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

 

Big Finish confirm series eight and nine for Survivors audio dramas

Big Finish have confirmed (21 December 2016) that a further two series of Survivors audio adventures have been given the go-ahead; and will be released in June 2018 (series eight) and December 2018 (series nine) respectively.

Following the release of series five last month, series six and series seven had already been confirmed for release in June 2017 and November 2017.

This excellent news means that (alongside the audio-book version of Terry Nation’s 1976 Survivors novel) Big Finish will have created and released no less than 36 original Survivors audio stories by the close of 2018.

Series six, seven, eight and nine are all available for pre-order on the Big Finish web site.

Big Finish - Survivors - Series 2 - four days to go to release...

Flashback to 2015… and a pre-release teaser poster for Survivors series two audios…

Big Finish celebrates reception for Survivors series five audio adventures

Big Finish - Survivors - recording session - December 2016

Big Finish have published an end-of-year round-up of the outstandingly positive reviews that have greeted the release of the fifth series of Survivors audio dramas.

Survivors 5 – A Critics’ Cracker!

We take a look at the critics’ reception of our most recent Survivors release…

(Thanks to David Richardson for this photo from this month’s recording of Survivors – Series 6)

Since its arrival in November, Survivors – Series 5 has received enthusiastic reviews for the four new stories from writers Andrew Smith, Christopher Hatherall and Simon Clark, starring Carolyn Seymour, Ian McCulloch and Lucy Fleming.

Starburst gave the latest release 10/10, saying: “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.”

“All the best box sets work on many levels and this is one of the best – it’s a morality tale, it’s a broken mirror to the world we live in, it’s a character study, it’s a battle of humanity against the virus but more than anything this is the story of Carol Baker. A tale of despair, a tale of hope and a tale of the spirit of humanity both good and bad – and its another classic 10/10,” – Planet Mondas Blog

Sci-Fi Bulletin judged, “Survivors Series 5 is the strongest entry in the franchise so far. It uses a string of excellent guest stars, top class writing and direction to explore the fragile, tenacious hope that powers this world… If you’ve not heard Survivors yet start at the beginning, it’s worth it. If you have, this is the best series yet. 10/10”.

“Survivors offers a challenging listening experience,” says Cultbox, “and this latest season continues to deliver some genuinely shocking moments, not least at culmination of the first episode. Despite its 70’s setting, it also contains some very pertinent parallels surrounding the movement of refugees, and makes us ask the question of how far we ourselves might go in order to survive. 5/5”.

Mass Movement Magazine‘s Tim Cundle concluded his review: “If you are a fan (and if you’re not, then you should really be asking yourself why not and doing your damndest to rectify that as soon as possible) and you are familiar with the series, then you’re going to love every single second of the rapidly unfolding drama that lives at the heart of Survivors Series Five. Survival is everything…”


 

Until the end of the month, Survivors – Series 5 remains at the frozen pre-release prices of £20 on Download and £25 on CD (in each case going up by £5 from January). Check out the range here, including the four previous series, Carolyn Seymour‘s haunting reading of Survivors by Terry Nation, pre-order prices on next year’s Series 6 and 7, and even a free episode: Survivors – Revelation.

Survivors – special offers from Big Finish this weekend

Big Finish - Survivors - combination cover image

AHEAD OF THE release of the fifth series of Survivors audio adventures later this month, Big Finish are this weekend (4-7 November 2016) offering discount deals on the first two series of the audios and the celebrated audio-book reading of Terry Nation’s 1976 Survivors novel.

Survivors Special Offers

Ahead of this month’s fifth series of the acclaimed audio revival of Terry Nation’s Survivors, we have some special offers for those eager to hear this series for themselves…

Later this month, Big Finish releases the fifth series of our award-nominated revival of Terry Nation‘s classic 1970s series Survivors. For this entire weekend we celebrate the range with special offer prices on the first two series starring Ian McCulloch, Lucy Fleming and Carolyn Seymour, and also on Carolyn‘s evocative reading of Terry Nation’s original novel:


 

Survivors – Series 1 and Series 2 can each be bought on Download for £18.00, and £20 on CD (instantly unlocking a digital version which can be downloaded or listened to on-the-go via the free Big Finish apps on iOS or Android). The Survivors Audiobook is £12 on Download and £15 for the CD and unlocked digital version. A CD and a Download Survivors bundle each collecting these three titles can be bought for £50 and £45 respectively.

For a completely free taste of the range, check out Survivors – Revelations, Matt Fitton‘s opening episode, shortlisted in the 2015 BBC Audio Drama Awards. The entire range can be explored here, including the chance to pre-order Series 5, Series 6 and Series 7 at special prices and free UK postage until release.


 

These special offers end at mid-day (UK time) on Monday 7th November. Series 5 is released exclusive to Big Finish listeners later this month, and is then on general release at the end of 2016.

Survivors - offers from Big Finish - November 2016Survivors - Big Finish - November 2016

“The Death – it’s come back…” Trailer for series five of Big Finish’s Survivors audios

Big Finish have released the first trailer for the fifth series of Survivors audio adventures, due for release next month and available for pre-order from the Big Finish web site.
 

 
Big Finish - Survivors - series five - slipcase

Synopsis

It begins with just a few people falling ill. Another flu virus that spreads around the globe. And then the reports begin that people are dying…

When most of the world’s population is wiped out, a handful of survivors are left to pick up the pieces.

Cities become graveyards. Technology becomes largely obsolete. Mankind must start again. But viruses are survivors too…

5.1 The Second Coming by Andrew Smith

Millions died when the plague swept the globe. Such a thing couldn’t possibly happen again – or could it?

When Abby Grant and Evelyn Piper both arrive at Carol Baker’s Maythorne community, a chain of events is set in motion that could unleash a new wave of death across the country.

5.2 New Blood by Christopher Hatherall

Danger surrounds Whitecross when a simple border dispute exposes deadly tensions between those who live side by side.

Greg Preston and Jenny Richards soon find themselves fighting for their lives, as people in the grip of a terrible new fear turn to the old ways to protect themselves…

5.3 Angel of Death by Simon Clark

Emerging from a quarantined Whitecross, Greg and Jenny discover that the danger they glimpsed at Springton is far from over.

Meanwhile, as isolated communities find themselves exposed to a disease they know nothing about, Abby joins a desperate race to save lives.

5.4 Come the Horsemen by Andrew Smith

In times of crisis, rumour and fear run rife across the decimated landscape of Britain. Evelyn and Abby experience the lethal effects of this panic first hand.

At such times the worst of humanity is exposed. Can Greg and Jenny find the best in those around them? Or is there no way to avoid the coming of the horsemen?

Individual episode reviews for Survivors Big Finish series four published

Individual episode reviews for each installment of series four of Big Finish’s Survivors audio adventures have now been added to our Survivors: Big Finish mini-site. There you’ll find in-depth plot summaries and reviews of:

Big Finish - Survivors - series four - audios - cover

Survivors series four audios – Vortex 88 feature

The imminent release of the fourth series of original Big Finish Survivors audio adventures is covered in a four-page, full-colour feature in the latest issue of the free-to-download Vortex magazine (No 88). In the article, script editor and script writer Matt Fitton reflects:

Survivors is one of the hardest things to do, because it is rooted in the real world and deals with tough issues. You get to ask very moral questions. At the same time, it’s also one of the most rewarding series to work on. It’s always a thrill to go back to the world of Survivors

Survivors - audio series four - Vortex - 88

Kenny Smith. 2016. ‘Begin Again’, Vortex, No 88, pp.12-15. https://www.bigfinish.com/vortex/v/88

Big Finish – Survivors series five – cover art released

Big Finish have published the slipcase cover artwork for the fifth series of Survivors audio adventures, which will be released (in CD and digital download formats) in November 2016.

As well as images of Jenny Richards (Lucy Fleming), Greg Preston (Ian McCulloch) and new character Carol Baker (Neve McIntosh), the series five cover will be the first to feature Abby Grant (Carolyn Seymour).

Series five of Survivors audios can be pre-ordered from the Big Finish site. Series four of Survivors audio adventures will be released later this month, and remains available for pre-order (alongside the previous three series and the Survivors audio-book).

Big Finish - Survivors - series five - slipcase

Big Finish release first details of Survivors fifth series of audios

The fifth series of Big Finish’s Survivors audio adventures (scheduled for release in November 2016) will focus on the outbreak and spread of a second deadly virus – which threatens the survival of communities only now emerging from the aftermath of The Death.

Recording of series five is now well underway, and features scripts by three returning Survivors script writers: Simon Clark (Contact, series three); Andrew Smith (Judges, series one; Rescue, series three); and Christopher Hatherall (Collision, series four).

It has also been revealed that series five will also feature Doctor Who actors Neve McIntosh and Richard Hope. Also joining original cast members Carolyn Seymour, Ian McCulloch, Lucy Fleming will be the returning Fiona Sheehan, and Barnaby Edwards, Sean Biggerstaff, Andy Secombe, Fintan McKeown, Alex Clatworthy, Roger May and Elizabeth Payne. Further casting announcements are to follow. Read the full update from Big Finish below:

Big Finish - Survivors - series five - Seymour, McCulloch, Fleming and McIntosh

Survivors: Doctor Who stars join Series 5!

Big Finish’s post-apocalyptic series continues in November – with Neve McIntosh and Richard Hope joining the fight for survival!

It begins with just a few people falling ill. Another flu virus that spreads around the globe. And then the reports begin that people are dying…

When most of the world’s population is wiped out, a handful of survivors are left to pick up the pieces.

Cities become graveyards. Technology becomes largely obsolete. Mankind must start again. But viruses are survivors too…

Based on Terry Nation‘s classic television series, Survivors continues the story of a virus-ravaged Britain, featuring the cast and characters of the original program.

Ahead of the June launch of Survivors: Series 4, Big Finish is delighted to announce that recording is underway on November’s Series 5, guest starring a pair of actors well known to Doctor Who fans!

Neve McIntosh and Richard Hope appeared together in the 2010 Doctor Who story The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, portraying classic foes the Silurians. Since then they have become the recurring faces of the creatures for the series, with Neve memorably starring as Madame Vastra, the leader of the Paternoster Gang.

‘We spent a lot of time thinking of potential names to play the pivotal character of Carol Baker in this set,’ says producer David Richardson. ‘And director Ken Bentley presented me with Neve – which I think is inspired casting. This will actually be Neve’s second role for Big Finish. But what was the first? Ah, you’ll have to wait for that announcement!’

Neve and Richard will join the fifth series of Survivors alongside regulars Carolyn Seymour, Ian McCulloch, Lucy Fleming and Fiona Sheehan. Also appearing will be Barnaby Edwards, Sean Biggerstaff, Andy Secombe, Fintan McKeown, Alex Clatworthy, Roger May and Elizabeth Payne with further cast members to be announced.

‘Series 5 could be subtitled The Second Coming,’; says David. ‘It explores a really powerful storyline – what would happen if the plague broke out all over again?’

Survivors: Series 5 will contain four new stories, written by Andrew Smith, Christopher Hatherall and Simon Clark. It can be pre-ordered today for just £25 on CD or £20 to download.

Survivors: Series 4 will be released in June, continuing the story of the Whitecross community and guest starring Zoë Tapper as Evelyn Piper. You can listen to a trailer for the new box-set below:


 

Three previous series are still available to order, alongside an audiobook of Terry Nation's original novel, performed by Carolyn Seymour.

Survivors’ location enjoys annual open weekend

The abandoned village of Imber on Salisbury Plain (the principal filming location for series three Survivors episode Sparks) enjoyed its annual ‘open’ weekend over the Easter holiday break; an event covered this year by an illustrated feature in The Mirror (27 March 2016).

The village of Imber was forcibly evacuated in December 1943, as the military commandeered sites that could be used to prepare troops for the street fighting that would follow the Normandy landings of D-Day. The emptied village was repurposed as a Ministry of Defence training ground. Villagers were never able to return, and the site became sealed-off from public access all year round – except for a single annual open weekend, when visitors were welcomed to view the landmark church and other buildings.

St Giles Church, the main interior and exterior location in Sparks, benefited from a £300,000 restoration project in 2008, sponsored by the Churches Conservation Trust, which prevented the building from falling into a state of complete disrepair.

Imber - open weekend - 2016