Survivors: 1:1 Revelation

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Updated: November 26 2015 17:38


Survivors audio dramas from Big Finish

When people begin to die of a new strain of a flu virus, newspaper journalist Daniel Connor investigates. He uncovers a terrifying story – but will anyone ever get to read it?

Survivors - Big Finish - Series 1 - Episode 1 - Revelation

SUMMARY

AS A DEADLY flu pandemic sweeps the globe, normal life in 1970s Britain begins to unravel. Local newspaper journalist Daniel Connor tries to uncover the scale of the calamity but, as his office empties and his editor falls ill, Connor finds himself plunged into the middle of an unimaginable disaster. At London Airport, bride-to-be and attorney Maddie Price is frustrated to find there are no flights home to the United States, and is incandescent when she finds herself locked in impromptu quarantine. But when secretive government official John Redgrave reveals the reality of the plague’s spread, she is forced to confront the awful truth. Elsewhere, polytechnic lecturer Dr James Gillison finds that his own comfortable academic world is falling apart, as his students fall ill and die. Recognising his own natural immunity to the plague Gillison steps forward to assume a new leadership role...

COMMENTARY

A POWERFUL AND thoughtful opening first installment from Big Finish's new Survivors audio range, which revisits the onset of The Death from the perspective of three very different protagonists. Breaking with the sci-fi and fantasy norms of the Big Finish canon, Revelation largely eschews action set-pieces (with one plane-shaped exception) and instead takes the time to introduce its characters and explore the terrain of its historical real-world setting. The result is an atmospheric and unsettling tale of unfolding disaster as experienced by three new characters: the dogged newspaper journalist Connor, the professionally impatient attorney Price, and the suspiciously arrogant academic Gillison (none of whom meet up in this opening episode).

Vocal performances are consistently strong, right across the ensemble cast; and all those involved take advantage of the early focus on characterisation to establish their roles as fully as possible. Masterson excels in the role of the pushy attorney, whilst neatly side-stepping the cliches of the 'professional American abroad', while Banks is immediately convincing as a suitably unexpected hero and narrator in extremis. Molloy clearly relishes the chance to play the considered and complex government official Redgrave, delivering the news of the world's collapse with the quiet and clipped precision of the dutiful civil servant.

The presentation of the 1970s setting is simply but plausibly evoked through some understated touches (resisting the temptation to overdo the historical cultural refernces), and there is a believable sense that these events could be unfolding in parallel with the drama reflected in "The Fourth Horseman". As scriptwriter Matt Fitton suggests, the aim was to "retell the story of the outbreak of The Death, but from the perspectives of a new set of characters". In doing so, it remained important to convince the listener that "these events were happening in tandem with those of the TV series."

Any concerns that the inclusion of a 'musical soundtrack' in these adventures might feel intrusive or inauthentic are quickly displaced. Background and incidental music appears in only the most measured of ways, often appearing as simple surges of unsettling sound, effectively highlighting the dramatic tension of our protagonists' plight as key moments.

Big Finish have delivered a properly grown-up version of Survivors that is recognisable to the long-term enthusiast of the series while being open enough to entice in the new comer. This is an impressive entry point for the new series, which successfully introduces some interesting new players without jarring discontinuity. As an opening gambit, this both reassures and impresses.

REVIEW QUOTES

IT'S A BIG cast and inevitably we hear more in this story of some threads than others, but this is a very worthy continuation and extrapolation of the original. Verdict: A very strong start. 9/10
Paul Simpson, scifibulletin.com

THE STORY IS set as an alternative to the Jenny, Greg and Abby tale where we get to see how other survivors dealt with the trials and tribulations, showing people coping in more hectic settings than the original trio from the countryside and suburbs.
Villordsutch, flickeringmyth.com

BY THE END of this episode, you might need a bit of a sit down before moving on. It has quite an emotional impact and we are wrong-footed constantly about who we might root for.
Sue Davies, SFcrowsnest

USING AUDIO'S LIMITLESS effects budget, the initial two chapters cover the experiences of the outbreak though the eyes of fresh characters in mainly urban surroundings
Ian McCardell, Cultbox

AUDIO EXTRACTS

Revelation - trailer one

Revelation - trailer two

Revelation - trailer three


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Survivors - Big Finish - series five - cover  

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Survivors - Big Finish - series four - cover  

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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

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Survivors - Big Finish - series two - cover detail

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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)