A blog pulling together all my fings.

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Reporting for Being Human

*taps glass with spoon*

Hi peeps, I have a little announcement to make… I’m leaving Being Human.

After three series and over 275 blog posts it’s time for me to step down as the Producer of Being Human online and let someone else take over running this fantastic community. I like to think we’ve always shown the fans the utmost respect and so I wanted to do a proper blog about it here before any changes happen to the Being Human site. Not that there will be any. Well, the quality might improve, posts might go out on time and there might not be as many errors in tweets but apart from THAT there won’t be many changes at all. 

I’ve been Producing the online content and managing the Being Human community since day one and it’s been such a fantastic job.  As many people have pointed out, it’s been a dream job and I’ve been very, very lucky to do it.  In that time we’ve won awards, become the most popular blog across the whole of BBC Vision (i.e. the telly bits of the BBC), we’ve become BBC Three’s most popular website ever, we’ve amassed over 380,000 Facebook fans, 17,000 Twitter followers, we’ve been trending week after week on Twitter, we’ve produced three DVDs and we’ve also launched the brand new spin-off show Becoming Human which has been seen millions of times and is now on its way to BBC Three.
*takes a breath*
After all that it’s hard to see what other challenges I could face in the Being Human world without corking it through utter exhaustion, so it’s time to pack my handkerchief on a stick and look for new adventures. 
Being Human Homepage

I will always be a massive fan of Being Human and I can’t stress enough that these have been the best two-and-a-bit years of my life.  Being Human has been a constantly evolving project and there’s always been something new to make and broadcast, and once it’s out there a flood of hundreds and often thousands of responses come back our way.  It’s a complete buzz and as I’ve said many times before, the fan community is intelligent, funny and incredibly kind to us as the production team and to each other.  I do hope some of them will follow me in these post-Being Human days and stick with me as I make more films on YouTube and blog and tweet about the exciting new things I’m going to be doing next as I start freelancing and perhaps even setting up my own company. But more on that in due course.

My last day will be covering Becoming Human on BBC Three this Sunday and from then on I’ll be a regular fan, blogging and tweeting away like a good un.
I have many people to thank now I’ve come to the end of this brilliant chapter of my career.  Firstly Garret Keogh has been a fantastic mentor, boss and friend and we’ve made quite the formidable team.  Tim Breadin has taught me about the nuts and bolts of business and how to turn an idea on paper into a fully-fledged commission.  Phil Marriott, Geoff Evans, Rich Lyman, Jamie Morton and Anthony Collyer have been the Being Human blog shooters and editors and they are all very talented and have kept me sane on many a shoot.  Loving your work, chaps. Our production managers Cat O’Gorman and before her Vicki Duffin have both been funny, supportive, and of course mind-bogglingly organised. I admire them both greatly for possessing skills I can only dream of.
Becoming Human Blog

Toby Whithouse, Phil Trethowan, Rob Pursey, Laura Cotton, Poppy Stammers and Helen Munnicchi (plus formerly Matt Bouch) are the brilliant Touchpaper team who make Being Human. Together with the terrific writing team they start with a blank whiteboard and lots of coffee and somehow turn it into award-winning storytelling. They’ve taught me so much about how to make great drama from start to finish and I’ve taken it all on board and stored it under the ‘learn from awesome people’ section of my brain. I love to write and I’m hoping one day to show them a drama of my own.

Marc Ramsay is our Being Human commissioner and his guidance and long-term vision for the project has always pushed me to be a better, more professional, producer. Sarah ‘gets things done’ Clay is our Becoming Human commissioner and she’s the kind of driven, intelligent and passionate person who smashes through red tape to make the BBC truly great and truly loved. Yram and Annabel have helped me immensely with getting all the updates online and keeping me sane every Friday. I don’t know what they’re payed but it’s not enough. Sally Morales is wonderfully bonkers and did a great job redesigning the site, as did Andy Ashburner and the two very talented Steves. I’m still not sure which one’s which but they definitely rock.

Colin Teague, Derek, Marcus, Mike, Lloyd, Ryan, Cheryl, Laura, Mark Fleischman, Tom the Runner, Russell, Sinead, Lenora, Aidan… the Being Human and Becoming Human cast and crew are too many in number to name here, but they are a legendary travelling family.  Their kindness is surpassed only by their incredible talent for telling great stories. They’ve been very generous in letting us film them at work and in doing so have given the fans a fascinating insight into their world.

I’d also like to say a big thank you to my lady Chellington for supporting me through late nights, disrupted Christmas breaks and many long and lonely trips to Bristol and Wales. I’m sorry for spending so much time blogging and tweeting but you know it’s made me very happy. Safe to say, if life was a tin of buttons you’d be the shiniest.

Finally, I owe the fans a massive debt of gratitude for coming to the show, sticking with it and creating genuine friendships that form the bedrock of the fan community.  I hope you have been entertained by everything that’s been made so far and stay with the programme as it continues to evolve and excel.  If you’ve ever followed the blog I hope you’ve laughed, cried and (most importantly of all) done a little ‘dun-dun-durrrrr’ in your head every time I’ve written about an upcoming cliffhanger.
Thanks to you all.  It’s been a blast. 

Now onwards… to the future!

Written by barrypilling

March 19, 2011 at 8:20 am


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Being Human trending in UK and worldwide on Twitter

I produce the online content and manage the fan community for Being Human, a BBC Three TV show featuring a ghost, a vampire and a two werewolves all trying to live normal human lives. Give it a try if you’ve not seen it, it’s well good.

The first episode of the new series aired last Sunday and smashed it in the ratings, as well as creating a lot of noise online, some of which I’m going to document here.


Being Human exists in several different online spaces. We have over 330,000 Facebook fans, 11,000 Twitter followers and a huge community centred around the Being Human blog. This is our hub of activity for the show, where hundreds of comments are posted daily.


I love the Being Human fan community. They’re intelligent, funny and have some fantastic theories and discussions about where the show could go. Many of them have become friends in real life, chatting on Twitter, friending each other up on Facebook and travelling to Wales to meet up in person and see the set. They’ve embraced all the elements of the show we’ve introduced to them, including online storylines, new cast and crew members and some even follow my work away from the job, which shows curiosity and loyalty above and beyond your average fan of a TV show.

In fact, some of them may be reading this now because they’re a fan of Being Human. If that’s you, hello! You’re awesome.


Our community is a very positive one, and that’s something we’ve tried to build over three series. We aim to set a tone that’s funny, welcoming and warm. We want to people to feel like they’re part of a fun gang, not part of an exclusive clique, and the fans have created a self-regulating community that honours and enjoys this tone. The fans don’t tolerate aggression or arrogance, and will actively turn their back on people who try and steer the conversation that way. They also embrace new blog users, bringing them up to speed on topics they may not quite follow. And unlike many other shows (especially in the sci-fi genre) the Being Human bloggers don’t try to outdo each other with superior knowledge, rather they share that knowledge for others to enjoy. As a result many people get hooked not just on the show or the extras we create, but on the community itself.

Whenever it looks like the chat may turn sour, there arises a general consensus amongst the fans that it’s better to be a community that shares a love of the show, rather than a community that bitches and falls out. It’s like a family, really, and myself and Garret Keogh (our creative director) are very proud to have been a part of making it grow.


The website has undergone big changes this year, and we’re getting bigger audiences as a result. Before the new series even aired we were getting higher unique user figures than the peak of the previous series (60k+). This is partly due to a redesigned website, a new online storyline featuring Annie (a ghost) trapped in purgatory and a new style of blog video that sees us getting up to even more mischief on set. Then, last Sunday 23rd January, it went into overdrive when the first episode of the new series went live. Here’s what happened on Twitter…

– We started with #beinghuman trending on Twitter in the UK.
– Then Lacey Turner started trending in the UK – this is her first acting gig since Eastenders.
– Then Robson Green started trending in the UK – this is his first acting gig since catching massive fish.
– Finally #beinghuman started trending worldwide.

I was ecstatic and celebrated in typical bolton style… by eating a pasty.

After the show we drove the conversation to the blog and launched episode highlights, plus a behind the scenes feature that went on to gather over 500 comments. I’m still waiting on exact user stats, but we’re expecting them to be high.


This weekend we’ll be doing it all again, but this time launching brand new online drama Becoming Human off the back of the episode. This series features a crossover character from the main show, and lives entirely online. It’s a tale of deadly mystery, with episodes and evidence posted online for the audience to enjoy over the next eight weeks.

No pressure then…

Written by barrypilling

January 29, 2011 at 11:20 pm


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At the end of last year I was commissioned to make science animations for a show on BBC Three called Secrets of the Universe.

These ‘science bits’ (as the shampoo commercial would describe them) were designed to be lo-fi and engaging to a young audience who wanted more from TV science than a man with grey hair waffling on about something that wouldn’t hold their attention for two min…mmm waffles.

The idea was to make high concepts as accessible and fun as possible. I worked with producer Dan Child and presenter Greg Foot to represent the science accurately whilst still bringing some imagination and playfulness to the project. So in amongst Archimedes, the theory of gravity and the formation of the solar system we’ve got pipe cleaners, Playmobil toys and a moon made of tuna. Oh, and I’ve suggested that everything in the universe is made of gravy granules. A little tribute to my northern heritage.

Below are some of the storyboards I created for the big bang VT. The first shows what happened when the bang occurred (marmite and dinosaurs came out, obv), the second shows a Dustbuster eating up the universe and the third illustrates that if the world was a 24 hour clock disco was invented 1/5000th of a second ago.

To think Einstein only ever had a blackboard and chalk to show his theories… Bah! The past was well lame.

The show got 400,000 viewers followed by a further 300,000 on the midnight repeat, so the BBC were very happy and are in talks about bringing it back for a longer run.

Big Bang Storyboard

Dustbuster Storyboard

Disco Storyboard

Written by barrypilling

January 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm


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“Bring on the dancing girls!” *clap clap*

…I’ve heard this phrase said in so many Sinbad the Sailor-esque movies but I never thought I’d be lucky enough to say it myself. That is until we shot a rap video in a stretched Hummer with champagne, bling and grinding beyatches in bikinis (that’s rap speak, not my words).

I can safely say this is something I can now tick off my ‘list of things I might one day shoot if I’m VERY lucky’. Things left on the list include…
– filming a dinosaur
– filming a laser war in space
– filming a fight between a whale and a giant squid
– filming the discovery of the lost city of Atlantis
– filming a talking penguin
– filming a stunt man attempting to break a world record but it all goes wrong and he has a horrendous accident and technically dies for a few minutes but then he comes back to life and gets up, insisting that he does the stunt again, breaking the record by more than double and bringing everyone to tears with his bravery and awesomeness.

You know, the usual.

The whole video is about how the term ‘pimp’ is used in rap songs as though it’s something good, when in reality the life of a pimp is just plain nasty. We had great fun dirtying Doc up with used condoms and pizza stains on his shirt, and Doc was especially proud of his yellow shoes and tracksuit bottoms combo. Fact attack: those shoes were worn by a member of Finley Quaye’s band to the Brit Awards. That’s true, swear down.

Finally, a big thank you to Emma for putting up with being a comedy lady of the night for two days. Also to Richard, the man who can pull the funniest faces in television, as I’m sure you’ll agree when you see the bank manager scenes…

Written by barrypilling

July 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm


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The wonderful chaps and chapettes at BBC Comedy recently published our new Doc Brown films on their website and I’m ecstatic. This first one is called Grandpa Dave and is about wishing a celebrity was your relative. I directed and edited this one and we shot in two great locations…

The first was the famous Maida Vale studios, a place so steeped in history that someone as un-musical as me had no right to set foot in. Little fact for you quiz fans, we shot the piano scenes in same studio as Bing Crosby made his last recording before he died in 1977. Pay attention, there will be a test at the end.

The other location was the Horniman Museum in South London. This is a cracking place created in 1901 by a tea trader called Frederick John Horniman. What he traded it for I don’t know (biscuits?) but his business became the biggest tea company in the world.


What a guy John was, travelling the world picking up interesting stuff, e.g. an actual walrus, and bringing it home to display in his house. And when his house got too big he built a museum. And when he died he gave that museum and the surrounding land away to the people of London… forever!

When I grow up I want to be just like him.

Anyway, fact attack over with, the test is cancelled. I hope you enjoy the comedy rapping talents of Mr Doc Brown and I’ll blog with the other videos soon…

Written by barrypilling

July 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm


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We’re filming the latest of our Doc Brown vids for BBC Comedy today. This one is a rap video about about a pimp and how his ‘big pimpin’ dream actually doesn’t match up with the reality, which is more about cleaning stains than private planes.

So for the first time ever I will be filming a rap video in a limo with dancing girls. ZOMG! One more thing I can tick off Barry’s Big List of Awesome Things I Need to Do Before I Die. I’m seeing it as my job to make every shot look as ridiculously over the top as possible. After all, the main point of reference for this will be the Lollipop video by Lil Wayne, which could itself be a spoof… he actually plays guitar on the roof of the limo as it drives through Las Vegas. RAP-TASTIC!

Fingers crossed it all goes to plan. Three more days of filming after this one…

Written by barrypilling

March 27, 2010 at 8:17 am


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By some massive stroke of awesomeness, I got to film with the Big Dawg himself – TIM WESTWOOD – on Thursday night… one of my favourite celebrities of all time.

The Big Dawg Tim Westwood

Now Westwood is one of those people it’s easy to underestimate. Yes, he’s over 50, white, the son of a Bishop, and is from the less-than-sexy town of Lowestoft – all things that aren’t considered very street. But for 25 years he’s been the best hip hop DJ in the country, and he’s very, very funny. I saw him with my mate Tom in 2003 and it was, and always will be, the best DJ set I’ve ever seen.

So Thursday came and it was time to direct him in one of our new Doc Brown comedy vids we’re shooting for the beeb. In the film Doc tries to convince Tim that he’s the best rapper in the world because he has the most elaborate hand gestures. Cue Tim, throwing himself into it with full gusto – “WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT YOU, SON!?… SECURITY! GET THIS CLOWN OUTTA HERE!”

It. Was. Awesome.

Soon we had the pair playing a game of rock, paper, scissors, which turns into a slappy bitch fight and ends with Westwood putting Doc in a headlock and really teaching him a lesson. I’ll be honest, Westwood thought we were mental, but still threw himself into it. Then there was just time for the final scene, as Westwood sums up what he thinks of Doc’s new song…


Hopefully that’s not what everyone will say when the films are finished… *gulp*

PS – I was directing on behalf of Trev who couldn’t be there… check out his blog, he’s funny.

Written by barrypilling

March 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm


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