Saturday, 4 April 2009


It's time to wonder if ITV is beginning to regret the advanced run of Primeval series 3 in Spain or Germany (through free tv satellite network ProSieben) around one week ahead of ITV1. And it's time to wonder if ITV and the production of the high budget family entertainment show remember one of the golden rules of television: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"

Of course, a programme such as Primeval (like Doctor Who) is shot months before diffusion but in this credit crunch economy where ITV needs a good tv series lineup more than ever (after Demons and as we read that they consider axing Lewis - maybe Clue parodies like Midsomer Murders or Marple sell better abroad?) to toy with the format of Primeval and with its ensemble cast will retrospectively seem a bad idea.

The extended 10 episode series 3 (versus 7 episodes for series 2) started last week on ITV1 with a premiere introducing two new cast members, Captain Becker (Ben Mansfield) - the military minder of the ARC team, and Sarah Page (Laila Rouass) - the Vanessa Marcil/Nicole Scherzinger look-alike expert in anger management of crocodile gods. Now with this second episode, Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall) being too busy sleeping under a 3-D modelization of the anomalies there's a new Alpha Male in town: DCI Danny Quinn (Jason Flemyng).

A haunted house with a gremlin-like creature (or is it a refugee from Demons?) is the playground of Abby (Hannah Spearritt), Connor (Andrew-Lee Potts) and Jenny (Lucy Brown) - who recalls that she has privileged access to some government resources only in the middle of the story. Meanwhile, Helen Cutter (Juliet Aubrey) sends the clone into the ARC with a stolen pass (was there an anomaly strike?) Honestly, the episode doesn't jump the shark... it kisses the shark warmly on the mouth with the enthusiasm of Captain Jack Harkness. Where was Torchwood anyway?

The production cost of a 10 episode series for this expensive show certainly justifies quasi-stand alone episodes like that one but Primeval made its reputation by delivering spectacular CGI sequences wrapped in entertaining stories, and this riveting Helen Cutter conspiracy (maybe a divorce request would be less complicated, after all). An absent-minded Cutter, a new would-be action hero... Just for the anecdote, the French title of Primeval is Nick Cutter et les portes du temps (Nick Cutter and the Gates of Time). Will NRJ12, the digital channel which runs the show in France, have to call it [Fill in the blank] et les portes du temps?

If it ain't broke, don't break it.

Update (April 7): Well, it was so obvious... [Spoiler Alert!] (

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