Survivors

Tagged: TV

UK tv series (1975-1977). BBC TV. Created Terry Nation (who also wrote 7 episodes in season 1). Produced by Terence Dudley. Writers included Jack Ronder, Martin Worth, Roger Parkes. Directors included Pennant Roberts, Terence Williams, Eric Hills. Three seasons, 38 50-minute episodes in all. Colour.

The Post-Holocaust novel is a particularly UK subgenre of sf, and so it is not surprising that the theme's first significant appearance on television should come from the BBC. The accidental release of a deadly virus kills almost everyone; in the UK only about 7000 people are left alive. Survivors follows the adventures of small groups of mostly middle-class survivors, their efforts to cope without Technology and their encounters with other, less sympathetic groups. The main characters include a housewife (Carolyn Seymour), a secretary (Lucy Fleming), an engineer (Ian McCulloch) and an architect (Denis Lill). Initial gloom is gradually replaced by rather too cosy an atmosphere, with aspects of a rural paradise – not only have all those smelly cities disappeared, but also the working classes. The subtext involves a very English political myth (which in literature goes back beyond Richard Jefferies's After London [1885]) about the strengths of a life lived close to the land. The overnight disappearance of technology and in particular the shortage of petrol are never adequately rationalized. Nation's partial novelization is The Survivors (1976); Survivors: Genesis of a Hero (1977) by John Eyers, carries the action forward into a grim Post-Holocaust world, and to the near triumph of a Dystopian tyranny. [JB/PN]

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