Like many actors, Jared Harris can’t bear watching himself on screen.
But the British star, who’s known for roles in The Crown, Chernobyl and Mad Men, admits he’s still managed to find himself bingeing his latest show – the expensive-looking sci-fi Foundation, on Apple TV Plus.
He told Sky News’ Backstage podcast it’s been a “thrill” to see how it turned out.
“I can’t stand the scenes I’m in, but I love watching everybody else,” he said. “I’m really, really, really impressed with the work, the performances that everybody has been putting in.
“Personally, it takes me a decade to be able to watch something that I’ve done and be happy with it.”
The show is based on the complicated and sprawling book series by renowned sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov.
It tells the story of Dr Hari Seldon, played by Harris, who uses maths to predict the fall of the empire – which encompasses the whole of the galaxy – and the dark age that will follow.
With an entire galaxy and a story set over 1,000 years, there’s a lot for viewers to wrap their heads around.
Harris said that in initial conversations with the showrunner David S Goyer, who’s known for writing the Blade and Dark Knight trilogies, he was curious as to how the various worlds would be represented.
“I find it very refreshing, the approach that he was going to take – it’s not just the design element, it’s the idea that if the human species has been able to leave our solar system and go to the far reaches of the galaxy, it will have taken all the races with it, so it’s going to be a very diverse and multifaceted world, the galaxy that humans have inhabited.
“And then the thing that I was most excited about, was he wanted to rely as little as possible on special effects, so when we are on terra firma, we are on terra firma – we’re in real places, we’re in real locations, we’re in real sets.
“And the special effects element, if you like, was going to be kept to the fringes of that world.”
With the mix of real sets and CGI, there’s no denying the series’ high production values.
“It’s epic storytelling on a very ambitious scale, and that’s very exciting. It feels very original as well, even though so many other stories, subsequent sci-fi tales, have borrowed heavily from Asimov’s original source material, this feels completely original.”
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Last year, Harris won a BAFTA for his role as a scientist in the drama Chernobyl.
In Foundation, he plays a mathematician, but the star admits in reality he’s more comfortable with words than numbers.
“Luckily, that is one of your chief tools as an actor is words, so it helps me out there. I didn’t get past O-level maths; my stumbling block was calculus – I just made it into algebra but when algebra started to tip over into calculus, I was gone, I didn’t get it.
“But it’s a language, you know, maths is its own language and the people who speak it, they are legitimately operating a different part of the brain.”
Foundation is out on Apple TV Plus. Hear the interview and our review on the latest episode of Backstage – the film and TV podcast from Sky News