fuskyb and I got up at 6am and made our way there. Thanks to Underground and partial DLR closures we got there more like 10am than the hoped 9am but there were massive queues even for the fasttrak ticket line so I guess it worked out. We did indeed go dressed as Abby and Connor as planned, I was pinning my hair up, donning the wig cap (thanks fififolle - it helped a lot) and wrestling the wig on my head during the queueing. I was pretty stunned when we took a look at the schedule to see they had a Primeval panel on it, total surprise as I'd not checked the Expo website for weeks. Having seen that it was my main focus of the day to go to that and the BSG panel, plus see the X Files Exclusive preview right before it.
Now the X Files Moview Preview. Hmm, didn't really happen. They showed trailers, including a longer one for the movie but what we got most of was "The Happening" and I must say from the scenes they showed of that I'm horrified and intrigued, probably will go see that now just to satisfy curiousity.
Anyhow, Primeval panel - wasn't as packed as the BSG one obviously but glad to say there was a good turnout and they had a few can you shout loud enough competition for signed postcards of the S2 promo shot both before and after it. Sadly my lungs let me down and I didn't win any, but they gave away about 4 of them which was pretty cool. Onto what was said, beware there may be some minor S3 spoilers contained. Most of the S3 relevant details have already been discussed in interview with them previously but not all so please avoid if you don't want spoiling further.
The panel consisted of creators Time Haines (also producer of Walking with Dinosuars), Head Writer Adrian Hodges and a third guest whose name I didn't catch and isn't listed on Expo site but she is the script editor for the show.
I'll start with the question I got up the nerve to ask, though probably made a fool of myself doing so as I for some reason felt the need to point out we were dressed up as Abby & Connor (we were near the back and sat down), and thought the mic hadn't worked + I'd stammered a bit so repeated it and probably came off as a gushing crazy fangirl *face!palm* During the session I kept thinking of questions only for them to be answered in other ones but finally decided on one near the end, of "Have there ever been scripts or creatures you've wanted to do but couldn't because it was too difficult or expensive". Only Tim answered this one and not so much directly. Basic answer was they don't feel limited, though obviously they don't have the big film budget, but there's no too big or too small. Really the only no-go for creatures is fur or feathers, apart from that they feel they can do anything they want.
For the rest I'm going to try and go through by character as it makes it easier to remember, hopefully I haven't forgotten too much.
Abby - not too much was said of her, apart from relating to others and as to her casting.
Adrian said in answer to how they cast (also answered by Tim, who said they aren't present but get tapes of filtered down selection) that they were taking a risk in going for Hannah Spearritt for Abby, since she had very little acting experience and what little was in S Club 7 show which wasn't the best preparation but there was just something they felt there about how she fit for the character that made it worth it for them and they were very pleased that taking a chance worked out so well.
Adrian also talked of the evolution of characters, how those we see in S2 are when you look at it quite different from S1 counterparts. They had ideas of who the characters were when the started but those change due to performances and perhaps the most obvious one for them was how he had intended for Abby to fall in love with Stephen which was in the end abandonned due to the chemistry he saw between Abby & Connor. Speaking of Abby & Connor earlier in the panel they had hinted for S3 that not only would Connor face a lot of heavy stuff next season but that there'd be plenty romantically between the two and that they might or might not get together - I'm guessing there's going to be will they/won't they continuing in that case.
Connor - he did get a bit of discussion, he's a popular guy and Tim's favourite character because he's endearing and great for humour. Adrian also considered Abby & Connor his favourites thesedays, they'd grown on him. I don't recall any more about Connor apart from the above mentioned S3 tidbits.
Cutter - Cutter was actually how Adrian referred to Nick, as he talked of his obsession with working out the Cutter/Helen story, which he's been thinking over for 4 years now and because of this, his character was initially Adrian's favourite.
Helen - we've not see the last of her, Tim joked how she just keeps coming back, nothing can get rid of her. Not much else I don't think, apart from how long Adrian has been thinking over her and Nick's relationship, and hopefully that's well planned out. No hints as to whether we'll see the end to that arc this season though.
Lester - Adrian also conceded to being keen on Lester, loving how the dry sarcastic lines came off with Ben playing him. They hadn't initially considered a comedian for the character but once they saw Ben audition they went for that view of Lester and infact Adrian thought Lester was the example of how you know you've casted well, that he can't now imagine anyone else playing Lester. Tim also mentioned how much Ben loved that they gave him a machine gun in the finale for S2 and said regarding S3 that there'd definitely be more Lester and we'd even see that Lester cares about the gang in his own way, though they're a pain in the arse with the bureaucratic aspects of his job.
Stephen - one question asked related to how difficult it is to kill off a character. The general concensus by Tim and Adrian was that once a character is dead they're gone. No matter that it's scifi they want a sense of realism, of finality, that what the team does is truly dangerous and there are consequences. It's hard to do it but it's necessary seemed to be the stance, they don't want to give in to the tendency for fantasy/scifi to bring characters back just because they can. Personally, I'm a bit unsure if this is a double bluff in regard to the potential hint at the end of S2 with Helen visiting the grave with multiple cleaners - unless the trick there is if she brings Stephen back he won't technically be their Stephen, a bit like Jenny instead of Claudia.
Ryan - came up in the discussion of killing characters, how after they'd killed him off in S1 they got letters saying "He's going to come back, right?". However, for them dead seems to mean dead, so I don't think based on what they said he'll be back at all.
In general they said that not everyone would necessarily make it to the end of Season 3 - don't know if they're trying to artificially up the tension with that hint or if they really will be killing/writing out characters, though it could be a main character I suspect that may be a fate for new/recurring ones in theory.
I don't remember any questions about Jenny or Claudia, but based on their beliefs about killing off characters I figured Jenny is here to stay, maybe she'll remember/become more Claudia like but I suspect there will be no magic reversal nor having Jenny and Claudia at the same time (fun as that would be it'd also be a technical nightmare!) as the focus for them is obviously not on the pure scifi elements. For Adrian it seems to be characters he gets into but Tim very much loves the creature of the week aspect.
The rest of the info coming out of the panel was more general and creature focused. I'm sure at one point when asked about how long the process takes that Tim may have said "when you're doing 7-10 episodes per season" and it was mentioned at the very least by the events announcer S3 would be airing in January (and possibly by Tim or Adrian but I could've been mishearing). Certainly they have already scripted S3 episodes, having begun last October and it taking on average six months before filming starts (i.e. roughly now) and so they've already got ideas in mind for S4 as well.
They mentioned how hard it was to choose the winning creature from the competition as there were so many high quality entries and Tim said what was picked was different from the type he'd generally go for and might have hoped to see - he'd not really considered anything bug like but really felt the winning design would work well. Also creature related they recognised that the show had only really done dinosaurs once, with the raptors, and that generally speaking it was more free reign doing future creatures or ones where less was known, so easier to theorise on how they look or behave a bit like back when Jurassic Park was done and not as much was known about the ones featured there.
Interestingly they mentioned how the original development for Primeval took place at BBC, inspired by Walking with Dinosaurs and Tim thinking what if they turned up in this period, in your supermarket. Obviously BBC decided against it in the end but luckily ITV were interested. Tim talked about how for the last decade or more it's been particularly hard to pitch scifi shows, made slightly easier by the success of new Dr. Who but still it's hard and they're really pleased with the success of Primeval, hoping it will help convince channels to put more money into British scifi.
Castingwise, along with the question on how casting happens, they did say they never purposefully chose to pick less recognised actors for other parts, nor to try and cash in on Douglas or Hannah's prior work, just that happened to be who worked out. Plus, for guest stars they don't go for big names, say like Kylie on Dr Who because Tim felt Dr. Who is more outlandish and whilst it works there, Primeval has a different texture to it. They try for a realistic stance so it just wouldn't work to have Kylie or the like in the show as it would detract too much from the story, have people just thinking "Wow it's Kylie", where as for Dr. Who you can just plonk Kylie in there and have that feel more natural a thing storywise.
Favourite creatures; Tim - mermaid creatures from 2x04, especially since when they got mocked up by Impossible Pictures the suggested elements put together they looked more grotesque and believable than they'd expected. But Tim and the female guest also both said the future predator, which we shall be seeing more of as they believe it struck a chord with viewers - essentially creepy almost alien with the no eyes going on. Adrian's preferences were for slimy sort of things, so his favs were 2x02 worms and the 1x02 creepy crawlies.
Favourite episode; Tim said 2x06 with the Mammoth on the M25, Adrian 2x04 with the Abby & Connor in futurescape etc. I've forgotten the answer for the other guest or if she'd answered that one. :(
They also showed a clip from the Making Of documentary Andrew-Lee had done, of how they did Abby's kick stunt in 2x04, and made sure to mention the Primeval reshowing weekend happening soon.
Another interesting point to note was that about an hour or so afterwards, following the BSG panel, Adrian and Tim did a signing - for free! I'm amazed, it was so kind of them to do - they both seem genuinely enthusiastic guys. Apologies for not remembering the woman's name but she seemed cool too, in fact they joked she's the only person on the show who knows all the story threads at once since different people work different arcs and scripts, a bit like with Adrian's Nick/Helen focus, and she reads all the scripts so gets the overview of the finished story.
I think that was all, but if there were any more details I've forgotten, at least temporarily. Hopefully I've not left out much if anything though and if you're wondering about anything feel free to mention it as who knows it may jog a memory. :) Sadly I can't comment on the Sunday panel, if there was another for Primeval then, as I only had a Saturday ticket.
EDIT: Remembered they said a famous anthropologist(? or was it archaeologist) will be chomped down by a creature! hee