Updated: November 26 2015 17:23
After a storm wipes out much of their community's supplies, Greg and Jenny go in search of new provisions – much to Abby's disapproval.
AGAINST THE ADVICE of Abby Grant, Jenny Richards and Greg Preston leave the Grange settlement on a scavenging run which will take them to the outskirts of London. To test new arrival Connor's mettle and commitment, Gillison sends him on a foraging run under the command of the loyal Fiona Bell. Greg and Jenny encounter a group of wandering survivors led by former police sergeant Phil Bailey. When they are happened upon by Bell's group both parties are forced to return to Gillison's compound. Jenny is immediately suspicious and wants to leave, but Greg agrees to join a trip to the grounds of Heathrow to assess the airworthiness of a set of survey helicopters. On a test flight, the group are shot at and forced to crash-land. At his settlement, Gillison reveals that a number of residents are suffering from food poisoning, deliberately caused – he claims – by contaminated meat exchanged in a recent trade with a nearby community. His plans for retribution could have devastating consequences...
FOLLOWING THE BRIEF appearance of Jenny Richards in Exodus, this third episode returns her character to centre stage, heralds the return of Greg Preston and also includes an establishing cameo for Abby Grant. Set several months after the storyline of Exodus (and just after the events of the twelfth series one TV episode "Something of Value") Judges is the first of the new series of Survivors adventures to fully reconnect to the continuity of the original TV series; and does so to satisfying effect.
Judges opens up the vista of the audio adventures, pulling in some engaging new characters and settings, and serves up some powerful action-and-adventure sequences.
The encounter between Bailey's party, Greg and Jenny and Fiona's patrol group (all in one way or another looking for supplies sufficient to keep their group going) is suitably tense, and sets in motion the events which deliver Greg and Jenny into the clutches of the tyrant Gillison.
Script writer Andrew Smith is right to be pleased about the creation of the character of police sergeant Phil Bailey, a doggedly do-the-right-thing copper whose manner evokes memories of his 1970s police TV drama contemporaries and also of the TV Survivors character Burton - the head of the wandering group who arrive at The Grange in "A Beginning" in the closing episode of the first series of the Survivors TV series. "He's a credit to the force!", Smith suggests.
Smith and director Bentley ensure that the different strands of the action and parallel plot lines are clearly narrated, and, although in Judges character themes take something of a second place to high drama, there's ample space to explore the increasing delusion, paranoia and ruthlessness of Gillison - whose callous viciousness makes for some chilling listening; all the more so because Lukis' finely judged performance ensures that Gillison's villian never slides into caricature.
The four-story format of this first series of Survivors audio adventures does require a certain compression of the story arc, but the stories which deliver the suitably threatening cliff-hanger with which Judges concludes feel well-paced and muscular rather than rushed.
Having the original series' heroes trapped, under threat of death, by a self-serving tyrant with delusions of self-importance - Survivors' creator Terry Nation would have recognised the dramatic power of such a motif. Although, as the final episode will reveal, there are hidden motivations at work within the psychologically damaged mind of Gillison, which will come to the surface with devasting consequences.
AUTHOR ANDREW SMITH skilfully balances the drama between the characters and ensures that they continue to grow. Verdict: Compelling drama with Adrian Lukis’ Gillison one of the most horribly convincing characters Big Finish has created. 9/10
Paul Simpson, scifibulletin.com
THERE ARE PLENTY of social and legal conundrums thrown in by writer Andrew Smith and an excellent plot which uses the original characters to great effect with our new survivors
Sue Davies, SFcrowsnest
MAKE NO MISTAKE Survivors is full-blooded fare with tough decisions and chilling consequences, and it is not afraid to be pretty brutal in places and remains unafraid of killing off characters
Ian McCardell, Cultbox
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