Updated: November 26 2015 17:17
Billions of people have died across the globe. Cities are rife with secondary diseases, and the survivors attempt to make their way out of London.
AT THE AIRPORT, Redgrave concedes that his quarantine plans is in ruins, but after he and Price head off on the road the former government official falls seriously ill. Connor begin to record a personal survivors' travelogue as he moves across an eerily empty London in search of other services. Searching for medical supplies Price meets up with Suzie and Sayed, scavengers from Gillison’s settlement, and agree to return to their community. Connor encounters Julie Burchall, a mother so overcome with shock she cannot accept that her husband and children are dead. Gently, Connor encourages Burchall to recognise her denial and accept the terrible truth of her loss. When Gillison refuses to provide medicine for Redgrave, the trio undertake a second unauthorised scavenge run; falling into a trap set by Gillison to design to test their loyalty...
Episode two of Big Finish's new Survivors' adventures is arguably more emotionally intense than the first. With the immediate chaos of the world's unravelling (foregrounded in episode one) now passed, much of the emotional texture of Exodus is about loss.
As scriptwriter Jonathan Morris suggests, in post-apocalyptic storytelling is is "better usually to go small-scale, to concentrate on a small number of characters and get to know them in detail, rather than go for sweeping spectacle." Here Big Finish's exploration of its post-apocalyptic terrain makes good on that understanding.
As Connor records his meanderings through the desolate wastelands of London, the drama provides a powerful sense of melancholy and absence (richly voiced by Banks). Despite the dangers he encounters, the mood is one of sadness and disconnection. In sharp contrast, Burchall's disabling denial at the loss of her family is distressing and disturbing, with Jameson delivering an acutely well-judged and convincing performance as a mother and wife on the edge.
The scenes depicting Connor's gentle coaxing of Burchall to recognise the appalling truth of her loss are extremely well played, and it feels genuine that both survivors find sufficient common cause to throw in their lot together.
The pair's encounter with Jenny Richards, as she flees the capital for the countryside, provides a plausible point of contact with the events of "The Fourth Horseman" which feels unforced. Lucy Fleming's portrayal of Jenny is instantly recogniseable, and feels entirely in keeping with the starting-point from which her character begins in the TV series.
Alongside the exploration of some tough emotional themes, is action and gunplay too. The brutal realities of Gillison's rule are revealed through the storylines of the doomed Sayed and Suzie, with the loss of Redgrave underlining how far Big Finish are staying true to the original series' maxim about no character's survival being guaranteed. Price's escape along the Thames leaves open the door to the return of Masterson's character in future series, and does serve to emphasise that Gillison is far from an infallible tyrant.
Connor's and Burchall's arrival at the gates of Gillison's compound at the episode's conclusion, neatly draws the storylines of the (surviving!) new characters together, paving the way for the return of some familiar voices in episode three.
The events of episode two confirm that Big Finish are approaching Survivors as drama rooted in the real, not in the realm of the fantastic. This is confident and satisfying stuff, respectful to the ethos and approach of the source material but undaunted by the idea of introducing original ideas. Survivors creator Terry Nation might never have focused so much attention on the theme of personal grief, but he would have appreciated the rich dramatic possibilities opened up by Gillison's megalomania and delusion.
JULIE BURCHALL [IS] played excellently by Louise Jameson. Completely on the other side of the coin from the Doctor Who dramas, here we have a woman who has made a mistake that will haunt her till her final moments. All of these people (plus others) are slowly being pulled towards the once Lecturer now slowly becoming Chairman James Gillison, played wonderfully by Adrian Lukis, as he slowly builds an empire on fear and forced respect.
JAMESON HAS SHOWN her versatility in a number of Big Finish productions away from her signature character of Leela in the Doctor Who range... but this has to be her best yet. With a brief appearance by one of the original survivors, this maintains the standard of Big Finish's most adult drama to date. 9/10
Paul Simpson, scifibulletin.com
THE DIALOGUE CAREFULLY constructs the landscape and it's a terrifying vision of the death of civilisation and the fragility of modern existence.
Sue Davies, SFcrowsnest
IT'S A DARK, brutal, compelling, perfectly executed and incredibly well written drama, a master-class in first rate storytelling...
Tim Mass Movement, Mass Movement Magazine
As they become available...
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