Twenty years since the death of Survivors’ creator Terry Nation

Terry Nation

Today (9 March) is the twentieth anniversary of the death of Survivors‘ creator Terry Nation, who died from emphysema in Los Angeles, US on 9 March 1997 at the age of 66.

Nation enjoyed a long and varied career as a scriptwriter and show creator, notable for his contributions to Doctor Who and his work on numerous other TV series throughout the sixties and seventies and into the eighties. As well as creating Blake’s 7, Nation also devised the small-screen post-apocalyptic classic Survivors.

After he relocated to Los Angeles in 1980, Nation tried unsuccessfully to convince a US TV network to remake Survivors for the American TV market. Nation could hardly have imagined what would have become of Doctor Who in the last two decades, but the story of Survivors has also continued to evolve in ways the series’ creator could not possibly have anticipated, including:

  • The release of Survivors on DVD in different formats and packages, and for different regions, in the UK, America, Australia and Italy
  • The arrival of the first commercially published book to explore the genesis and production of the series.
  • The broadcast of a two-series, twelve-episode ‘re-imagining of Survivors by the BBC between 2008 and 2010
  • The re-publication in 2008 of his out-of-print 1976 Survivors novel
  • The release of the first ever audio-book version of his Survivors novel by Big Finish in 2014, voiced by Survivors actress Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant)
  • The release of a series of new and original audio-adventures, set in the time and place of the original Survivors TV series, and involving the three original core stars of the show: Carolyn Seymour, Lucy Fleming (Jenny Richards) and Ian McCulloch (Greg Preston). This audio series will result in, at a minimum, 36 new original episodes, with releases (which began in 2013) now confirmed to continue until at least the end of 2018
  • The publication of two book exploring Nation’s talents as a scriptwriter (including his work on Survivors) – Jonathan Bignell and Andrew O’Day. 2004. Terry Nation, Manchester: Manchester University Press; and Alwyn W Turner, 2001 Terry Nation: The Man Who Invented the Daleks, London: Aurum

 

Posting Letters to the Moon – new dates, new web site

Posting Letters to the Moon - web site

Additional dates have been added to the short tour of Posting Letters to the Moon, and a mini-website has been set up to promote current and future appearances.

In addition to the dates, previously advertised on this site, additional readings of the wartime letters between Fleming’s mother Celia Johnson and her husband Peter Fleming read by Lucy Fleming and Simon Williams have been confirmed:

ALHAMBRA CINEMA, KESWICK
Sunday, March 5, 2017
18:30-21:30
Includes a screening of Brief Encounter
£15 per head including refreshments, live performance and film
W: Keswick Alhambra | E: alhambracinema@gmail.com | T: 01768 772195

UPSTAIRS @ THE GATHER, ENNERDALE CENTRE
Ennerdale Bridge CA23 3AJ
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
19:30-21:30
The Gather Ennerdale Centre
£8 per head (plus book fee) via Eventbrite
E: bookings@ennerdalecentre.com | T: 01946 862453

NETTLEBED VILLAGE CLUB
Nettlebed Village Club, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 5DD
Friday, 21 April
19.30 for 20.00
Tickets £15 | Please ring Sue on 01189 345 960 for ticket details
Charity Evening to raise money for the Nettlebed Club’s Roof Fund

The Posting Letters to the Moon tour is previewed in Cumbria Life:

Posting Letters to the Moon - Cumbria Life
Image by Angela Jackson.

The reading of Posting Letters to the Moon at The Dukes, Lancaster on 1 March is reviewed on the British Theatre Guide site

Lucy Fleming and Simon Williams come steeped in their own theatrical fame, either from stage, film or TV appearances, or on radio in The Archers. This very week they both also appear in new cinema release The Viceroy’s House, which just happens to be set in New Delhi where her father was stationed.

So she can be excused if her voice just occasionally falters as she reads her mother’s adoring words of love to her father. Some people may think it was just acting, but a sold-out auditorium knew otherwise—and promptly stifled its own sniffles when her husband joked: “Pull yourself together!”

It was that kind of evening, one of sharing in another family’s heartfelt love.

An image from the Getty Images archive, pictures Peter Fleming, Celia Johnson and a young Lucy Fleming in 1955:

 

The Posting Letters to the Moon tour is covered in:

Carolyn Seymour narrates Jack Gerson’s ‘The Fetch’ for Big Finish

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Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant, Survivors) narrates a new audio-book version of Jack Gerson’s thriller The Fetch being released by Big Finish later this month (March 2017). Gerson was the creator of The Omega Factor series (and tie-in novel), and Big Finish will release the second series of audio adventures in The Omega Factor range (starring Louise Jameson and John Dorney) in April.

Big Finish are also releasing an audio-book version of Gerson’s The Evil Thereof, read by Barnaby Edwards.

Producer David Richardson explains : “When we started work on The Omega Factor, Natasha Gerson very kindly sent me a couple of her father’s novels as an example of the kind of stories he liked to tell. And I thought, ‘Why has no one ever done audiobooks of these? And so we have, with two brilliant readers – Carolyn and Barney, who do a magnificent job of leading us through these dark, unsettling mysteries…”

Synopsis

It’s the 1980s and Alistair Matheson is forging a quietly ambitious path in Government. All is going to plan until a brief encounter with a man who looks exactly like him throws Alistair’s ordered world into chaos. As this doppelgänger crosses his path time and again a series of events are set in motion with increasingly disturbing consequences. Is this double a spy? A conman? Or could he be something infinitely more sinister?

Written By: Jack Gerson
Directed By: Helen Goldwyn

Cast

Read by Carolyn Seymour

The Fetch is available for pre-order on the Big Finish site, and I’ll be reviewing the release for Starburst magazine.

Both The Fetch and The Evil Thereof can be bought on download for £9.99 each, or collected together in a bundle for £16. If you’re using the free Big Finish Download/Playback App for Android or Apple devices you will be able to listen wherever you are. (Please note these will be large files, and users should be wary of bandwidth usage).

UPDATE, 1 APRIL 2017: My review of Jack Gerson’s The Fetch has now been published in the online edition of Starburst magazine. Of Seymour’s performance, the review suggests that:

Seymour’s reading of Gerson’s prose is simply superb. A performance of complete conviction (that never flags at any point throughout the eight and a half hour running time), Seymour voices the book’s range of characters with impressive confidence. She is just at home with the clipped tones of the officious bureaucrats and politicians as she is with the voices of the oddball, the outsider and the outright disturbing characters that populate the fringes of Matheson’s fast-unravelling world. Seymour invests Matheson with a soft Scottish burr that quietly slides in and out of his speech (just as it would for an aspiring expatriate, eager to advance his position within the Westminster ‘bubble’). Under Helen Goldwyn’s pacey direction, Seymour voices the drama’s chilling and distasteful moments with such restrained finesse that she could clearly bring just the gravitas required to narrate ghost and horror stories.

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UPDATE, 24 APRIL 2017: My review of The Fetch also appears in the print edition of Starburst (#436), now in the shops:

Review of The Fetch in the print edition of Starburst #436