Primeval series 4: Interview with Ben Mansfield

by Lisa McGarry

The last time we saw Becker he was at the heart of things when the ARC went up in flames. How does series four start for him?

Series four starts with Becker back in his uniform and protecting the ARC. But this is a far cry from a few months before when Becker was ready to quit the ARC after the various missions he sent to find the missing team failed. They had no way of finding our way through the different time periods to get them, so the whole idea now for the ARC is that the government thinks its too expensive and plans to privatise it. When Becker was ready to quit, the government and Lester both wanted him back.

In series four the ARC gets a new boss. How does Becker react to a change in management?

I think he’s interested in whether or not Lester still has as much power and who he answers to. If it’s still to the minister that’s fine, but he’s a bit suspicious of this character Philip, but it doesn’t seem to have made too much difference in the chain of command and the way things are run. It’s not some sort of Dragons’ Den set-up and it’s still in the hands of the government.

Becker gets a whole new team in series four. How does he react to them?

There’s Matt Anderson, who comes in as the new team leader and the delightful Jess, who’s operations/field coordinator and someone who he gets on well with straight away; she’s a cute, eccentric little thing. I think Becker was probably expecting this battle-hardened military person, but Jess is a bit of a surprise to him. Obviously, Becker is still very suspicious and still very loyal to Professor Nick Cutter and Danny Quinn who went before Matt Anderson, so Matt has to prove himself to Becker. But they get on because he [Matt] wants everyone out in the field to be weapons-trained, and not civilians; not people who have just finished their degrees, have had no training but are still running around and trying to save the world.

There are rumours that Becker gets closer to one member of the team than most…

Matt Anderson? Kidding! Yes, that’s true and it makes for some great moments throughout the series. I must say that it’s very nice to have this emotional content to play with for Becker, as opposed him being just shrouded in mystery. He’s always very enigmatic and wanting to play his cards very close to his chest, and the writers have never seemed to want to go anywhere else with Becker. But it’s really nice that we’re exploring this extra dimension to Becker’s emotional side.

Becker goes toe-to-toe with some pretty fearsome monsters. What does series four throw at him?

In series four and five we see some fairly formidable foes, and he comes within inches from death a couple of times. It’s been a lot of fun over the past three series, imagining all these horrible beasties trashing schools and that sort of thing. We’ll have to see whether Becker survives even more of this stuff in series four!