Updated: December 23 2020 09:43
When people begin to die of a new strain of a flu virus, newspaper journalist Daniel Connor investigates. He uncovers a terrifying story – but will anyone ever get to read it?
AS A DEADLY flu pandemic sweeps the globe, normal life in 1970s Britain begins to unravel. Local newspaper journalist Daniel Connor tries to uncover the scale of the calamity but, as his office empties and his editor falls ill, Connor finds himself plunged into the middle of an unimaginable disaster. At London Airport, bride-to-be and attorney Maddie Price is frustrated to find there are no flights home to the United States, and is incandescent when she finds herself locked in impromptu quarantine. But when secretive government official John Redgrave reveals the reality of the plague’s spread, she is forced to confront the awful truth. Elsewhere, polytechnic lecturer Dr James Gillison finds that his own comfortable academic world is falling apart, as his students fall ill and die. Recognising his own natural immunity to the plague Gillison steps forward to assume a new leadership role...
A POWERFUL AND thoughtful opening first installment from Big Finish's new Survivors audio range, which revisits the onset of The Death from the perspective of three very different protagonists. Breaking with the sci-fi and fantasy norms of the Big Finish canon, Revelation largely eschews action set-pieces (with one plane-shaped exception) and instead takes the time to introduce its characters and explore the terrain of its historical real-world setting. The result is an atmospheric and unsettling tale of unfolding disaster as experienced by three new characters: the dogged newspaper journalist Connor, the professionally impatient attorney Price, and the suspiciously arrogant academic Gillison (none of whom meet up in this opening episode).
Vocal performances are consistently strong, right across the ensemble cast; and all those involved take advantage of the early focus on characterisation to establish their roles as fully as possible. Masterson excels in the role of the pushy attorney, whilst neatly side-stepping the cliches of the 'professional American abroad', while Banks is immediately convincing as a suitably unexpected hero and narrator in extremis. Molloy clearly relishes the chance to play the considered and complex government official Redgrave, delivering the news of the world's collapse with the quiet and clipped precision of the dutiful civil servant.
The presentation of the 1970s setting is simply but plausibly evoked through some understated touches (resisting the temptation to overdo the historical cultural refernces), and there is a believable sense that these events could be unfolding in parallel with the drama reflected in "The Fourth Horseman". As scriptwriter Matt Fitton suggests, the aim was to "retell the story of the outbreak of The Death, but from the perspectives of a new set of characters". In doing so, it remained important to convince the listener that "these events were happening in tandem with those of the TV series."
Any concerns that the inclusion of a 'musical soundtrack' in these adventures might feel intrusive or inauthentic are quickly displaced. Background and incidental music appears in only the most measured of ways, often appearing as simple surges of unsettling sound, effectively highlighting the dramatic tension of our protagonists' plight as key moments.
Big Finish have delivered a properly grown-up version of Survivors that is recognisable to the long-term enthusiast of the series while being open enough to entice in the new comer. This is an impressive entry point for the new series, which successfully introduces some interesting new players without jarring discontinuity. As an opening gambit, this both reassures and impresses.
IT'S A BIG cast and inevitably we hear more in this story of some threads than others, but this is a very worthy continuation and extrapolation of the original. Verdict: A very strong start. 9/10
Paul Simpson, scifibulletin.com
THE STORY IS set as an alternative to the Jenny, Greg and Abby tale where we get to see how other survivors dealt with the trials and tribulations, showing people coping in more hectic settings than the original trio from the countryside and suburbs.
BY THE END of this episode, you might need a bit of a sit down before moving on. It has quite an emotional impact and we are wrong-footed constantly about who we might root for.
Sue Davies, SFcrowsnest
USING AUDIO'S LIMITLESS effects budget, the initial two chapters cover the experiences of the outbreak though the eyes of fresh characters in mainly urban surroundings
Ian McCardell, Cultbox
The ninth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"There's still great potential here, as the UK begins to emerge from the dark ages of The Death, for more stories set in this uniquely realised dystopia, should sufficient numbers of those who have yet to purchase copies of this extraordinary audio series belatedly recognise the error of their ways. If that doesn't happen, this will remain a stunning finale for what must be celebrated as a consistently compelling audio drama, 5/5"
The eight series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"This latest boxset delivers an impressive mix of large scale, high stakes and small scale, intimate stories which set in motion the events which will come to an explosive conclusion in the final set in this current run of post-apocalyptic dramas, 5/5 " - Cultbox
The seventh series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"At times harrowing, at other moments uplifting, and never anything other than completely riveting listening, this latest series of Survivors audios delivers drama that is simply unmissable. As the series leaves behind the timeline of the TV incarnation of the show, Big Finish's writers, cast and crew are all clearly brimming with fully deserved confidence. The two series of new Survivors audios coming in 2018 could scarcely be a more exciting or (in the best sense of the word) a more unpredictable prospect, 10/10" - Starburst
The sixth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"After five extraordinarily well-received box sets, each of which offered a self-contained and themed collection of four episodes, the sixth series of Survivors audio adventures confidently takes a fresh approach... It's a liberating shift in format and, under the keenly judged direction of Ken Bentley, these scripts make exceptional use of the opportunity to tell diverse, if equally compelling, standalone stories, 10/10" - Starburst
The fifth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"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, 10/10" - Starburst
The fourth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"Intelligent, literate and superbly scripted and performed, this is a post-apocalyptic drama of the highest possible calibre. Determined to avoid the predictable tropes of that genre, it invites its listeners to navigate a moral minefield in a way that few other dramas of this type would attempt. This comes recommended without reservation" - Starburst
The third series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
The second series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
A full-length audiobook of Terry Nation's Survivors novel (in CD and download formats) read by Carolyn Seymour.
The first series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
Series nine reviews addedAdded: 13 July 2019
Series eight reviews addedAdded: 9 January 2019
Series seven reviews addedAdded: 14 January 2018
Series six reviews addedAdded: 12 July 2017
Series five reviews addedAdded: 20 December 2016
Series four reviews addedAdded: 26 June 2016
Series three reviews addedAdded: 18 December 2015
New interviews addedAdded: 21 November 2015