Survivors at the British Film Institute (BFI)

By Rich Cross   Last updated on 26 December 2020, 20:31:09

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screengrab from the screenonline Survivors page

 RECOGNISED BY THE British Film Institute (BFI) as a television classic, Survivors is one of a handful of genre shows included in the multimedia screenonline archive, intended to provide an interactive educational resource on the history of British film and television.

Screenonline offers material on British TV drama, sit-coms, children's programmes, documentaries and more, and on the history of UK cinema and film-making — including video clips, publicity stills, scripts extracts, and (in some cases) complete episodes of programmes, and entire short films.

As well as a brief written introduction to Survivors, screenonline offers complete digitised versions the entire of Survivors' opening episode The Fourth Horseman and the season one finale A Beginning. In the case of A Beginning, it's possible to select playback of two highlighted scenes, as well as the episode in its entirety.

 Open to all

Access to the written and picture material on screenonline is open to all visitors. However, access the multimedia content is available only to schools, colleges, universities and public libraries within the UK that have registered with screenonline.

If you are a member of a registered library or student at a qualifying college, you may need to download a viewing license onto your PC on your first visit before being able to 'stream' any video content. This only needs to be done once.

The episode can be played back in two different 'streaming' formats — using RealAudio or Windows Media Player. On a machine with a broadband connection, or with a strong dial-up bandwidth, playback is of good picture and sound quality, with few synch problems.

All screenonline clips and episodes appear in a fixed-size pop-up window, with the playback area taking up around a-quarter of the monitor screen, at most standard screen resolutions.

The footage is watermarked with an outline of the letter 'S' in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. No form of navigation within clips is available, so playback has to run sequentially from the beginning in real-time. Although a pause function is offered, reconnecting to the 'stream' after pausing can prove problematic.

All video content is design for 'streaming' only, and no files may be downloaded for playback off-line. As the site makes clear, all contents of the BFI site are "protected by copyright and may not be copied, reproduced, transmitted, broadcast, distributed, edited or modified in any way".

 Other genre materials

Screenonline also offers material (including video content) on other genre shows including Doomwatch [which offers the whole of 'The Plastic Eaters'], Blakes 7, Dr Who, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy — and, the entire of Peter Watkins' nuclear war drama-documentary The War Game.

To avoid frustration when attempting to playback video content from screenonline, remember the following:

  • Access is only possible from educational sites and libraries within the UK which have registered for the service, and have an accessible internet connection fast enough to support 'streaming' content. Check with your local library or IT staff for relevant local details.

  • The PC on which you watch the 'streaming' video content must have (i) an active sound card (these are sometimes disabled in library and colleges PCs); (ii) either Real Audio or Windows Media Player software, installed and running.

  • You may need to borrow, purchase or supply your own headphones to listen to the audio component of the playback.

Other Survivors material — including photos and script extracts — may be added in due course, and the site already offers in addition an interesting essay on the life's work of the series' creator Terry Nation.

Click here to access the Survivors screenonline page.

Cite this web page
11 May 2021202131 January

 Cross, R. (2021). 'Survivors at the British Film Institute (BFI),' [online] Survivors: A World Away, 31 January. Available at: Accessed on: 11 May 2021.


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 Site sections

Terry Nation's Survivors

 Survivors is a 38-episode, three series British post-apocalyptic TV series, created by Terry Nation, and first shown on BBC 1 between 1975 and 1977

 Two Survivors novel were published in the UK, USA and Italy in the seventies: Terry Nation's part-novelisation of the first TV series Survivors was published in 1976; with John Eyers' original follow-up Genesis of a Hero appearing the following year

 A 12-episode, two series remake of Survivors was broadcast on BBC One between 2008 and 2010

 A 36-episode, nine series run of new and original Survivors audio adventures, set in the time and place of the original programme, were released by Big Finish between 2014 and 2019

 Terry Nation's Survivors novel was released as an audiobook, voiced by Carolyn Seymour, in 2014

 Genesis of a Hero was reprinted and republished as a paperback and as a Kindle title in 2015

 A sequel to Genesis of a Hero, entitled Survivors: Salvation, was published in February 2021

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