Monsters and mysteries – what’s not to be excited about? Douglas Henshall explains why Primeval II is even better than the original.
How does it feel to be back?
“It feels like a band making a second album after a really good first one and you have to kind of repeat the trip. And having set yourself up for something you have to able to fulfil that next time around. But I genuinely think it’s better than the first series and that’s all you can really ask.”
Why do you think the first series was so popular?
“People in peril, and of course, the monsters. They are tied in with such an innocent pleasure because it’s escapist; it’s pure indulgence. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have an enduring love of monsters and Primeval has tapped into that in such a lovely way. You take a bunch of people, you make an audience really like them and then you put them in jeopardy. The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, all the greatest films as far as I’m concerned at least, that’s what they do.”
So where did we did we leave Cutter at the end of the first series?
“He had just watched Ryan and his team butchered by the future predators. Then when he comes back through the anomaly, he finds out that his wife had an affair with Stephen. And then to cap off what has been a pretty bad day, he finds out that Claudia Brown has somehow disappeared in the mist and was never even born. He realises that something has changed in evolution; that nothing is the same any more. That was where we ended and that’s were we come back in.”
How does Cutter deal with everything that is thrown at him in the opening of this series?
“The moments after his return through the anomaly are ones of total disorientation for Cutter. He is desperately trying to convince somebody, anybody, that he has not gone completely mental. There’s also the added stress of trying to find out where Claudia Brown might have gone and can we fix it. I think he becomes a lot harder – or a wee bit harder anyway.”
You have to face some pretty nasty creatures, what’s been the worst?
“Episode 2 has us battling giant worms whose ecosystem is this foul smelling smoke. In the story, when these worms are suddenly out of their environment they start to dry out and to explode. For the exploding worms they came up with this gunk in various colours which we get covered in. It had lumps in it and they were red and yellow so it looked like a seven year old had thrown up all over myself, Lucy, and Jim. That was probably the most disgusting day on set.”
The Primeval characters are being made into dolls. How does that feel?
“It’s the highlight of my career so far. I suppose I should be so much cooler and much more blase about it, but I’m actually really quite excited. I think that I will be tripping around Hamleys or wherever this Christmas looking at us all lined up in boxes. How great is that? Odd but great.”
If your character’s toy could say something, what do you think it would say?
“For the first series, it would definitely say ‘Heeeleeeen’ and as far as this one goes,’RUN!’ I say run so many times, and me shouting ‘Stephen’ at the top of my voice this series replaces the ‘Helen’ catchphrase.”