Christopher Tranchell appears at Fantom event in Chiswick in September

Christopher Tranchell - Survivors - Revenge

CHRISTOPHER TRANCHELL (PAUL PITMAN, Survivors) is joining the line-up at Fantom Events’ September Signing Spectacular, being held on Saturday 8 September 2018 in Chiswick.

Fantom describe these Doctor Who themed events as ideal for “collectors and first time attendees” and providing a “unique opportunity to meet a vast array of Doctors, companions, guest stars and technical personnel.” Tranchell appeared in the Who stories “The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve” (1966), “The Faceless Ones” (1967) and “The Invasion of Time” (1978).

Also appearing alongside Tranchell are Gary Cady, Shirley Cooklin, Gareth Armstrong, Jack Parker, Gabriela Montaraz, David Reynalds and Janet Radenkovic.

Entrance to the event is £10.00, with guests charging £10.00 for photo signings. All guests will sign in two two-hour blocks, and those unable to attend can pre-order a signed photo to be delivered by post.

September Signing Spectacular, St Michael’s Centre, Elmwood Road, Chiswick W4 3DY – 8 September 2018, 12:30-17:00

‘Gone Fishing…’ in the Monsal Mad Dog valley

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - title plate

THE MONSAL VALLEY filming locations used in the classic third series Survivors story Mad Dog featured in an episode of Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing shown on BBC Two earlier this month.

The BBC’s cameras (at both ground and drone level) took in shots of the valley floor, the valley’s bridges, the viaduct, the weir and (of course, given the subject matter) the river Wye as it meanders its way through the valley.

The series shows the efforts of comedians Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse to fish in a variety of locations (with Whitehouse as the expert and Mortimer as his apprentice). With both of them having to adjust their lives after recovering from major heart surgery, the pair spend as much time joking, teasing one another and reflecting on their lot as they do attempting to catch-and-release fish.

Episode three “Rainbow Trout – Derbyshire Wye” was first shown on BBC Two at 22:00 on 4 July 2018, and will be available on the BBC’s iPlayer (for viewers in the UK) for thirty days following transmission.

A fully-illustrated guide to all of the Monsal Valley filming locations used in Survivors can be found on the Survivors: Mad Dog site.

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - the bridge close to Netherdale Farm

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - the Monsal valley

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - the Monsal valley floor, looking towards the viadcut

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - the bridge near Upperdale House

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - Bob Mortimer shares the Wye with a farmer's cow

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - the Weir in the Monsal valley

Recording completes on the eighth series of Survivors audio adventures

Big Finish - Survivors - logo

RECORDING ON THE eighth series of Survivors audio adventures, scheduled for release in November, has completed – Big Finish has reported (2 June 2018).

Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant) and Lucy Fleming (Jenny Richards) will both be returning to their roles in the series, as will Helen Goldwyn (Ruth) and George Watkins (Craig).

Joining the Survivors‘ audio cast for the first time will be Wendy Craig and, in the role of Peter Grant, Joel James Davison.

Series eight will be jointly produced by Emma Haigh and David Richardson, with Matt Fitton returning as script editor, and Ken Bentley continuing to direct proceedings.

Christopher Hatherall returns to the Survivors writing team, and is this time round joined by established Big Finish scribes Jane Slavin and Roland Moore and newcomer Lisa McMullin.

Series eight is currently available for pre-order from the Big Finish web site, and all previous releases remain available for purchase.

See Big Finish’s news story in full below.

Survivors Series 8

Recording has wrapped on Series 8 of Big Finish’s audio drama of Terry Nation’s Survivors, and here are more details on the continued struggles for the survivors of The Death…

Four new stories from the world of Survivors arrive in Series Eight out in November this year.

  • Bandit Train by Christopher Hatherall
  • Robert by Jane Slavin
  • The Lost Boys by Lisa McMullin
  • Village of Dust by Roland Moore

Survivors Series Eight sees actors Carolyn Seymour and Lucy Fleming reprising their TV roles as Abby Grant and Jenny. Helen Goldwyn also returns as Ruth and George Watkins returns as Craig – both characters who appeared in Survivors Series 6.

Plus actress Wendy Craig, who listeners will recognise from TV shows Nanny, Butterflies, …And Mother Makes Three and …And Mother Makes Five guest stars, and in a major twist, Joel James Davison (the son of Fifth Doctor Peter Davison) joins the ongoing series as Peter Grant, Abby’s long-lost son. Could it be that Abby and Peter will finally meet?

Survivors Series Eight is directed by Ken Bentley, script edited by Matt Fitton and produced by Emma Haigh and David Richardson. And we have a new Big Finish writer in this series as Lisa McMullin joins fellow scribes Christopher Hatherall, Jane Slavin and Roland Moore.

Survivors is based on an original concept and characters from the 1975 television series by Terry Nation (creator of the Daleks and Blake’s 7). The show ran for three seasons and was known to be as thought-provoking and character-driven as it was terrifying.

The world has ended. The ‘Death’ 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 no cities, no laws, no technology, everyone must start over. And the worst of human nature has survived along with the best…

Survivors remains one of Big Finish’s most critically acclaimed series, with regular top mark reviews. The powerful performances and strong scripts in these tales of survival and the continuation of hope and humanity in a ravaged world must be heard to be believed.

You can pre-order Series Eight of Survivors today at £25 on CD or £20 on download. Or save money in a bundle and pre-order Series Eight and Nine together at £50 on CD or £40 on download.

If you’re new to the world of Survivors you can listen to Survivors: Revelation by Matt Fitton, the first episode from Survivors Series One on a free download from Big Finish.

Wendy Craig and Jane Slavin - Survivors S8
Jane Slavin and Wendy Craig – Survivors audios series eight

One Hour to Zero – Children’s Film Foundation

THE 1976 CHILDREN’S Film Foundation drama One Hour to Zero is a “countdown thriller”, which shows the life of an ordinary Welsh village thrown into crisis as a nearby experimental nuclear power station threatens to explode.

Made by Charles Barker Films, One Hour to Zero was written by John Tully, produced by Jean Wadlow and directed by Jeremy Summers. It was shot on film and mainly on location, with Trawsfyndd in Gwynedd providing the village locations and Trawsfynydd nuclear power station serving at the site of the apparently doomed plant. Music for the production was provided by Anthony Isaac (who wrote the Survivors theme), and the cast includes Morris Perry (Fenton, Mad Dog) and Hazel McBride (Alice, Bridgehead)

The drama has the familiar tone and style of Children’s Film Foundation stories, but – given its target audience – was amongst the more disturbing of the titles in the CFF catalogue.

It’s definitely worth a hour of your time, if you enjoy watching people: wandering through eerily empty streets; knocking on neighbours’ doors to find no-one home; driving around in Land Rovers; clambering their way through old quarries; working out of an emergency centre of operations; fruitlessly waving at helicopters as they fly over; looting cash-and-carry stores; struggling to retrieve a case full of stolen bank notes; worrying about whether the atomic power stations are dangerous (and if they can be shut down properly); and battling to regain control of an abandoned power plant.

There’s also something oddly familiar about seeing a roguish Welsh itinerant hiding out in the hills (someone who encourages another stray to “stay with me, I’ll see you’re alright”); a parent frantically searching for a missing son; and Morris Perry as a pessimistic academic convinced that the end is nigh as the clock ticks down towards disaster…

Set in the fictional Welsh village of Llynfawr, Steve (Toby Bridge) runs away from home after an argument with his father. His sister Maureen (Jayne Collins) enlists the help of his friend Paul (Andrew Ashby) to find him, although Paul is initially unwilling to help. He eventually finds Steve in an abandoned slate quarry. On their return they find the village deserted and are unaware that the village has been evacuated due to the danger of an explosion at a nearby power station. They are unable to contact the outside world as the village’s only public telephone was earlier vandalised by Paul in an attempt to get money from it. Steve’s father returns to the power station in an attempt to correct the problem and prevent disaster. He eventually succeeds with seconds to spare. Meanwhile, the opportunity to rob the cash and carry has not passed Mike Ellis (Dudley Sutton) by…

One Hour to Zero  - main cast

One Hour to Zero  - main cast

The Mad Death – interview and review in Starburst

Richard Heffer - The Mad Death - Starburst #449

RICHARD HEFFER (JIMMY Garland, Survivors) is interviewed in the current print edition of Starburst magazine, discussing his leading role in the three-part 1983 rabies mini-series The Mad Death.

Coinciding with the release of The Mad Death on DVD for the first time, Heffer recalls the making of the series, the topicality of its dramatic themes, the chilling and memorable opening titles, and his evident delight in taking on the role of no-nonsense government vet Michael Hilliard.

The DVD release is also reviewed in the online edition of Starburst magazine. The review concludes that the series:

remains gripping, thought-provoking, unsettling and disturbing; an overdue release from the TV archives from an era when the BBC made more shows that deserved those kinds of adjectives.

Rich Cross. 2018. ‘Interview – Richard Heffer: The Mad Death’. Starburst, No 449, p.92.

Rich Cross. 2018. ‘Review: The Mad Death (1983)’. Starburst, 3 May.

UPDATE 16 JUNE 2018: My review of The Mad Death appears in the print edition of Starburst magazine No 450.

Rich Cross. 2018. ‘Review: The Mad Death (1983)’. Starburst. No 450, p.85.

The Mad Death - DVD review - Starburst No 450

Big Finish reschedule next two series of Survivors audios

BIG FINISH HAVE revised the schedule for the next two releases in their series of acclaimed original Survivors audio dramas.

The eighth series of the full-cast dramas set in the world of Terry Nation’s 1975-77 series had been scheduled for release in June, with the ninth series (the last currently confirmed) following in November. This timetable has changed.

Series eight is now to be released in November 2018, with series nine following in June 2019. Series producer David Richardson is keen to reassure fans that the change is simply down to the practicalities of ensuring the availability of all the actors and the behind-the-scenes team.

“The change was purely down to production logistics,” Richardson confirms. “We needed all of our ducks in a row to be able to record.” He pledges that fans’ patience will be rewarded. “I promise it’ll be worth the wait,” he says. “There’s some seismic stuff coming!”

Series eight and series nine are both available for pre-order (in both CD and digital download formats) on the Big Finish site. The previous seven series (and the audiobook version of Terry Nation’s 1976 Survivors novel) are all available for purchase.

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Carolyn Seymour at Folkestone Film TV & Comic Con

CAROLYN SEYMOUR (ABBY Grant) appears at the sixth annual Folkestone Film TV & Comic Con (FFTCC) this weekend.

Seymour will be signing autographs (for a £15.00 fee) and chatting with fans during the event at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone, Kent on both Saturday 12 May and Sunday 13 May 2018.

In unrelated news, Getty Images have increased the number of archival (and more recent) photos of Seymour available from the photo agency. The images are free to embed (as below), with fees applying to include them in online and print publications.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Simply Media to release The Mad Death rabies drama

The Mad Death - DVD cover

THE THREE-PART 1983 BBC rabies drama The Mad Death, starring Survivors‘ Richard Heffer (Jimmy Garland) will be released for the first time ever on DVD on 7 May 2018, courtesy of Simply Media.

The drama, which also features Barbara Kellerman (1990) and Ed Bishop (UFO), focuses on the efforts of Chief Veterinary Officer Michael Hilliard (Heffer) to contain an outbreak of rabies in rural Scotland, triggered when a tourist smuggles their infected pet back into the country.

As is standard practice with Simply Media genre DVDs, The Mad Death will be a vanilla release, without any special features or supporting material. Full details can be found in the Simply Media catalogue listing for the release.

The Mad Death

The BBC’s nightmarish vision of Britain under attack by a rabies outbreak. Starring Richard Heffer, Barbara Kellerman and Ed Bishop.

Directed by BAFTA-nominee Robert Young, The Mad Death is a disturbing and chilling three-part thriller that examined in terrifying detail the potential consequences of a rabies outbreak in Britain. Shown in 1983 at the height of Britain’s paranoia about the potential outbreak of the disease.

When a tourist from France cannot bear to leave her cat at home while she travels on holiday, she smuggles it in to Scotland for her trip. But what she doesn’t know is her pet is infected with a deadly disease, which goes unnoticed as it infects the animal population. The Mad Death has already spread far when it is finally noticed when it claims its first human victim.

This sparks off a deadly rabies outbreak, which threatens to attack the entire nation. Michael Hillard (Richard Heffer) and Ann Maitland (Barbara Kellerman) join forces to fight the dreadful disease, with one trying to contain the outbreak, and the other trying to trace the virus back to its source to save others from an agonising death.

What the press Said: “a dark and sometimes shocking plot which is driven by some powerful performances. The emotional impact of certain scenes is enough to ensure you won’t forget the serial any time soon.” – Curious British Telly

Format: DVD
Release Date: 7th May 2018
Run Time: 3 hours
Discs: 1
Language: English (with English Subtitles)

Denis Lill on tour in The Case of the Frightened Lady

The Case of the Frightened Lady poster - portrait

DENIS LILL HAS recently begun a national theatre tour in a Classic Thriller Company production of The Case of the Frightened Lady. This latest production from the company is an adaptation of Edgar Wallace’s acclaimed murder mystery, and includes in its ensemble many of the same cast members that Lill has appeared with in previous touring productions by the Agatha Christie Company, including Witness for the Prosection, Death on the Nile and Then There Were None.

When Inspector Tanner is called in to investigate a ruthless murder at Mark’s Priory, the grand ancestral home of the Lebanon family, he quickly discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. The household is controlled by the family physician, the footmen behave more like guests than servants and the secretary Isla is afraid for her life. As Tanner moves closer to the heart of the mystery he uncovers a shocking and closely guarded secret…

Building on the phenomenal decade long success of The Agatha Christie Company, which sold over two million tickets around the UK, comes a new thrilling chapter. Following this year’s acclaimed production of Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement in Stone, the Classic Thriller Company returns with a brand new adaption from the legendary “King of the detective thriller”, EDGAR WALLACE – the brains behind one of the most iconic films of all time, KING KONG.

Widely recognised as the most popular writer of the early 20th century, Edgar Wallace’s gripping page-turners are regarded as the bedrock of the modern thriller and The Case of the Frightened Lady remains one of his most celebrated works. Adapted for film several times, this is your chance to catch this chilling, captivating and complex thriller live on stage…

The Case of the Frightened Lady poster - landscape

The tour got off to an excellent start, with the opening run at The Theatre Royal in Windsow earning a rave review in the Slough Observer. Performances across the ensemble cast all garnered praise, with Denis Lill “from long-running drama The Royal and Only Fools and Horses” described as “wonderful” in the role of Dr Amersham.

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Book tickets

29 Jan-3 Feb Weston-Super-Mare Playhouse 01934 645544 Book

5 – 10 Feb Guildford, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre 01483 440000 Book

12 – 17 Feb Crawley, The Hawth Theatre 01293 553636 Book

19 – 24 Feb Aylesbury Waterside Theatre 08448 717627 Book

26 Feb-3 Mar Chesterfield Pomegranate 01246 345222 Book

5 – 10 Mar Cardiff, New Theatre 02920 878889 Book

12 – 17 Mar Barnstaple Queens Theatre 01271 316063 Book

19 – 24 Mar Stoke-on-Trent, Regent Theatre 08448 717649 Book

26 – 31 Mar Edinburgh, Kings Theatre 01315 296000 Book

3 – 7 Apr Woking, New Victoria Theatre 08448 717645 Book

21 – 26 May Milton Keynes Theatre 08448 717652 Book

11 – 16 Jun Coventry, Belgrade Theatre 024 7655 3055 Book

18 – 23 Jun Southend Palace Theatre 01702 351135 Book

2 – 8 Jul Swansea Grand Theatre 01792 475715 Book

23 – 28 Jul Leeds Grand Theatre 08448 482700 Book

30 Jul – 4 Aug Bury St Edmonds, Theatre Royal 01284 769505 Book

2 – 6 Oct Glasgow, Theatre Royal 08448 717647 Book

More live dates for Lucy Fleming’s and Simon Williams’ Posting Letters to the Moon

Lucy Fleming and Simon Williams in Posting Letters to the Moon

LUCY FLEMING AND Simon Williams will appear on stage together in additional spoken-word performances of Posting Letters to the Moon, a reading of the wartime letters between the actress Ceila Johnson and her husband Peter Fleming.

A romantic, funny and very touching portrait of life during the early 1940s featuring readings of wartime letters between Oscar-nominated actress Celia Johnson (Brief Encounter) and her explorer and writer husband Peter Fleming (brother of James Bond creator Ian Fleming).

The letters read by their daughter Lucy Fleming (Miranda in The Archers, Survivors) and her husband Simon Williams (Justin in The Archers, EastEnders, Upstairs Downstairs) are full of love and warmth and we get an insight into a young mother’s life whose husband has gone to war.

‘…this intimate and simply spellbinding performance … revealing an abundance of love and affection between ordinary people caught in extraordinary times.’ British Theatre Guide, March 2017

Posting Letters to the Moon logo


Sunday, 11 March 2018
3.00 pm – 4.20 pm
19 West Borough, Wimborne BH21 1LT
01202 885566
Tickets £15/discounts (plus booking fees)

Thursday, 22 March 2018
7.45 pm – 9.15 pm
Millbrook, Guildford GU1 3UX
+44 (0)1483 44 00 00
Tickets £17 (inc of booking fees)

Wednesday, 11 April 2018
4 pm
Sonning Eye, Reading RG4 6TY
0118 969 8000
Tickets £20.00 to include a glass of Champagne served on stage with a Q & A after the show.

Thursday, 12 April 2018
7.45 pm – 9.00 pm
Chipping Norton Theatre
2 Spring Street,
Chipping Norton
01608 642350
Tickets £12.50/£10.50 concessions (plus booking fees)

Saturday, 19 May 2018
7.45 pm – 9.15 pm
01684 569256
Grange Rd, Malvern WR14 3HB

Tuesday, June 12 2018
Assembly Room
Devizes Town Hall