Recorded today at MCM London, here’s the interview I attended with Paul McGann. He discusses Jodie Whittaker and whether or not sci-fi should ever be political.
He praises Big Finish, Bradley Walsh and Sheridan Smith. He also addresses the Withnail & I drinking game.
Paul John McGann is an English actor. He came to prominence for portraying Percy Toplis in the 1986 television serial The Monocled Mutineer. He later starred in the 1987 dark comedy Withnail and I, and as the eighth incarnation of the Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who television film, a role he reprised in more than 150 audio dramas and the 2013 mini-episode “The Night of the Doctor”.
Last week, Catherine Tate took part in a Q&A at London’s MCM comic con.
It’s extremely funny and Catherine is exactly how you’d like her to be.
Catherine Tate is an English comedian, actress, and writer. She has won numerous awards for her work on the sketch comedy series The Catherine Tate Show as well as being nominated for an International Emmy Award and seven BAFTA Awards. Following the success of The Catherine Tate Show, Tate played Donna Noble in the 2006 Christmas special of Doctor Who and later reprised her role, becoming the Tenth Doctor’s regular companion for the fourth series in 2008.
We attended the MCM expo, in London this weekend. Here’s the interview with Andrew Lee Potts. He discusses Primeval, Wireless and tells me to get off my butt and finish my web series.
There’s a transcribed version below the video.
So, Andrew. You’re obviously no stranger to these events. What is it that keeps you coming back to MCM?
Well, I’m a big kid at heart. Also, getting that recognition for what you do, is really nice.
That’s why I first liked it. Actually chatting to the fans and the families who liked Primeval, for example, was really lovely. And once I started Wireless, which is my web show. They [MCM] got really behind it and started screening the episodes and a little fanbase started for the show. Here we are today and, I’ve actually filmed my first episode at MCM comic con. Which has been brilliant.
Do fans have common questions, in regards to Primeval and Wireless. What are the most common ones?
Oh, gosh. ‘When’s Primeval coming back?’ Is the biggest one, I’ll get asked that a million times today.
So, when is it coming back?
(Laughs) I’ll say to you, what I say to them [the fans]. I’ve got no idea, I’ve not spoken to the producers or anything. I know they still love the show. I have some sort of gut feeling, they may re-visit it. I think they should-as a brand.
I think it’s still strong. I think it would still work. I don’t know whether we’d be involved in that, as characters. But, I do think they should revisit Primeval.
I’ve got a little girl who is 6 now and, she loves dinosaurs and it’s a cool family thing. That’s what I love the most, is seeing the whole families together, going ‘Oh, yeah. I used to watch this with my granddad’. I just love that feeling about it.
So, no plans yet. But, it wouldn’t surprise me. I also get asked about CGI, a lot.
What was in like when you went to Canada, to work on that series [Primeval: New world]?
Oh, it was cool. I did Alice for The SyFy channel, where I played the Mad Hatter and I was out there for four months, I fell in love with Vancouver. It’s one of my favourite places in the world.
So, to go back there to do Primeval was cool. I was honoured to be asked as well.
On the first night I got there, it was a night shoot. It was raining heavily. It had a big crew. A lot bigger than our crew, they had more money than we had. Which was all cool to see.
I went on to set and the showrunner said ‘Ladies and gentleman, Andrew Lee Potts. The reason we’re all here’.
So, it was just nice, you know? To see that it had travelled. The new cast members were full of questions about the show. It was a good experience and, I got very close with Nyle. Who played Evan Cross. On my honeymoon, he let me stay in his posh apartment in LA. So, I got something out of it (Laughs).
Is there anything you feel is unfinished about your character’s story?
Well, we know they’re married [Connor and Abbie]. Because I reveal that in new world. I would have liked to have seen Connor as the team leader. I think he was going that way. He’d earnt his stripes in that sense.
I thought it would be great to have the ARC academy or something. Training newbies, but Abbie and Connor as a married couple. Because obviously, she’s good at all the kicking butt stuff and, he’s the technical side. That would lend itself to quite a lot of comedy, in their dynamic. It’d be quite nice to see them have a baby, then they’ve got something else to protect. There’s a lot of things they could do, I guess. And, get more guns. Always give Connor more guns.
Is working in sci-fi more rewarding than any other genre, because you get to come to things like this? [MCM comic con].
That’s a good question. Primeval, Alice and that genre have given me a lot. They’ve helped me integrate with the fans a lot more.
Yeah, you do get more from it. For someone like me, who loves sci-fi. It’s great to be apart of a celebration, of the work you’re involved in and that’s why these cons are great.
Before Primeval, I’d done a lot of drama and, I’d played a lot of baddies. It was good because I’ve got a pretty versatile career. So, therefore, you get called in for a lot of different types of roles. But, as for walking down the street, it was easy. But now it’s changed, is the thing I would say. If I didn’t embrace a show like Primeval, or a character people seem to like a lot. It would get annoying. But, I do and I’m proud of playing the character.
It’s almost a unique sort of fame, isn’t it? You have a cult following here [MCM]
Oh, I can’t walk around here. Especially in a hat like this.
But, Yeah. I do get recognised. My voice is apparently quite distinctive. I get clocked for my voice all the time if I’m on the phone. But, yeah. You do get so much back. It still surprises me how many people want to talk about Primeval. It’s become cult now, it is. Otherwise, people wouldn’t still be talking about it.
Is there anything you took away from your experience on Primeval?
As a person, I think I became a lot more humble. It’s funny when you get fame for something and, it happened quite quickly for Primeval.
Because it was Saturday night TV. It was big and it had lots of bells and whistles on. We were on posters all over the tube.
Hannah was already used to it, as she was already famous. But I wasn’t. So, I kind of became really humble. It’s funny when you’re trying to become an actor and you’re trying to prove yourself and you want recognition, you want people to be talking about you online. Because that’s how you know you’ve arrived and when it happens, you go ‘Oh. Okay, that’s that then’. You stop chasing as much. You start listening a bit more, taking people’s feedback on a little bit more.
So, it’s made me more humble. We worked really hard on Primeval. We all got really close, as a team and, you know. I direct Wireless, so I’ve got a bit of a director’s head. So, I always side with the crew. I’ve always got lots of friends within the crew. I see how hard they work and try to help them however I can.
You did some stuff for the Primeval DVD, right?
I did the making of Primeval. I also did webisodes. Any extracurricular things, they just went ‘Go on, Andrew’ll do it’. So, I did a lot of extra stuff for them. But, I enjoyed it.
Did you still anything from the show?
Oh, yeah. I’m terrible at that. Significant character stuff, like the ring I wear around my neck That’s been in every episode. The earpieces, the black box. Anything I could put in my pocket, really. I would’ve had one of the big T-Rex or Raptor models if I could’ve got away with it. Lots of costumes, anything I could. Really.
Do you have any standout memories from primeval?
When we walked into the ARC. The set they built for the second season. It was like, ‘I think we’re doing something right’. Because I’ve done a lot of shows, a lot of shows of varying budgets before Primeval. Then I walked on to that set, that looked like something out of James Bond and we were like ‘Okay, this is our world now, isn’t it?’ and they [ITV] said ‘Yeah and, we’re making toys’.
That sort of stuff was insane. I went to the toy factory, to see my toy being made. That’s cool, no one can ever take that away from me.
Did they 3D scan you?
They didn’t 3D scan me. They did it from photos, actually. They would take pictures from different angles and they did the original sculpts by hand-the same guys who do the Doctor Who figures. They were fantastic, absolutely fantastic.
So, they got all the heads over to impossible pictures, who were like ‘Yeah that ones good. That ones good. Good, good’. They got to mine and said ‘That looks too good looking to be Andrew. Can you do something to his face?’ So, my character is smirking. I look like I’ve had a stroke. It still looks like me, but I don’t know whether to take it as a compliment or a diss.
What would you say, on your character’s gravestone?
That’s quite depressing that, innit? ‘I’M NOT DEAD’. I think I had a few little things that people caught on to, one was ‘La Connor Temple’. So maybe it should say ‘La Connor Temple’ and underneath ‘Pretty sexy stuff’. Which is what I said, whenever I saw a new gadget or something. La Connor Temple, pretty sexy stuff (laughs).
What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own web series?
Oh, gosh. Do it! Just do it. I’ve been asked this a lot. People just procrastinate and talk about doing it.
You’ve gotta do it, you’ve got to experience it. You’ve got to learn from it. I’ve made so many mistakes on Wireless, on the technical side of stuff. But, that’s why I love doing it. It just teaches you so much and, I’m a bit of a sponge anyway.
So, just get off your butt and do it. Film it on your phone. You can get basic editing packages now and put it online, on youtube. That’s all I do.
I’m no different to the next person. I just know a few more actors. That’s the only difference. That is the only difference, I can get a few actors in that are professionals. Who, very kindly do it for free. Because they see my passion, within it. But, you know. I’ve been making films since I was 13, on any sort of camera I could get my hands on. You’ve got no excuses, if you want to do it, you’ve just got to do it. Be creative. Make mistakes.
I guess there are no gatekeepers anymore. There’s nobody telling you, you can’t.
Well, that’s the thing. That’s why I did Wireless. I wanted to be the boss of something, creatively. I wanted to put my vision out there. If people like it, they like it. If they don’t, they don’t. Gladly, hopefully, they seem to like it. I still enjoy doing it. I can’t stop doing it. I’m addicted. But, there’s no rehab.
Like his character on the show, he has cerebral palsy. After moving to Hollywood in 2006, he began training with personal talent manager Addison Witt. They sought acting opportunities where his disability would serve to educate viewers, which led him to audition for the role in Breaking Bad.
In which Martyn brings you the Q&A from the John Noble roundtable at the MCM Expo.
John Noble is an Australian actor, perhaps best known for his roles as Dr. Walter Bishop in the American Fox science fiction television series Fringe, and Henry Parrish in the Fox action-horror series Sleepy Hollow.
Martyn talks to director Jon Schnepp, and producer Holly Payne, about their upcoming documentary, The Death Of Superman Lives: What happened?
Martyn and Jon then geek out about Superhero movies in general.
Jon Schnepp has directed episodes of Metalocalypse, The Venture Bros. and a segment of The ABC’s of Death. He is also known for his work with Collider, appearing regularly as a panelist on the site’s Collider Movie Talk, Collider Nightmares, and Collider Heroes series, the latter of which he hosts. His company, Schneppzone, works on short films and television series.
Jon and Holly will be screening the movie at the MCM expo on May 22 and 23rd, get tickets here.
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