Episode 1.1 (Primeval)
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Cilla Ware|
|Written by||Adrian Hodges|
|Original air date||10 February 2007|
Jack Montgomery as Ben Trent
Episode 1 is the first episode of the ITV drama Primeval. The episode was aired on 10 February 2007 as a pilot for the series. The pilot became a success and was picked up before the series was aired.
At night. A Gorgonopsid emerges from the Forest of Dean pursuing Dr. Helen Cutter. Unable to find shelter in a nearby closed supermarket, Helen flees back into the forest. With no witnesses to her disappearance, she is presumed dead.
Eight years pass. At Central Metropolitan University, graduate student Connor Temple approaches his tutor in evolutionary zoology, Professor Nick Cutter, and Cutter’s assistant, Stephen Hart, with a newspaper photograph of a Therapsid-like creature. Cutter initially dismisses it as a hoax, but decides to investigate upon learning that the sighting took place in the Forest of Dean, where his wife disappeared.
At the Forest of Dean, Cutter, Stephen, and Connor find evidence of a large and powerful predator. They are joined in their search by Claudia Brown, a junior-level agent from the Home Office sent to investigate the monster sighting.
Meanwhile, reptile specialist and London zookeeper Abby Maitland investigates the origins of an exotic lizard named Rex. Abby and the lizard’s owner, Ben Trent, take Rex into the Forest of Dean. They discover the body of a cow lodged high in a tree and are separated when Ben panics and runs. Abby and Rex are forced to hide for the Gorgonopsid, while Ben encounters an anomaly and briefly looks through it into the past.
The two investigations merge when Abby encounters Cutter, Connor, Stephen, Claudia, and a full-grown Scutosaurus in the woods. They question Ben about his time in the woods and, based on his story that he “saw the past,” Cutter intentionally frightens the Scutosaurus and it leads them to the anomaly.
A Home Office team led by government official Sir James Lester takes control of the investigation and takes Cutter, Abby, and Rex to a Home Office building. Cutter proposes that the anomaly leads back to Earth during the late Permian period and convinces Lester to permit an exploratory foray into the anomaly.
At the Forest of Dean, Cutter travels through the anomaly with SAS Captain Tom Ryan and returns Rex to his home period. They discover the remains of a human encampment, a male human skeleton, and a camera engraved with Helen’s initials. Cutter wants to stay and look for her but Ryan forces him back through the anomaly. Rex also sneaks back through the anomaly to present-day Earth.
In the present-day world, the Gorgonopsid attacks the group and is eventually killed.
Later, the film from the camera is developed, showing pictures of Helen in the Permian landscape. Lester seems satisfied that the crisis is resolved, but Cutter is convinced that the situation is far from over.
Cutter returns to his office at the Central Metropolitan University and catches sight of Helen, but she vanishes before he reaches her.
- Douglas Henshall - Nick Cutter
- James Murray - Stephen Hart
- Andrew-Lee Potts - Connor Temple
- Lucy Brown - Claudia Brown
- Hannah Spearritt - Abby Maitland
- Mark Wakeling - Tom Ryan
- Juliet Aubrey - Helen Cutter
- Ben Miller - James Lester
A commercial success, Episode 1 drew in 6.7 million viewers in the UK despite stiff competition from the feature film Shrek, broadcast on BBC1 during the episode's 7.45pm time slot. Paul Simpson of Dreamwatch, although noting some plot similarities to Jurassic Park III, praised the cast's chemistry and the degree of character development. Kathryn Flett of The Observer called the series "good fun, nostalgic, and modern at the same time," and despite criticizing its special effects, Victoria Segal of The Sunday Times called the episode "widely entertaining" and predicted future audience growth. Offering a more comprehensive review, Anthony Brown of TV Zone Magazine stated that despite sporting a number of science-fiction clichés, "[Primeval] works, brilliantly, and half the time it works precisely because of those things;" further praising the performance of the cast as a reason for the episode's success.
- ""Primeval" a roaring success". Total Sci-Fi. February 2007. Archived from the original on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 27 July 2008.
- Simpson, Paul (February 2007). "Primeval (episode 1) Review". Total Sci-Fi. Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 27 July 2008.
- Flett, Kathryn (11 February 2007). "Saturday night feast of big, big beasts". The Observer. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- Segal, Victoria (February 2007). "Pick of the Day". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on February 24, 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2008.
- Brown, Anthony (March 2007). "Primeval A1". TV Zone. Archived from the original on June 28, 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2008.