Monday, February 12, 2007


ITV1 scored pretty well on the first outing of 'Primeval' on Saturday with 7m viewers, but it's got its work cut out and little to time to make an impact.

The big-spend ad campaign, created by M&C Saatchi, paid off by pulling the viewers in, but there are lots of problems for the ITV show, which it hopes will take on the all conquering revival of 'Doctor Who'.

It is so clearly a copy in some cases, but like a lot of knock-offs, it doesn't quite match the original. There is a Doctor (Douglas Henshall), an assistant and even a Captain Jack-type guy (James Murray) who is all good looks, but not quite the charm.

The effects for 'Primeval', created by the 'Walking with Dinosaurs' creators, were patchy and better in suspense, when we saw small glimpses, than full on. And, oh, you can apparently kill one of these giants by ramming it with a 4x4 and a single clip of an SMG. Another reason to ban those things (Chelsea tractors, that is).

The biggest problems were some of the acting. Henshall wasn't bad as the lead, but the rest were lacking. Worst offender by a country marathon and more still was Ben Miller as an oily home office type (babbling about the CAP?! True Parma ham). He was absolutely awful and it really pulled the whole thing down. Pray that a dinosaur takes him out with a single bite.

The main problem was. It was a little too much drama by numbers. The cute little flying dinosaur for the kids: check. Sexy Home Office babe (Claudia Brown) for the blokes: check. Rugged scientist type for the women (Henshall): check, plus some other male totty in the shape of Murray.

Clearly there are budget considerations at ITV, they have only committed to six episodes and when they went back through the fracture in time they sent Henshall and one special forces type guy. Clearly, if it hadn't been for Afghanistan, Iraq and other assorted hellholes they could have spared a couple more men.

Sadly, other than 'Doctor Who' it is just further confirmation that when it comes to sci-fi, we're lacking. Or maybe just lacking practice... it can only get better.

It received mixed reviews with some slating it, but both the Observer and the Guardian seemed to like it. Nancy Banks-Smith admitted to being "tickled pink by Primeval". Clearly it was doing something right.