David Richardson (Producer)

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Updated: December 17 2015 23:41


Survivors audio dramas from Big Finish

What I found most flattering was the fact that Ian McCulloch (Greg Preston), at several times during recording, said he felt our episodes were the equal of the very best Terry Nation scripts.

INTERVIEW

Is it fair to say that Survivors is something of a departure from the norm for Big Finish? It's a high concept series, but it's terrestrial, it's set in a real time and place, and there are no signature science fiction elements.

No, it's a fair point. Survivors isn't the kind of science fantasy that we usually make. It's a real departure into a more reality-based storytelling. Having said that, I think the contrast with the other stuff that we make actually makes it a very good choice for Big Finish to be doing. Everything that we do at Big Finish is made out of love. We have a passion for these shows. I love Survivors, and I wanted to make it with love. It's very much in keeping with the first series of the TV show and it's very much 'Terry Nation's Survivors'. Our logo says 'Terry Nation's Survivors', and that’s what it'll be. This is very much a thriller. To me, Survivors is about the best and the worst of human nature in extreme circumstances – and that's the kind of stories we're telling.

Has the idea of bringing Survivors into the Big Finish fold been long in genesis?

I've wanted to do Survivors for ages. It's a showed that I absolutely loved, back in the 1970s. I watched every episode as it went out. It was one of the series, along with Blake's 7 and The Avengers that I really wanted to bring to our catalogue. Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs, executive producers here at Big Finish, were very supportive of the idea when I suggested it to them. We then negotiated the rights with the Terry Nation estate, who were lovely and supportive, as they always are.

To me, Survivors is about the best and the worst of human nature in extreme circumstances – and that's the kind of stories we're telling.

David Richardson

Did the television remake of Survivors, in 2008-2010, impact on or influence your plans at all?

No. We didn’t get going until long after that had finished production. And I do feel very strongly that a big part of the appeal of what we do at Big Finish is nostalgia, so I didn’t want our Survivors to continue the recent incarnation of the story. I thought that we should go back to the original, the one that meant so much to me when I was younger. I’d also worked with Lucy Fleming before and I'd met Ian McCulloch and Carolyn Seymour, when I was doing interviews for different magazines, and they were all lovely people. So I was keen to work with the actors from that generation of the show.

Once you'd settled on your brief for the series, did you insist that the writing team all familiarise themselves with the original source material?

The only brief was to sit down and watch the original series again – which script editor Matt Fitton did multiple times. He checked out continuity in astonishing detail, so it does fit in very closely with what was done on TV. The events of episode three see Lucy (Jenny) and Ian (Greg) coming into a story as a repercussion of something that happens on the TV show; so narratively, it works beautifully. All the writers were fans of the show. When I had the first conversation with John Dorney about writing he'd been watching the DVDs so was very keen to leap in and get on with it. One thing that I love about Big Finish is that we have very close, collaborative teams, and certainly director Ken Bentley, writer John Dorney and script editor Matt Fitton work very tightly as a group. We're good mates, as well as a good fit creatively. We've worked on other projects together, we know each other’s sensibilities, so it’s very easy to work out how we'd all fit together on this.

How close is the scale of Big Finish's Survivors to that of the original TV series?

We've remained true to the original TV show. It remains a drama about characters. What is so fascinating to me, and I think that the writers have really tuned into it, is what human nature becomes when civilisation is stripped away; and what happens when the technological world suddenly stops working. There are some fantastic lines in "The Fourth Horseman" which have stayed with me all of my life, actually, like the question one survivors poses – 'how do you make a candle?' We've got elements of that in this. Chase Masterson’s character has a lovely observation – we've made the world so small, but what happens if it becomes a big place once again? In this new world somewhere that's only ten miles distant is suddenly a long way away. We stay true to the original series. We’ve kept it about characters, but there are some unexpected 'shock' moments along the way, which enable us to make the drama just a little bit 'bigger'.

 

Lucy Fleming and Ian McCulloch

 


Survivors: series nine

The ninth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series nine

"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"
Cultbox

Survivors: series eight

The eight series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series eight

"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

Survivors: series seven

The seventh series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series seven

"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

Survivors: series six

The sixth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series six

"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

Survivors: series five

The fifth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series five - cover  

"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

Survivors: series four

The fourth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series four - cover  

"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

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

Survivors: series two

The second series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

Survivors - Big Finish - series two - cover detail

Survivors: audio-book

A full-length audiobook of Terry Nation's Survivors novel (in CD and download formats) read by Carolyn Seymour.

Survivors: series one

The first series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.

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)