Survivors: 2:1 Dark Rain

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Updated: November 26 2015 17:14


Survivors audio dramas from Big Finish

Months after the plague, storms batter the country. As Abby resumes the search for her son, Jackie and Daniel fight for their lives.

Survivors - Big Finish - Series 2 - Episode 1 - Dark Rain

SUMMARY

TRAVELLING TOWARDS THE West Country, Jackie Burchall and Daniel Connor seek shelter from torrential rain when their car breaks down. They meet Hargreaves, an apparently affable fellow survivor, who locks them in a house cellar in order to steal their possessions. Abby and Greg leave The Grange following a lead on Peter Grant's location, and cross paths with the solitary Ridley who directs them on to a group of narrow boats. There they meet Leanne and Russell who explain that a boy named Peter left for Aberystwyth in the company of an older man. As they journey on, Russell joins them, and the trio encounter an injured Hargreaves, who has been attacked by a large wild animal. Greg realises that Hargreaves is carrying Daniel's equipment, and compels him to reveal their friends' whereabouts. In the rapidly flooding cellar, Daniel launches a desperate bid for freedom which could kill them both. Can Greg and the group find the trapped pair before it is too late...?

COMMENTARY

THE OPENING EPISODE of the second series of Big Finish's Survivors audios, the first to the penned by director Ken Bentley, succeeds in delivering the high drama required of a series' opener. But it also impresses by bringing into sharper focus the three leading character from series one of the original TV series: Abby Grant, Greg Preston and (albeit to a lesser extent) Jenny Richards

It would be difficult for the episode's setting - torrential rain and floods - to come anywhere close to matching the power of the onset of The Death (the context of the opening episode of series one), but the audio realisation of the lashing storms and windswept countryside makes for some impressive immersive scenes. What the episode also makes good on is a wider representation of the state of post-plague Britain than that seen in the first series (which was largely set within the confines of Greater London). This sense of Survivors as drama constantly 'in motion' will become one of the recurring motifs of the second series.

The early scenes at The Grange, as Abby, Greg and Jenny discuss (and disagree) about their next priorities, feel immediately convincing. Bentley captures the 'voices' of the original TV characters well, and Carolyn Seymour, Ian McCulloch and Lucy Fleming re-inhabit their roles in a way which immediately rings true (and with such relaxed accomplishment that four decades seem simply to melt away). Their interactions, including Greg's uncertainty about his impending fatherhood, and Abby's impatience with his state of denial, feel entirely in keeping with the nature of their characters. With Jenny left behind at The Grange (as surrogate community leader) her character will enjoy far more air-time in the next episode. But the attention spent here on the hunt for Peter by Abby and Greg pays dramatic dividends.

As the rain hammers down, a range of new characters is introduced - including the honourable Russell, the suspicious Jenkins, and the mysterious Ridley

When Abby's search once again ends in disappointment (with another potential pointing her towards Aberystwyth), it is the life-of-death plight of Daniel and Jackie (trapped in a rapidly flooding cellar by the rapacious Hargreaves) which provides most of the edge-of-the-seat moments. Daniel and Jackie's relationship has clearly moved on apace from the traumas of her family home and of Feltham Polytechnic, and there is much more of a sense of a pair of friends battling to survive on a more equal footing. As the rain hammers down, a range of new characters is introduced - including the honourable Russell, the suspicious Jenkins, and the mysterious Ridley - the significance of whom will only become apparent as the series progresses.

Series two opens on very strong terms, with the central dilemma of the drama (heroes trapped in rising flood water as their compatriots race to free them) bearing many of the tropes of a Terry Nation script. But perhaps the more memorable aspect of the story is the way in which it intertwines so effectively the people, places and plotlines of the original TV series with the original characters and settings of Big Finish' own invention.

What comes through so strongly once again is the confidence and assuredness of Big Finish's (respectful but not reverential) approach to the Survivors canon. It is a strong opening gambit, marked by excellent performances and first-class audio realisation. However, the perils of Dark Rain only hint at the depths of the all-engulfing darkness that will soon envelop the series' protagonists.

REVIEW QUOTES

THIS EPISODE IS a stark reminder that some people are really only one step away from barbarism and are ruled by short-term self interest, whilst others take a more holistic view 10/10
Ed Watkinson, Planet Mondas

THIS SECOND SERIES of Survivors captures the tone, mood, atmosphere and reality of that grim, but strangely promising, post-apocalyptic existence perfectly.
Martijn, Mass Movement

 


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Latest updates

 

Series nine reviews added

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Series seven reviews added

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Series six reviews added

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Series five reviews added

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Links

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