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Professor Nick Cutter

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nickcutter.png
Played by: Douglas Henshall
A professor of evolutionary zoology, and the leader of the team. A little off-the-wall, not to mention a host of issues relating to his wife, Helen, who vanished in mysterious circumstances... then turned up again, being by this point more or less insane. Played by Douglas Henshall.
  • Anti-Hero: He starts the series as a Type II, being somewhat abrasive but overall a nice guy.
  • Badass Bookworm: A fighter and a genius.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Most of Season 1 has him refusing to use guns, preferring to find peaceful solutions and send the creatures back through the anomaly if possible. His grabbing a pistol to kill the first Future Predator in the final episode says a lot about how dangerous it is, and Season 2 often saw him armed as the anomlalies took their toll on his life.
  • Berserk Button: She might be the team's enemy in Season 2, but Steven's acid comment that given Cutter's stubbornness it was no wonder Helen had had an affair with him earns him a swift punch to the face.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: All but stated by Lester. Impulsive, reckless, initially a total liability where Helen is concerned and endlessly anti-authority, he's nonethless the foremost specialist on understanding anomalies, a walking encyclopedia on the prehistoric creatures they face and a surprisingly good team leader.
  • Cartwright Curse: His wife leaves him to go travelling through anomalies, his new love Claudia gets erased from existence and her doppelganger Jenny is more baffled by his insistence she's someone else than anything. Just as she's coming around to him, he's killed.
    Cutter: (to Stephen) Well, when have I ever been wrong?... Except about women, generally.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has an extremely dry wit.
    Claudia: [nearly blind after a creature attack] What are you doing?
    Nick: [Shining a light in Claudia's eyes] I've absolutely no idea, but I've seen them do it on ER, so there must be something to it.
  • Fatal Flaw: His devotion to his missing wife. Even as Helen slides down the slippery slope, takes increasingly questionable actions and gets people killed he can't quite bring himself to write her off entirely. It's his decision in Season 3 to run back into the burning ARC to save her life which results in her murdering him. Only too late does he realise he should've given up on her long before then.
    Nick: You know what, Helen? You're not as smart as I thought you were.
  • Genius Bruiser: Not a conventional example, but he can punch out a raptor while reciting its biology and cladistic classification.
  • The Hero: Until his death, he is the protagonist, and his studies of anomalies and romantic endeavors drive the plot of the first three seasons.
  • 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.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When he returns in the Season 1 finale to find that his time in the past accidently erased Claudia from the timeline.
  • Perma-Stubble: Has this, signifying his troubled state after his wife's disappearance.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Particularly by Season 3. Considering what he's been through, this is not in the least bit surprising.
  • Team Dad: Often offers advice and encouragement to Connor and Abby, the team's younger members.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Claudia in Season 1, and later with Jenny in Seasons 2 & 3. They do...and then its undone. At the end of Season 1, Claudia is erased from the timeline, and in the third episode of Season 3, Nick is murdered by his wife, Helen.

Connor Temple

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/connortemple.jpg
Played by: Andrew-Lee Potts
One 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.
  • Badass Bookworm: Consistently The Smart Guy of the team, he gets steadily better at handling himself throughout the series.
  • 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 he tries with the detector fails. Even Cutter admits early on he has a very good brain in spite of looking and acting like a halfwit .
  • Butt-Monkey: He tends to get the rough end of... more or less everything, at first.
  • Character Development: Starts out the series as a dorky, unreliable student who stumbles blindly into danger. As his friends die around him and the timeline becomes increasingly twisted, he eventually ends the show as a far more serious and competent individual who (along with Abby) has survived more perils and has more field experience than practically anyone else at ARC.
  • Cowardly Lion: He seems like a cowardly nerd. He is, in fact, much more than that.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: If it's Abby's life on the line he gets dangerous very quickly.
  • Happily Married: With Abby as of Primeval: New World.
  • Hollywood Nerd: One of the books actually says he is "not handsome". Yeah, right.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: His hero-worship of Philip Burton blinds him to the danger New Dawn poses.
  • Hot Scientist: He's played by Andrew Lee-Potts, who is very easy on the eyes, and is the team's foremost expert on the anomalies, how to track them and how to close them.
  • Lovable Nerd: A paleontology geek who is often very adorable.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Being confronted with the fact that his work on the New Dawn project is directly responsible for causing the Bad Future he is horrified and quickly begins working to stop it.
  • Nice Hat: His brown trilby. He stops wearing it in Season 3 as he begins to move away from being comic relief and takes on more responsibilities.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Initially provides some comic relief with his nerdiness and cowardice, but as the show becomes more serious, so does he.
  • The Smart Guy: Initially. He then overlaps with The Lancer in Series 3.
  • Spotting the Thread: Becomes the first one to believe Cutter's talk of something having changed in their world when he sees Cutter genuinely hasn't a clue who Leek is.
  • 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.
  • Will They Or Won T They: With Abby. They eventually get together towards the end of season 3.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Frequently doesn't seem to get his role on the team isn't quite the hero role he imagines. When he compares himself to Han Solo at one point, Nick snarks he'd always imagined him more as R2-D2.
    Connor: Oh my God. You know what? All my life I’ve wanted to be in a crime-busting gang. And now I am. Sort of. I don’t suppose you would consider giving me a cool nickname, would you?
    Nick: [staring at him as if he's insane] No.

Abby Maitland

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/abbymaitlandmain.png
Played by: Hannah Spearritt
A 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: She's a skilled fighter, and will not hesitate to beat the hell out of you should it be needed.
  • Berserk Button: Threatening Rex will likely result in her beating the crap out of you.
  • Broken Bird: Debatably. Spending a year trapped in the Cretaceous seems to have had 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.
  • Cool Big Sis: To her brother Jack, little as he deserves it.
  • 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.
  • The Lancer: Shares this role with Connor in the latter part of Series Three.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Strolls around her apartment in shirt, underwear, and nothing else in Season 1.
  • 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.
  • Spotting the Thread: Swiftly realises Matt's knowledge of the unknown-to-her monster bugs in Episode 5.1 comes from his having encountered them before - and seeing as they're from the future, she correctly deduces he's either been there or is from there.
  • 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 Hart

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Played by: James Murray
Cutter's TA. Served as the show's resident badass for the first season. He turns out to have had an affair with Helen in the past. Dies at the end of Season Two.
  • Big Brother Instinct: To Connor, often being encouraging when Cutter's distracted. He's notably the most sympathetic of the team to Connor over his muddled feelings for Abby.
  • The Big Guy: For the first two seasons. An expert tracker and ace marksman in addition to being the tallest of the main cast, he served as the team's principle muscle.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He sacrifices himself to prevent a small army of creatures (including a horde of Future Predators) from escaping.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: He never trusts her entirely, but he gives Helen the benefit of the doubt over exposing the anomalies to the public which is one of the main factors leading to his death.
  • The Peter Principle: Lester makes him team leader briefly after getting fed up with Cutter. Unfortunately, for all his good intentions he hasn't got Nick's instincts, and his attempts to contain the Mer have the team looking the wrong way.
  • Sour Supporter: Increasingly comes to clash with Cutter in Season 2, believing that covering up anomalies as they do just gets more people killed in the long run. But for all Helen's manipulations, he still comes down on Cutter's side in the end. It gets him killed.

Claudia Brown

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Played by: Lucy Brown
An 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.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: In stark contrast to Lester. She has her limits, but trusts Nick and the team's instincts in the various creature situations they encounter.
  • Retcon: Thanks to the timeline being altered, she never existed or was instead born under the name Jenny Lewis and went into PR instead of the Home Office.
  • Ship Tease: With Cutter. The two gradually grow closer throughout the first season, sharing a kiss in Episode 1.5 and then a full-blown one in the finale. Which all comes to nothing after she's erased from the timeline.

Jenny Lewis

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jennylewis.jpg
Played by: Lucy Brown
A 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.
  • The Bus Came Back: She makes a guest appearance in late Season Four.
  • Characterization Marches On: Introduced in Season 2 as a fashion-obsessed airhead, she gradually starts taking things more seriously as she's exposed to various creature situations. In Season 3 she's essentially boomeranged back around to being Claudia Brown in all but name, with none of her early traits evident.
  • 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's a crack shot at the end of Season 2. 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: Inverted. She initially thinks she's this given the lunatic tales of dinosaur hunting she hears about the team, but her insistence on not believing them, not listening to them and showing up in designer outfits almost gets her killed several times.
  • Put on a Bus: She resigns and leaves midway through Season 3, after nearly being killed by a fungus creature.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: In Season 3, the combination of Nick's death and the increasing danger she faces on a daily basis becomes too much for her to handle and she resigns.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: A few times in Season 2, to show how out of her depth she is.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: She's initially got no problem threatening witnesses into keeping quiet, much to Cutter's disgust. A few creature encounters of her own later, and she's treating surviving witnesses with considerably more compassion.

James Lester

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Played by: Ben Miller
A government minister who is the official head of the ARC.
  • Action Survivor: He manages to survive a remote-controlled Future Predator by himself.
  • Bad Boss: Played with. He's actually fairly reasonable outside of his endless Deadpan Snarker tendencies, but his withering putdowns and lack of respect for Leek were one of the major reasons Leek descended into villainy.
  • 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 usurp his authority or threaten his Jag. The former involves political connections and clever subordinates. The latter involves an EMD. An understated bonus point: don't try to usurp his authority while simultaneously implying that the genius he's a bit of a Team Dad towards should fetch you coffee.
  • The Comically Serious: Constantly serious even among the absurd circumstances and strange personalities he encounters.
  • Da Chief: He takes this role in managing the team.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Frequently. It's pretty much his main role in the team, and more than once he tells off Becker for infringing on his shtick.
  • Dirty Business: In Season 1 he had to have a woman arrested after her lifeguard boyfriend was eaten alive by a Mosasaur. He took no pleasure in the act but had to do it because nobody would believe her story and they had to keep the anomalies a secret. However, he promised to release her once the mosasaur was dealt with.
  • 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.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Has a glass of whisky when New Dawn looks like it's going to cause the destruction of the world. Assuming he's not snarking, it seems to be a family tradition.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He does genuinely care about the team, and is thoroughly protective of them. However, he will never, ever admit it.
  • Red Herring: We're set up to think he could be the traitor in the ARC, but it's actually Leek.
  • Team Dad: He is slowly, reluctantly, bitterly dragged kicking and screaming into this role. Whilst he spends the majority of the earlier seasons acting like a ruthless Jerkass it's undeniable that by Season 4 he's warmed up to and is far more protective than he pretends to be of the younger ARC members like Connor, Abby and Jess.

Captain Hilary Becker

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Played by: Ben Mansfield
Veteran soldier, joins the team in Season Three.
  • The Big Guy: Literally and figuratively. Took over Stephen's role on the team.
  • Embarrassing First Name: His first name is Hilary.
  • Heroic BSoD: After losing Connor, Abby, Danny, and Sarah - though the first three turn out to be alive, just marooned in other times. By Season 4 it's left him less stoic and a lot more reckless when it comes to protecting his team.
  • Hidden Depths: Turns out to be surprisingly knowledgeable about modern art types, though he was possibly Trolling Matt at the time.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: After Jess gets poisoned, he blasts the Future Beetle Queen to death in retaliation - which removes its control over the rest of the hive. The Future Beetles then almost escape from the ARC on instinct as a result, which nearly leads to Philip nuking them all to prevent them spreading.
  • 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 episode 5.4.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: When the ARC is hijacked by Christine Harper, he reluctantly goes along with it and pursues the heroes. Subverted in that he records Johnson verbally ripping into her boss and forwards it to Lester, who leverages it into getting command of the ARC back.
  • Only Sane Man: Frequently protests against against many of the team's more nonsensical decisions, such as risking everyone's lives to rescue Abby's brother from the future in the face of both Future Predators and Megopterans. He's also very against replacing their guns with the EMDS - while they're sufficent most of the time, he is occasionally proven right in the face of more serious threats.

Sarah Page

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sarahpage.jpg
Played by: Laila Rouass
An archaeologist who joins the group in Season 3, with the idea of tracking monsters through history.
  • Aesop Amnesia: She 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.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Often in the background, she's much more active in episode 3.7, taking a trip into the past to find out vital information on their mystery knight.
  • Killed Offscreen: Ends Season 3 claiming to have an idea. Season 4 reveals that it involved rescue missions to save Connor, Abby and Danny. The last of these missions resulted in Sarah being killed by a Future Predator whilst trapped in a car.
  • McLeaned: Between Seasons 3 and 4. 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 Land, obviously not used to seeing a mixed race woman before. And the former was not so much because she wasn't white 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.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Insects freak her out. The Megopterans are hence a bit of a sore spot.

Danny Quinn

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dannyquinn.png
Played by: Jason Flemyng
A police officer who gets caught up in the ARC's activities in Season 3, 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 as he starts showing up to creature attacks more often. Eventually, they all give in, with Lester making him team leader so Christine Johnson can't put one of her own people in the spot.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Everything he does - becoming a policeman, joining the team, stopping Helen and getting marooned in the past - is to find out what happened to his brother. After finally finding Patrick, he willingly goes back through the anomaly to track him down once more.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: His methods are strange, to say the least, but he's largely competent and helpful. Actually works in his favour when Lester promotes him to prevent any of Christine Johnson's choices commanding the ARC field teams.
  • The Bus Came Back: He returns in the finale of Season 4, where he finds out his brother is alive... and nuts.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Several episodes have him discovering that while it's easy to be a Cowboy Cop maverick when he's on the outside, it's a hell of a lot harder to control a team of like-minded individuals that frequently throw out the rulebook themselves.
    Becker: You're supposed to make the tough decisions, Danny!
    Danny: I just did.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Both of them can be impulsive, reckless and anti-authority but Danny's personality and methods clash greatly with the former leadership style of Nick Cutter. Cutter was an evolutionary zoologist with a genius-level intellect considered essentially to ARC's understanding on the Anomalies whilst Danny is a former police officer whose skills and experience are considered below ARC's usual standards. Cutter cautiously planned out his moves to prevent harm to the timeline (with the major exceptions usually concerning Helen) whilst Danny charges recklessly into situations without considering the larger consequences but also with far greater capacity to rapidly adapt to a situation.
  • Cowboy Cop: He's more or less by-the-book if extremely bitter and jaded when he first appears, but becomes more this trope as he gets more and more involved with the ARC.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Helps greatly if you're taking over this team.
    Lester: What the hell are you doing here?
    Danny: It's my life's ambition to fight dinosaurs, save the world.
    Jenny: I warned you to stay away from this, Danny.
    Danny: See? I thought you were flirting. It's so difficult to read women these days.
  • The Hero: After Cutter's death, he's the series protagonist for the rest of Season 3.
  • Hidden Depths: Turns out to be knowledgeable in Latin, much to Sarah's surprise.
  • Indy Ploy: Compared to Cutter, his self-admitted strategy a lot of the time is to make it up as he goes.
  • Put on a Bus: He gets trapped in the Pliocene at the end of Season 3. As Jason Flemying couldn't return for all of Season 4 due to filming X-Men: First Class, he only manages a one-episode appearance at the end.
  • Tempting Fate: On seeing his first pack of raptors, snarks that they don't look so bad. Cue them chasing him, Connor and Abby up a tree for most of the Season 3 finale.

Matt Anderson

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Played by: Ciaran Mc Menamin
Takes over the team after Season 3. He's actually an agent from the future, sent back to prevent the apocalypse.
  • The Ace: Apparently invented the highly potent (apparently) EMDs, is effortlessly good at running the team, usually has a snarky quip, and is good under pressure. And is one half of the series Fantastic Romance. Being from the future helps.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the grand tradition of Primeval heroes.
    Lester: So I leave you for a matter of days and in that time...you turn out to be either a visitor from the future or, in fact, and I think this is the more likely option, clinically mad.
    Matt: The former. But then I would say that if I was clinically mad, right?
  • Establishing Character Moment: Coolly containing a rampaging Dracorex in the ARC, then covering for Jess when Lester wonders how the hell it got out.
  • Fantastic Romance: He's from the future, and ends up falling for Victorian Action Girl Emily Merchant.
  • The Ghost: Jess is perenially annoyed she can't work him out from his personality files. Which is probably because they're mostly made up.
  • The Hero: The third team leader, and his character arc is the most important in Seasons 4-5.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: His mission is to find out what caused the New Dawn disaster and stop it causing the nightmare future he's from.

Jess Parker

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Played by: Ruth Kearney
The team's field co-ordinator in Seasons 4 and 5
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Bubbly, energetic, fond of bright outfits and incredibly young - she makes Connor and Abby look positively professional. But she's a brilliant field co-ordinator and her quick thinking has helped the team on numerous occasions.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Blasts a Future Beetle the others don't see while hallucinating from an allergic reaction.
  • Like a Daughter to Me: Hinted Lester sees her this way in his nicer moments towards her.
  • Oh, Crap!: When she realises the Future Beetle infestation is in the ceiling directly above her.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • She's so shocked by watching a bear-dog killing a teenager that she refuses to help Abby free the Menagerie, reluctantly agreeing with Philip about how dangerous they are.
    • She freaks out when the anomalies multiply so rapidly she can't keep up with sending teams to them all. Lester has to reassure her she's the best person he could possibly have on the job.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Many of her interactions with Lester come across this way.
    Lester: Sarcasm won't get you promoted, Jess.
    Jess: [Leaving] Must've worked for you.
    Lester: Don't think I didn't hear that.
  • Teen Genius: Is no more than 19 when the show starts, but is incredibly good with technology, able to effectively co-ordinate the ARC teams and hack into any security/CCTV system in existence.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Has an obvious crush on Becker he eventually comes to reciprocate.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She's terrified of insects. More understandable than most examples, as she's allergic and an insect bite can kill her if he doesn't have an epi-pen.

Lady Emily Merchant

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Played by: Ruth Bradley
A mysterious woman from Victorian England, who was marooned in the past while investigating an anomaly. Travelling through the anomalies with a group of similarly time-displaced humans, she comes into Matt's orbit as he attempts to figure out what caused his Bad Future.
  • Action Girl: Zigzagged: she's very much an experienced fighter against the various creatures the team meets, having survived against them for years beforehand - in one episode she knocks out the terror bird that had been causing them so much trouble while chained up. However, she doesn't do as well against humans she knows, like Ethan and her husband, because she's unwilling to hurt them.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Very much so; her husband only married her for her money, and it's implied at points that her family pressured her into it for a chance at a noble title. This ends after he attempts to have her committed to an asylum, then is killed by the raptor she was tracking.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Partially: she tracks down a raptor in Victorian London, and a combination of the raptor's gruesome kills and her heavily-armoured, knife-wielding costume being seen as she investigates the death sites give rise to the legend of Spring-Heeled Jack.
  • Damsel in Distress: Ethan leaves her Bound and Gagged and buried alive near the end of Season 4 until Matt rescues her.
  • Fantastic Romance: With Matt, a time-traveller from humanity's Bad Future.
  • Secret Keeper: The first character to know Matt's actually from the future.
  • The Sixth Ranger: Becomes an unoffical part of the team on returning in Season 5.
  • We Used to Be Friends: With Ethan. She keeps trying to help him, even when he's trying to kill her.

Rex

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rex_9.jpg
A cute little Coelurosauravus that Abby keeps as a pet.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: He acts like a flying house cat.
  • Demoted to Extra: Rex appears a lot in the early seasons of Primeval, but after Connor and Abby went missing on their mission to the future in the Season 3 finale, he is moved to the Menagerie at ARC and plays a significantly smaller role from then on, only appearing in a single episode of Season 5.
  • Lovable Lizard: A cute and friendly reptile who Abby takes in as a pet-of-sorts and shows no aggression to anyone.
  • The Millstone: The Pteranodon in episode 5 starts chasing after Connor and almost kills him because it wants 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: Abby and Connor keep him as a pet, and he gets up to many amusing hijinks.

    Human antagonists 

Helen Cutter

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Played by: Juliet Aubrey
Nick Cutter's wife, who vanished through an anomaly eight years before the show started.
  • Big Bad: Whilst she remains morally ambiguous for most of Season 1, she clearly steps into this role for Seasons 2 and 3. She's very briefly overthrown by Leek at the end of Season 2, however.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Despite being top dog of the human antagonists, she still somewhat falls into this, since her God complex still leaves her assuming she can control entities such as prehistoric monsters and anomalies to do her bidding. She is killed by a random one the same way Leek and Christine died.
  • Cassandra Truth: Is actually telling the truth as she knows it when she tells Nick that ARC troops will start raiding the future in order to create the Future Predators, though it's actually Christine Johnson's men.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Deconstructed. She becomes right hand girl to Oliver Leek in Season 2, 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 instantly bails and performs an Enemy Mine with the team, refusing to even entertain the idea of the roles reversing and being reduced to a genuine subordinate to Leek.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Tells off Leek for his "nasty little joke" as he prepares to feed Cutter's friends to a sabre-tooth cat, not realising until it's out and stalking them that he's deadly serious.
  • Evil Is Petty: Extremely, especially where Nick is concerned. It's implied that she altered time, transforming Claudia Brown into Jenny Lewis, and making Nick's life hell, out of pure spite.
  • For Science!: In Season 2 she proposes to Nick that they can use their knowledge of the anomalies to change evolution - and if it wipes out the human race, they can just bring it back.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Whatever she saw in the anomaly left her insanely adamant on wiping out the entire human race.
  • Killed Off for Real: She's randomly attacked and killed by a charging dinosaur.
  • Knight Templar: Not wrong about humanity's cruelty to other life on the planet, but her solution is horrifying.
  • Man Behind the Man: Played with. Helen wasn't this intentionally, but she ended up here as a result of posthumous Gambit Roulette in Season 5. Turns out Philip Burton was influenced to start the New Dawn Project because of Helen, and she simply didn't realize or didn't care how badly it would turn out. It also plays with said Gambit Roulette in that it actually failed regardless of the heroes saving the day or not, since it would've reduced Earth to a lifeless waste, while Helen's stated goal was to save the ecosystem.
  • 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.
  • Smug Snake: While she can back up her boasts better than Leek or Christine, her ego and sadism cost her regularly. Even Leek ultimately uses this against her, letting her assume she is the Bad Boss of the partnership until it is too late. Her ultimate undoing is a total anti-climax, being attacked off guard by a random dino mid-Evil Gloating.
  • The Starscream: Betrays Leek at the end of Season 2 rather than remain subservient to him.
  • Straw Nihilist: She's fully convinced Humans Are the Real Monsters and tries to remove the entire species from existence, not caring in the least if that erases herself from reality as well.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: After she sets off a bomb in ARC, the explosion knocks her out. Nick goes back into the burning building and saves her life. She's grateful he came back for her which doesn't stop her murdering him.
  • Villainous Legacy: Even after her death in the Season 3 finale, it turned out she was the one who convinced Philip Burton to create the New Dawn project that almost destroyed the world in Matt's future.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: With the emphasis on the Extremist part.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: She directly turns down blowing Christine Johnson's brains out in favour of the crueller more or ironic death of dragging her into an anomaly at the mercy of the predators inside. A rare example where this actually works.
  • Wild Card: In Season 1. In Season 2 and 3, she becomes a full-on villain.

Oliver Leek

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/oliverleek.png
Played by: Karl Theobald
The seemingly put-upon assistant to Lester, but actually a traitor working with Helen Cutter to further their respective agendas with the creatures and the anomalies.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Once his plans go awry as the creatures escape and his leverage over Lester disappears, it becomes clear how out of his depth he is.
  • Boss's Unfavorite Employee: While Lester pre-Character Development was a snide Jerkass all around, Leek spent years suffering his put downs. The fact this embittered Leek into a megalomaniac may have been a pivot to Lester lightening up afterwards.
  • Dragon Ascendant: He's originally subservient to Helen, but once his ego and power increase in the Season 2 finale, he stops listening to her, making her switch sides.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • Finds the Designated Girl Fight between Caroline and Abby highly entertaining, much to Connor's disgust.
    • He sends a Future Predator onto his Mean Boss Lester, and spends the whole duration surveying and gloating at him via communicator.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: He's killed by the Future Predators he tried to control after Cutter fries their control mechanism.
  • No Respect Guy: A major Berserk Button for him; years of being put down and insulted by Lester ends in his sending a Future Predator to kill him, while Helen attempting to put him in his place has him lashing out at her.
  • Smug Snake: Drips with condescension after the reveal of his true nature.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: He makes totally and utterly sure that everyone, Lester especially, regrets underestimating him.

Christine Johnson

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/christinejohnson.jpg
Played by: Belinda Stewart-Wilson
The Home Office's military liason officer to the ARC.
  • Ambition Is Evil: A ruthless civil servant willing to use unscrupulous methods such as kidnapping, illegal experimentation and spies to get what she wants.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Christine's goals are to build super soldiers by experimenting on dead Future Predators and to generally hinder, control and suppress ARC so they don't find out about her anomaly. Most of her schemes rely on threats, bribery and political manipulation, so when confronted with a truly insane Visionary Villain like Helen Cutter she is hopelessly outmatched.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: In her youth both her father and sister were killed by an IRA bomb blast, leaving her devastated.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Becker records all the badmouthing she does about her boss and hands it over to Lester who quickly sends it up the chain of command. This results in Christine losing her job and control of the ARC returning to Lester.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: She keeps an anomaly to a future swarming with Future Predators in her headquarters throughout Season 3, confident she can control it and hoping to experiment on the Future Predators for genetic engineering to make improved soldiers. Then, in the Season 3 finale, Helen Cutter takes Christine hostage and kicks her through her own anomaly which results in her death at the hands of the Future Predators.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Christine and her soldiers have one with Lester and ARC. In theory she was assigned to support and monitor ARC in Season 3. In reality she spends the majority of her time either trying to take over or in competition with ARC to gain more knowledge of and control over the anomalies by trying to get ahold of the artefact and Eve before they do to further her own agenda.
  • Just Think of the Potential!: She has been keeping an anomaly to the future hidden in her headquarters, intending to use it to capture Future Predators - alive or dead - and experiment on them, harnessing their power in the hopes of creating better soldiers.
  • Lady in a Power Suit: Her usual clothing. Lester even lampshades it by describing her as a "Velociraptor, only better dressed."

Philip Burton

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/philipburton.png
Played by: Alexander Siddig
A brilliant and world-renowned scientist, he partners with Lester to run the ARC after the events of Season 3 leave it a partially privatized venture. However, he has his own secret agenda regarding Connor and the anomalies.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Helen played his ego like a fiddle, making him think he'd be remembered forever for using the anomalies to solve the world energy crisis.
  • Big Bad: For Seasons 4 and 5, however unintentionally.
  • Broken Pedestal: For Connor, once the danger of New Dawn becomes apparent.
  • Heel Realization: Realizes that he's been the bad guy all along as New Dawn grows out of control and he figures out that Helen manipulated him.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Certainly tries, sacrificing himself to shut down the New Dawn anomaly threatening the world. By that point, however, it's self-sustaining and the team have to stop it another way.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • His argument that using the anomalies to provide clean energy would benefit everyone and stop conflicts over resources is actually quite sound - it's just that the audience has already seen the nightmare results through Matt's future.
    • Also, while he does it to protect New Dawn, his argument that nuking the ARC and killing the team would be preferable to the Future Beetles escaping and killing thousands of civilians does make sense.
  • Kick the Dog: He's willing to have Rex and all the other captured creatures euthanised to prevent escapes until Lester gets him to back off.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Has this when he finally accepts that New Dawn won't save the world like he'd hoped and instead will destroy it.
  • The Svengali: Acts as a mentor to Connor, but he's using him to advance New Dawn and little more.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Genuinely thought he was harnessing the power of anomalies to provide clean energy for all mankind and stop the Bad Future the Predators came from, but to get there he was willing to manipulate Connor and almost sacrifice the team several times.

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    Major anomaly creatures 

The Future Predators

Mysterious 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.


  • Ambiguous Situation: Their origins. It's strongly implied in Season 1 they're a natural evolution (Helen even says she's seen them in their natural habitat), but Season 3 implies they're genetically engineered from the corpses of their own future selves. Possibly deliberate, as the series has the future repeatedly change from one Bad Future to the next.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: They serve as part of one in Season 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 Season 2, they become little more than Leek's attack dogs. Once Cutter shorts out his control devices, they revert to their base instincts and rip him to shred in short order.
  • Elite Mooks: Serve as this to Leek in Season 2.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Leek and Christine Johnson both find this out the hard way.
  • Evil Versus Evil: They end up squaring off with the Megopterans towards the end of Season 3, which have them surprisingly well matched.
  • Fragile Speedster: Stunningly fast and vicious, they still share the relatively lightweight build of their bat ancestors. The Gorgonopsid that fights it can't match its speed, but eventually kills it by crushing it under its full bulk.
  • The Greys: Their design seems to invoke this, as they are grey and lanky creatures without recognizable facial features.
  • The Heavy: During Season 2, the physically-weak Leek mind-controls several and uses them to kill people.
  • 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 the fairly cute juvenile future predators can rip your throat out.
  • Mama Bear / Papa Wolf: Depending on which one is currently parenting, but events in the first few appearances indicate their young being threatened will always provoke a berserk attempt to kill anything involved.
  • Mascot Mook: The most iconic creature in the show, and are featured in much merch.
  • Super Soldier: It's subtly implied that they are genetically engineered.
  • Super Speed: The variant from Matt's future can move so fast it practically has this, able to move from spot to spot faster than even experienced monster-hunters like Abby can follow.
  • Stable Time Loop: It's subtly implied that they are part of this. In Season 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. Basically, they retroactively cause their own existence.

Gorgonopsid

The apex predator of the Permian.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: In its final appearance, it fights a future predator and kills it.
  • Lightning Bruiser: It's amazingly fast for such a big predator - and unlike the Future Predator it fights, it can take an amazing amount of damage as well.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Arthropleura

A 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: Taken to ludicrous lengths; it's not only over twice the size of the largest estimate for its real-life counterpart, but has poison lethal enough to prove fatal to humans as well.
  • Poisonous Person: It has a venomous bite.

Carboniferous Arachnids

Giant Spiders that emerged from the same anomaly as the Arthropleura and can only breathe in the high-oxygen atmosphere of their home brought into ours.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Some were said to be a meter long, much larger than their presumed real-life counterparts.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Had large pincers instead of fangs, and did not seem to produce venom or webbing.
  • Creepy-Crawlies: Were probably based on the Mesothelae from Walking With Monsters,
  • Mama Bear: Would nest in very large groups, and seemingly had a siege mentality towards intruders in their territory.

Pteranodon

A famous, crested pterosaur, suspected of killing a golfer. It didn't.


  • Career-Ending Injury: A wound prevents it from flying far and forces it to roost, giving the humans an opportunity to catch up with it.
  • Giant Flyer: It has an impressive wingspan.
  • Ptero Soarer: It's not very different, mind you, but it's bald and a little too big, has inaccurately positioned pteroid bones and launches bipedally.
  • Red Herring: The team starts out thinking that it was the creature that killed the golfer, but it turns out to be there only by coincidence and to have little to do with the creatures that did.

Anurognathus

A swarm of predatory pterosaurs.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: An entirely different creature from their real-life counterparts, even by the show's standards — they're far too vicious, should not be able to stand upright in the manner they're shown doing, should possess flat faces and full coverings of fur, did not coexist with Pteranodon (Anurognathus predated it by sixty-four million years and the two lived in different continents anyway) and should not be interested in prey much larger than a butterfly. Though somewhat justified by the series creators, who once stated this particular species is an undiscovered one that most likely evolved from Anurognathus ammoni.
  • Eaten Alive: What they do to their prey. Considering how small their jaws are, it certainly isn't a quick death.
  • Informed Species: Again, it looks nothing like a real Anurognathus.
  • Kill It with Fire: Helen finishes them with gas from a kitchen stove and microwave stuffed with metal.
  • Piranha Problem: A flying version in the form of minute pterosaurs that smell blood from a distance and devour large prey in immense, bloodthirsty swarms.
  • Ptero Soarer: The real Anurognathus was a tiny batlike insectivore that was quadrupedal, covered in fluffy fur and had a face similar to that of a Muppet. This one is a hawk-sized predator that stands on two legs, is naked and looks like a psychotic abomination.
  • Shout-Out: With their swarming tactics, relentlessly targeting humans (in spite of their disarmingly small physique, no less) and flying through a chimney to bypass closed doors, these pterosaurs are very much a prehistoric version of The Birds.
  • Zerg Rush: They attack their prey in huge numbers.

Raptors

Exactly What It Says on the Tin.


Silurian scorpions.

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 – Biology: 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 actual scorpion. Most fans assume it is some sort of eurypterid.
  • Shout-Out: While they don't look like them, their underground method of attack and Worm Sign style of giving away their approach calls to mind the Graboids from the Tremors franchise.
  • Worm Sign: The only way to detect it before it attacks.

Mer Creature

Seal-like primates from the future. It's half-jokingly speculated that they're descended from humans.


Smilodon

The famous sabre-toothed cat.


  • Blindedby Rage: At the climax of its debut episode, fighting with Nick Cutter had worked it up into a frenzy. When Valerie, who claims earlier "he'd never hurt her," tries to intervene and calm it down, the big cat tackles and brutally murders her!
  • Easily Forgiven: Hoo, boy! Even after it kills Valerie's boyfriend, Dave, she still takes care of it! She even defends it, claiming it was an "accident" and that Dave "got careless."
  • Never Found the Body:
    • It's 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.
    • In the last episode of season two, it's never seen dying and it's entirely possible it survived the feeding frenzy, though this is unlikely.
  • Serial Killer: As much as a big cat can be! At least four humans are killed by it thanks to Valerie taking care of it. It even kills her in the end.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Of the Not-Actually-A-Dinosaur variety; Smilodon is one of the most iconic prehistoric mammals.

Megopterans

Giant, mutant winged ants from the future.



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