The contracts came through this morning, so I can announce my news. I'm going to be writing the penultimate episode of the second season of Primeval, ITV's Saturday night family adventure series. Here's the official site:

Primeval Official Site

I'm pleased to be joining the show, because I'm very impressed with it. For those who don't know, the series is about a group of scientists who deal with anomalies that have started appearing, connecting different time periods. Their major problems concern the animals that wander through the anomalies, from pre-dinosaur reptiles to giant centipedes. I love the emphasis on genuine natural history, that the animals behave like animals, rather than 'monsters', and that our heroes have a duty of care towards them, and are fascinated by them. I like the SF emphasis on logic, and the family teatime emphasis on high adventure. I especially like the production team, how easy it is to work with them, and how they have a long term plan with some lovely twists (and a genuinely SFnal sense of dread and alienation creeping in around the halfway point next season). The showrunner is Adrian Hodges, who also wrote one of my favourite episodes of Rome. I've asked to not have to jerk any tears this time round, and write to the show's speciality: crash bang creature of the week adventure with a human dimension. If I was eight years old, I think I'd be glued to this show with my dinosaur books in hand, spotting the real creatures as they appear. If Eastercon was anything to go by, the British SF community like the series too. So I'm happy all round.

Now, before anyone says it, this isn't me 'joining the opposition'. The opposition in telly is what's on against you in the same time slot. And schedulers these days never try and fight like with like. I'll always be a Doctor Who fanboy at heart. Indeed, yesterday I recorded a podcast commentary for the second episode of 'Human Nature', having seen a rough version of the first one a couple of days earlier. I have to say that I'm absolutely blown away by what the production team have achieved. I particularly love Charlies Palmer's direction. I don't think I've ever been happier with anything I've done for TV. I'm so, so, proud to be part of that crew.

Finally, having had a dress rehearsal last week, now I can genuinely say: Wisdom issue five is out on Wednesday/Thursday, depending which side of the pond you're on. This one ends with our surprise villains crashing in.

So that's my news. Wish me luck. Until next time, Cheerio.

39 Response to "Primeval"

  • A-M Says:

    That's cool news!
    I have to admit to giving up on Primevel after about three weeks but it was more to do with the time it was on and the fact that I put my weekend social life on hold for 13 weeks of the year as it is, and any longer would just seem...well...rude really. 8-)

  • Anonymous Says:

    Congratulations, Paul! We LOVED Primeval at our house. The last episode of series 1 was superb! Bloody well done, mate...

    Martin Sketchley

  • Richard Dinnick Says:

    Great news on the PRIMEVAL gig, Paul.

    I thought the series was very good: interesting, engaging and a bit of a romp! Also looking forward to Human Nature, which I think was probably the best NA ever written.


  • Anonymous Says:

    Mrs Peyton is particularly happy about this news as she loved Primeval.

    I'm anxiously waiting Human Nature.

    Mark P

  • David Bishop Says:

    Hope you'll have the near obligatory characters in their pants moment.

    See you at Bristol!

  • Kev Says:

    Congrats, Paul. Good news for you and the Primeval team! (David Bishop has me thinking of Hannah Spearitt in her pants again)

  • Heppy Says:

    Congratulations, Paul and good luck with it. Found it a hard show to stick with - partly the format, mostly that Henshall looks exactly like Gordon Strachan - but I know it's won a lot of people over and the more quality, family-friendly drama there is on telly the better!

  • Ian Abrahams Says:

    Excellent news, mate! We all enjoyed the first series here at Abie's Place so roll on S2 ... nice one!


  • hexa Says:

    Congratulations, Paul. I still have to see Primeval here in Holland but I heard that appearantly a local channel bought the rights for it, so I'm really looking forward to it.

    i also very much look forward to seeing Human Nature on the telly and wonder how this story works out with David Tennant's Doc.

    Btw, would you mind if I link to your blog from mine, under a still to create section of 'blogs I read'?

  • Dom Carver Says:

    Hannah Spearitt in her pants.... if only we knew someone who could write a whole episode of that.

  • monic Says:

    This is fantastic! I just finished watching the series and I *loved* it! My favorite writer writing for a show I've recently fell in love with! This is nothing but good news!

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thanks very much, everyone. That's much appreciated. Please do link to the blog, Hexa, I'm always happy for people to do that.

  • Paul Campbell Says:

    Inspiring news, Paul. Nice one.

  • Piers Says:



    That's fantastic news. Look forward to seeing it.

  • Susan Says:

    Can we have one of the guys dancing around in their pants for no reason this time instead of Hanna Whatsername?

  • hexacontium Says:

    Will do that, once I finally get my blog back completely. Looks like something went slightly wrong with transfering some blogger accounts to google >:(

    Primeval: Large insects and dinosaurs are nice, but any chance of some ancient microorganisms? Dinoflagellates attack! *grin*

  • Gizensha Says:

    Congratulations, a fantastic writer writing for a good series is always great news.

    And - uhh - Susan. Due to Conner (the name of his actor) moving in with Hannah's character (...Who I also forget the name of) we did get a few scenes of him hanging round in his pants last season...

    Also - Can you give away if we're going to get an actual Dinosaur this season? Pre-dino reptiles, giant insects and dodo birds are all very well and good, but there's something slightly odd about a series which seemingly marketted itself on "Dinosaurs wandering into modern London" which didn't actually feature any dinosaurs.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thanks, all. Obviously, I can give nothing away. I did like the restraint of the show in going for interesting beasts rather than heading straight for the tyranosaur.

  • Jamie Says:

    Congratulations Paul, I shall look forward to it.

  • kopicbloodaxe Says:

    I missed the beginning of the series but quite enjoyed it. It wasn't "must see" TV for me, but my 7yo daughter loved it. I just watched it for Hannah Spearitt, tbh :)

    Thingie's wife's character didn't ring true to me. A sort of female sub-Indiana Jones with no obvious motivation except to be mysterious and obnoxious.

    Anyway, hoping that your involvement inspires all to greater levels of achievement as it showed promise but didn't really deliver it for me. I shall watch s2, though, as the thought of the "sense of dread and alienation" has piqued my curiosity. And the thought of more of Hannah's pants.......

  • Matthew Says:

    Congrats on Primeval, Paul

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thanks, all.

  • Dianne Says:

    Congratulations Paul! I am obviously very interested in your news. I will be putting it on the website with a link back to your blog.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thanks very much. Good to see that Douglas has such an excellent presence on the net.

  • Penny Says:

    Great. We loved Primeval too, though watching it with my 15 year old daughter, was like sharing a sofa with Catherine Tate's "screamy woman".

    One small request, if it's in your remit, please bring back James Bradshaw's character. He's lovely.

  • Spaceminx Says:

    Excellent news! I really enjoyed Primeval too and not just for the obligatory Hannah Pants shots.


  • Paul Cornell Says:

    I think that's the desired effect in both cases. Cool.

  • Grant Says:

    Wow! Congratulations!

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thank you!

  • Kirsten Says:

    Oh good-oh! I really like Primeval and it's got a great romping family fun vibe.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    I love the word romping! Cheers!

  • Anonymous Says:

    thats made my day cant wait
    xxxxx(from beth primevalfan95XX)xxxxx

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Cool, hope you like it when you see it. Cheers.

  • Anonymous Says:

    bethprimevalfan95 again,
    your welcome were all sure it will be fab!!

  • Anonymous Says:

    bethprimevalfan95 ere,
    u all like primeval go on youtube onto search for primeval in the darkness and our farewell it rocks!!!

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    I shall.

  • khushi Says:

    I thought the series was very good: interesting, engaging and a bit of a romp!Good news for you and the Primeval team! I still have to see Primeval here in Holland but I heard that appearances a local channel bought the rights for it, so I'm really looking forward to it.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Glad to hear it's made its way out there. Cheers.