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So, we have spoilers for series four – otherwise known as publicity material!!

If you have got this far but don’t want to know anything until transmission well, good luck with that, but STOP READING NOW!

Before the promised trailer appears later this week I was thinking about what we actually know about S4?  Not assume, suppose, presume, embroider or invent but what do we know.  I have a little list (which I’m not claiming is exhaustive or complete, I’m ony human) (for the moment anyway…) but I thought it might be useful to gather it all together.

Toby’s Teases…

In June Toby promised “lots of new faces, an old face, a genuinely shocking death, a new villain, a sort-of new kind of supernatural… and a journey to somewhere even we have never gone before.

Come January and we’re still promised the shocking death, the new supernatural and the journey to somewhere new.  As to the old face – who knows?  Added to that is a roster of guests – Alex Jennings, Mark Gatiss, James Lance, Mark Williams, Amanda Abbingdon, Craig Roberts (reprising his role as teen vamp Adam), Selina Griffiths and Ellie Kendrick.  Toby also confirmed the departure of Russell Tovey as George during S4 – as had already been announced by Russell.  Leona will lead and he assures us she is jaw-droppingly brilliant.  Micheal Socha becomes a lead and will break our hearts as Tom while Damien Molony, an exciting new talent, joins as Hal, 500 year old vampire.  In a separate blog he also bade farewell to Sinead Keenan who has also left meaning that Nina will not appear in S4.

Hal’s prequel

Our first sight of the new vamp on the block, in an unknown location in 1955, chattering away to werewolf Leo, chained but certainly not helpless and waiting to be taken to the cage for his sixth full moon dogfight at which he plans to throw himself on the hapless human’s knife before he transforms so he won’t kill again.  Presumably Hal hasn’t done so well on the ‘friend to confide in/shoulder to cry on’ front at this point in his long life…

It does seems that Hal is the loquacious type – among the interesting details he tells Leo are that he was born in a brothel, ran away to sea, fought in the Battle of Orsha (in 1514, thanks Wikipedia) and was recruited as a vampire by an army surgeon.  “I have been so many people since then” he says.  We know Hal has a reputation, Leo – despite being a captive – is the only person in the building not scared of him but he wants to be different, a new person, the old Hal is coming to his natural end and he has hope for the new Hal, the next cycle in his endless life.  And possibly a house by the sea and a cold beer.  Maybe a decent haircut…

The SFX feature

Photos, interviews with Micheal Socha and Damien Molony and TW’s episode guide… So, what did SFX tell us?  There’s a baby.  Presumably a baby werewolf although in TW’s world who knows!  The cot is in the attic with a mobile of crosses and angels… I’m sure I can hear the ghost of Herrick tutting.

We know Nina does not appear and that although George is in series four he’s not a central character, this is the end of his Being Human journey.  The photos show him looking – well, angry, depressed, distraught? Murderous?  This is certainly not the hopeful, squeaky, rather geeky George from the past… He’s clutching variously a stake, a mirror and a cross.  Something tells me this isn’t going to end well.

Toby Whithouse explained that Hal is one of the Old Ones, over 500 years old and that all the older vampires have cycles in their lives that can take them to extremes.  “So there’ll be periods of malevolence, then periods of relative calm and decency, followed by another period of being an utter shit!”  I suspect the word ‘relative’ to be fairly meaningful in this context…

What else?  Hal and Tom work together in a cafe and after a fractious start the vampire and the werewolf become friends.  Someone is trying to out supernaturals through social media (oh, very modern!) and – sadly – Wyndam will not be returning, presumably the pineapples need watering…  “We’ve got a revolving door in terms of vampire nemeses” explains Toby.  The series arc builds on Wyndam’s declaration that the age of the vampires begins now and just how they plan to pull that off.

SFX revealed the episode titles and some cryptic hints on each from Toby – so cryptic he hasn’t actually told us much at all – although he did make me laugh.  Quite a lot.  The titles are Eve of the War; Being Human 1955; The Graveyard Shift; A Spectre Calls; Hold the Front Page; Puppy Love; Making History and the final episode of the series The War Child.  One curious nugget about the final episode is “the King of the Vampires as played by a modern genre legend”  Hmmmm, interesting…

The best and funniest line in the whole feature has to come from Damien Molony who said “The majority of the people who follow me on Twitter have Aidan Turner as their profile photo, so I was like ‘Fuck me!’”

The BBC Press Pack

The press pack for S3 was so chock full of spoilers they might as well of sent us all the scripts!  This one is better, and it gives away no more than we can see on the BBC Blog and the various interviews such as the SFX one, in fact the introduction for Toby Whithouse was exactly what was posted on the Blog.  Lesson learnt (or money saved…)

The actor interviews are the best part and there’s a nice hint in Lenora’s, right at the end. “Annie realises her destiny this series, and this is a powerful role in itself, rather than it being new tricks she can perform – which there are a few that she discovers this series.”

Micheal Socha talks about the joy and challenge of playing his first lead role.  Tom was so protected by McNair that he is emotionally still 13 or 14 years old and now he has to grow up.  As Micheal says “He copies McNair in a lot of ways, there are a lot of similarities, a lot of things Tom has taken with him, but I think Tom now is his own man. He may be looking for a bit of guidance along the way, but deep down he knows he is now on his own.”

Damien Molony gives a great insight into joining the show, how he worked on his character – especially as it is his first TV job – as well as following (or not) in Mitchells’ footsteps.  He also says a little more about Hal and this snippet intrigues me. “He hasn’t drunk blood for a long time, but before that he was a legendary figure amongst the vampires. Even more dangerous character than Mitchell, perhaps even more than Herrick.

Tom’s prequel…

Or not really a prequel as it shows us the future and reminds us of the past we already know… Glimpses of his life with McNair, how he was protected and loved, his innocence carefully minded by his Dad despite his readiness (and ability) to kill vampires.  The sorrow of losing McNair contrasts with some lovely humour and the subtle play of expressions on Micheal Socha’s face bode very well for his lead role in S4.  Naive and deadly, polite and unfortunately honest – bless him and his empty folder, the little were-bambi (a term I can take no credit for – thanks Susan!)  It doesn’t tell us much we don’t already know about Tom except – and pay attention as this might be slightly important – he’s got rather proficient at making bombs from used cooking oil…  Deep fried vampire anyone?  With chips?  Salt and vinegar on that…?

I’m sure there’s loads of stuff I’ve forgotten I know and there’s still the trailer to come as well as a confirmed transmission date… anytime soon will do please!

Analysis, prodding and poking of all this lovely detail to come in due course once I’ve digested and mused.  After all, we all need something to ponder…