Updated: November 26 2015 17:14
Months after the plague, storms batter the country. As Abby resumes the search for her son, Jackie and Daniel fight for their lives.
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...?
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.
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
The ninth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"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"
The eight series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"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
The seventh series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"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
The sixth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"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
The fifth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"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
The fourth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"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
The third series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
The second series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
A full-length audiobook of Terry Nation's Survivors novel (in CD and download formats) read by Carolyn Seymour.
The first series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
Series nine reviews addedAdded: 13 July 2019
Series eight reviews addedAdded: 9 January 2019
Series seven reviews addedAdded: 14 January 2018
Series six reviews addedAdded: 12 July 2017
Series five reviews addedAdded: 20 December 2016
Series four reviews addedAdded: 26 June 2016
Series three reviews addedAdded: 18 December 2015
New interviews addedAdded: 21 November 2015