What’s that coming over the hill? Is it a monster? Actually, it’s lots of monsters, because Primeval is returning to ITV1 at 7pm this Saturday evening. Ahead of the new issue of SFX – crammed with seven pages of exclusive Primeval goodness and on sale Wednesday 16 January – we chat with dinosaur hunter Connor Temple (AKA Andrew-Lee Potts) about series two...
Has Connor changed much in the second series?
“He’s got shorter hair! He’s got the same sense of humour so he hasn’t changed in that respect. He’s still as cheeky as ever, but he’s got guns this time. He’s a geek with a gun. Actually, he’s not quite as geeky as they made him last year, because every time Connor was talked about or written about last year it was always ‘geeky Connor Temple’, and Adrian [Hodges, the series’ creator] agreed that to put him in a box like that was unfair to how the character came to be portrayed in the show. Yes, he was the eccentric, quirky one, but it wasn’t all down to his geekiness. So we’ve kind of steered away from that quite a lot this time. He’s still stupid at the best of times and still doesn’t know how to use his intelligence the best way, but he’s less predictable now.”
You mentioned guns. Does that mean there’s more action this time out?
“Fuck loads. Every other scene seems to be action, it’s mad. We don’t lose the kind of drama of it, there’s still a throughline, but it’s gone mad. When we got the scripts through we just couldn’t believe it, me and Hannah [Spearritt] were just so excited because it’s genuinely cool to come to work and run through John Lewis’s shooting imaginary things. It’s nuts some of the things we do. The audience is definitely in for a treat. If they thought last year was good…”
Did that mean lots of extra training?
“Hannah’s done a lot of kickboxing training because they’ve really stepped that up. Obviously whenever we use a weapon - and I’ve used quite a few now - we get on site training of how to reload and all that kind of jazz. But with a lot of the weapons we’re actually cheating, because a lot of the time we use tranquiliser guns, but not many tranquiliser guns are that sexy, so we use real guns. So a lot of the time even if we knew how to reload we have to cheat it so that we are able to put darts in the back of the gun, even though they’re real guns that fire real bullets. And we do a bit of wire work this time.”
When Cutter came back from the past at the end of series one and found that Claudia was missing, it changed the direction of the show a bit. Do you think about the consequences of the butterfly effect much?
“I find it best not to. It’s one of those things, it’s like with any show with time travel in, it opens a can of worms - once you start thinking about stuff you start thinking, ‘but what if?’ and I think it’s not our… My character doesn’t know where it’s going, and I know Adrian and the producers have a masterplan - like on any good show, they do know where it’s going to end, it’s just that the great thing is the exciting journey getting there. I don’t want to know how it’s going to end yet, I don’t want to think about it, it’s just interesting reading it as a story every time you get a script. I forget that I’m in it when the scripts come through.”
Apparently Connor gets a girlfriend this time around...
“Connor gets a lass. He gets a very sexy girlfriend. Her name is Caroline and she seems to worship the ground he walks on, which is very surreal. I don’t think he’s ever had that attention in his life!”
Has life changed much since you’ve been in Primeval?
Primeval has changed a lot of things, because I’ve been working for like 20 years, but never this sort of character, I’ve always done kind of serial killer, serious roles, and one-off dramas. So in that respect it changed because I was associated with one particular thing which I’d never had before, which I was quite nervous about because I didn’t want to be boxed, but usefully for me it’s something I’m very proud of, so I don’t really mind someone saying ‘Andrew-Lee Potts from Primeval’. The first feedback I had was in Safeways, and the first guy who came up to me was like 70, and said ‘I think your show’s great’, and that’s not what I expected. And then I started to realise that it was really across the board, and I’d be out clubbing and there’d be 25-year-olds saying’ ‘love the dinosaurs man!’ It’s nice because the feedback we’ve had is just great.
Do a lot of kids ask you about dinosaurs?
“I get kids asking how Rex is, which is really sweet. Not so much asking about the facts and figures of dinosaurs, because a lot of them are a bit shellshocked. I remember one time me and Hannah went to Toys R Us to get a birthday present for my little nephew and suddenly one person recognises you and it sweeps like a Mexican wave, a mass of information. But most of them are just a bit [makes gasping noise] to say anything, and they just stare and point a lot, so I stare and point back. Things have changed, but all in a great positive way. We were so happy when we got recommissioned because it’s something we love doing. Also this year, because I’ve started directing short films, Impossible Pictures have commissioned me to do the documentary for them which is great for me on a personal level, because I’m not only acting in a show that I love, I’m also doing directing, which is another thing that I love.”
Being part of the cast must have given you access to the parts other Making Ofs can’t reach...
“The idea was, because obviously being one of the five principal characters I was in there every day, in the mix and we all get on really well with the five, so I could probably get in a bit closer than a normal documentary team, so hopefully you’ll see some stuff that you wouldn’t get in a normal documentary. It’s kind of a documentary but with my sense of humour, so God knows what it’s going to be like.”
Is directing something you’d like to pursue further?
“I’d love to direct Primeval. Fingers crossed down the line I’d love to have a shot at the old anomaly programme. Everyone’s got to start somewhere and I think where I’ve started is quite a cool place. I feel quite honoured that Impossible Pictures have trusted me to do this. You can’t say I’m not working hard!”