Today (16 April 2015) is the fortieth anniversary of the original broadcast of “The Fourth Horseman” (the opening episode of the first series of Survivors). The first ever episode of Survivors was shown at 20:10 on Wednesday 16 April 1975 on BBC 1, and was seen by just over 7m viewers. “The Fourth Horseman” was written by Survivors‘ creator Terry Nation, directed by Pennant Roberts, and introduced the characters of Abby Grant (Carolyn Seymour) and Jenny Richards (Lucy Fleming) – the character of Greg Preston (Ian McCulloch) was introduced in the second episode (“Genesis”).
In The End of the World? The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Survivors, the authors introduce their review of the episode as follows:
“The Fourth Horseman” must rank as one of Terry Nation’s finest single scripts, and sets an incredibly high standard for the drama that will follow. The opening episode of a new drama series imposes multiple challenges for the television writer: the series’ premise must be established; key characters introduced; and audience interest in the fate of the programme’s central characters secured. In the case of Survivors, Nation is required to achieve all that, whilst at the same time evoking a plausible picture of a global catastrophe using only the personal experiences of a few disparate individuals. In doing so, as Anthony Brown observed in DWB in 1993, he ‘avoids all the clichés of disaster fiction.’