Can you give us an overview of Outcasts?
"It's about a group of pioneers who have established a new world on a new planet. Life on Earth supposedly comes to this apocalyptic ending and it's about them striving forward and preventing making the same mistakes as they've made on Earth. The stakes are really high because as far as they're concerned, if it doesn't work out human life is no more."
What's your character like?
"Cass Cromwell is a Protection and Security officer and he works in tandem with Amy Manson's character Fleur. He's kind of brought under the wing of President Tate (Liam Cunningham) and he's a character who's fiercely loyal to Tate and fiercely loyal to the community of Fort Haven. He's passionate about making everything work and making sure that they exist and it functions properly. And on top of everything else, he's someone who is very much escaping from the life that he led on Earth. I think the planet represents a second chance for him. His story is a story of redemption - can we truly forget the things that we've done and move forward as a better person?"
That's interesting, because a lot of the characters seem to be yearning for Earth...
"The planet represents something different for each of them. For example, Stella (Hermione Norris) longs to be reunited with her daughter and her husband, who may or may not be on the transporter that arrives at the end of the first episode. But Cass just wants to escape all of that stuff. His backstory and his past are hinted at throughout the course of the series and then in the last two episodes all of that comes out. So it will test the audience's perception of who he is and what he's capable of."
Do you think he's still a likeable character?
"Yeah. It's just a fantastic twist because you don't necessarily imagine he would be capable of doing something like that. He's a fun character in a way. I'm hesitant to say he's the joker of the pack but he deflects difficult situations with humour. But he's a character who has immense hope, really."
Did you enjoy playing someone with a hidden past?
"Yeah. Whatever part you take on you've got to play it 3-dimensionally and always work out where he's from and his background. There was a debate about whether we were going to find out about all that stuff or whether it would come out in series two, but of course you can't get recommissioned until you get the audience figures so they thought they better get it out just in case! Any character you've got who's hiding something or has a secret, it always lends itself to an ambiguous quality in some ways. I remember I did that massively in Ashes To Ashes with Jim Keats. I knew who he was and the audience didn't, so it lent itself to a great level of mystery towards that character. Cass doesn't actually think any of his past will come out, so it's absolutely devastating for him when it does."
You mentioned Ashes To Ashes - were you keen to do something totally different and make a clean break?
"Obviously that was a fantastic character - the prospect of playing the devil was an actor's wet dream really! You can go wherever you want with it. In contrast to that with Outcasts, I thought it is important to make all of these characters incredibly human because they are placed in this world and it's about the audience investing in them as 3-dimensional, emotional characters. That's when it works. If the writing was weak in that respect I wouldn't have wanted to do it."
Do you think this is a sci-fi show?
"It's not laser beams and phasers and 'beam me up' and all that stuff. Its primary concern is with the human condition and the characters' relationships. They're dealing with immense loss, both from what's happened on earth and carrying that history around as well as the history of the ten years they've been on the planet. But of course you have to suspend your sense of disbelief. It's set on a planet, it takes five years space travel to get there. I think once you get over that, you're completely invested in it. I think that's a credit to the writing, the set and design, the costumes... everything really contributes and makes it a believable thing and you go with it. I think that's a great achievement."
You filmed the show in South Africa with amazing scenery - what does that add to the show?
"Oh, so much. I mean, the cinematography alone is something like you've never really seen before in a British show. It feels like something I've never seen before. Of course you have the American imports of Battlestar Galactica and all those sorts of things, but for a British broadcaster I don't think we've ever attempted anything like this before. It's hugely ambitious, and that's one of the other factors of why I wanted to get involved in it."
The cast is amazing as well.
"I came on board and Liam and Hermione were attached, and I adore their work. I always wanted to work with Liam - I think he's a great actor and he's brilliant in this part. Most of my stuff is with Amy Manson. I didn't really know anything about Amy but she's absolutely top drawer. She's so passionate about what she does, totally committed, and she's a phenomenal actor. She's someone that can really tap into any emotional state - it's like turning on a tap. She's literally there in the bubble straight away, and you're like, 'Wow, I'd better pull my socks up'. You just want to work with people like that, and she does a great job with the part and brings so much to the show."
How does Cass get on with Amy's character Fleur?
"He cares immensely about her. He's got deep-rooted feelings for her. But he's one of those guys that if he has strong feelings for a girl, he's not really going to come out and say it. He's a bit blokey like that. He can't come out and express himself properly, so he deflects things with humour or he'll get volatile or he'll get moody. They have a great banter between the two of them. Maybe it's a story of unrequited love in a way. Without a doubt he has romantic feelings for her. But then you get into the realms of a love triangle thing that's going on with Ashley [Walters's] character Jack as well, so that's another thing that's explored."
What would you say to make people tune in to Outcasts?
"At its core, it's pure escapist TV, and I think each week you're going to go on this incredible journey with these characters that you invest in and you care about and you want to see them fulfil their dreams and succeed. On top of everything else, it has amazing adventure sequences and stunt sequences and everything else. It's going to be a rollercoaster ride for sure."
Outcasts begins on February 7 at 9pm on BBC One.
Are you excited about Outcasts? Are you looking forward to seeing Daniel again? Leave your comments below!