Celebrated edge-of-the-apocalypse drama (and Survivors pregenitor) Doomwatch will secure its first full DVD release in April 2016, when a boxset of all remaining episodes is released by Simply Media.
Doomwatch was produced by Survivors producer Terry Dudley, and several of its scriptwriters (Don Shaw, Roger Parkes and Martin Worth), and directors (including Eric Hills and Pennant Roberts) would go on to work on Survivors. Numerous Survivors cast members (including Stephen Dudley, Talfryn Thomas, Julie Neubert, Eileen Helsby, Lorna Lewis, Robert Gillespie and many others) appeared on-screen in Doomwatch.
With many Doomwatch episodes long-since lost from the archives, the Simply Media boxset will include all twenty-four of the surviving stories (across all three series of the show), including the infamous and never-transmitted Sex and Violence. Released on 4 April 2016, the new boxset will also include the 2006 BBC Four documentary The Cult of… Doomwatch. Says Simply Media:
Doomwatch was devised by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis, who had previously worked together on the science-fiction programme Doctor Who, and who were responsible for creating the part-human, part-machine race known as the Cybermen. The Department of Observation and Measurement of Scientific Work – nicknamed ‘Doomwatch’ – is a section of the Ministry of National Security whose remit is to act as a watchdog group investigating current scientific work, and ensuring that the welfare of the general public and the environmental is not compromised. It is led by Doctor Spencer Quist, a gruff and no-nonsense Nobel Prize-winning mathematician who is assisted by Doctor John Ridge, a chemist in his late thirties who is not only a ladies’ man, but who also has a shady past and connections to MI6 and Toby Wren, a physics postgraduate from Cambridge played by Robert Powell.
The release is discussed on Archive TV Musings; while Wiped News provides a detailed guide to the lost episodes.
Simply Media is not yet (23 December) listing the title in its forthcoming catalogue, but the Doomwatch DVD set is available for pre-order on Amazon in the UK.
A set of four episode reviews covering series three of Big Finish’s Survivors audio dramas has been posted on the Survivors: A World Away Big Finish mini-site. Of the closing story Leaving, the review concludes that the episode:
succeeds as a sure-footed departure point for series three, demonstrating once again the versatility of the Survivors audio format; showcasing the breadth of the dramatic terrain it opens up; and reasserting Big Finish’s conviction that, if the perils facing the survivors are to remain credible, the survival of even the most well-liked of new characters has to remain in doubt.
Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant) is appearing in the Big Finish Doctor Who story The War Doctor, starring John Hurt and Jacqueline Pearce, in the role of ‘The Slave’. Writer and director Nick Briggs recalls that Hurt and Seymour knew each other from earlier in their respective careers. ‘They hadn’t seen each other for about 40 years’, explains Briggs, ‘but they were delighted to be able to chat again.’ John Banks (Daniel Connor) also appears in The War Doctor in the role of Garv.
The War Doctor imprint has the same producer (David Richardson) and script editor (Matt Fitton) team as work on the Big Finish Survivors audios.
Cast from The War Doctor, including Carolyn Seymour and John Banks
Seymour also appears as Mrs Multravers in the Jago and Litefoot and Strax story The Haunting; and features in Doctor Who: The Churchill Years, Volume One, released in January 2016.
Carolyn Seymour at Big Finish
Zoë Tapper, soon to appear in the fourth series of Big Finish’s Survivors audio adventures, as Evie, appears in The Martian Chronicles, which stars Derek Jacobi in the role of Captain Wilde. This adaptation of the celebrated sci-fi novel, which won a Silver at the 2015 New York Festivals’ World’s Best Radio Program Awards, was commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and is now available for purchase as a Big Finish release.
Tapper will also feature in The War Doctor Volume 02: Infernal Devices, released in February 2016, in the role of Collis.
Zoe Tapper (with John Altman) in The Martian Chronicles
An article in yesterday’s Daily Mail (11 December 2015), which revisits the making of the 1945 classic British film Brief Encounter, includes reflections on the work of Celia Johnson by her daughter, Survivors‘ actress Lucy Fleming. She recalls:
Celia Johnson was in many ways just like Laura Jesson, agrees her daughter, the actress Lucy Fleming, today. ‘She was very moral and wouldn’t have liked that kind of situation to arise in her own life,’ says Lucy, 68, who is married to the actor Simon Williams and was best known for her role in Seventies series Survivors. ‘People loved working with her. She was fun. She had a great sense of humour.’
Those enjoying Richard Heffer’s (Jimmy Garland, Survivors series one) performance in series three of the Big Finish Survivors audio adventures, might like to check out the short online film A Walk in the Woods, created as part of the Virgin Media Shorts project by Cambridge Film Works in 2013, in which Heffer has a co-starring role.
Author, scriptwriter and long-time Survivors enthusiast Simon Clark discusses the writing of third series Big Finish Survivors episode Contact in a brand new interview. Clark recalls the time he visited the studio to listen to the actors at work.
I have to put on record what how terrific it was to be there at the recording. It is marvellous, heart-warming, and it’s hard to put into words the emotion that filled me when I sat there in the studio and heard the actors bring my script to life in such a vivid and powerful way.
Scheduled for release in June 2016, Big Finish have today (2 December) confirmed the episode titles, summaries and scriptwriters for the four episodes of the fourth series of Survivors audio adventures.
Based on Terry Nation’s cult post-apocalyptic drama, Survivors: Series 4 presents a quartet of new stories from the world of the original television programme.
After the harrowing events of Survivors: Series 3, the new series finds Greg (Ian McCulloch) and Jenny (Lucy Fleming) out on the road, reaching out to other survivors on behalf of the Whitecross Community. Their journey will bring them back into contact with Jackie (Louise Jameson) and Molly (Fiona Sheehan) – and a new community headed by Theo, an inspirational leader played by Ramon Tikaram (UNIT: The New Series, The Prisoner, Happy Valley).
‘I’m delighted that the first three series met with such acclaim,’ says producer David Richardson, ‘and I’m very excited by the new story lines that script editor Matt Fitton and his team of writers have been spinning. There are plenty of shocking twists and turns yet to come…’
Survivors: Series 4 comprises four full-cast dramas, and also features bonus behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew.
4.1 The Old Ways by Ken Bentley
The Government has plans for a national state of emergency. But when Evelyn Piper and her colleagues shelter in the Tartarus bunker, they discover no amount of planning can prepare for the reality of the Death…
4.2 For the Good of the Cause by Louise Jameson
One old friend calls on Greg and Jenny to look after another. Together, they visit a utopian community where the inspirational Theo seems to have founded the perfect way of life…
4.3 Collision by Christopher Hatherall
When the old world collides with the new, casualties are unavoidable. While Greg and Theo work together for the future, Jenny tries to save lives – with the help of a troubled young man called Michael…
4.4 Forgive and Forget by Matt Fitton
As long-buried crimes surface, resentment and recrimination threaten to destroy the peace of the Foundation. Jenny, Jackie and Molly have their own trials to bear, and Greg confronts the truth of this new world head on. For some, nothing will ever be the same…
Survivors: Series 4 is due for release in June 2016, with Series 5 following in November 2016. Both series can be pre-ordered today for just £25 each on CD, or £20 to download. And remember, when you choose to buy this release on CD directly from Big Finish, you will also unlock instant access to a digital copy for download.
Big Finish have today (2 December 2015) revealed that Zoë Tapper, who played the role of doctor Anya Raczynski in both series of the BBC’s TV remake of Survivors in 2008-2010 will be joining the cast of series four of Big Finish’s new Survivors audio adventures, set in the time and place of the original 1975 TV series.
Tapper will be taking on the role of new character government official Evelyn Piper “who listeners will first encounter in a flashback to the beginnings of the plague that decimated the globe”. At the time of the making of the first series of the Survivors remake, Tapper conceded that she was not particularly aware of the original TV incarnation of Survivors, but is delighted at being given the opportunity to return to the context of the original series and join new and original stories set in the world first devised by dramatist Terry Nation.
Recording on series four of Big Finish’s Survivors audio adventures will take place early in 2016, with the fourth series scheduled for release in June 2016 (with series five following in November 2016).
Series three of the Big Finish Survivors audios was released earlier this month, and was greeted with an immediately positive critical reception, and is available to buy in both CD and digital download formats. Series one and series two, and an unabridged audiobook of Terry Nation’s 1976 Survivors novel, are all available for purchase from Big Finish. The award-nominated first series opening episode Revelation is available as a free download from the Big Finish site.