Demons

Saturday, 7 February 2009, 7:50PM on ITV1

Mackenzie Crook had a little help in coming up with the terrifying screech associated with his cruel character in Demons. His five-year-old son helped him while playing in the woods.

“We were running around pretending to be dinosaurs and just came up with the noise,” he explains. “He might only be five but Jude isn’t freaked out by anything strange. He came on set to Pirates of the Caribbean when he was four weeks old and has grown up watching me getting into costume and having lunch with all the pirates. He understands it is all make believe.”

Describing his character, twisted vampire Gladiolus Thrip, Mackenzie says: “Thrip is out to get Luke and wants to destroy Mr Galvin along the way. He is a mischief maker who loves stirring things up between them. He is a flamboyant character who enjoys making trouble but he is on a very short fuse.

“He really looks after his appearance, wearing extravagant Teddy boy clothes and arranging his hair in a strange quiff – even though as a vampire he has no reflection so he how he manages I don’t know. And he has this weird scrimshaw nose stuck on, although you never discover what happened to his real nose – you just see the scarring.”

“In a strange way Thrip is full of life even though he only has half a one. There are elements of comedy in the way I play him but he does have to be scary. It doesn’t take much for him to completely lose it and you see the vicious side of him come out. He can kill people with his fingernail – it’s spiteful, horrible stuff and there is nothing honourable about him”

In the final episode, after a run in with a pyromancer, Luke (Christian Cooke) starts to have terrible dreams – dreams which lead him back to his father’s death and Galvin’s (Philip Glenister) part in it. Confused and desperate for answers, Luke begins to wonder who he can trust and turns to psychic, Karen (Pauline McLynn), for help. When she appears to have a message for Luke from his father and is able to access intimate details about his life, Luke becomes more and more convinced Galvin is not the man he seems.

But with Thrip (Mackenzie Crook) back on the scene paying an unhealthy amount of attention to Luke’s past himself, Galvin realises the evil half-life is trying to rip the duo apart.

When the truth is uncovered it proves more painful than Luke could have ever imagined. His mentor and guide, Galvin did indeed leave his father to die – but not even Thrip could have reasoned why.

The pair are reunited, but Luke’s desire to find out more about his past has raised more questions and concerns than it answered. Luke is more confused than ever about who he really is.

 

Saturday, 31 January 2009, 7:45PM on ITV1

Playing Ruby in the new ITV series Demons gave Holliday Grainger a chance to show what real girls have to offer when trying to save the world from half-lives.

“I think within the foursome, Ruby represents the everywoman. She’s the real link to normal society,” explains Holliday. “Unlike Luke and Mina, she doesn’t have any special powers and unlike Galvin she doesn’t have the knowledge of the half-lives. So she’s really thrown in at the deep end and has to deal with the situations that are thrown at her.

“Luckily Ruby is naturally feisty and confident and she can handle herself. She doesn’t know Kung Fu or anything so she can’t be right up there fighting the baddies but she does have a damn good shot. She’s quite a smart character who uses her brain. You wouldn’t think it when you first meet her but she’s switched on and, as she says herself, she works well under pressure.”

So is romance on the cards for Luke and Ruby?

“Well, those two have been best friends since they were toddlers, but now Ruby’s started to see him in a different light. She fancies him but because she’s known him since she was little, he can’t ever see her in that light. Unfortunately she has this horrible unrequited love for him which goes on throughout the series. She has to battle with her feelings for him without wanting to spoil what they’ve already got. Because he’s a boy he has no idea. In some of the scenes you just want to grab him and shout, ‘Wake up. She loves you’.” I think that there’s always a slight bit of jealousy going on with Mina as well because Ruby doesn’t like the fact that there might be another woman in his life. I think Mina probably likes to rub Ruby’s face in it a bit too because, as a woman, she instinctively knows how Ruby feels.”

With news of a strange murder in the capital in episode five, Mina (Zoe Tapper) and Galvin (Philip Glenister) investigate. Mina’s abilities give her terrifying visions and she begins to fear for Luke’s (Christian Cooke) safety. When a symbol Mina ‘sees’ is identified as that of vengeance and Galvin gets wind that the half-lives are fleeing town, he knows that something serious is up. Keen to keep Luke out of danger, Galvin tells him to lie low.

But Luke’s not unduly concerned, after all, he is the Übersmiter. However, if it’s a holiday Galvin is suggesting, Luke’s well up for that – especially with new girl Alice (Laura Aikman) on the scene.

When Ruby (Holliday Grainger) discovers that the entity chasing Luke can take the form of a woman in order to stalk her prey, alarm bells start to ring. They realise Alice could well be more half-life than human and she’s got Luke just where she wants him.

Galvin confronts Luke with their suspicions, but he refuses to listen. For the first time since this whole thing began, Luke isn’t running around in sewers or coming face-to-face with villainous entities –he’s being an ordinary teenager and he’s actually quite enjoying it. Just because Galvin’s so messed up that he sees half-lives at every turn, doesn’t mean they are there. Luke’s got himself a life – maybe it’s time Galvin did too.

But when Luke is forced to face the truth, he finds himself with an impossible dilemma. Can he smite the girl he is falling in love with? If he doesn’t, he risks almost certain death. In his hardest encounter yet, Luke has to fight both a physical and mental battle of huge proportions. Ultimately he knows there is only one thing he can do.

Saturday, 24 January 2009, 7:45PM on ITV1

Playing a blind concert pianist with vampirical tendencies was a challenge that Zoe Tapper relished during the filming of Demons.

“My character Mina Harker originates from Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel – she is the woman who is forced to suck Dracula’s blood,” explains Zoe. “But we take her into the modern world where she has become mortal and joined the fight against the half-lives alongside Luke, who is the last descendant of Van Helsing – the first vampire slayer.

“Mina is quite a complicated character and not always as she might at first seem. On the surface she is a concert pianist but there is a twist in the tale because she has to deal with demons from her own past. In order for Mina to fight her dark side she must put up with the consequence: blindness.

“In order to control her vampiric urges, Mina cleanses her blood using a kind of dialysis. I think she probably sits at her piano absorbed in playing while she undergoes this daily treatment.”

So what drew Zoe to the role? “It was quite unlike any I had come across before. What is great about Mina is that, having lived for well over 100 years, she has all this history. On the one hand you see her fighting the half-lives with the rest of the gang but she also has a fascinating back story which is quite dark. So while she is ultimately fighting for good there is always that chance she could be drawn to the other side.

“Mina and Galvin have a long relationship and I think an unwritten agreement that if Mina ever got to the point where she couldn’t control herself any more he has her blessing to kill her.”

On playing a vampire, Zoe says: “I like the edge of danger that Mina has and I absolutely loved turning into a vampire. What is so powerful is that I spend much of the time portraying Mina without sight but as soon as she drinks her own blood and turns into a vampire she can see again. So you go from looking at the ground to looking into people’s eyes and she takes on this strong physicality.”

When a bad boy vampire arrives on the scene and Mina (Zoe Tapper) starts behaving strangely, Galvin (Philip Glenister) gets suspicious. Mina confesses that Quincey (Ciaran McMenamin) is back. He has come for her – he wants her to give in to her half-blood heritage.

For Mina is immortal – the Mina Harker of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The blood of Dracula flows through her veins giving her power and eternal youth.

Galvin knows Quincey’s return is painful for Mina – this is only confirmed when she tells him that she knows it’s wrong, but she still loves Quincey. Galvin reassures her that he, of all people, understands – but they both know that sentiment has no place in the smiting game. Mina knows her duty. Galvin tells her they will set a trap and rid the world of Quincey for good.

But when Mina can’t go through with it Galvin is taken hostage. Luke is furious – Mina sacrificed Galvin for a vampire? Mina tells him she couldn’t let Quincey die. Luke’s (Christian Cooke) not impressed – so he used to be her boyfriend, so what? When Mina replies that Quincey is not her lover, but her son, Luke is dumbstruck.

Meanwhile, Quincey is preparing to use Galvin as bait to capture Luke, the biggest prize in the half-life. Quincey’s plan works – Luke comes to rescue Galvin with Mina’s help, Quincey goes for Luke – it is the beginning of an epic fight.

Saturday, 17 January 2009, 7:40PM on ITV1

Despite his experiences on big Hollywood movies, Kevin McNally was hugely impressed by the prosthetics team on Demons.

“They were very subtle the way they turned me into Mr Tibbs. It looks exactly like me but injected with rat DNA, which is slightly unnerving.”

Kevin says: “Mr Tibbs is a rather evil half-man, half-rat character but also quite a genius, funnily enough. He’s very good with technology and science and a very enjoyable character to play.”

Obviously the creation of Mr Tibbs is not just about the actor playing the role – there are prosthetics involved in creating the character as Kevin explains.

“The team were very good – they made sure that I wasn’t unnecessarily made up and they tried to schedule all my stuff into a short space of time because it can be quite uncomfortable and certainly isn’t something I enjoyed doing. But when you look in the mirror and start working with that new face it is incredibly rewarding. They are so good at the prosthetics it really feels like part of your face. The producers were very keen to make sure the actors were able to use their abilities and faces with the prosthetics – so they made sure that the eyes and mouths were very much our own; we fiddled around with the features.”

In episode three Galvin (Philip Glenister) lets his emotions get the better of him when his wife’s murderer, Mr Tibbs (Kevin McNally), arrives in town. Hell bent on revenge and with no regard for his own safety, Galvin arms himself to the hilt and embarks on what amounts to little more than a suicide mission, attempting to break into the hideous rat mans lair alone to exact his much dreamt of retribution.

Once inside, Mr Tibbs is nowhere to be found but evidence of his presence is all around. Jars of laboratory bottles line the shelves containing terrifying specimens and in the corner, a young woman (Grace) is locked in a cage. With a gaggle of nasty type fours hot on his tail, Galvin makes a desperate bid to escape but with the woman in tow it’s increasingly difficult. Luke (Christian Cooke), Mina (Zoe Tapper) and Ruby (Holliday Grainger) arrive just in time to save the couple. They speed off, leaving the baying half-lives in their wake.

He might have saved the girl, but Galvin isn’t satisfied, thirsty for vengeance, he won’t rest until Mr Tibbs is dead. He and Luke head off to the sewers to find the rat man leaving Mina and Grace safe in the Stacks.

But Galvin, blinded by his emotions has played straight into Mr Tibbs’ hands. Before long, Grace lies dead in the stacks, with Mina unconscious next to her, a bomb ticking at her feet.

Meanwhile Luke and Galvin reach a dead end in the sewer and it slowly dawns on them, the water levels are rising and that they’ve walked into a trap.

Help for Mina comes in an unlikely form – Ruby, who is stunned to discover the scene that confronts her. With the timer reading one minute and Mina out for the count, there’s only one thing for it – Ruby must take a wild guess at which wire to cut.

Meanwhile Galvin and Luke are up to their eyeballs in sewage water. With only seconds left to live they begin saying their last goodbyes.

Saturday, 10 January 2009, 7:45PM on ITV1

Christian Cooke admits that his first training session to turn him into Übersmiter Luke Rutherford just made him sick. Literally.

“I was sick – really, really sick. It was two hours solid, hard training and I have never done anything so strenuous,” recalls the young actor. “The training was really that intense. After a long session Vince, my trainer, would say, ‘get down and give me 10 press ups’. I’d do 10 press ups and after I came up he would push me back down.”

But it wasn’t only while having his stamina pushed to the limits that Christian found his masculinity being challenged:

“I do have a woman stunt double, yes,” he laughs. “But in my defence she is really amazing – she’s a world champion kick-boxer. The thing is that there has been quite a bit of stunt work. I have done all that I could myself; all the fight scene sequences I did for example. The stunt sequences we filmed as a full sequence, rather than cutting lots of short sequences together. That made it feel quite fun and really adrenaline-fuelled!”

How was Luke’s life before he discovered his great destiny?

“He really was just an average college kid who lives in a trendy loft conversion with his mum. His dad had died when he was one and he really doesn’t seem to know much about him, only that he died on what Luke was told was a business trip. Saskia Wickham, who plays my mum, and I agreed that they probably suspected that Jay Van Helsing was something to do with the government or was some sort of secret agent, but didn’t know exactly what.”

But Luke’s life is quickly turned upside down when a mysterious stranger enters his life. “Rupert Galvin turns up and completely changes Luke’s life. He tells Luke who he really is and then really forces him to juggle being a normal kid with crazy stuff like fighting half-lives. In the series we see my character torn between conventional stuff – like learning to drive or fancying girls – and this really mad otherworldly stuff. Still though, by and large he is your average 18-year-old lad.”

Christian explains how our young hero learns to fight the shadowy creatures that lurk all around. “Even though he fights vampires he is no Jean-Claude Van Damme. Galvin puts him through a bit of training and refines his fighting skills but it’s all street fighting and freestyle. Personally, in my training sessions, I was taught a blend of martial arts. My trainer was a specialist in Thai boxing, boxing and loads of other different martial arts so he taught me various moves from different disciplines. I think it is important that when the character does fight it doesn’t look too Jackie Chan style, but looks random. Luke has got really quick reactions and he is powerful but the style of fighting varies; he is always thinking how he can take them down in the best and quickest way possible – even if it might not be technically perfect.”

In the second episode six-year-old Madge (Kizzy Mee) might think her sister has been ‘taken up to heaven by an angel’ but Galvin (Philip Glenister) suspects otherwise. Everything points to half-life involvement and he thinks it’s the perfect project for Luke (Christian Cooke).

A visit to zombie priest, Father Simeon (Richard Wilson) confirms Galvin’s suspicions. Gilgamel is no angel – he’s a demon, a travesty demon, a grade nine entity attracted by the odour of sanctity. When, due to Luke’s carelessness, Ruby’s (Holliday Grainger) younger brother Jamie (Ben Walker) becomes his latest victim, they are left with no choice and must summon the two thousand year old half-life and defeat him if the children are not to be lost forever.

But Gilgamel refuses to submit easily and he’s prepared to fight dirty. As they raise him, the demon takes on Jamie’s form and appears in the middle of a ring of flames. During the confusion that ensues, Gilgamel escapes and Galvin is left badly burnt.

With Galvin now unable to fight properly, it falls to Luke to defeat Gilgamel alone – this surely is the ultimate test of his prowess, but is he ready? Luke has inherited amazing reflexes and fighting instinct from his father, but has he committed enough to the task to succeed?

Faced with the demon’s true likeness, a hideous tormented gargoyle from some medieval hell, this is no easy task. As Luke fights for his life he realises things will never be the same again.

Saturday, 3 January 2009, 7:20pm on ITV1

An American vampire smiter couldn’t be further removed from the role of the infamous Gene Hunt as portrayed by Philip Glenister.

“I was quite nervous about the American accent at first,” admits Philip. “I came straight off the back of Ashes to Ashes but thought from the off that Galvin would be a nice removal from playing Gene.

Describing his character in the new sci-fi drama, Philip says: “Rupert Galvin was the best friend of Luke’s dead father. Something happened many years ago while they were on a mission together in Transylvania, Luke’s father was killed and Galvin saved baby Luke. As his godfather Galvin has kept a distant eye on Luke ever since and at the start of the series decides to come back into Luke’s life as the dark forces are gathering.

“Galvin attempts to act as Luke’s mentor, to train him up as a smiter and to protect him as much as possible.”

Christian Cooke admits that his first training session to turn him into Übersmiter Luke Rutherford just made him sick. Literally.

“I was sick – really, really sick. It was two hours solid, hard training and I have never done anything so strenuous,” recalls the young actor. “The training was really that intense.”

It wasn’t only while having his stamina pushed to the limits that Christian found his masculinity being challenged:

“I do have a woman stunt double, yes” he laughs, “but in my defence she is really amazing – she’s a world champion kick-boxer. The thing is that there has been quite a bit of stunt work. I have done all that I could myself; all the fight scene sequences I did for example.”

Speaking about his character, Christian says: “The thing I like most about Luke is that he is someone you can relate to. He is not a superhero figure or someone you even necessarily look at and think ‘it’d be so good to be like him’. He’s just a normal kid who has had this immense pressure of a destiny put on his shoulders and is forced to deal with it.”

Glenister plays Rupert Galvin, a larger-than-life American with a tragic past and a zero tolerance policy to the rabble of mythical “half-life” entities that exist all around us. When he bursts into the life of his teenage godson, Luke (Christian Cooke), whose father died in mysterious circumstances 15 years before, little does Luke know what will be thrust upon him.

There are supernatural forces of evil at work and it is Luke’s destiny, as the last descendent of the Van Helsing line, to smite the half-lives that stalk our streets. A unique online experience, Demons: The Game, will accompany the show allowing players to immerse themselves in Luke’s deadly mission.

While trying to juggle an ordinary life of school exams, parties and learning to drive – not to mention keeping it all from his mum – Luke is catapulted into a world of vampires, demons and zombies, along with his best friend Ruby (Holliday Granger). But he remains cool – it’s in his blood after all…

Helping Galvin to train Luke in his quest is the beautiful but icy cold Mina Harker (Zoe Tapper) a blind concert pianist with a history, who is also the foremost authority on the undesirable entities preying on humanity. The sinister and mouldering Father Simeon (Richard Wilson) is Luke’s other source of information on the lore and myth behind the creatures he faces.

But before they have time to properly prepare Luke, he is faced with a daunting opponent in the form of the villainous Gladiolus Thrip (Mackenzie Crook) a sinister vampire with a burning hatred for the Van Helsing line and all they stand for.

Throughout the series Luke faces an array of terrifying adversaries – including the half-man half-rat Mr Tibbs (Kevin McNally), who bears a deep and personal grudge against a member of the team.

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