Primeval: Whatever Happened To Claudia Brown?

Claudia Brown

Primeval was an ITV series about a team of various specialists who discover that time portals called ‘anomalies’ are appearing all around the country, allowing prehistoric animals into our present-day world. The team spent their time trying to stop these creatures from causing havoc, while investigating the anomalies and trying to determine their exact nature so they could be predicted and contained. The show started out very positively: the main team had a good dynamic going, and adventures with prehistoric beasts were always going to appeal to a dinosaur enthusiast like me – even though, funnily enough, there were no actual dinosaurs in the first series. It instead featured a gorgonopsid, giant invertebrates, mosasaurs, pterosaurs, and dodos infected with lethal parasites. (OK, birds technically are dinosaurs, but whatever.) It wasn’t until the first episode of the second series that the team had to hunt down some raptors.

Things went downhill later on, however. ITV cancelled Primeval after the third series – right after ending it on a massive cliffhanger where three of the main characters were trapped in the past! They did eventually bring it back for two more series, but compared to the first three, these were a damp squib. The new characters were boring, the old characters weren’t as likeable, and after three seasons’ worth of action, they were clearly struggling to find new things to do with their ‘monster of the week’ formula. Primeval was eventually cancelled again, and a spin-off called Primeval: New World didn’t fare any better.

My biggest grievance with Primeval, however, concerns a plot twist from the end of the first series – a twist that was never actually explained.

Through the first series, the main protagonist, biologist Nick Cutter, began forming a romantic relationship with civil servant Claudia Brown. In the final episode of the series, Cutter, along with his estranged wife Helen and a team of expendable soldiers, go through an anomaly into the Permian Period, where they end up fighting a predator that came through another anomaly from the future. After the Future Predator and all the soldiers are killed, Nick and Helen go back to the present – while the audience sees that some of the Future Predator’s babies are still alive in the Permian, implying that their presence may change the course of history.

In the final moments of the episode, Nick faces his team and notices that Claudia’s not there. He asks where she is – and none of them have even heard of any Claudia Brown. Cliffhanger!

In the second series, it turns out that Claudia hasn’t completely vanished; she’s transformed into Jenny Lewis, a woman played by the same actress (Lucy Brown), with a different background and personality. Not only that, but the team’s headquarters has changed and there’s one or two new associates as well – and nobody but Nick thinks that anything’s amiss. So how has this happened? How is it that a few specific things change and everything else stays the same? How could Claudia Brown become a completely different person?

Nick spends much of the second series trying to investigate this, but he gets nothing except some vague non-answers from Helen. And then in the third series, the whole matter pretty much dies a death. In 3.3, Nick is killed off. In 3.5, Jenny leaves the team, returning for a single episode in the fourth series. So there’s no reason to dwell on the interference to the timestream any more, and the team place all their focus on other issues.

I was really annoyed by this. Given that what happened to Claudia formed the cliffhanger for the first series finale and therefore seemed like a pretty big deal, it deserved a proper explanation. Even more unfortunately, it doesn’t actually make sense based on the laws of time travel in the show.

You see, before his fateful journey through the anomaly into the Permian, Nick had already gone through that same anomaly before, in the pilot. On that first trip, he was confused to discover signs of human activity, and even a human skeleton. Upon going back, after the anomaly had closed and then opened again, Nick realised that the anomaly had actually re-opened at a point several years earlier (though still in the Permian). The remains he found the first time had actually been left by him, Helen and the soldiers.

This would indicate that the expedition involving the Future Predator had already happened, or rather, was always going to happen. So how could leaving those Future Predator babies in the Permian change the future, when events in the past technically haven’t changed? As for how events millions of years in the past could change the present in such a specific and limited way, that would require further discussions about the space-time continuum that the show didn’t bother to have at all.

I have a terrible feeling that the writers and producers of the show didn’t really know what happened to Claudia themselves; that they just threw it in at the end of the first series because it made for a cool twist, then realised they had no satisfactory way to explain it and quietly dropped the whole thing. If so, that’s just sad.

About R.J. Southworth

Hi there. I've been blogging since January 2014, and I like to talk about all sorts of things: book reviews, film reviews, writing, science, history, or sometimes just sharing miscellaneous thoughts. Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you find something that interests you!
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9 Responses to Primeval: Whatever Happened To Claudia Brown?

  1. Stephen Brereton says:

    This has annoyed me for years…


  2. James says:

    I completely agree! This was my favourite aspect of the show. It made me continue watching, but like you said, it got dropped. Really frustrating! I was, and still to his day am intrigued by Claudia and Jenny’s characterisation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Guido Kuwas says:

    Totally agree. Shame about Claudia Brown ☹️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Liam Luchini says:

    I think the most plausible explanation to this is that since the baby future predators were released they had something to do with it definitely. Coz the future can’t change randomly just coz something was released or changed in the past. That change needs to actually take affect, So I believe the predators kept breeding up until the point where Claudia’s ancestors (Doesn’t matter if it was as primates or a generation) got murdered by the future predators and therefore if her ancestors got eliminated from competition before Claudia was born, she would therefore have no reason to exist to those who never went through the anomaly and couldn’t have knowledge of this change. This is just how I view it however as the show never explained it either because they simply didn’t have an explanation or they left it open ended for people to have their own theories. Like I said the most plausible explanation in my opinion is her ancestors were killed off before she could be born and this could link to how Oliver Leek now exists and how a bunch of new characters came onto the scene and probably didn’t exist beforehand and that another load of people don’t exist anymore. Again, just my take on it.


    • It looked like they were trying to imply that the baby future predators were responsible, but that makes no sense, because Nick visited the remains of the camp when he went through the anomaly in Episode 1. This means, in a sense, the events of Episode 6 had already happened. They didn’t change the past, they created it – a bit like how the time travel works in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – so whatever effect the future predators had (if any) should have already occurred by then.

      Also, this was the Permian, well before the ancestors of humans had even evolved into recognisable mammals. The most recent common ancestor of all humans lived somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago, so for the future predator lineage to kill off Claudia’s ancestors without removing humanity from existence would require them to avoid extinction until then, despite spawning from a severe genetic bottleneck on top of everything else. And even that would not account for the existence of Jenny Lewis.

      Ultimately, the true explanation is bad writing: the writers came up with an intriguing cliffhanger for their first season without bothering to think of a means of explaining it within the rules of the show. Since writing this article, I met Andrew Lee Potts at a Comic Con and he basically confirmed this when I asked about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Martin says:

    Just watching this series & am dismayed at what I am reading here !! – I had thought that perhaps Helen being jealous of Claudia may have somehow gone back in time to prevent her ever getting the job she has (or had) so that Claudia never meets Nick in the first place – but hey ho – …I think I’d better stick with old episodes of Catweasle lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • That does seem a more likely explanation than the baby future predators affecting anything all the way back in the Permian. Maybe Helen went back, kidnapped Claudia as a baby and put her up for adoption. The question is, when did Helen do this? Claudia is still there when Nick and Helen go into the Permian together, and is already gone when they return.


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