10 years since it began, could ‘Primeval’ ever return?

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Today marks exactly ten years since the first ever episode of Primeval aired.

ITV’s sci-fi series started as a competitor to Doctor Who in the Saturday evening family drama slot, but quickly grew into something far more interesting. It was a show that, rather appropriately, evolved a lot over its lifetime – but even if nothing else was consistent (which was sometimes the case), you could always count on Primeval to be entertaining.

This summer it will be six years since the final episode of Primeval. And this month also marks four years since its Canadian spin-off series, Primeval: New World, also came to an end.

In wake of that, there have been a lot of fans clamouring for the show to return – it’s a sign of how popular the show once was that it maintains this devoted fanbase still, with Twitter accounts and petitions and a meaningful cult following all hoping that, one day, they’ll see their favourite show once more.

And, to be fair, it’s perhaps not as fleeting a hope as it might initially seem. After all, we’re in an era of television where programmes once long thought dead can regularly find new life – Community, Arrested Development, The X-FilesRipper Street, 24, Prison Break, etc. The list goes on – and on and on and on.

Perhaps more significantly, though, is the fact that Primeval itself has already returned; cancelled on a cliffhanger after its third season, there’s certainly a precedent for the show to come back now, after having been cancelled on a cliffhanger after its fifth season.

So, could we see Primeval return once more?

Obviously, it’s quite difficult to say.

The core cast have all moved on to various new projects now – from Douglas Henshall, appearing in Shetland, to Ciarán McMenamin in the upcoming BBC miniseries Strange – meaning that it may well be difficult to reunite them for another season. (Primeval, of course, is no stranger to cast changes by this stage anyway.)

And while Tim Haines and Adrian Hodges have seemed enthusiastic about bringing the show back whenever asked – don’t forget, Warner Bros owns the movie rights! – no one could blame them for wanting to move on to other projects at this point. It must be admitted that a return from Primeval is fairly unlikely – or rather, a return from the Primeval we knew…

In reality, what makes a return for Primeval most likely is the aspect of the show that allowed it to stay on the air so long in the first place – the sheer versatility of the format.

Really, the only aspect of Primeval that needs to be maintained is the basic premise of the anomalies; every other element of the series, while wonderful, isn’t actually necessary. It’d be very easy to one day have a revival of Primeval, paring back much of what we recognise, and keeping only that one element – and there’s nothing stopping that from working.

Indeed, it’s not only possible, but it feels perhaps inevitable that Primeval may not be extinct after all. Or, at least, it doesn’t have to be.

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