Other Big Finish guests involved with the Survivors audio dramas include: Ken Bentley (director, writer), David Richardson (producer), Jason Haigh-Ellery (executive producer) and Matt Fitton (writer, script editor). Also appearing at the convention over the course of the weekend, as part of the Doctor Who guest line-up, are Louise Jameson (‘Jackie Burchall’, writer) and Terry Molloy (‘John Redgrave’).
Category Archives: Cast News
On Saturday 15 November McCulloch will join director Luigi Cozzi for a screening of their 1980 Italian cult sci-fi horror Contamination (one of three Italian horror movies McCulloch starred in shortly after finishing work on Survivors).
On Sunday 16 November, special event An Evening with Ian McCulloch will see the actor and musician in conversation and performance:
Acclaimed actor Ian McCulloch will be taking to the stage for a light-hearted evening looking back at his elaborate career in film and television. Best known for his leading role as Greg Preston in the 70s BBC TV series Survivors, we of course love him for his iconic appearances in three Italian horror movies: Zombie Flesh Eaters, Zombie Holocaust and Contamination. His horror work also includes Hammer House of Horror and The Ghoul, and other work includes Where Eagles Dare, Cromwell, The Professionals and Doctor Who.
We’re delighted to have lured him here to Aberystwyth where he will also be joining us for a Q&A after a screening of his film Contamination on 15th November.
A wealth of entertaining anecdotes takes us through his acting career that Ian promises will be accompanied by video clips, stories and the imminent threat of his guitar!
The Abertoir festival boasts an extensive programme of screenings, including UK premieres, special events and competitions, showcasing horror films of all different types and genres.
Big Finish have released the cover artwork for the upcoming audio-book version of Terry Nation’s 1976 Survivors novel. With its ‘shattered glass’ design, the cover art evokes comparison with the original UK paperback and hardback editions of the book – which featured a smashed photo frame containing a portrait of Abby Grant.
Unabridged and voiced by Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant), Survivors – audiobook of novel will be released in a six-disc CD set and in a digital download version in December 2014. Both versions of the Survivors audiobook are available for pre-order on the Big Finish site.
A deadly virus spreads across the world as quickly as the passenger jets that encircle it. Within weeks, most of the global population is dead.
The human race is thrown back into the dark ages. The few left alive must rely on the most basic skills to survive one day to the next.
Abby Grant ventures out into a strange new England, her husband dead, the fate of her son unknown. Jenny Richards flees London. Engineer Greg Preston arrives from abroad. Desperate lone travellers come together, their instinct to form a community, even if that means rebuilding civilisation from scratch. But not all who are left have such high ideals…
And while she has the chance of a new beginning, Abby cannot settle until she knows the truth. Has her son survived?
Written by: Terry Nation | Number of Discs: 6 | Duration: 360ms approx | ISBN: 978-1-78178-451-8
Big Finish have posted a set of photos on Facebook from the Big Finish Day 5 convention (13 September) – including shots from the Survivors panel, which several attendees have been retweeted:
— TheTwelfthDoctor (@rose962_matt) September 14, 2014
— TheTwelfthDoctor (@rose962_matt) September 14, 2014
— Chris Dale (@ChrisDalek) September 14, 2014
The force of nature that is Brian Blessed (whose memorable turn as Brod in series three Survivors episode Law of the Jungle is one of the guest-starring highlights of the final series) is the focus of the latest episode of the BBC personal family history show Who Do You Think You Are? (14 August 2014)
Interviewed for the Radio Times, Blessed revealed: “I didn’t want to find some boring king or duke or baron; I was hoping to find normal people with all their turmoil and suffering and joy. And by God, we have done! It’s more Dickensian than Dickens. Even the camera crew was weeping. They’re saying it’s the best they’ve ever filmed.”
Who Do You Think You Are? Series 11: 2. Brian Blessed is available (in the UK) on the BBC iPlayer until 23 October 2014.
Media retrospectives on Duncan’s varied career (including one in the Daily Mirror) rarely mention his time on Survivors, but there’s an interview on the Survivors: A World Away site that fills in that gap!
Lifelong surprise at a Brief Encounter
The star of Brief Encounter was always surprised that the tiny wartime movie had become a classic, her daughter says.
Actress Lucy Fleming, whose mother Celia Johnson starred as the housewife Laura in the film regularly voted one of the most romantic of all time, said: “I remember her saying about 10 years before she died [aged 73 in 1982] that it was odd that this little film she made during the war had become a classic. But she was terribly proud of it.”
Ms Fleming, 67, will introduce the film, which co-starred Trevor Howard, at three special screenings tomorrow and on August 22 and 29 with accompaniment by the London Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love.
The film, which follows the stiff-upper-lip near-romance between two married people who resist having an affair, was directed by David Lean in wartime Britain.
Ms Fleming said: “Obviously it’s very old-fashioned but it appeals to people still. I think it’s just a little gem — but I’m a bit biased.”
Louise Jury. 2014. ‘Lifelong surprise at a Brief Encounter’. Evening Standard. 14 August
An interview with Big Finish Survivors scriptwriter Andrew Smith is published today (24 July 2014) in the Scottish Daily Record.
Survivors of the fittest for writer Andrew
Rutherglen man’s tale in post-apocalyptic world
Imagine a world where the majority of the population has been wiped out by a virus, and how you’d survive that apocalypse.
Former Stonelaw High School pupil Andrew Smith has done just that, after writing a new hard-hitting audio play, which has just been released.
Having written for Doctor Who and Not The Nine O’Clock News on TV, Andy gave up on his writing career for many years, as he moved to London to join the police.
In recent years, he has returned to his former craft, writing Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 adventures on audio, for Big Finish, a London-based company that makes original stories based on hit TV shows.
Andy’s most recent work has been on Survivors, which is based on the 70s show of the same name, created by Terry Nation, who also created the Daleks and Blake’s 7.
Survivors ran from 1975-77, and featured the survivors of Earth after most of the world’s population is wiped out by a mysterious pandemic, accidentally unleashed by a Chinese scientist.
Andy, who formerly lived on Eskdale Drive, said: “I was a fan of the original series, so when the producer David Richardson got in touch and said they were looking to do a new series and asked if I’d be interested in doing one, I’d have bitten off his hand to be involved.
“I remember the first series on TV particularly well, so I knew the characters of Greg and Jenny, but it was very different to write from Doctor Who, in part because its drama is grittier, with more mature themes.
“Survivors does get categorised as science fiction, but it’s all about how real people would react in a realistic way, when there’s less than one per cent of the population left.
“It’s harsher and, basically, it’s more adult as well, to the point where there’s a caveat on the packaging saying that it’s got adult material and not suitable for younger listeners, as there’s people with traumatic backgrounds and experiences, across the four discs.”
Andy worked with his producer and script editor Matt Fitton, as well as the other writers on the box set, to create a dramatic series where you never know what will happen next – and who is going to live or die.
Andy continued: “David and Matt came up with a plan for the series, so I knew what elements of our story arc I had to include in my episode. My play was to reintroduce Greg and Jenny, and late on we added some scenes with Carolyn Seymour, who played Abby Grant, as they hadn’t been able to track her down at first, before she got in touch when she heard Big Finish were doing the series, so were able to include her to include her in a couple of scenes.”
Script editor Matt Fitton said: “Andrew’s Survivors story – Judges – effortlessly recaptures the voices of the original TV series characters Greg and Jenny – plus a cameo from Carolyn Seymour as Abby – while immediately hurling them into a new and dangerous situation.
“An Andrew Smith script typically delivers dynamic action, with some interesting moral issues at its centre. In the case of Judges, with its pivotal policeman character in our post-apocalyptic society, it’s a story Andrew has a unique perspective on as a writer.
“It’s always a pleasure to work with him, and I hope we get the chance to collaborate again in the future.”
With Scots actor Ian McCulloch as original series character Greg, and Lucy Fleming as Jenny, as well as a tremendous cast of other experienced actors, Andy found it a difficult but rewarding ask to ensure all of the leads were given sufficiently good material to work with.
He said: “There are so many lead characters in it, you’ve got to find the right balance for everyone. With, for example, a Doctor Who story, you have to make sure you give the Doctor and the companion meaty things to do, and with Judges, it was a case of making sure there were enough storylines going on for our regular actors, John Banks, Louise Jameson and Adrian Lukis, as well as Ian McCulloch and Lucy Fleming.
“I hope I pulled it off, and managed to create a good ensemble piece, and I was delighted with the calibre of actors we had. You can pick any of them out, and say what a great job they did. They’re all fantastic.”
Andy was able to apply some of his day job experience into his play.
He explained: “Phil Mulryne really impresses as the policeman, Phil Bailey. Deciding he was a policeman was one of the first things I knew I would do – it wasn’t in the plan but it seemed the right thing to do, have a policeman who’s gathered together some people and is being the one who says follow me. I really related to that.
“Something I was proud of in the play was a scene where they discussed theft, which is something I’ve had in real life, where you ask someone to describe theft – and most people would say it’s taking something that doesn’t belong to you without permission.
“But what it you borrow something without permission and then return it – is that theft? What if someone shoots a duck flying overhead and it lands in your garden – is that theft? What if you want an extra bottle of milk and you take one and pay for it, but it would mean the milkman then doesn’t have enough milk to finish his round – is that theft?
“It’s a very difficult one to define.”
Survivors has won tremendous critical acclaim from reviewers, delighting the production team.
Andy added: “It does make you think, this series, and that’s one of the secrets of Survivors – it makes you think what skills have you got, would you be able to use them to survive? Put yourself in that situation, and think about the knowledge you have.
“When writing my plan, I thought a policeman would have a good range of skills in the community.
“But then you wonder, what if you are older and weak, or ill – what part would you play in the new communities?
“Hopefully, it will make the listener think, and I believe that’s why it’s been such a huge success with the people who’ve heard the whole series.”
Survivors is available on download and on CD, from http://www.bigfinish.com.
Kenny Smith. 2014. ‘Survivors of the fittest for writer Andrew’, Daily Record, 24 July. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/survivors-fittest-writer-andrew-3901401.
The new edition of Big Finish’s free-to-download Vortex magazine (No 65) includes a fully-illustrated four-page feature on the new Survivors audio adventures.
The feature includes quotes from cast and crew, and confirms the release of the series one box-set as gaining “universal praise and outstanding critical success in reviews”.