So – cue Smashy’n’Nicey voice – here goes with Herrick’s best bits, the festive five favourites…
“Raiding the dressing-up box, pretending to be human.”
In Another Fine Mess (S1E4) Herrick’s home truths to Mitchell at the beginning strike a raw nerve and he is unsympathetic but it is all so very reasonable. Of course Mitchell was cruel to Lauren, it was terrible of him to abandon her and of course he can’t be human. What is he thinking? How could you mistrust such a reasoned and well framed argument? While that contained and credulous Herrick is good, the very best moment for me is the end of the episode. Mitchell does one of his about turns (almost a pirouette, he must get dizzy) and Herrick’s smile says it all. He knew he would come back, he never had a moment of doubt. He doesn’t need to say a word.
“I could walk into Buckingham Palace in this!”
There’s Herrick in 1969, rather dapper in his brocade waistcoat and so effortlessly in control in stark contrast to Mitchell’s dozy befuddlement. Oh, except for the minor inconvenience of falling out with the London vampires: “I sort of killed his Mum.” When he swapped the Brian Jones suit for a policeman’s tunic the look of triumph was perfect – he’d realised the endless new avenues that that symbol of human authority opened up for him.
Such a shame it ended up with him in bits in the hospital cellar, his discarded police uniform hanging on a coat stand in the filing room of B. Edwards… (Didn’t you spot it? It’s in this episode!)
Back again, but not so far, just twenty years ago to Ringmaster Herrick – and all he needed was a whip! Was he the creator of the cage fights or just one in a long chain? I rather like to think it was all his idea… After all, he did them properly – balloons, streamers and a costume. Of course.
His matter of fact explanation of the supernatural world to a bemused McNair was text-book Herrick. He needs to be heard, to make his point and he can never resist a lecture. And when he realised what had happened? Unrestrained joy!
“Then people would say I was going soft”
There is a wonderful scene in “Though the Heavens Fall” when Herrick is restored to his full power, his true evil self and he accosts Nina in the kitchen. Just before he leaves (only to return at the whoosh of a swing door) there is a moment of absolute stillness and silence. He has his hand over her mouth, he’s considering his options and every single word of that internal conversation shows on his face. Amazing.
“Whatever his crimes, the man you knew is not the man before you now”
Lastly and I’m floundering a bit in the ‘not including everything he ever said and did’ stakes… I need to add some bats in the belfry (OK, bats in the attic) Herrick. But which bit? It’s all pitch perfect and I think it’s very mean of me to make me chose! So what do I pick? Easy, it’s the knowing smile after Annie leaves the attic, the train set with the tunnel, the look through the bathroom door – possibly THE scariest moment in series three, the pyjamas, the viciously crafted cruelty to poor Cara, how he plays Nina, how he plays George, when he wakes after munching on Nancy (to the fabulous soundtrack of History Repeating Itself), the is he/isn’t he look in his eyes that still leaves me wondering just what did he really remember…
I know that as soon as I hit publish on this I’m going to want to take it all back and choose a set of different moments. There’s so much I’ve missed out – Paris 1933, quoting Brecht in the face of a werewolf and Alice in Wonderland to haul Mitchell back into line. Maybe I should have just gone with plan A and listed the lot!
I will cheat a little more (well, what did you expect!) and add five some of my favourite of Herrick’s lines. I do try to use these whenever possible. (Yes, I do get some very odd looks!)
“Something to ponder.”
“You’re a shark – be a shark!”
“Choose a chair. Break a leg. Sharpen it…”
“What, and all this time you’ve been thinking I’m a Kiss-o-gram?”
“Oh well, I feel drenched with love”
“But it feels so nice…”
“Rule number one of Vampire Club – do not get arrested. Even Seth knew that and he used to point at planes”
Perhaps a follow-up is in order – what’s your favourite Herrick moment or quote?
There’s is one thing I do know…
“It’s going to be the most beautiful day.”
A little something I found on YouTube which tells me that I’m not alone in my admiration of Herrick!