Professor Nick CutterA professor of evolutionary zoology, and the leader of the team for the first two seasons, as well as the first three episodes of the third season. A little off-the-wall, not to mention a host of issues relating to his wife, Helen. Played by Douglas Henshall.
- Anti-Hero: He starts the series as a Type II, being somewhat abrasive but overall a nice guy.
- Genius Bruiser: Not a conventional example, but he can punch out a raptor while reciting its biology and cladistic classification.
- Honor Before Reason: Half-and-half. He usually puts anomaly research and saving lives before his own personal troubles, but sometimes his obsession with Helen and Claudia pushes him to take questionable actions. And he does offer to make a Heroic Sacrifice at the end of Season 2.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Killed Off for Real: Is shot by Helen early in Season Three.
- No Social Skills: He lampshades it several times.
- Ship Tease: With Claudia.
- Will They or Won't They?: With Claudia in Series 1, and later with Jenny in Series 2 & 3. They do...and then its undone. At the end of Series 1, Claudia is erased from the timeline, and in the third episode of Series 3, Nick Cutter is murdered by his wife, Helen.
Connor TempleOne of Nick Cutter's students. While not initially the most reliable person, Connor is highly intelligent. He's been maintaining his own database of prehistoric creatures for years, and he developed pretty much all of the ARC's technology (save the EMDs). He moves in with Abby partway through Season One, and later enters a relationship with her.
- Badass Bookworm
- Berserk Button: Threatening Abby, or even just making her unhappy, will result in him coming after you with whatever he can find - oars, rocks, Becker, anything handy.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Lester calls him an "idiot savant", when something tries with the detector fails.
- Happily Married: With Abby as of Primeval: New World.
- Hollywood Nerd: One of the books actually says he is "not handsome". Yeah, right.
- Hot Scientist: Yup.
- Mr. Fanservice: Yes!
- Nice Hat: Connor's brown trilby. Mostly stops wearing it at Season 3.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Initially.
- The Smart Guy: Initially. He then overlaps with The Lancer in Series 3.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Connor has expressed fear of rats, museums, and a Zombie Apocalypse at different points. He apparently had a phobia of bathrooms for a while, too, but was forced to get over that.
Abby MaitlandA zookeeper who joins the team in the first episode. Abby's primary contribution is her acute understanding of animal behavior and psychology. Enters a relationship with Connor, and proposes to him at the end of Season Five.
- Action Girl
- Berserk Button: Threatening Rex will likely result in her beating the crap out of you.
- Broken Bird: Debatably. The Cretaceous seemed to have a more marked impact on her than it did on Connor. After her return, she rarely shows emotion anymore. The exception is with Connor, as their relationship was only strengthened by their shared adversity.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Her hair grows longer while she and Connor are stuck in the Cretaceous, and she keeps it that way, marking her much cooler demeanor.
- Hospital Hottie: Abby is a qualified vet.
- The Lancer: Shares this role with Connor in the latter part of Series Three.
- Mama Bear: To Rex.
- Spiky Hair: In season 3 when she really becomes an Action Girl. Apparently in real life, the bleach from the previous two seasons had fried Hannah's hair so it was only just growing back.
- Tomboy: Subverted. While Abby does have some tomboyish habits, she has several Girly Girl qualities as well. She loves a good Chick Flick, getting dressed up and cute animals.
- Tsundere: Abby occasionally acts like this towards Connor.
Stephen HartCutter's TA. Served as the show's resident Badass for the first season. Turns out to have had an affair with Helen in the past. Dies at the end of Season Two.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has a few moments.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Sacrifices himself to prevent a group of creatures (including the Future Predator) from escaping
- The Big Guy: For the first two seasons.
Claudia BrownAn agent from the Home Office. Vanishes at the end of Season One, due to an apparent alteration of the timeline.
- Action Girl: she's got guts like beating off a blood-thirsty pterosaur with a golf club...while blind.
- The Chick: Keeping peace between Lester and the rest of The Team.
- Hot Librarian: Well Civil Servant.
- Retcon: Thanks to the timeline being altered, she never existed, or was instead named Jenny Lewis and went into PR instead of the Home Office.
- Ship Tease: With Cutter
- Will They or Won't They?: With Nick. They do, sort of...and then its undone.
Jenny LewisA PR specialist who joins in Season Two. Her main job is to take care of covering up the anomalies.
- Berserk Button: Crash her wedding, and you WILL pay, as the Hyaenodon found out.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes.
- Disposable Fiancée: Her fiancee in season 2 makes a brief appearance and it's not long before she gets cold feet and backs out of it. Averted in season 4 where she marries her new fiancée.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: A justified example. She reveals she knows how to shoot a rifle a few episodes in. It's reasonable to suggest she didn't reveal that skill earlier because she was still getting used to being in situations where it would be useful.
- Only Sane Woman: A lot of the time.
- Opt Out: Resigns and leaves midway through Season Three, after nearly being killed by a fungus creature.
- The Bus Came Back: Makes a guest appearance in late Season Four
- Slipknot Ponytail: A few times in the second season, to show how out of her depth she is.
James LesterA government minister who is the official head of the ARC.
- Berserk Button: Lester is normally a very composed guy, who will nevertheless use every means at his disposal to take you down if you either a) usurp his authority or b) threaten his Jag. The former involves political connections and clever subordinates. The latter involves an EMD.
- Fire-Forged Friend: He does soften up a tad towards the rest of the team around Series 3. This is also around the time that he starts become more involved in the plots and his life is endangered a bit more often.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Threatens to sue Abby if she tells anyone that she suspects he's a nice guy deep down.
Helen CutterNick Cutter's wife, who vanished through an anomaly eight years before the show started.
- Big Bad: In Seasons Two and Three. Very briefly overthrown by Leek at the end of Season Two however, see below.
- Demoted to Dragon In Chief: She becomes right hand girl to Oliver Leek in Season Two, but makes perfectly clear he follows her commands, and spends most of their allegiance gleefully threatening and emasculating him. When Leek finally makes his power play and grows a backbone against her, she quickly performs an Enemy Mine with the team, finding it a better choice than the roles reversing and being reduced to a genuine subordinate to Leek.
- Evilutionary Biologist: To an extent.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Whatever she saw in the anomaly left her insanely adamant on wiping out the entire human race.
- Hot Scientist: And knows it!
- Killed Off for Real: Randomly attacked and killed by a charging dinosaur.
- Knight Templar: Yup.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Reconstructed when she abandoned Leek after he shows his sadistic zeal, part due to even her having standards against the team, and also because she wasn't his Bad Boss anymore.
- The Starscream: To Leek at the end of Season Two.
- Straw Nihilist: Fully convinced Humans Are the Real Monsters, and tries to reverse the entire species' existence, not caring the least if that erases herself from reality as well.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist
- Wild Card: In Series One. In Series Two and Three, she becomes a full-on villain.
Captain BeckerVeteran soldier, joins the team in Season Three.
- Embarrassing First Name: His first name is Hilary.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: After losing Connor, Abby, Danny, and Sarah.
- Not So Stoic: He's not necessarily stoic, but after Sarah's death, we see his first real moment of weakness. And on a happier note, he definitely returns Jess's feelings, as noted by his complete and obvious worry for her when she's dying in 5x04.
- The Big Guy
- One-Man Army: This exchange from 3x03Lester: How many men have you got?
Becker: Just me. Should be enough. (It was)
Sarah PageAn archaeologist who joins the group in Season Three, with the idea of tracking monsters through history.
- Aesop Amnesia: Complains in 3.7 that she is never allowed to participate in missions. She got over the trauma of what happened in 3.6 pretty quickly.
- Affirmative Action Girl: Her addition in season 3 brought the main cast of females up to four.
- McLeaned: Between seasons 3 and 4. Actress Laila Rouass opted not to move to Dublin to film as she didn't want to leave her young daughter.
- Politically Correct History: Played with. The boy she meets in the Middle Ages does ask first if she's a witch and then if she's from the Holy Lands, obviously not used to seeing a mixed race woman before. And the former was not so much because she was black and more because she was an unarmed peasant woman who was not apparently eaten by the 'dragon' despite being outside the sanctity of the church.
- The Smart Guy: An additional one as that role was previously filled by Connor. Sarah's intelligence stems from her knowledge of mythical creatures and how they could be traced to real-life prehistoric beasts.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Protests against this in 3.7
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: After Jenny left, she filled the Girly Girl contrast to Abby's Tomboy.
- Twofer Token Minority: Was cast to appease complaints on the lack of ethnic casting on the show.
Danny QuinnA police officer who gets caught up in the ARC's activities in Season Three, and decides to join without asking permission. After Cutter's death, he becomes the new leader of the team.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Inverted - he's the only one who doesn't seem to know that he's not an actual member of the team. Eventually, they all give in.
- Put on a Bus: Got trapped in the Pliocene at the end of Season Three.
- The Bus Came Back: He makes a cameo in the finale of Season Four, where he finds out his brother is alive.
Matt AndersonTakes over the team after Season Three. Actually from the future.
- The Ace: Apparently invented the highly potent (apparently) EM Ds, is effortlessly good at running the team, usually has a snarky quip, and good under pressure. And is one half of the series Fantastic Romance. Coupled with his being a soldier from the future helps.
- The Hero: Although at this point, he's just the team leader.
RexA cute little Coelurosauravus that Abby keeps as a pet.
- All Animals Are Dogs: Acts like a flying house cat.
- The Millstone: The Pteranodon in episode 5 started chasing after Connor and almost killed him... because it wanted to eat Rex.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: He's tiny and adorable!
- Rule of Cool: He's capable of true flight, which real life Coelurosauravus were most certainly not.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Him disappearing from an episode usually means something bad is going to happen. And as the series progresses further into Cerebus Syndrome, he stops appearing altogether. Fortunately, he's not killed off, though he comes distressingly close, thanks to Connor's herpetophobic ex-girlfriend.
- Team Pet: A classic example.
The Future PredatorsMysterious predators from the future and Primeval's closest thing to a main creature antagonist. The circumstances of their evolution are unclear, but it's implied that they are genetically engineered.
- Ax-Crazy: Hell, yes.
- Big Bad Ensemble: They serve as part of one in Series 3, along with Christine Johnson and Helen Cutter.
- Bat Out of Hell: It's commented that they either evolved from bats or were created using bat DNA.
- Demoted to Dragon: In Series 2, they become little more than Leek's attack dogs.
- Elite Mooks: Serve as this to Leek in Series 2.
- Fragile Speedster: They are agile and deadly, but can be defeated by a single headshot.
- The Greys: Their design seems to invoke this.
- The Heavy: They serve as this to Leek in Series 2.
- Hero Killer: They kill Captain Ryan, assorted ARC soldiers and Sarah Page.
- Knight of Cerebus: Episodes involving them are generally much more serious.
- Killer Rabbit: Even juvenile future predators can rip your throat out.
- Super Soldier: It's subtly implied that they are genetically engineered.
- Stable Time Loop: It's subtly implied that they are part of this. In Series 3, it's implied that they are genetically engineered by someone (possibly Christine Johnson's organization or the ARC) from DNA from their own corpses. So basically, their creation was always destined to occur.
Major Anomaly Creatures
GorgonopsidThe apex predator of the Permian.
- Cool vs. Awesome: Fights a future predator in its final appearance. It wins.
- Lightning Bruiser: Especially when compared to the Future Predator.
- Made of Iron: The first one encountered survives being hit with a car and takes quite a bit of gunfire before dying, while the second one is brutally savaged by a Future Predator, even losing an eye, but still manages to kill it.
- Up to Eleven: Since the anomaly in the first and last episodes of season one open to the places, just at different times, its entirely possible that the gorgonopsids encountered in those episodes are actually the same animal, which really pushes this trope to its limits.
- No Name Given: It's particular genus is never mentioned. Given it lives side by side with Scutosaurus, it's most likely Inostrancevia.
- Warm-Up Boss: It's the very first dangerous animal the team encounters, but it ultimately doesn't cause any human deaths.
ArthropleuridA gigantic, prehistoric centipede.
- Artistic License – Paleontology: Arthropleurids are all assumed to have been plant eaters like millipedes, but this one is a predator. It's also far longer than any known arthropleurid.
- Creepy Centipedes: Up to Eleven
- Poisonous Person:It's venomous.
RaptorsExactly What It Says on the Tin
- Big Damn Villains: One of them saves Danny from Helen.
- Eats Babies: Of their own kinds, no less.
- Flip-Flop of God: The producers can never seem to agree on what genus these raptors are. The only thing we know for sure about them, though, is that they are not Utahraptor, which, according to the sequel series, has way more feathers than these ones do.
- Portal Cut: Has this happen to one at the end of Season 2 Episode 1, resulting in its body staying in the past and its head in the present.
- Raptor Attack: Only have quill-like feathers on their back, instead of being fully feathered.
Silurian Scorpians.REALLY big prehistoric scorpions.
- Artistic License – Paleontology: There wasn't nearly enough oxygen in the Silurian for scorpions of this size to survive on land.
- Artistic License – Physics: An arthropod that big would probably be crushed on its own weight whenever it molted.
- And then there's the fact that they can survive in the present without suffocating.
- Non-Indicative Name: It looks more like a vinegaroon (whip tailed scorpion) than an actually scorpion. Most fans assume it is some sort of eurypterid.
- Worm Sign: The only way to detect it before it attacks.
Mer CreatureSeal-like primates from the future.
- Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Females are absolutely colossal compared to males. This is especially odd if the Mer are indeed primates, as normally, male primates are bigger than females.
- Graceful in Their Element: Ungainly on land, very swift in the water.
- Killer Gorilla: It's apparently some kind of aquatic ape. Cutter even implies they could be a future evolution of humans...
- No Kill Like Over Kill: The female is absolutely ventilated with bullets when Cutter and Stephen shoot it.
SmilodonThe famous sabre toothed cat.
- Never Found the Body: Claimed to have died from a sedative overdose in its debut episode, but we don't see this happen. sure enough, it later shows up in Leek's creature prison.
- Also applies to the last episode of season two, as it is never seen dying, and it is entirely possible it survived the feeding frenzy, though this is unlikely.
- Stock Dinosaurs: Of the Not-Actually-A-Dinosaur variety.