Gay Times February 11 - Issue 389
Hot new star of Being Human: Michael Socha
Michael Socha, I’m told before we meet, has been ill and lost weight. In fact, someone is sent to find clothes in a smaller size. “That’s the smallest size they do,” I hear someone mutter.
It’s the 23-year-old Derby-based actor’s first proper photo shoot and interview – born partly from his new role as a werewolf in horror drama Being Human, which returns to BBC Three this month, and partly from a flurry of excited Facebook and Twitter updates from gays when he recently appeared in Channel 4’s This Is England ’86.
“I’m getting better at these aren’t I?” he asks the PR at one point. “And I didn’t swear! Oh no, I did. Oh well.”
Michael’s a proper “lad”, has beautiful brown eyes (to the point where sometimes you can’t look at him) and he’s wonderfully outspoken. Maybe too outspoken.
“Should I not say that?” he asks when my mouth drops slightly at his reply to one question. Probably not, I reply. He considers it for a second. “Yeah, don’t put that in.”
I suggest it’s just as well I’m not tabloid-based. “You’re really easy to talk to,” he ventures.
He’s not in the least bit fazed with people running around him, standing around topless eating a sandwich while someone fiddles with his hem. It’s nice to be around an unassuming actor.
When he’s done being pulled and posed every which way – and interviewed (also topless) by the boys from Digital Spy – we sit down for a coffee. He likes a lot of sugar, fact fans.
Finger on the pulse, the gays are the first ones in there getting you to strip. What did you think when you were asked?
More from Gay Times February 11 - Issue 389
I just thought “fuck it, I’ll do it”. I had a word with Russell Tovey [his Being Human co-star who graced GT’s cover last year] because we were on about it a few months ago and he was going “yeah do it man, do it” and I thought “well I will do then”.
After about half an hour I was quite into it actually. I was enjoying looking a bit sexy. It was alright…
You’ve racked up an impressive number of short films and theatre productions in the past few years, despite having recently mentioned that, prior to receiving the call to appear in This Is England ’86, you were “penniless”…
Yeah, fuck all yeah. Well it’s very fickle isn’t it, the industry? One minute you’re buzzing, you’re working, the next minute you’re not. The last job I had before I decided not to work in a “standard/normal” job, I was a labourer for my uncles firm. But I was just pissing everybody off going for auditions. If I was mixing compo for the brickies and that was the plan for the next day, then I’d ring up my uncle Pat and say “look boss, I can’t come in because I’ve got an audition” it’s like “I understand you’ve got another career but you can’t fucking work for me because we’ve got things to do, schedules and all that”. So finding a “normal” job to hold down in Derby whilst acting was nigh-on impossible because I’m constantly going to auditions and no boss wants me. Unless I go and do gardening in the summer. Or drug deal or something.
Don’t put that one in. At school I didn’t really think I was ever going to become a professional actor. My first job out of school was at a factory. Then I went to college because I hated the factory. Then I worked in another factory. I worked at a carwash at the weekend… I did all sorts of fucked up jobs that I didn’t enjoy and I thought “well maybe this is going to be it for me”. I just think I was in the right place at the right time in the right pool of people just to get out there and be noticed.
You say that, but from what I’ve read you did work quite hard at school to get into acting.
No, not really. I didn’t work hard at school at all, I completely took the piss. I made school as fun as I possibly could for myself because I was forced to go. I didn’t go half the time. I was always in trouble. But then the only thing I did do was drama, the only thing I could do was drama. And the teacher, even though I was a little shit, she heard all the teachers talking about me in the staffroom, Mrs Urquhart-Hughes, she’d still help me out. She’d keep me back at lunch, and I’d stay behind and do the coursework for my GCSEs, but I had another life outside of school that was completely different to life I had when I was doing my drama. It’s hard trying to find that balance between being who I am in Derby with the people I’m with in Derby, and then being Michael the actor, and it’s quite hard finding that balance. That’s what I always struggled with at school. I’m still gonna be Michael who’s Michael, it’s just I do a bit of acting, and some of the lads take the piss, but then after a year or so it’s just who I was and if they didn’t like it they could fuck off.
This is a taste of the whole article, which is in the next issue of GT, out 29 Dec. You can buy the App over here.