“Random as Hell” – Andrew Lee Potts (The VH Interview)

Bradford’s own Andrew-Lee Potts has made quite a name for himself around the convention circuit. Having melted hearts as the Hatter in SyFy’s version of Alice, he is perhaps best known for his long-running stint as the lovable Connor Temple in Primeval and its spin-off New World.

We caught up with Pottsy at Comic Con to talk about his web series, Wireless, as well as to wax lyrical about his eclectic career to date…

So, tell us about Wireless…

Wireless is going really well, yeah! Between family life and shooting my acting jobs, it’s just finding time to edit them! But it’s going really well. The footage we’ve got is brilliant. We’ve split season one in two, ‘cause it seems like the trendy thing to do! Everyone’s doing it! It’s all up on YouTube, and you can check out the site too.

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I have to have my fanboy moment, as I’ve been following you since Strange

(laughs) Oh god! Strange??

Strange was always billed to become the British Buffy, but never really took off after the first season…

I think it was just ahead of its time for British telly. I think if they made Strange now, or even if it had been just a couple of years later… But Strange was a funny one. I always try and do a little bit extra from what’s on the page, and they were very, very strict on the script with Strange. You had to say it a certain way, and that doesn’t suit me. So if you look at my performance in Strange, it’s very closed off compared to what I’ve done after it. And the reason I think I worked so well with Connor is because they let me be free, they let me have fun with it, and let me grow with the character. They were brave like that. So Strange was a bit of a learning curve for me, but it was the start of something to come, because Connor was kind of an extended version of that role.

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But of course, it wasn’t you in the original pilot…

No, it was Bryan Dick…

…so how did you feel stepping into that?

It was good! Sometimes it works out like that. There’s many, many people who have played very famous roles in very famous movies who have stepped in at the last minute. Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future, for example. Bryan was shooting Master and Commander with Russell Crowe, and that overran, so they needed to replace him quite quickly. Me and Bryan were going against each other for stuff all the time, so they brought me in for Strange, and I guess his loss was my gain! Ironically, years later, with Primeval, the last two people for Connor were me and Bryan! So now he hates me! (laughs)

Six years altogether with Primeval, on and off, and on and off again… Both shows, Primeval and New World, ended on massive cliffhangers…

Well the problem is, we don’t know we’re not coming back. So you have to do that. The way it works a lot of the time is that you have to shoot your cliffhanger ending in the hope that it’ll come back. We hoped it would come back; we all believed it could. But the thing with Primeval, with it being so expensive, we knew that line every year was a thin one. We knew our luck would run out eventually, just because it was so expensive to make, and it got very confusing in the end as to who was funding it; it had to be shared with BBC America and the digital channel Watch, just to make it happen. But it’s sad, because it was such a success all around the world. I get recognised everywhere around the world from Primeval.

How did it feel going to Canada for New World?

It was brilliant. I felt really weird on my own! Without the team! But the team had changed at that point so much, and it was only Hannah (Spearritt) from the original cast. But it was odd. The year when they rested Primeval was the year I went and shot Alice for the Sci-Fi Channel. So if we hadn’t gone on that break, I would never have got to play the Mad Hatter. We shot that in Vancouver, which is where we shot New World, so when I found out I was going out there again, I was so excited. I love Vancouver. It’s one of my favourite places in the world. So going out there, playing Connor, it was just amazing. It’s just a shame it didn’t continue, ‘cause they were going to bring me and Hannah back into it, and Becker (Ben Mansfield) as well. They wanted to merge the two worlds, but they just never got the chance.

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TV has always been your home. Can we look forward to any big-screen adventures in the future?

My career is random. Random as hell. You look at my CV and you go “what?”. But I’m very proud of it. There’s a lot of jobs on there, and they’re all so different. I’ve done a lot of films. A lot. But some of them just never saw the light of day. I worked on a Gary Oldman movie called Dead Fish where me and Gary Oldman played the leads, with Robert Carlyle, Billy Zane and Terrance Stamp. It never came out in cinemas. It just got a DVD release. It’s just the way things happen sometimes. I’ve just done a film this year called Host and another one coming out next year, again with Billy Zane called Lucid, which is about lucid dreaming. So it’s nice to be putting my foot back into the film world!

Check out Andrew’s current project, Wireless at www.wirelessweb.london