How I learned to stop worrying and love Matt Anderson.
So I thought that ITV's Primeval flailed a bit in its third season, struggling to recentre itself around the gaping absence of Douglas Henshell's solid performance as monomaniacal Nick Cutter. Cheeky Danny was a likeable replacement, but he didn't really seem to have a very good reason to be there. And then ITV tried to put the show out of its misery altogether. Perhaps, I pondered sadly, none too soon.
Fortunately, the world knew that civilisation without Primeval is no civilisation at all. A semi-international team of TV studios banded together to bring at least two more seasons to our screens. But was it all for nought? Watching the first episode of series four, I was disappointed to see that the team leader is now this Matt fellow (above, middle, played by Ciarán McMenamin) who seems a bit too much of a bland everyman. If he's the show's heart, I thought, it's barely started beating again.
And I thought that because, when it comes to television at least, I am a jaded, cynical, judgemental fool. Pretty quickly it becomes clear that Matt has a Secret with a capital S, something tied deeply into the show's mythology. His ordinariness is a carefully constructed façade over a passionate, conflicted, potentially dangerous core. Oh, and there's a doomed romance in there as well. Basically, Matt is my new favourite character, and his key scene in the season finale had me welling up.
Or it would have done if I was prepared to admit blubbing over what is always, at its heart, a dodgy-CGI-creature of the week show.