Who's Who in 'Primeval'?

This Sunday, at 9 p.m., KCET will be offering a sneak preview of "Primeval," the cult favorite British sci-fi series. You may know it as "that dinosaur show," and yes, "Primeval" does feature a host of prehistoric beasts, many of which are rooted in real-life animals that once walked the earth and all of which are rendered in state-of-the-art CGI. (The show, after all, was created by the prehistoric powerhouses responsible for the popular "Walking With Dinosaurs" series.) And while KCET will be delving into the various time-traveling animals wreaking havoc on the show, "Primeval" is, at its heart, a show about humans.

Have a look through at the first season's main cast of characters (and find out why they just might look familiar if you're a KCET regular or a fan of BBC TV).



Prof. Nick Cutter
A dashing paleozoologist -- and that's a rare combo in the paleozoology world, for all I know -- who gets roped into the mission to hunt down extinct, prehistoric animals who wander into the present via time anomalies. But Cutter has a past that makes his involvement in time travel even more complicated: His wife, Helen, has been missing for years and may just be lost in the same time shuffle as these dinosaurs.

Portrayed by: Douglas Henshall
Though Henshall has appeared in works as varied as "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones" (he played T.E. Lawrence) and "Kull the Conqueror," he is actually known best for his role on "Primeval," though he's starred in multiple British mini-series since.

Stephen Hart
Obviously, there's no shortage of hunkiness with this group of dinosaur dorks. Though he's nominally Cutter's lab technician, that job title doesn't prevent Hart from venturing out in the field, performing all manner of heroic acts in the face of pointy, prehistoric teeth. Almost as impressively, he's willing to stand up to the prickly Professor Cutter as well. The two were once best friends, but that's been complicated by the fact that Hart had an affair with Helen.

Portrayed by: James Murray
Though he cut his teeth on classic BBC stuff like "Coronation Street," the strikingly Rob Lowe-ish James Murray has, since the end of "Primeval," poked fun at his Brittish roots on the medieval Comedy Central series "Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire," where he played a character named Ralph Longshaft. No, really.

Prof. Helen Cutter
Or as you'll come to know this character as, "her." She is controversial, to say the least. Before Helen vanished, she had an affair with Stephen Hart. At the outset of the show, the circumstances surrounding Helen's disappearance are unclear, but it sure does seem as though she knows something about the time anomalies.

Portrayed by: Juliet Aubrey
Among Aubrey's more notable recurring TV roles are ones on "Five Daughters," "Criminal Justice," and "Middlemarch."

Connor Temple
A paleontology student of Cutter's, Connor stands in for the geeky sci-fi nut who may well end up watching "Primeval." He tends to help the team more with his brain than his brawn. Expect his awkward but flirty friendship with teammate Abby to be a recurring plot point throughout the series.

Portrayed by: Andrew-Lee Potts
This young actor gets around -- professionally speaking. On KCET alone, you may remember him from episodes of "Inspector George Gently", "Foyle's War" and "Doc Martin."

Abby Maitland
A zookeeper and reptile expert whose life gets wrapped up in the business of Cutter's crew in the pilot episode, Abby is a plucky, tough woman who isn't afraid to follow her gut. And while she initially seems to be attracted to Stephen Hart, she soon ends up inviting Connor into her flat as a roommate -- for purely platonic reasons, of course.

Portrayed by: Hannah Spearritt
If Spearrit looks familiar, you may have interests widely divergent from those of the typical KCET viewer. Formerly a member of the pop group S Club 7. She also appeared in the "Child's Play" sequel "Seed of Chucky." See? Divergent. Bonus trivia: In real life, she's engaged to her "Primeval" co-star Andrew-Lee Potts.

Claudia Brown
She's part of Cutter's team, in a sense, but she also works for the group that issues Cutter demands: the Home Office. If that weren't enough, she's also Cutter's girlfriend, and you can bet that she's none too happy to find out that Helen is still alive.

Portrayed by: Lucy Brown
If you're a "New Tricks" fan, you may have noticed that she appeared in a dinosaur-centric Season Eight episode, "Old Fossils."

James Lester
A senior government official and the man centrally responsible for the actions of Cutter's team, Lester makes it clear that he has little faith in Cutter's team and their abilities. On top of that, he has a rude and sarcastic manner that will quickly identify him as the show's apparent villain. But will he soften as the series progresses?

Portrayed by: Ben Miller has many acting credits under his belt, but he's probably most familiar to KCET regulars as for playing Stewart James, the hallucinating ranger, on two episodes of "Doc Martin."

Captain Tom Ryan
He's the military guy who adds some muscle and firearms to Cutter's crew. And though he might be "the man" in comparison to the roguish smartypants that comprise the rest of the group, he's happy to treat Cutter like a leader. Although Ryan may initially seem like a background character, he's ultimately one of the most influential characters on the whole show... just not in the way you might expect.

Portrayed by: Mark Wakeling
Though "Primeval" is probably Wakeling's highest profile role to date, you may remember him from appearances in "Band of Brothers" and the newest James Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace."

Rex
This little guy may have the most readily recognized face of all of those appearing on "Primeval." He's a Coelurosauravus, an iguana-sized dino with the power of flight. Rex, like all other Coelurosauravuses, once skittered and flew round the Earth back in the Permian period -- 299 to 251 million years ago. However, like so many dinosaurs on "Primeval," he ends up in the present day in England. There's he adopted by the resident reptile fanatic on Cutter's squad, Abby.

Portrayed by: a surprisingly convincing set of computer-generated images.


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