Villordsutch reviews Big Finish Audio Productions’ Survivors – Series One…
Written By Matt Fitton, Jonathan Morris, Andrew Smith, John Dorney.
Directed by Ken Bentley.
Sound Design by Neil Gardner.
Music by Nicholas Briggs.
Starring Lucy Fleming (Jenny Richards), Ian McCulloch (Greg Preston), John Banks (Daniel Connor), Louise Jameson (Jackie Burchall), Sinead Keenan (Susie Edwards), Caroline Langrishe (Helen Wiseman), Adrian Lukis (James Gillison), Chase Masterson (Maddie Price), Terry Molloy (John Redgrave), Camilla Power (Fiona Bell), Phil Mulryne (Phil Bailey), San Shella (Sayed) and Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant).
I’m rather a big fan of Survivors, another classic Terry Nation original, though I hadn’t hit the age of four by the time it had finished its original run; I’d caught up with it some twenty or so years later and found it to be quite fantastic – granted it wavered in the final series, but it was still a fantastic show as a whole. We followed Abby, Jenny and Greg as they attempted to form a stable community after a plague had wiped out nearly 95% of Earth’s population whilst dealing with looters, overly oppressive leaders as well as murderers in the community; the show was, in some instances, very upsetting to watch. A remake was recommissioned in 2008 by the BBC and hasn’t returned since 2010. For this my town has a slight claim to fame – the local Post Office and Morrisons (then Netto) was used to represent a post-apocalyptic scene in the drama, as no work needed to be done to the area to make it look like looters had turned over the outside of the stores. Should I be proud?
Now here from Big Finish we have Survivors Series 1. The story is set as an alternative to the Jenny, Greg and Abby tale where we get to see how other survivors dealt with the trials and tribulations, showing people coping in more hectic settings than the original trio from the countryside and suburbs. We have Maddie Price and John Redgrave locked in a packed airport, with Maddie and the other hundreds of passengers under the belief that the flights will be arriving shortly. Only John Redgrave (A government official) is more than aware than this airport is more of a mausoleum than a means to escape. We also have Daniel Connor the local Newspaper reporter who, after a nice torch passing scene from Jenny, goes to London. In the original show cities were steered clear of due to the large amount of bodies, disease and rabid dogs. We also have Jackie Burchall played excellently by Louise Jameson. Completely on the other side of the coin from the Doctor Who dramas, here we have a woman who has made a mistake that will haunt her till her final moments. All of these people (plus others) are slowly being pulled towards the once Lecturer now slowly becoming Chairman James Gillison, played wonderfully by Adrain Lukis, as he slowly builds an Empire on fear and forced respect.
The first two discs of Series One are brilliant, though the dispatching of characters I was building an attachment to was disappointing; however the final couple of discs I was left slightly jaded with. What started out as new characters, alternative story, and new direction returned to becoming an extension of the original series, with Greg and Jenny returning full force (Abby returns to but only for a few lines). Don’t get me wrong I do like the original Survivors series and if a Big Finish production came along with them attached to it I’d probably be other the moon, but at the same time I was also enjoying the fact I was being given a new storyline, with new players and locations.
Hopefully come Series Two we’ll see more of the new characters created in Series One and a return to the foundations laid out. To me the opening to Survivors Series One was a brilliant run at something new and they should have stuck to their guns throughout the four discs instead of pulling a ripcord midway and bring the old school back into the fold. Still for any Survivors fans this is worthy of a purchase.
For more on Survivors – Series One, visit the official site.
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.