Terrified bathers fled Bournemouth beach on Wednesday when a prehistoric monster emerged from beneath the sand.

Have-a-go hero Stephen Hart was first on the scene. The lab technician banished thoughts for his own safety to thwart the beast, which he claimed had slipped through a hole in the space-time continuum.

And relax.

The events described above did take place, but only as part of filming for the new series of ITV's hit science fiction series, Primeval.

The first series won critical acclaim for its amazing special effects and computer generated dinosaurs. The second series will feature a family of raptors on the rampage in a shopping centre, and a woolly mammoth holding up traffic on the M25.

Stars from the show took to the sand at Bournemouth pier on Monday and Tuesday.

Specialist vehicles laden with production equipment parked on the seafront and two areas of nearly 100 metres either side of the pier were cordoned off from the public.

A crowd scene to be layered with special effects was filmed on Monday. On Tuesday, one of the stars of the show arrived on location.

James Murray, who plays lab technician Stephen Hart, was filmed saving hapless beach-goers from a monster hidden beneath the sand.

The show's producers, Impossible Pictures, have kept details of the plot shrouded in mystery and have remained tight-lipped over the seafront activities.

"We don't want to give too much away," said spokesperson, Alex Wells.

"The scenes filmed on Bournemouth beach are crucial to the second series."

The science fiction series follows an elite band of scientists as they attempt to repair holes in the fabric of space and time - anomalies' - and save the public from the monsters that climb through them.

The new series will be shown in the early part of next year.