By Rich Cross Last updated on 30 December 2020, 11:30:20
Ten comments guaranteed to antagonise, alienate and irritate the Survivors' aficionado in your life
WHAT FOLLOWS IS a list of the top ten comments and observations certain to goad and irk any self-respecting Survivors fan.
1. Get the name of the programme wrong
In the later winter of 1974, while this new end-of-the-world show was in pre-production, it was briefly called 'The Survivors' before wiser counsel prevailed and the redundant prefix was dropped. Since the day the first Radio Times listing for the show appeared in April 1975 there has been no ambiguity whatsoever about its name.
It is not 'The Survivors' any more than it's 'The Star Wars', 'The Blake's 7' or 'The Doctor Who'.
It's Survivors — plain, simple and perfectly suited. Say it with me, people.
2. Get the cause of the global catastrophe wrong
This one is alarmingly popular amongst the editors of guidebooks and directories of genre and sci-fi television. Indicative of diligent and exhaustive research, the most common error is to 'explain' that Survivors is a story of 'post-nuclear survival'. As mistakes go, it's not the end of the world… but it's close. The clumsy man with the beaker full of virus in that Far East lab would tell you a different story. If he hadn't dropped dead in the title sequence of the very first episode — patient zero in an all-consuming pandemic.
3. Make lazy, repetitive and ill-informed comparisons between Survivors and other shows
Many genre magazine reviewers have an obsession bordering on compulsion about this one. There must be a special entry under "The Survivors" in certain specialist editions of The Chicago Manual of Style: "When writing about "The Survivors" [sic] it is mandatory to compare the programme either to (a) the renowned BBC self-sufficiency sitcom of the same era; or (b) the long-running ITV soap set in a small fictional farming community. Acceptable examples are: 'Survivors is like The Good Life — with guns' and 'Survivors is a post-apocalyptic Emmerdale Farm'. There are no exceptions to this rule."
When it comes to this issue, many journalists express a deep commitment to recycling. It's a good thing that it gets funnier each and every time you read it. "Survivors: it's a bit like The Good Life, you know?" Oh, be still my aching sides. Have you heard the one about Daleks and staircases?
This one is particularly popular amongst people with only the haziest knowledge of series two or three
4. Explain how the show ‘is, actually, in fact, a one-series wonder’
This one is particularly popular amongst people with only the haziest knowledge of series two or three. Yes, series one of Survivors represents an exemplary, historic moment in the history of British television. Fans of Survivors are big supporters of series one too. But to suggest that viewers can turn off after the events of A Beginning without any concern that they're going to miss anything is so wrong it's just wrongfr. If you dismiss the subsequent 25 episodes of this classic drama with a throw-away phrase that they're not worthy of consideration, you need to block out some quality personal time and sit down to appreciate Greater Love, Face of the Tiger, Over the Hills, Mad Dog and The Last Laugh (just for starters). When you're ready to apologise, you know where to come.
5. Insist that the show ‘went downhill after [insert name here] left’
This one is particularly popular amongst loyal advocates of several of the key people involved bringing Survivors to the screen — Terry Nation, Carolyn Seymour and Ian McCulloch amongst them. The more complicated — if perhaps unsurprising — truth is that the brilliance of Survivors did not rely solely on the creative input of any one individual, but on the sum of inputs from an evolving ensemble of in-front-of and behind-the-scenes talent. And a pretty darned talented bunch they proved to be.
Of course, all of those listed in the closing credits did not exert an equal amount of influence on the programme; and few wielded as much leverage as Terry Nation or Terence Dudley. And, yes, the balance of influence amongst those most involved in shaping the evolution programme changed over time. But at no point was Survivors ever a one-person phenomenon. Even amongst those who try to promote this argument, there's no consistency about who the vital individual was supposed to have been.
Personally, I reckon it was all over when that bloke in the credits died in The Fourth Horseman. It was never the same after they got rid of him.
Survivors 9:2 Hearts and Mines
If the Federation can pull off an audacious sabotage mission, the Protectorate will suffer a major setback
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
SEVERAL MEMORABLE SERIES ONE Survivors' filming locations inside Hampton Court are now accessible to visitors to the Herefordshire stately home and its grounds, as part of a series of welcome enhancements to the popular Herefordshire tourist attraction.
A BRAND NEW documentary on Survivors first aired on BBC4 on Tuesday 5 December 2006 at 8.30pm as part of a series of programmes celebrating the history of British literary and small-screen science fiction.