1 9 7 5 – 1 9 7 7 (UK)
38 x 50 minute episodes
The nightmarish premise of Survivors, established in the opening episode, was that an oriental scientist dropped a test tube containing a deadly virus which wiped out 95 per cent of the Earth’s population.
Subsequent episodes followed the fortunes of a small group of British survivors, principally Abby Grant (Carolyn Seymour), Greg Preston (Ian McCulloch), architect Charles Vaughn (Denis Lill) and Jenny Richards (Lucy Fleming), as they tried to adapt, rebuild communities and re-invent skills and technologies.
This series by Terry Nation (of Doctor Who and Blakes 7 fame) is something of an underrated, seldom seen treasure.
The trials of the survivors were made all the harder by widespread lawlessness and disease. Nation’s recurring interest in the misuse of power was widely evidenced, particularly in the segment ‘Genesis’, in which George (Inspector Wexford) Baker played Wormly, a trade union boss and embryonic robber baron attempting to impose a miniature military dictatorship.
As a dramatic exploration of the question, Could humanity endure if it had to start all over again?, Survivors was intelligently done.
It was noteworthy too for having a woman (Abby) as the lead character, which was particularly unusual in a sci-fi serial.
Nation himself left the project after season one, and this coupled with the fact that as civilisation was rebuilt the series lost its raison d’etre, meant a drop in quality.
Filmed on location in the Welsh marshes and Herefordshire, numerous Survivors behind-camera personnel came from another BBC sci-fi series with its optimism on hold, Doomwatch.
Mrs Emma Cohen