SFX Blogger John Cooper speculates on how yesterday’s news about big changes on Primeval may affect the show. (Warning: mild spoilers)
Love it of hate it, time-travelling dino series Primeval is a show with legs. Losing its leading man before his action figure was even delivered to the supermarket, it ran like a lonely soldier through a minefield of expectation, mixing in new characters and ideas and managed to come out the other end avoiding almost certain death, and with a new found cockiness and plot threads dangling as dangerously as wearing an overlong scarf being on an escalator.
With series four and five filming now under way and new casting news available, it's far too early to speculate on what this means for... er... whatever's left of the ARC team, but let’s do that anyway, because a show that introduces cloned soldiers, then does nothing with them, or establishes that the dinos may be related ancient myth and legend, but never bothers to find out – well you can speculate all you like, and still be way off the mark.
New Characters Philip Burton (Alexander Siddig – previously Siddig El Faddil, or his full arabic name, Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig Abderrahman Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Karim El Mahdi – crikey) sounds like a much-needed science angle to the show; he’s certainly got previous form for it. Also joining is a soldier with a background in zoology and new head of ARC operations Jess (Ruth Kearny).
Hang on, what about Connor and Abby? Oh and Danny as well?! All stuck in the prehistoric past at the of end series three? Well, eagle-eyed plot pickers will remember the cool portable anomaly creator left lying around near Abby, but one report suggests Jason Fleymng and Laila Rouass haven’t signed back on, and so, both being quite successful outside the show, we may never see what happens to them. Perhaps Sarah (yes she had a name) goes back to the museum where there was more for her to do studying fossils, while poor old Danny Quinn just becomes one – which the team finds and hangs on the wall of the ARC like a carbon-frozen Han Solo.
Picking apart the ITV press release, the new guys, “join the team at the ARC after the government loses faith in Lester’s (Ben Miller) ability to run such a dangerous and expensive operation on his own.” Does this mean no more Lester? Please no! He's the best thing in it by a country mile, and Moving Wallpaper ’s been canned, hasn’t it? So he can't be that busy, oh, apart from the sketch show and the massive live tour. Damn.
One of the more interesting statements in the release is “...aided by the surprise return of some notable guest stars from earlier series.” Who could this be? Most of the previous cast of character are dead. Cutter? Helen? Captain Tom Ryan (blink and you'll miss him, but he was great)? Steven? Please no. Jenny Lewis is still alive, but she resigned. Speaking of Jenny Lewis, characters could come back from and alternate timeline, wibbley wobbley, dimensiony wenshiony (sorry that sounds rubbish).
Oh! The knight from series three, Sir William De Mornay! Played by the excellent Tony Curran, (soon to be seen in Doctor Who ) that's what we need. A proper monster killer with plenty or room for comic asides as he adjusts to the 21st century. And zombies, any excuse for zombies.
What the team of Tim Haines and Adrian Hodges cooks up, if it's anything like the recent run of Survivors then the signs are good, continuation or re-boot I can't wait.