GS: Welcome back to Geek Syndicate Debbie! Please can you tell us what creative lessons did you learn from series 1?
DS: Season one was very much about establishing our world and characters, and I think the thing that surprised us most was how rich that world could be. With both wild Wolfbloods and the Wolfbloods who live among humans to explore, we have a lot of territory to run wild in! Also, discovering the visual tone of the show has really helped us. Unlike a lot of CBBC shows, we spend a lot of time outdoors with the characters. The natural world is very important to the look and feel of the show, and we’ve learned to embrace that world and make sure it feeds into every plot point and scene.
GS: Were you surprised at the fan reaction to the show?
DM: You always hope your work is going to be well received, but I think we’ve all been surprised by the passionate response from so many viewers. Clearly the premise of Wolfblood appeals to a lot of people, in Britain and further afield – but then, it touches on so many universal experiences. Growing up, taking responsibility for your own actions, feeling different and isolated, having a secret… These are things that so many kids experience, and Wolfblood gives them a way to deal with those feelings in a fictional context.
GS: Wolfblood has quite the adult following now. Has that influenced any of your creative choices for series 2?
DM: Not really. Obviously our first loyalty has to be to the child fans – and actually, I think a good story and good characters should resonate across all age groups. The kinds of dilemmas the characters face are familiar to adults as well as children, and the fun of being a Wolfbood and having ‘superpowers’ appeals to everyone!
GS: How hard is it to balance horror and entertainment with children watching?
DM: Strangely for a “werewolf” show, we never think of ourselves as writing horror! When we were developing the show, I always pitched it more in terms of something like The X-Men – ‘I’m different, and that can be scary and alienating, but it’s a natural part of me and actually, it’s pretty much okay.”
Obviously we have scares and thrills, and exactly how far we can push that with a young audience can be a fine balancing act. We have some scary new characters in season two, and making them feel dangerous enough to drive the plot without terrifying younger viewers has taken some thought! But it’s always been part of the concept that we should deliver on the fun as well as the scares, and ‘I wish I could do that’ action scenes, and comedy, are a big part of the show.
Can you tell us about of any new characters in series 2?
DM: We have some scary new wild Wolfbloods who’ll cause a few problems for our heroes. And a new regular character called Jana, a wild Wolfblood girl who disrupts the status quo in Stoneybridge and causes a few ructions between Maddy and Rhydian!
GS: Will see any exploration into the origins of the WolfBlood in series 2?
DM: We will find out a few things about the history of Wolfbloods in the area, and more about lore and mythology, but not really about the species’ origins. We’ve always felt that Wolfbloods should have a scientific origin – they’re a divergent species of human – so digging into their origins might be a bit academic and boring! That said, if we ever find a way to get a good story out of it…
GS: Will any other supernatural beings be introduced into the show?
DM: No. I think the premise of the show is about doing one thing and doing it well. If we start introducing all kinds of other creatures, it just pulls us away from the characters and becomes “What creature will they introduce this week?’ rather than “What are the characters we care about doing this week?”
GS: What can you tell us about the wildlife spin-off series?
DM: Ah. Actually, not much! I wasn’t directly involved in that – but it’s going to be a wildlife series about wolves, presented by Bobby Lockwood, who plays Rhydian. So it’s exploring the real-life facts of wolf behaviour, the facts that we draw on when we’re writing the wolf characters. Wolves are fascinating creatures, and I think this is a great way to let the audience in on the things we’re discovering as we write the show!
GS: Do you have a overall plan for where the story is going or are you taking one series at a time?
DM: In episode one of season two, Shannon tells Tom that she thinks it’s inevitable that the secret will come out eventually. CCTV, camera phones, the loss of the world’s great wildernesses – sooner or later, the world will find out. Now, whether that’s something we want to address in the show or not is an interesting question, and one that I don’t think we’ve fully decided…
For the moment, we’re very much letting the show take its own shape at its own pace. Even in terms of planning the arc for a season, we often end up in a different – and better – place to where we first planned, so trying to plan the arc of the entire series seems a bit rash! What we do know is, we have a very rich world to explore, full of dangers and fun and life-changing experiences for our characters, and we’re enjoying exploring it with them…
Wolfblood starts on the 9th of September on CBBC check out the trailer for series 2 on the Wolfblood website.