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Humans cast attended robot boot camp ahead of new series

Gemma said the large gap between series two and three made it harder to pick up her synth behaviour again.

Gemma Chan has said the Humans cast attended a robot boot camp to help them get back into character as synths ahead of the new series.

The actress, who plays synth Mia in the hit Channel 4 show, said it took time for the cast to fine tune their robotic movements and behaviour before they started working on the forthcoming third series.

“We have a synth boot camp that we go back into before each series, and we have a very good choreographer called Dan O’Neill who whips us back into shape,” she said.

“But it takes longer than you’d think, actually.

“Especially as we had quite a big gap between series two and series three.”


Gemma Chan

Gemma Chan

PA Archive/PA Images

Gemma Chan

Chan’s co-star Emily Berrington, who plays Niska, said she started doing things “in a synthy way” at home to help her prepare.

She said: “We don’t even have a dishwasher, so I washed the dishes like a synth.

“And things that are quite difficult to do as a synth, like putting your coat on – things that in a human take a thousand tiny movements, trying to do as economically as possible.

“And also walking down the street as a synth is my absolute favourite. I am someone who is always moving out of everybody else’s way, so to just force yourself to walk down the street in a straight line – obviously you move if there’s a pram or something – but that kind of thing is really interesting, and changes how you associate with your surroundings and other people around you.”

Ivanno Jeremiah, who plays Max, said the way the synths run is partly based on athlete Colin Jackson.

“There are videos of Colin Jackson and based on those, we were trying to work out a run that’s not only efficient but simplistic and based on good posture and economy,” he said.

“The ‘going’ was fine but the stopping was terrible and we were hobbling around for weeks afterwards, having come up with a way for synths to run but very, very sore afterwards!” he added.

The new series of the programme is set a year after the dawn of consciousness, as a decimated and oppressed synth population fights to survive in a world that hates and fears them.

The synth family – Mia, Niska and Max – continue to battle for their right to survival, while Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) Laura (Katherine Parkinson) and their children struggle to come to terms with the cataclysmic events of the last series.

Chan said one of the reasons the show has been such a success is that it taps into society’s unease about technology.

“It’s not set years in the future, it’s a time that could be now, and that really sets it out from other science fiction shows,” she said.

“As well as it being more relatable, it feels like there’s more danger, because it’s not happening somewhere far away, in time or in space.

“It’s very much that this technology is embedded in your everyday life, it’s already in your home, so if it goes wrong, it’s very much a threat to you and your family. It’s not in a lab environment, it’s already in the family home.

“It’s tapping into that sense of unease a lot of us feel with technology that has now become part of our everyday lives. And we’re only just waking up to things like the surveillance that goes on, and I think the show really taps into that paranoia, that worry.”

Humans returns to Channel 4 in May.