Morris Perry (Fenton, Mad Dog) dies aged 96

Tristan de Vere Cole and Morris Perry at the Survivors series three DVD special features studio day in 2005

MORRIS PERRY, THE celebrated theatre and television actor who played the role of the misanthrope Dr Richard Fenton in the acclaimed third series Survivors episode Mad Dog, has died at the age of 96.

Expressing his sadness of Perry’s passing, Toby Hadoke praised him as: “A very subtle actor with presence and elan, memorable in so much excellent TV.”

An appreciation of the stage and screen life of Morris Perry will be published on this site in the next few days.

Photo: Director Tristan de Vere Cole (left) and actor Morris Perry reunited at a London studio in 2005 to record an audio commentary track for the episode Mad Dog for inclusion in the DDHE DVD release of the third series of Survivors. Credit: Rich Cross

Hitching a ride on the Mad Dog steam engine

Engine 48773 on the Severn Valley Railway, arriving at Hampton Loade station on August 30 2001

TWENTY YEARS AGO today (30 August), Survivors fans began a four-day location trip – in the midst of a Foot and Mouth epidemic – with a visit to the Severn Valley Railway.

But it’s only in the last couple of months that it’s become clear that – even though those present were not aware if it – the attendees on this Reunion enjoyed an additional Survivors‘ location experience.

The steam locomotive pulling the train that the Survivors aficionados boarded at Kidderminster station, and which took them to Hampton Loade station, was the original engine used for the filming of Mad Dog back in 1977. It’s the train on which Charles Vaughan escapes his pursuers in the Peak District before arriving, exhausted and unconscious, at this same station.

The reason that the connection was not apparent at the time of the trip was that the locomotive (which bore the number 8233 at the time Mad Dog was filmed) was later reassigned its original service number 48773. This fact was confirmed as part of a return visit to the Severn Valley Railway during the Mad Dog 2019 location trip. It was not until a recent rewatch of Adrian Hulme’s video memento of the 2001 trip that the significance of the previously disregarded engine number suddenly became apparent.

This means that, while it was engine 8233 that was Charles’ salvation in Mad Dog, and it was engine 48773 that pulled the train from Kidderminster to Hampton Loade on 30 August 2001 – it’s one and the same engine.

Engine 8233 / 48773 has since been withdrawn from service and is currently on display in the SVR engine house adjacent to Highley Station pending a full overhaul and complete refurbishment.

So while there’s no prospect of fans being able to take another trip courtesy of the pulling power of the ‘Mad Dog express’ any time soon, one lucky group of enthusiasts already enjoyed that experience some twenty years ago today – even if they had no idea of their luck at the time.

Survivors fans on the platform at Hampton Loade station on August 30 2001
The sign for Hampton Loade station, taken on August 30 2001
Survivors fans at Kidderminster station on August 30 2001

Cast and story details confirmed for Survivors: New Dawn 1 audio

BIG FINISH HAVE confirmed full cast details for the forthcoming new Survivors audio boxset Survivors: New Dawn 1. More details about the plot of each of the three stories in the set have also been released.

A new press release from the company confirms that the New Dawn series sees Abby Grant and Jenny Richards “reuniting fifteen years after they parted ways, as they face a renewed fight for survival against foes old and new.”

“The brief was to set our stories several years after the end of the last audio series, some twenty years after the Death first devastated the world,” explains scriptwriter and series script editor Andrew Smith. “It’s been so interesting to add this extra development to the series, and to place our characters in settings where society is beginning to knit together again, with a few of the trappings of everyday life restored. We’ve imagined how Britain –and to some extent the rest of the world – would look after all that time.”

“The New Dawn of the series title signifies that this is a time of hope for our characters and for the wider population, particularly with the imminent prospect of democratic elections in Britain. But that future is more uncertain, and society is less orderly, than many believe. There’s still lawlessness and corruption, and people being terrible in true Survivors fashion – and we’ve stuck Abby Grant and Jenny Richards right in the thick of it.”

Smith – is an experienced writer for Survivors on audio, who most recently scripted Conflict, the closing episode of series nine of the original Big Finish audio run – is delighted at the series’ return.

“It’s been a treat to return to the world of Survivors, which has always been one of my favourite Big Finish writing gigs,” he says.

The newly released New Dawn 1 plot summaries introduce the stories of Tethered, My Generation and Behind You.

Survivors: New Dawn 1

The world has ended. The pandemic crossed continents, sparing only a fraction of the global population. The survivors are now trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild society to create a new future. But with only a handful of towns and cities starting to rise from the ashes, and governance and law-making in a fragile, fledgling state, everyone must start over. And the worst of human nature has survived along with the best.

Abby Grant and Jenny Richards return to an England devastated by disease, and face a renewed fight for survival…

1.1 Tethered

Abby Grant is heading home on a tragic mission when she meets an apparent Good Samaritan, who may be nothing of the sort. And in Cambridge, the seat of the New Federal Government, the Prime Minister tasks Law Minister Jenny Richards with a secret assignment. Both women soon find themselves in deadly peril.

— Written by Andrew Smith

1.2 My Generation

Abby is on the run, and Jenny risks her future to protect her. An old friend, Jackie Burchall, is also eager to help. But when Abby falls in with an activist group called The Veil, it jeopardises everyone.

— Written by Katharine Armitage

1.3 Behind You

Abby remembers Leonard Cross as the awful children’s entertainer who came to one of her son’s birthday parties before the Death. She doesn’t expect to find herself relying on him as she recovers from injury and tragedy. And he may be even more awful than she knows…


— Written by Roland Moore


Big Finish have also confirmed the full cast details for the series, which are as follows:

Survivors: New Dawn 1 will be released in November 2021 and is currently available for pre-order, in both CD and digital download formats, from the Big Finish site.

Survivors: New Dawn 2 will be released in February 2022 and is also available for pre-order. Both releases can also be pre-ordered, in both formats, as part of a Big Finish bundle.

The Spectator observes Survivors on Britbox

The Spectator - Survivors feature - 21 August 2021 edition

THE LATEST EDITION of the UK political weekly The Spectator (21 August 2021) includes a feature reflecting on the availability of Survivors on the Britbox platform.

The inclusion of all three series of Survivors on Britbox has led to renewed media interest in the show, of which The Spectator‘s TV review is one of the latest examples.

Reviewer James Delingpole relies on many of the familiar ‘isn’t old TV funny, and wasn’t everything gentle and innocent in the old days’ tropes that afflict many contemporary press reflections on Survivors and other shows from the same decade.

He misrepresents Brian Aldiss’ conception of the ‘cosy catastrophe’. Whilst skimming through series one, he’s clearly skipped Corn Dolly (and he has not ventured beyond A Beginning at all). His understanding of 1970s’ Outside Broadcast production techniques is also pretty limited.

However, he does resist the temptation to use any of the tedious comparisons between Survivors and other shows that many of his contemporaries sucuumb to. He also concludes that, from his observations so far, he’d “much rather live in post-apocalyptic 1970s Britain than the much uglier and more freedom-deprived modern one.”

James Delingpole. 2021. ‘Apocalypse, Seventies-style: BritBox Survivors reviewed’, The Spectator, 21 August. https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/apocalypse-seventies-style-britboxs-survivors-reviewed

* The online version of The Spectator allows guest access to a small number of free article views without subscription.

Big Finish release first trailer for new Survivors audio New Dawn 1

BIG FINISH HAVE today (17 August 2021) released the first trailer for the new audio boxset Survivors: New Dawn 1.

The trailer features the original series characters Abby Grant (Carolyn Seymour) and Jenny Richards (Lucy Fleming) encountering new survivors in a Britain beginning to reshape itself several years on from The Death. It’s a country in which government, civil society and industry is returning, but which is clearly stressed by tensions and conflicts of all kinds.

Survivors: New Dawn 1 is available for pre-order, in both CD and digital download formats, from the Big Finish site.

Survivors: New Dawn 2 will be released in February 2022 and is also available for pre-order. Both releases can also be pre-ordered, in both formats, as part of a Big Finish bundle.

Big Finish offer Survivors audio bundle deal

BIG FINISH ARE offering a bundle of all nine series of Survivors audio boxsets – in either digital download and CD formats – at up to a 50% discount, until 23:59 (UK time) on 12 August 2021.

Those who have yet to explore the Big Finish Survivors audio universe now have the (time-limited opportunity) to do just that at a bargain price.

Two options are available. There’s the Survivors Series 01-9 + Audiobook (CD & Download) at £95.00; and there’s the Survivors Series 01-9 + Audiobook (Download) – £152.00.

The first option includes series one as a download, because the CD pressing of that release is now out of print.

Both bundles include the audiobook version of Terry Nation’s Survivors novel, narrated by Carolyn Seymour.

Big Finish reveal cover for Survivors: New Dawn 1 audio

Big Finish - Survivors - New Dawn 1 cover

BIG FINISH HAVE revealed the cover image for new Survivors audio New Dawn 1, starring Lucy Fleming and Carolyn Seymour, due for release in November 2021.

The cover features images of Abby Grant, Jenny Richards, Jackie Burchall and two as-yet-unnamed other characters.

The character of Jackie Burchall (played by Louise Jameson) was first introduced in Exodus, the second episode of the first series of Big Finish’s Survivors audio released back in June 2015.

Survivors: New Dawn 1 is available for pre-order, in both CD and digital download formats, from the Big Finish site.

Survivors: New Dawn 2 will be released in February 2022 and is also available for pre-order. Both releases can also be pre-ordered, in both formats, as part of a Big Finish bundle.

As part of a ‘Terry Nation Celebration’ (August 8 2021 would have been Nation’s 91st birthday), Big Finish are offering significant discounts on previously released instalments in their Survivors audio range. These deals expire at 23:59 (UK time) on 12 August 2021.

UPDATE: Cover artist Tom Newsom has shared a version of the artwork without the Big Finish text elements:

Tom Newsom's artwork for the Big Finish - Survivors - New Dawn 1 cover

New Survivors audiobook – voiced by Carolyn Seymour

Survivors: Ghosts and Demons - cover

A NEW AND original Survivors audiobook, voiced by Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant), will be released by Big Finish in November 2021.

Written by Ethan Milsea, Survivors: Ghosts & Demons will be released as a digital download, and is available to pre-order now. The new audiobook will be set during the first TV series, close to events of twelfth episode Something of Value.

The release of new audiobook Survivors: Ghosts & Demons is in addition to the new full-cast Survivors audio series New Dawn announced by Big Finish on 13 July 2021.

A press release issued on 23 July 2021 provides more details about this new release.

Carolyn Seymour is a survivor once more, as she reads the latest Survivors audiobook from Big Finish Productions.

“A national emergency has been declared by Westminster as panic violently grabs hold of the population. Hospitals are being overrun and there are numerous incidents of mobs charging the entrances, fighting staff and each other. Some have died in the crush…”

Based on Terry Nation’s original BBC TV series, Survivors is a post-apocalyptic drama concerning the plight of a group of people who have survived a worldwide plague. As they fight against the odds – and each other – to survive, you’re never quite sure who’s going to make it from one story to the next…

Due for release in November 2021, Ghosts & Demons is read by Carolyn Seymour – who has played the series’ courageous heroine, Abby Grant, on television and audio since the 1970s. This audiobook focuses on the community of survivors banding together at their adopted home, the Grange, where there’s danger in the air…

Survivors: Ghosts & Demons is now available to pre-order as a digital download for just £9.99, exclusively HERE.

In order to survive, you don’t just need food. You need hope… And the survivors at the Grange are at breaking point. Food is running short and tensions are high as Abby and Greg try to find ways to keep their new community alive.

But, community isn’t the only way of survival in this new world.  

There’s the vicious gang, who take pleasure in destruction and violence…

The Lord and Lady, who are still waited on by the butler in their country manor…

The loner who finds that the biggest battles he faces are with his own mind…

And when these groups collide, the outcome is bloody, and devastating. 

Producer Xanna Eve Chown said: “Ghosts and Demons is set during the first series of the TV show, at about the time of the episode Something of Value, where tensions are running high at the Grange. We also get to meet some new characters from various walks of life and see how they are settling into the new post-plague world. Hint: Some are doing better than others…”

Survivors: Ghosts & Demons is now available to pre-order as a digital download for just £9.99, exclusively here.

Please note that Survivors: Ghosts & Demons contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners.

Big Finish announce two new Survivors audio boxsets

Big Finish - Survivors - New Dawn

BIG FINISH HAVE today (13 July 2021) announced the release of two new boxsets of original full-cast Survivors audio adventures – starring Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant) and Lucy Fleming (Jenny Richards).

The first set of three new stories in the Survivors: New Dawn series will be released in November 2021, which the second volume following in February 2022.

A press release from Big Finish provides a host of details about the new releases:

Based on Terry Nation‘s BBC TV series which ran from 1975-77, Survivors is a post-apocalyptic drama concerning the plight of a group of people who have survived a worldwide plague. As they fight against the odds – and each other – to survive, you’re never quite sure who’s going to make it from one episode to the next

Due for release in November 2021 and February 2022 respectively, New Dawn 1 and New Dawn 2 find original TV series regulars Abby Grant (Carolyn Seymour) and Jenny Richards (Lucy Fleming) returning to an England devastated by disease, and facing a renewed fight for survival alongside faces old and new.

The world has ended. The pandemic crossed continents, sparing only a fraction of the global population. The survivors are now trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild society to create a new future. But with only a handful of towns and cities starting to rise from the ashes, and governance and law-making in a fragile, fledging state, everyone must start over. And the worst of human nature has survived along with the best…

The three adventures in Survivors: New Dawn 1 are as follows:

* Tethered by Andrew Smith

* My Generation by Katherine Armitage

* Behind You by Roland Moore

And the three tales in Survivors: New Dawn 2 are:

* Bad Blood by Lizbeth Myles

* When First We Practice to Deceive by Andrew Smith

* Last Stand by Roland Moore

Producer Emma Haigh said: “I’m so pleased Survivors is returning for another two box sets. In these stories we explore how communities and society rebuild after such life-changing experiences and look to a brighter future. And I couldn’t be happier to be back working with Carolyn and Lucy and the team.”

Carolyn Seymour said: “I love Abby! She’s so over the top but such a fantastic woman, and I love being back working with Luce. It’s like we’ve never not being doing this in a way, we slip right back into the same rhythm – it’s just heaven!”

Lucy Fleming added: “It’s just bliss – it’s like putting on a lovely old pair of shoes! Recording is just so much fun, and particularly with these scripts – they’ve moved the story forward a lot, so the characters and the circumstances have changed.”

“It’s a wonderful position to be in, to play the same character years and years later from when you first played it – and to have not aged at all!”

Survivors: New Dawn 1 is due for release in November 2021 and is now available to pre-order at £19.99 as a collector’s edition CD box set or £16.99 as a download here.

Survivors: New Dawn 2 is due for release in February 2022 and is now available to pre-order at £19.99 as a collector’s edition CD box set or £16.99 as a download HERE.

Big Finish listeners can save more by pre-ordering both Survivors: New Dawn box sets together as a bundle on CD at £38 and on digital download at £33.

Praise for previous Survivors series:

“Endlessly inventive, fascinating and thoroughly addictive.” – Mass Movement

Survivors continues to be a challenging and thought-provoking series…far more than simply surviving, Survivors is thriving on audio.” – IndieMac User

“Intelligent, literate and superbly scripted and performed, this is post-apocalyptic drama of the highest possible calibre.” – Starburst

Survivors really is something special. 10/10.” – SciFi Bulletin

Big Finish is currently operating a digital-first release schedule. The mail-out of collector’s edition CDs may be delayed due to factors beyond our control, but all purchases of this release unlock a digital copy that can be immediately downloaded or played on the Big Finish app from the release date. 

Carolyn Seymour and Lucy Fleming - Big Finish - New Dawn

Steve Brailsford

Steve Brailsford at Hampton Court

STEVE BRAILSFORD, ONE of the catalysts responsible for the emergence of organised Survivors fandom in the 1990s and active within it ever since, has died.

Long-time friend and fellow Survivors fan activist Adrian Hulme writes:

Many of those involved with the world of Survivors fandom since the 1990s will have connected with Steve Brailsford at some point. Those who knew Steve well, and who counted him as a friend, will be deeply saddened at his untimely passing.

Steve made a massive contribution to Survivors fandom. From the start he was heavily involved, and continued in a major way for well over 20 years. A true fan till the end, he had most recently been running the Survivors Newsletter Facebook page.

An enthusiast for the programme since it was first shown on BBC1 in 1975, Steve later recalled that although he “loved Abby, Greg and Jenny’s characters”, he was especially pleased by the arrival of Paul Pitman in Spoil of War – “probably identifying him with my own ‘social category’ at the time,” he suggested. After he watched the third series finale Power (“an excellent episode in its own right”, he judged), he was dismayed to discover there would be no fourth series of Survivors. “I even sent in a script”, he revealed.

It was the arrival of Survivors on satellite TV in the UK in the 1990s that rekindled Steve’s interest in the show, even though he only had terrestrial TV at home at the time Survivors began screening. I remember him telling the tale of hiding the remote control for the Sky TV in his local pub so he could watch Survivors‘ first appearance on UK Gold. This was much to the annoyance of the regulars wanting to watch the Grand Prix at the time.

Steve was right there at the start. He attended the Dreamwatch convention in 1994, which was really the kick-off point for the era of Survivors fandom that continues to this day. Steve wrote a report on the convention in the very first issue of Over The Hills. Through that fanzine he got to know Bob Meade and Mark Wheatley. Together with Mark he organised the very first organised Survivors fan event, which took place in Herefordshire on 7 September 1996. This ground-breaking location trip included a lengthy tour of the the grounds and castle interior of Hampton Court, a venue that it was all-but impossible to get access to at the time.

Steve was a regular on virtually every Survivors location trip, or ‘Reunion’ as they were called, over the following two decades. Steve and Lynne Sweetman pioneered the Survivors Hampton Picnic, an event that continues to this day.

Steve loved an on-location ‘re-enactment’ of a scene from the series, often joining in the action (and supplying the dialogue) or directing from the sidelines. He was game for anything, and joined in laughing, joking or just strolling through life. If a ‘Reunion’ took fans anywhere near water (be it a river, a ford, a stream or a weir), you could guarantee that Steve would want to paddle, wade or swim in it, whatever the time of year and regardless of the weather.

The world was a better, calmer place when you were with him. Many a happy hour was spent in his company at the evening get-togethers that were always an integral part of fan location trips.

Steve was a talented singer and guitarist, performing at open mike events locally and at several fan gatherings. He took great pride in recording his own version of the song Reaping and Sowing (available on YouTube), in tribute to the original version written by Ian McCulloch (Greg Preston) which featured in the first series Survivors episode Corn Dolly.

Through his activities in Survivors fandom Steve met Lynne Sweetman and became involved in the publication Bridgehead, which evolved into the Survivors Newsletter which ran for 72 issues in total. Although Steve only became credited as Editor from issue 16, there is no doubt he had an active hand in previous issues. Steve continued to work on compiling the Newsletter throughout its run as a print publication and was without doubt its chief contributor. When the Newsletter came to an end in physical format, Steve helped to set up a Facebook presence. When Lynne died in January 2018, Steve amended the name of the Survivors Newsletter Facebook page in her honour, and continued to run and post material to the site.

Steve and Lynne had a deep and strong friendship over many years. For those who read the famous “small print” section of the Newsletter, they would see Steve referred to as her “friend in the North” in every issue.

Steve enjoyed writing and made probably the biggest contribution of anyone to the genre of Survivors “fan fiction”. He wrote stories for both Over The Hills and the Newsletter. In 1995 he self-published three standalone Survivors tales: The Darkest Hour, Land of the Free and The Hills of Home. This was followed up in 1996 by two contributions to an anthology produced with Mark Wheatley: The Long Run and Contact. Steve’s last published work of Survivors fiction appeared in issue 71 of the Newsletter, and followed on from the events in the finale of the BBC’s 2008-2010 remake.

Steve took life with ease. He always walked forward hand open stretched and greeted you with a great smile and a warm handshake.

Those that knew him will raise a glass in his honour. But perhaps, better still, they will remember him every time they have a paddle in the waters of Survivors.

Top Bloke, Survivors Legend. You are really missed mate.

Adrian Hulme, 20 June 2021

Steve passed away in hospital on Sunday 13 June 2021