Enniskillen-born actor Ciaran McMenamin is to play the new field leader in the forthcoming series of sci-fi ITV hit, Primeval.

Already three previous series have seen actors Douglas Henshall, Hannah Spearritt, Jason Flemyng and Andrew Lee Potts become fixtures in the programme that is a massive hit with a prime Saturday night slot.

The programme is billed as being a rip-roaring special effects thriller in which the past, the present and the future all collide.

Ciaran, who has a huge range of film and television credits to his name including the lead in the critically acclaimed movie The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce, and Silent Witness and Jericho.

The seven episode run of this fourth series is expected to be screened early next year. The storyline focuses on time rips called anomalies which start opening across the UK. Dangerous creatures from the past and the future begin appearing in the most unexpected places, endangering lives and putting the whole of humanity at risk. A crack team of specialists -- and this is where Ciaran comes in -- is appointed by the government to deal with these "creature incursions".

Ciaran take son the role of Matt, an ex-soldier who is also a zoologist who has the uncanny ability to understand animals. A private man, Matt carefully guards the secrets of his past and the real reason he has joined the ARC (Anomaly Research Centre) team.

Primeval will actually return television screens for two new series from 2011. The new series will again feature the acclaimed special effects created by the award-winning team at Framestore CFC.

The premieres of Series 4 and series 5 of Primeval will be split between ITV1 and UKTV's new entertainment pay TV channel, Watch. ITV1 will be the first to broadcast series 4 (in early 2011), while Watch will premiere series 5 later that year. ITV1 will then broadcast season 5.

Producers Impossible Pictures has worked closely with BBC Worldwide to implement a new funding strategy for the series, in which BBC America, which has acquired previous series for broadcast in the US, joins Germany's Pro7 as a co-production partner for the new episodes.

Tim Haines, Creative Director of Impossible Pictures Ltd, said: "I am thrilled that ITV has agreed to this new deal which will allow Impossible Pictures to produce another 13 episodes of Primeval. The confidence demonstrated in the programme's continued success here and abroad will help us bring more big screen action and a whole host of new creatures roaring back into people's living rooms." Laura Mackie, Director of ITV Drama Commissioning, said: "We're delighted to have agreed this new deal with Impossible to return Primeval to ITV1. The innovative nature of this partnership will allow the show to maintain its high production values and deliver the fantastic programme that our viewers know and love." Paul Moreton, Channel Head of Watch, said: "We are really excited to be part of this truly innovative deal that guarantees the continuation of this fantastically entertaining series. I know Primeval is going to be a massive hit with Watch viewers and the perfect complement to other popular sci-fi dramas such as Doctor Who and Torchwood."