Terence Dudley

Survivors [BBC and Big Finish Productions]

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I set out intending to write a review of a new collection of audio dramas from Big Finish Productions, a company best known for its extensive range of Doctor Who audio spin-offs but who’ve also produced ‘new episodes’ of cult dramas ranging from The Tomorrow People to Sapphire and Steel and who have also just started an interesting new line of audio recreations of the mostly lost 1961 first series of The Avengers. Big Finish’s newest line is Survivors, which is based on a BBC TV series from the mid-1970s; but for obvious reasons I soon found that it’s impossible to talk about the new production without first undertaking a historical discussion of its television roots to set it in context, so please pardon the diversion…

The original Survivors was created by Terry Nation, the writer best remembered for penning the second Doctor Who story in 1963 and for introducing the Doctor’s nemeses, the Daleks. Nation went on to write episodes of The Avengers and a swathe of ITC productions including The Baron, The Saint, The Champions, Department S, The Persuaders! and The Protectors and also going on to create another cult favourite, Blake’s 7 before moving to the US and working on MacGyver in the 1980s.

Survivors could best be described as the dark reflection of 1970s sitcom favourite The Good Life. While Tom and Barbara Good got to play for laughs throwing themselves into then-trendy self-sufficiency in the backyard of their Surbiton home, in Survivors such endeavours become a matter of life and death in a post-plague world in which 99% of the population has been killed by a virulent flu-like epidemic leaving only isolated pockets of survivors trying to work out how to live without power, technology or law and order. Read the rest of this entry »