The Basics

A brief history of the re-release of Survivors series one on VHS

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Cover of all six volumes of the Sovereign Video release of Survivors series one
The Sovereign video re-release

In 1998 the new genre specialist label Sovereign Video leased from BBC Worldwide the license for all three series of Survivors. Sovereign re-packaged and re-released the first series on six tapes between July and September of that year (following the same two-episode per tape format, with three episodes offered on volume six, that BBC Worldwide had used five years earlier).

This Sovereign release featured new and original sleeve art by Pete Wallbank, including a spine motif that – across the six tapes – combined in the image of a human skull. Reviewing the re-release of the first volume in Dreamwatch, Gary Russell declared the series: “Essential viewing for anyone who appreciates good television drama that never patronises” (No 46, June 1998). In SFX, Sharon Gosling observed that: “British fantasy was as its height when Survivors was made and looking back now it’s still possible to see why it and its contemporaries have become cult programmes” (July 1998). As with reviews of the earlier BBC release, the episode Law & Order was picked out for particular praise, with Simon Clark arguing that it: “must rank among the best TV drama ever” (SFX, September 1998).

In contrast to the BBC’s earlier decision not to go ahead with future releases of the programme, Sovereign announced in the autumn of 1998 that it intended to release series two of Survivors on a set of six VHS tapes in 1999, with series three to follow. Covers were again commissioned from Wallbank, and a colour advertising campaign began in the genre press – but the release of the second series’ tapes was abandoned before production went ahead. Despite the cancellation, reviews of all six putative volumes appeared in SFX, with Clark observing that: “In Survivors, there are never neat answers, but many profound and disturbing questions. Essential viewing” (SFX, January 1999). Clark’s sixth and final review concluded that: “Survivors remains a reminder of British television fantasy’s past glories” (SFX, May 1999).

Sovereign Video later ceased trading, cancelling plans for other releases including one for Survivors' clearest progenitor at the BBC: Doomwatch (broadcast 1970-72). As with the 1993 BBC Worldwide tapes, second-hand copies of the series one Sovereign VHS tapes regularly appear on internet auction sites.

Having been first released in 1993 by BBC Worlwide, the first series of Survivors would enjoy one more incarnation on VHS, when it was reissued for a second time by DD Video (in parallel with the long anticipated release of Survivors first series on DVD) in 2003.

Survivors: The Basics

An introduction to Survivors
Episode guide
Themes and plot 'arcs'
Survivors: main characters
Survivors on satellite & cable TV
The BBC Worldwide video release
The Sovereign Video re-release
The DD Video re-release
Survivors series one on DVD

Survivors series two on DVD
Survivors series three on DVD
Survivors three series DVD box-set
Survivors Italian DVD releases
Survivors Region 1 DVD box-set
Survivors novelisations
'Making of' and Survivors Guide Books
Fanzines and other publications
Reviving and remaking Survivors


Front cover of The End of the World?: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Survivors

Cover price: £ 12.99.

More information and reviews >>>

The End of the World?

An authoritative and comprehensive guide to all aspects of Survivors is provided in The End of the World?: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Survivors, co-authored by Rich Cross and Andy Priestner. Richly illustrated with behind-the-scenes photos, the book includes: Guides to the production of each of the three series of the show; reviews and analysis of all 38 episodes; assessments of the core themes of each series; character and location guides... and much more besides.

Published by Telos Publishing in December 2005, the title is currently out of print. Plans to publish an updated edition of the book are currently on hold.


Home | Survivors: The Basics

Basics: Introduction | Episode guide | Characters | Themes | Videos | DVDs | Novels | 'Making of...' books
Behind-the-scenes:Unseen series one location shots
Books: Survivors book: The End of the World? | Survivors book: Worlds Apart
Terry Nation study - Bignell and O'Day | Terry Nation study - Turner | Hitch-Hiker's Guide to Survivors
Cast and crew: Memorabilia 2011 | Pennant Roberts: 1940-2010
DVDs: Series 1 DVD | Series 2 DVD | Series 3 DVD | DVD news
DVD studio day photo galleries: Series 1 | Series 2 | Series 3
Interviews: Jonathan Bignell | Peter Duncan | Don Shaw | Roger Monk | Alwyn W Turner | Pete Wallbank
Locations: Genesis: 2005 location finds | Genesis: 2013 location finds | Genesis: Greg Preston's home
Gone Away: 2013 location finds | Hampton Court interiors | The Last Laugh locations
TV: 'The Cult of...' Survivors | Survivors Australian trailer | See The Enemy in 'TV Heaven'
Writing: Writings on Survivors | SciFi Now: Survivors | Action TV: Survivors
More: 'Goofs and Gaffes' | Survivors at the BFI | Survivors in SFX 'best ever' poll
Survivors on Mastermind | How to annoy a Survivors fan

Survivors book: The End of the World?

Survivors: Mad Dog