John Banks (Daniel Connor)

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Updated: December 04 2015 19:07


Survivors audio dramas from Big Finish

 

 The thing that I like about this is that there is still a connection with the urban environment. The storyline returns to London

INTERVIEW series three

Now into your third series of Survivors' audio adventures you must feel that you've really got to know and to inhabit all the different facets of this particular survivor?

With Daniel Connor, I talked with producer David Richardson about the character for quite a long time actually before even I saw a script, and the whole idea of him. We got very excited. David was already very excited with the notion of the series. When he told me about it I immediately latched onto it. I knew the TV series. And it was such an exciting thing to be involved with.

It's been very useful that he has been established as a journalist – certainly in the very opening episode. His inquisitiveness, his curiosity and his realisation that the disease, the death, was a pandemic that it was killing people all over the world – I thought it was a very useful tool to have someone like Daniel who could articulate that, quite eloquently. The notion that he was starting out as someone who was interested in the pandemic as a "good news story" – good in the sense that it was something he could get his teeth into, and maybe make a name for himself with – then to arrive at the realisation of what was actually, truly happening. I'm sure that it was very carefully planned and thought through – but from my point of view, as an actor conveying that, I thought that it worked very well.

Daniel does not possess a naturally aggressive nature. He's not comfortable with the idea of inflicting pain on others. Feeling that he now has to act in violent ways at time must be a very difficult thing for him?

 There's clearly a sense that almost anyone in the series could go at any time

John Banks

It is a very difficult thing for him. What's defining the difficult decisions he now has to take is the reality of the "Brave New World".

And the audience learns, in this series, more about Daniel's sexual orientation

At the time that this was actually broadcast, in the mid-1970s... I don’t think there was any suggestion that any of the characters might be gay.

Daniel does does say in this series that being gay was illegal up until 10 years earlier. So it's very much something that is in his own lifetime, as an adult. He would have had to deal with how that affected him. The idea that you could be regarded as being, I don't know, "criminal" simply because of the way that you are, and have the feelings that you have.

From an acting point of view, all those sort of nuances and shades of character are great. What is actually beneath this particular line of dialogue; what is the subtext; what is he really saying here? And when he does try to actually make a connection with somebody he has feelings for, that going to be reciprocated, or not? How covertly can he actually express himself? The context of the series is, of course, the mid-1970s and not the present day.

But I do think it is so interesting in this set of circumstances, because it allows Daniel to be always slightly "outside" what's going on. It always allows him to adopt something of an external and objective viewpoint. Because he knows, ultimately, if he's going to be true to himself, he can't go along with what is expected of him. In this third series, he does get the chance to articulate some of these dilemmas as well.

How would you describe the tone of series three?

Certainly in series two, I'd say we got into some very, very dark, territory. In that series, there were villains who were clinically psychopathic. We don' go in quite the same direction with this third series.

Vinnie is obviously very thuggish and very brutal but there is a kind of "sanity", if you like; a "coherence" to what he's saying. Whether you agree with it or not - and I would imagine that most people don't – it is coherent

I think there are, in all three series, obviously moments that are designed for the releasing tension. Times when you're almost allowed a bit of a chuckle. But the effect of those moments is that it only actually serves to crank up the tension even further.

And the drama remains very much in thriller territory, rather than in the post-apocalyptic, self-sufficiency realm.

 It's truly been such a fantastic thing to be involved with. I am really proud of it

John Banks

That's another thing that I like. There was a notion floating around that perhaps Survivors on TV became a little bit like a tough version of The Good Life. The thing that I like about this version of Survivors is that there is still a connection with the urban environment. The storyline returns to London, where they're using the underground to get around. They're walking through the tunnels and navigating that way – because that's safer, and because it's less obstructed. That would be quite a thing, wouldn't it? Someone was talking about how you would get from one place to another in London in that sort of situation, and I was thinking "well, you would have to change at Tottenham Court Road... The Northern line is bound to be delayed”. Yeah, quite.

As Daniel has become such a feature of the Big Finish Survivors' world, many listeners will be shocked by his demise - even though his exit is a heroic act of self-sacrifice for his friends.

The very first time that I ever worked the Big Finish I was playing a character that I loved. And I thought "this guy, he's got to have a spin-off series of his own!" I was reading through the scripts and thought "he's being built up, he's a hero, he's fantastic". And then, of course, he makes the noble sacrifice and that's the end of him! That was the end of my Big Finish career in my first-ever story.

In Survivors Daniel does go out in a blaze of glory. And, as ever, my first instinct is always to say "so, he really doesn't escape? He really does jump? Oh, okay, that's fine... So there’s no way, then, that it could make sense if he just somehow...?' I do like Matt Fitton. I do like him. We've gone through a lot together – and obviously I'll never speak to him again, clearly [Laughs]. But obviously he's "under orders" to come up with the demise of Daniel. So I can only blame producer David Richardson, really.

Although it is sad for the audience to lose Daniel, one of the things that gives Survivors its frisson is that sense of its characters' vulnerability.

And I love that about it. There's clearly a sense that almost anyone in the series could go at any time. And that's brilliant actually. The effect of that is fantastic.

I have no complaints, actually, from the dramatic point of view – just merely from my own selfish point of view that new Survivors' scripts aren't going to be coming to me any more, and I can't play Daniel any more. It's truly been such a fantastic thing to be involved with. I am really proud of it in that I think it's done such interesting things and has done them so well.

 

Big Finish - Survivors - Series three - cast

 


Survivors: series nine

The ninth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series nine

"There's still great potential here, as the UK begins to emerge from the dark ages of The Death, for more stories set in this uniquely realised dystopia, should sufficient numbers of those who have yet to purchase copies of this extraordinary audio series belatedly recognise the error of their ways. If that doesn't happen, this will remain a stunning finale for what must be celebrated as a consistently compelling audio drama, 5/5"
Cultbox

Survivors: series eight

The eight series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series eight

"This latest boxset delivers an impressive mix of large scale, high stakes and small scale, intimate stories which set in motion the events which will come to an explosive conclusion in the final set in this current run of post-apocalyptic dramas, 5/5 " - Cultbox

Survivors: series seven

The seventh series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series seven

"At times harrowing, at other moments uplifting, and never anything other than completely riveting listening, this latest series of Survivors audios delivers drama that is simply unmissable. As the series leaves behind the timeline of the TV incarnation of the show, Big Finish's writers, cast and crew are all clearly brimming with fully deserved confidence. The two series of new Survivors audios coming in 2018 could scarcely be a more exciting or (in the best sense of the word) a more unpredictable prospect, 10/10" - Starburst

Survivors: series six

The sixth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series six

"After five extraordinarily well-received box sets, each of which offered a self-contained and themed collection of four episodes, the sixth series of Survivors audio adventures confidently takes a fresh approach... It's a liberating shift in format and, under the keenly judged direction of Ken Bentley, these scripts make exceptional use of the opportunity to tell diverse, if equally compelling, standalone stories, 10/10" - Starburst

Survivors: series five

The fifth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series five - cover  

"As it explores the highest stakes possible, this develops into the most thrilling and compelling set of stories in Big Finish's Survivors series to date: which, considering the exceptional quality of the drama in the preceding four instalments, is quite some achievement. This is extraordinary, exemplary human drama; by any standard, 10/10" - Starburst

Survivors: series four

The fourth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series four - cover  

"Intelligent, literate and superbly scripted and performed, this is a post-apocalyptic drama of the highest possible calibre. Determined to avoid the predictable tropes of that genre, it invites its listeners to navigate a moral minefield in a way that few other dramas of this type would attempt. This comes recommended without reservation" - Starburst

Survivors: series three

The third series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series three - cover detail

Survivors: series two

The second series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series two - cover detail

Survivors: audio-book

A full-length audiobook of Terry Nation's Survivors novel (in CD and download formats) read by Carolyn Seymour.

Survivors: series one

The first series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Latest updates

 

Series nine reviews added

Added: 13 July 2019

 

Series eight reviews added

Added: 9 January 2019

 

Series seven reviews added

Added: 14 January 2018

 

Series six reviews added

Added: 12 July 2017

 

Series five reviews added

Added: 20 December 2016

 

Series four reviews added

Added: 26 June 2016

 

Series three reviews added

Added: 18 December 2015

 

New interviews added

Added: 21 November 2015

 

Links

Original TV series (1975-1977)
Survivors remake (2008-2010)