First broadcast in the UK on 10 February 2007 and since expanding to an international audience, overall reception of the programme was positive during the first and second series, maintaining a 25% audience share in the United Kingdom during both series to date. Prior to its 9 August 2008 broadcast on BBC America, the program received generally positive reaction from American critics as well. A third series has been commissioned and is now in production for a January 2009 airdate.
Filming of the second series completed on 1 October 2007, and was broadcast in early 2008. Caroline Steel and Oliver Leek, portrayed by Naomi Bentley and Karl Theobald respectively, are two new characters for the second series, both of whom are conspiring with Helen Cutter.
A third series was given the green light by ITV.
The series features a cast of five main characters plus supporting cast who investigate time anomalies for the British government:
The series takes place in, and is just a small section of an extensive alternate universe, nicknamed the Primeverse by fans. The in-universe concepts and the majority of worlds featured are taken from pre-existing works, and are difficult to appreciate without some prior knowledge of real life palaeontology and other Impossible Pictures shows such as Prehistoric Park and the Walking with... series. Tim Haines and Adrian Hodges have added places and characters not covered there.
There is also the possibility that the Primeverse will be featured in future Impossible Pictures productions as writer Adrian Hodges has stated that he'd like to take the Primeverse "in another direction one day".
This is a chronological list of the events and episodes of the show, although due to the time travel element of the show, many events take place on dates across a wide-spanning timeline. Not all of these events have a definite date, however, and as such there is some noted controversy over their placement; testament to the significance of the series' continuity and the chronology within its fandom. Similarly, Helen Cutter's stories, set during her eight subjective years of travelling through time, have no distinctly recognisable chronological place within the series' timeline.
This is a list of species featured in Primeval. The list includes some imaginary species which are not prehistoric, but are nonetheless not native to the present era. For the first series, various creatures were re-imagined by the producers for dramatic effect. The series also features creatures from the future.
Puffin Books are also publishing four Primeval paperback books named A Rip in Time, Dangerous Dimension, The Lost Predator and Fight for Survival. Several original novels have been announced, to behave more like extra episodes than novelisations, the first one being Shadow of the Jaguar, which revealed that anomalies do appear overseas. A second novel, written by acclaimed fantasy writer Paul Kearney, is entitled The Lost Island.
The books' canonicity in relation to the series is questionable.
|Episode||Overnight rating (audience share)||Final Rating|
|1.1||6.7 million (29%)||7.09 million|
|1.2||6 million (27.5%)||6.29 million|
|1.3||5.8 million (25%)||6.17 million|
|1.4||5.6 million (24%)||5.81 million|
|1.5||6.2 million (28%)||6.46 million|
|1.6||6.1 million (27%)||6.52 million|
|2.1||5.8 million (26%)||6.32 million|
|2.2||5.6 million (25%)||6.05 million|
|2.3||5.7 million (26%)||6.27 million|
|2.4||5.7 million (24%)||6.39 million|
|2.5||5.8 million (26%)||6.33 million|
|2.6||6.0 million (27%)||6.44 million|
|2.7||5.6 million(26%)||6.20 million|
The first episode gained a final viewing figure of 7.09 million people. The series averaged 6.39 million viewers. When shown in Germany it gained a total audience of 2.78 million viewers.
After all 7 episodes series 2 has averaged 6.29 million viewers, making a very small drop (100,000) from the series 1 average.
TV critic Charlie Brooker reviewed Primeval in the final episode of his BBC Four show Screenwipe, and gave it a rave review saying that it was "far better than Torchwood for instance" commenting "I hope you're listening, Russell T Davies". "Unashamedly Saturday night populist viewing for the masses" with "some of the best special effects I've ever seen... in a British TV show" he went on.
First broadcast on BBC America on August 9, 2008, Primeval met with generally favorable views among American critics, earning 73 out of 100 on the aggregate review site Metacritic. Calling the show both child-friendly and entertaining for adults, Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune noted the unusual date of the premiere, stating that "most networks...have shied away from launching shows during August, when the Beijing Olympics are expected to dominate the TV landscape. Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette praised Primeval's special effects and sense of humor. Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times criticized the music and emotional direction of the narrative, saying of protagonist Nick Cutter "I know your wife has been missing for years, but ye gods, man, that's a bloody dinosaur.
Comparisons have been made between Primeval and the popular BBC series Doctor Who, which is famous for its use of time travel. The producers of Primeval have consistently resisted comparison of the series with Doctor Who, calling Primeval more "reality-based." Actor Douglas Henshall instead compared the series to The A-Team, calling Primeval an ensemble piece featuring characters with different backgrounds who must work together. Torchwood creator and Doctor Who head writer Russell T Davies blasted the show in 2007, saying "[Primeval's] lack of ethnic casting is shameful," but then adding "apart from that, I think it's excellent.
|ITV||10 February 2007|
|Nine Network||November 14 2008|
|één||7 September 2007|
|Space||4 April 2007|
|ProSieben||4 June 2007|
|TVB Pearl||14 February 2007|
|TV2||11 July 2007|
|Canal+ & Cuatro||2007|
|Kanal 9||3 September 2007|
|Jimmy||28 December 2007|
|M6||29 December 2007|
|HBO Latin America||2008|
|RTL Klub||6 January 2008|
|Danmarks Radio||21 February 2008|
|Kanal 1||10 March 2008|
|BBC Entertainment||15 May 2008|
|HRT||7 July 2008|
|BBC America||9 August 2008|
|RTP1||2 August 2008|