Playing one of the realistic “synth” robots in Channel 4 sci-fi Humans has its drawbacks. Sure, you get to act in the broadcaster’s most popular drama in decades, learn cool robot moves and wear stylish contact lenses – but you also have everyone in the world assuming that you actually ARE a robot, and having them treat you accordingly.
“We’ve had people try and turn us off on the Tube, which is extraordinary,” actor Will Tudor, who plays damaged synth Odi in the series, told RadioTimes.com. As seen in the series, this is achieved by tapping synths under the chin – and he’s not the only cast member to have experienced it.
“Yeah, I’ve had that,” agrees series star (and fellow synth) Gemma Chan. “That’s happened as well. Yes. People think it’s amusing.”
“It’s a HUGE invasion of personal space,” added co-star Emily Berrington, who plays conscious android Niska, “but sort of worth it to show that people really engage with it.”
“Quite a few people come up and say “oh you’re so…you’re not a robot! You’re you! You’re so animated, you’re not like your character’,” Chan continued. “And I’m like ‘Yeah I know. Funnily enough, I’m not a robot.’”
Oh dear – and with series two coming this weekend, public attention seems sure to only increase, with the actors all emphasising the increased scale of the new episodes.
“It’s much more epic and international,” Berrington told us, “and the world expands far beyond what we saw in series 1. Series 1 was very much, sort of the Hawkins house and that world, and this time is it exploded open, and we visit different countries and all sorts of things.”
“It’s faster-moving,” Tudor added, “it’s more of those philosophical ideas, and the exploring the world, and like you say branching out internationally allows us to explore that.”
“I would say, in terms of the themes that were explored in series 1, I think they’ve gone even further with those and deeper, and explored some of the themes in a surprising way,” Chan said. “I would never have predicted they’d take the show in those directions and they have, and it’s really interesting.”
Sounds like the awkward tube encounters might have all been worth it, then.
Humans begins on Channel 4 tonight (Sunday 30th October) at 9.00pm