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!
Category Archives: Cast News
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”.
The B-Side of the single that Ian McCulloch (Greg Preston) recorded in 1964 for the Decca label, during his brief pop career, is currently available on YouTube.
The 7-inch single (Catalogue number F11855) had as its A-Side the track Come On Home, which was backed with the track made available here Down by the River. Released in March 1964, the single was produced by Peter Attwood, with arrangement provided by Charles Blackwell.
The single is a collectible, and only rarely appears for sale on auction sites, or in the listings of record collector magazines.
New interviews with John Banks (Daniel Connor), Sinead Keenan (Suzie Edwards), Adrian Lukis (James Gillison), Chase Masterson (Maddie Price), and San Shella (Sayed) have been added to the Survivors: A World Away Big Finish mini-site.
There are also reviews of all four episodes in the first series. More interviews with cast and crew will be added soon!
Also joining the cast of The Mummy are Jason Durr (Heartbeat ) and Susie Amy (Footballers’ Wives ).
Adapted (“very loosely”, say the producers) from Bram Stoker’s Jewel of the Seven Stars by Jack Milner, The Mummy is described as “a cross between The Woman in Black, The 39 Steps and The Morecambe and Wise Show “. The production is directed by Joe Harmston (Associate Creative Director of The Belgrade Theatre, and Agatha Christie Theatre Company regular).
From deepest, darkest, dangerous Egypt, a legendary curse is stirring back into life and we’re all going along for the outrageous and terrifying ride! This titillating tale of terror and intrigue spans thousands of years and will have you laughing, screaming, screaming with laughter and laughing with screaming in equal measure!
A respectable legal practitioner, a beautiful dark-eyed Cornish heiress, a 5,000 year-old man seeking an ancient love and the Tomb of the mystical Queen Tera all clash spectacularly in hilarious circumstances.
Lill plays two separate roles: ‘The Egyptologist’ in search of the key to eternal life, but one half of a horse with fellow actor Andrew Bone. “It’s really stretching my accomplishments,” jokes Lill. “It’s a unique experience.”
The Mummy premiered at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry on Friday 21 March, completing its initial run on Saturday 29 March, ahead of a nationwide tour, which takes in theatres around the country throughout April, May and June.
The Big Finish Day 5 will feature guest appearances from Tom Baker and Philip Hinchcliffe launching the new Big Finish Doctor Who: Philip Hinchcliffe Presents release; a new audio drama in which Carolyn will also feature, lending her vocal talents to the role of Mordrega.
From the team behind the new Big Finish Survivors audio adventures, there will also be appearances from producers Nick Briggs, David Richardson, director Ken Bentley and actor (and Big Finish regular) John Banks.
Advance tickets can be purchased online.
A ten-minute Tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack (the television, stage and big-screen actor who died on 15 January 2014, aged 69) broadcast on BBC One (2 February, 23:10) included a short clip from series two Survivors episode Lights of London I, showing Lloyd-Pack’s first appearance in the role of Wally.
The brief sequence showcased Wally’s opening speech: “You won’t get rid of me. I’ll get back. You see. I’ll get back”. The clip was part of a montage of extracts from TV appearances the actor made in the 1970s, before finding popular acclaim in long-running situation-comedies Only Fools and Horses and The Vicar of Dibley. It it the first time since its original broadcast in April 1976 that any footage from Lights of London has been shown on BBC One.
BBC. 2014. A Tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack. BBC One, 2 February.
Roger Lloyd-Pack (the only actor to appear in both the original Survivors [1975-1977] and the Survivors remake [2008-2010]) has died. The well-respected character and comedy actor passed away from pancreatic cancer on 15 January 2014, at the age of 69.
In the original series, Lloyd-Pack appeared in a memorable guest-starring role in the two-part story Lights of London (series two, 1976), taking on the part of the young rebel Wally, who is exiled from the 500-strong London community for voicing discontent with the authoritarian rule of dictator Manny. He rescues Greg and Charles when they are attacked by rats on arriving in London to search for the abducted Ruth. Wally travels (off-screen) to the Whitecross community to take news of the whereabouts of Greg, Charles and Ruth. When he returns and joins in a recce mission to search for petrol supplies, he is shot by the ruthless Manny and left for dead in wasteland near the Thames. At the end of the story, a wounded Wally returns to rescue Ruth, Charles and Greg, who are trapped in the underground tunnels by gunfire from a murderous Manny when attempting to flee. After he shoots Manny dead, Wally agrees to rejoin the London community in the hope of encouraging the London survivors to adopt a more equitable, tolerant and democratic form of organisation. He also commits himself to finding a volunteer doctor to take the place of abductee Ruth – who is now free to return to Whitecross with Charles and Greg.
Some thirty-four years later, in the second series of remake of Survivors, Lloyd-Pack took on the far less heroic role of truck driver and trader Billy Stringer; who appears in episodes three and four. Initially appearing to be a benign figure, Stringer rescues Greg and the family from a Land Rover breakdown by providing them with a replacement fan belt. But Stringer later reveals to settlement leader Samantha Willis that he know knows the whereabouts of Tom Price (the man at the top of her most-wanted list) and sets in motion the events which culminate in Price’s detention, trial and conviction for murder. Stringer is revealed to be a slave trader, abducting survivors from around the country as forced labour for the brutal coal mining operation being run on Smithson’s estate: a fate which soon befalls Greg and Tom. Later, after Stringer’s truck is stolen by an escaped Tom, he is left tied to a tree in the woods. It is there that he realises that the young captive who helps to free him from his binds is Abby’s missing son Peter. Unseen off-screen, Stringer later hands Peter over to the Whitaker’s group of research scientists; setting the scene for the final showdown of the second series. Stringer’s own fate remains unknown.
Lloyd-Pack was born in 1944 in Islington, London, the son of Hammer horror actor Charles Lloyd-Pack. Early in his acting career her appeared in such shows as The Avengers, Jason King, Crown Court and Softly Softly: Taskforce, whilst enjoying a varied career in the theatre. Lloyd-Pack later found considerable fame and popular acclaim through his recurring roles in sit-coms Only Fools and Horses (as Trigger) and The Vicar of Dibley (as Owen Newitt) – roles so prominent they sometimes overshadowed his other work. More recently he appeared in Doctor Who (in 2006), The Old Guys (2009-10) and Inspector George Gently (2012) and on the big-screen in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Made in Dagenham (2010) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011).
News of Roger Lloyd-Pack’s passing was widely reported, including on the BBC News site (which also published an obituary and a photo gallery of his on-screen career). Obituaries appeared in The Independent, The Telegraph, The Guardian and in many other places.