Prime-time Andrew

First published in Stage Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Assistant Editor (Content)

In a B&Q somewhere near Brighton, Bradford actor Andrew-Lee Potts is going into overdrive about his latest project.

While his new flame - former S Club 7 songbird and Andrew's co-star in the hot new ITV1 Saturday night drama Primeval, Hannah Spearritt - looks over tins of paint, Andrew, 27, of Wibsey, is reaching fever pitch as he yells into his mobile phone about how fantastically super-cool the six-part science fiction show is.

The show, as Andrew enthuses loudly, is about a team of scientists drawn together to tackle the problem of dinosaurs which, rather awkwardly, start popping up all over modern-day Britain.

His character is Connor Temple, a young palaeontologist whose expertise in prehistoric beasties comes into its own in the face of the new threat.

Andrew, originally from Wibsey, says: "I play a pretty geeky guy, but he's prime material for an accidental hero. He's the reason that everyone else finds out about the rips in time that are allowing these creatures to come to the present day."

One can only imagine what the rest of B&Q's clientele are making of this handsome young man breathlessly talking about "rips in time" on his mobile phone. He laughs and says: "Yeah, you do start to get into it after a while. It's because the show is so well done - the writing's great, the plots are fantastic, the effects are spectacular."

The job of realising the pivotal plot device of having dinosaurs lumbering around the English countryside has gone to the team behind the phenomenally successful BBC TV documentary series Walking With Dinosaurs, who are putting their CGI monsters in a dramatic frame for the first time.

"These guys say that the stuff for Primeval are the best effects they've ever done," says Andrew. "We're not used to working with CGI and the effects guys are not used to working with actors, so it's been a pretty steep learning curve for everyone, but it seems to have worked well."

Primeval begins next Saturday, in the coveted tea-time slot. So, let's see... Saturday family adventure? Check. State-of-the-art effects? Check. Time-travel element? Check. Perky former chart poppet in major TV acting role? Check. It's not surprising that Primeval is being considered a rival to Doctor Who, but that's not something Andrew and the rest of the Primeval team care to agree with.

"It's nothing like Doctor Who," says Andrew. "I mean, I don't really mind people constantly comparing us to Doctor Who, but the show's completely different. Doctor Who has been going for decades and there's a massive cult built up around it. I think Primeval will create completely its own cult."

Andrew has already had huge TV and film success, with his most recent TV appearance in ITV's crime drama Trial and Retribution. But if Primeval takes off in the way that everyone involved with the show expects it to, the drama will propel Andrew to the status of household name.

"I like to have a good character to get my teeth into," he says, "and Connor Temple is a great character. Viewers will go on a journey with Connor. He's a young guy who starts off as a bit of a geek and ends up as a hero, and hopefully people will be cheering him on.

"When we watched the rushes of the episodes I was totally blown away. Most of the time you're having to imagine these dinosaurs when they're filming, you're acting with nothing and they put the effects in later. But the finished product is just amazing.

"The proof is in the pudding and I have to say that this is a very tasty pudding. Each episode is like an individual movie and it ends on one hell of a cliff-hanger."

So does that mean more Primeval after the initial six-episode run?

"Well, we'd all love to do it again. I suppose it depends on how people react to it," he says.

Andrew's enthusiasm for the project is certainly infectious, but while the Primeval team wait to see what the jury's verdict is on the show, Andrew's got plenty more in the pipeline.

BBC3 will shortly be screening the new series of comedian Johnny Vegas's druggy sit-com Ideal, which features Andrew. Then he's got a major big-screen adaptation of a Stephen King short story, 1408, which stars Hollywood heavyweights Samuel L Jackson and John Cusack. Andrew has also acted with his sister Sarah-Jane, an established thesp in her own right, for the first time in the movie Heart of a Dragon, which he has been filming in China. And horror sequel Return to The House On Haunted Hill also has a slice of Potts in it. Before that we should see Popcorn, described as "a British American Pie", and Andrew has also directed three short films himself, one starring fellow Primeval actor Hannah Spearritt - now Andrew's girlfriend after they clicked while filming the adventure series.

When he's not acting, directing, writing or pitching ideas, there's always a spot of DIY to fall back on, and while he happily admits he could stand there talking about Primeval all day, his opinion is required on some new floor tiles. Doesn't he ever just relax?

"You could say I'm a workaholic," he laughs. "But I wouldn't have it any other way."

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree