Primeval is a British science fiction television programme produced for ITV by Impossible Pictures. Created by Adrian Hodges and Tim Haines, who previously created the Walking with... documentary series, Primeval follows a team of five scientists tasked with investigating the appearance of temporal anomalies across Great Britain and containing prehistoric and futuristic creatures which enter the present.
First broadcast in the UK on 10 February, 2007, it has since expanded to an international audience. Overall reception of the programme was positive during the first and second series, maintaining a 25 percent audience share in the United Kingdom during both series to date.Prior to its 9 August 2008 broadcast on BBC America, the programme received generally positive reaction from American critics as well. The third series, which ITV announced on 30 January 2008, began on 28 March 2009 and has now finished. In the US, series 3 premièred on 16 May 2009 on BBC America and has finished airing.
On 15 June 2009, ITV announced that they had cancelled the show and that there would not be a fourth series. At the same time, it was suggested that the production team would attempt to keep "Primeval alive in other ways."
On 29 September 2009, it was announced that a deal had been struck between ITV, Watch, Impossible Pictures, German broadcaster
Pro7 and BBC Worldwide to produce two new series of the show for transmission in 2011.
The first series was filmed partly at Pinewood Studios, Black Park, Buckinghamshire, London Underground, New Den Stadium (home of Millwall FC, although apparently the Matchroom Stadium, home of Leyton Orient F.C. according to the official website) and CEME (the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence near Ford's Dagenham) Whipsnade Zoo, London Zoo, the Canary Islands, Thorpe Park and Bournemouth beach.
The Duke of Kent building at the University of Surrey, Guildford is used as the back-drop for the team's HQ, the ARC (Anomaly Research Centre).
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, were two new characters for the second series, both of whom conspired with Helen Cutter
The penultimate episode of the second series was written by Doctor Who scriptwriter Paul Cornell.
In May 2009, The Sun had reported that Primeval was to be axed owing to ITV's recent admission of a £2.7 billion loss (though not solely as a result of Primeval's budget). ITV strongly denied this claim, with a spokesperson stating "It's not true, it's not going to be axed, it just hasn't been recommissioned and it is not unusual to wait for a series to run before considering recommission." However, by June 2009, ITV confirmed the show was axed.
In September 2009 it was announced ITV and UKTV had worked out a deal and that Primeval would be returning for two new seasons, begining in 2011.
Primeval billboards and banners are often erected around London shortly before the airdate. Series 1 has several posters, most of which had exaggerated creatures from the show (the Arthropleura was depicted as being roughly human-sized in the show but was shown as being as large as a house in the billboards). Series 2 and 3 have also had prominent advertising campaigns.
Primeval's first series in 2007 comprised six episodes. Each instalment contributed to a story arc which continued into the second series. The following series in 2008 was slightly longer with seven episodes. The third season began broadcasting on 28 March 2009, and had ten episodes. The fourth and fifth series will have 13 episodes between them