BETWEEN 1977 AND 1993, Survivors remained locked away in the vaults of the BBC, never once enjoying a repeat broadcast on terrestrial TV – a decision that left actor-writer Ian McCulloch "astonished" if not surprised: "From the day that we did it, they've never actually attempted to sell it to the public, so it sold itself to the public" (Action TV, No 10, 2004).
In 1993, the first repeat broadcast of the show began on the cable-satellite station UK Gold — the first time the programme had been screened on UK television in sixteen years — allowing fans to tape off-air copies of the complete run. Survivors appeared in a variety of time slots: including the early hours of Friday morning, breakfast-time on Sunday and in the small-hours of Monday.
Initially broadcast when UK Gold was relatively new, the programme was preceded by on-screen in-person announcers, and shared 'genre' slots such as The Vortex, with shows such as Blake's 7 and Doctor Who. Several cuts were made to the broadcast of the show during its repeated transmissions on UK Gold - some for reasons of 'inappropriateness' or 'unsuitability' of some of the show's rare 'graphic' content in a pre-watershed time slot, other brief scene trims were introduced to ensure that the episodes ran to the precise length required by the channel.
The series has since been run a further four times on UK Gold, with the most recent full-showing of the series concluding in April 1998.
With more recent profile changes across the UK-TV family of stations, UK Gold has become dedicated exclusively to comedy programmes, ruling out the possibility of drama repeats. In January 2011, there was no indication that Survivors would secure a fresh transmission on UK TV screens any time soon.
In recent years, Survivors has been broadcast on PBS stations in the US and on UK-TV in Australia.
A preview for the broadcast of Genesis (series 1, episode 2) on UK Gold (at 9am on Sunday 27 August 1996) from Cult Times magazine, August 1996.
A preview for the broadcast of The Lights of London - Part 1 (series 2, episode 3) on UK Gold (at 9am on Sunday 24 November 1996) from Cult Times magazine, November 1996.
Cite this web page
Cross, R. (2021). 'Survivors on satellite & cable TV,' [online] Survivors: A World Away, 31 January. Available at: https://www.survivors-mad-dog.org.uk/a-world-away/Basics_Satellite.php. Accessed on: 10 April 2021.
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