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

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.

Out now – Carolyn Seymour: In Conversation

BIG FINISH HAVE today (6 April) released, in digital download format, Carolyn Seymour: In Conversation – a two-hour conversation between the celebrated genre actor and voice artist and interviewer Toby Hadoke.

A new Big Finish press statement announcing the release gives more details:

Released today is an in-depth conversation about the life and career of Carolyn Seymour, an actress of renown in the UK and the US and best known to Big Finish listeners as Abby Grant in Survivors. Now she sits down to talk to Toby Hadoke about her astonishing career and life outside of the spotlight, unfiltered and unvarnished. 

This is the latest release in the incredibly popular Big Finish in Conversation series, where listeners get the opportunity to spend quality time in the company of their heroes, exploring their life stories in frank detail. 

Big Finish in Conversation: Carolyn Seymour is now available as a digital download for just £7.99, exclusively HERE!

Known best to Big Finish listeners as Abby Grant in Survivors, Carolyn Seymour is an actress who is equally at home in a Hollywood blockbuster, a British cult comedy or drama series. She played Jenny in Take Three Girls, Zita in the Steptoe & Son movie, and starred on the silver screen alongside Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney and Michael Keaton in a career that has lasted five decades.  

Now she opens up in an exclusive two-hour interview with writer, actor and comedian Toby Hadoke, talking with openness and honesty about her astonishing career and life outside of the spotlight. 

Carolyn Seymour said: “I have always hated giving interviews, and always, in my effort to be diplomatic, my words would be twisted into some kind of other person’s thoughts. This interview isn’t like that! I didn’t have to worry about that with Toby, so he asked the questions, and I gave him the answers, unedited and totally frank. What you get is purely and simply me. I hope that you get to know me a little, I hope that I don’t seem as distant as I might have done. My life has been full, challenging, sometimes a joy, and other times not so much… but work has always saved my soul. I thank [Big Finish senior producer] David Richardson for helping me to heal, and listening to my myriad stories with patience and humour!” 

David Richardson added: “I first noticed Carolyn Seymour when I was 14 years old – her performance as Abby Grant in Survivors made me take notice. Abby was, without a doubt, one of the first strong roles for women on TV. And from there I carried on watching Carolyn’s amazing work through her career – over to America, playing such memorable characters on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, Quantum Leap… so many, many shows. I never dreamed I’d be lucky enough to work with her, or even better to know her as a friend, but in 2014 I was able to track her down to France, and over the last seven years she has become a regular player at Big Finish.  

“I know, from sitting in the green room with her, that Carolyn has the most fascinating life stories to tell. It’s a rich and sometimes dark journey – but here she shares it with Toby Hadoke without varnish. She calls herself an open book, and this is a book you won’t be able to put down. This time spent with Carolyn Seymour is time well spent indeed.” 

Big Finish in Conversation: Carolyn Seymour is now available as a digital download for just £7.99, exclusively HERE!

This release contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners. 

Myra Frances (Anne Tranter, Survivors S1) dies aged 78

Myra Frances - Anne Tranter - Genesis - Survivors

MYRA FRANCES, WHO played the role of Anne Tranter in two episodes of series one of Survivors, has died of cancer just weeks after her seventy-eighth birthday.

Frances’ death, at 01:30 on Tuesday 30 March 2021, was announced on social media today by her husband of 45 years the actor Peter Egan. The couple had married on 13 February 1977, and had a daughter, Rebecca Egan – who has also pursued a career as an actor.

The news of Frances’ passing was quickly picked up by news agencies, including the Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Sun, OK, The Independent and Metro. Frances’ obituary in The Guardian (13 April 2021) has the most detailed discussion of her “powerful portrayal… as a screen villain” in Survivors.

The character of ‘spoilt rich girl’ Tranter first appeared in Survivors‘ second episode “Genesis”, when she flags down Greg’s car on the main road next to a quarry. Wrapped in a fur coat, and with an immaculate appearance, her character makes an immediate impression. She insists that Greg help her, by freeing her partner Vic Thatcher who’s become trapped under an overturned tractor.

Tranter, who had enjoyed a life of privilege and indulgence before The Death, soon has Greg lined up to replace the now seriously injured Vic. When Greg insists on leaving, she abandons the patient to his fate telling the returning Greg, now in the company of Jenny Richards, that the injured Vic was already dead.

Myra Frances - Anne Tranter - and Ian McCulloch - Greg Preston - in Genesis - Survivors

Tranter later refuses to join Greg and Jenny as they head off into the night to trace the source of the signal from Abby’s fire. Her disappearance is referred to in the next episode “Gone Away”, when Greg confirms to Abby that she was no longer in the barn the trio were overnighting in when Greg made good on his pledge to return to collect her.

Frances’ formidable character returns in the eleventh episode “Revenge”, when Tranter arrives at the Grange settlement in the company of the good-natured tanker driver Donny. With Vic rescued from his isolation at the quarry and now living as part of Abby’s community, the scene is set for a confrontation between Vic and Anne – with him determined that she must account for her wickedness and cruelty in leaving him “to die in his own filth”.

When the two are finally reconciled by their recognition of the value of life itself, she heads off alone towards an unknown future – but with a reaffirmed sense of self.

Myra Frances - Anne Tranter - Revenge - Survivors - 01
Myra Frances - Anne Tranter - Revenge - Survivors - 02

Prior to her retirement, Frances had enjoyed a successful and varied screen career.

As well as her appearance in Survivors, she also memorably guest-starred in the 1979 Doctor Who story ‘The Creature from the Pit’ in the role of Lady Adrasta.

Frances also played the role of Stella Clisby, in series four of Hadleigh, and appeared in a number of episodes of the lunchtime legal series Crown Court.

In addition, she appeared in episodes of The Sweeney, Z-Cars, Angels, Within These Walls, The Newcomers and The Organisation – the show on which she met her future husband.

The day before her death, MyLondon coincidentally ran a short feature recalling the controversy that surrounded Frances’ appearance alongside Alison Steadman in the BBC drama Girl, where their characters shared what was claimed to be the first lesbian kiss on British television.

On the big screen she took roles in films including Don’t Just Lie There, Say Something!, Very Like a Whale and Remembrance.

In retirement, and alongside her husband, Myra Frances devoted considerable time and effort supporting animal charities and campaigning for better treatment of animals.

UPDATED 24 April 2021

Carolyn Seymour: In Conversation – Big Finish podcast preview

THE 28 MARCH 2021 Big Finish podcast, presented by Nicholas Briggs and Benji Clifford, includes a preview from the upcoming audio release Carolyn Seymour: In Conversation.

The Centurion Seymour edition of the podcast is available to stream or download from the Big Finish web site, and through all usual podcast plaforms and services.

The preview includes a discussion of the personal and professional challenges that Seymour experienced working on the Steptoe and Son movie and securing the role of Abby Grant on Survivors. She also reflects on the sexist culture that afflicted the entertainment industry during the 1970s, and the impact that this had on women working in film and TV.

After the preview, the hosts discuss how much they have enjoyed working with Carolyn on Big Finish productions since she began to lend her audio talents to the company’s output. Briggs and Clifford also reflect on how positive their personal interactions in the studio always are with this most singular of actors.

Known best to Big Finish listeners as Abby Grant in Survivors, Carolyn Seymour is an actress who is equally at home in a Hollywood blockbuster, a British cult comedy or drama series. She played Jenny in Take Three Girls, Zita in the Steptoe & Son movie, and starred on the silver screen alongside Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney and Michael Keaton in a career that has lasted five decades.

Now she opens up in an exclusive two-hour interview with writer, actor and comedian Toby Hadoke, talking with openness and honesty about her astonishing career and life outside of the spotlight.

Please note release contains discussion of alcoholism and attempted suicide and therefore is not suitable for younger listeners.

Big Finish have also released the first trailer from the release, which can also be listened to on, and downloaded from, the Big Finish site.

Carolyn Seymour: In Conversation will be released next month, and is available for pre-order from Big Finish.

Further information about the release was first released in a Big Finish press release back in February.

Carolyn Seymour: In Conversation – cover and trailer released

Carolyn Seymour: Survivor cover design

BIG FINISH HAVE released the cover image for next month’s digital audio release Carolyn Seymour: In Conversation, and the first teaser trailer.

Big Finish’s ‘In Conversation’ series provides an opportunity for an in-depth one-on-one question-and-answer session with actors famous for their genre work on screen and an audio.

This latest release features Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant, Survivors – on screen and on audio) in conversation with Toby Hadoke.

The list for Carolyn Seymour: In Conversation on the Big Finish site explains:

Known best to Big Finish listeners as Abby Grant in Survivors, Carolyn Seymour is an actress who is equally at home in a Hollywood blockbuster, a British cult comedy or drama series. She played Jenny in Take Three Girls, Zita in the Steptoe & Son movie, and starred on the silver screen alongside Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney and Michael Keaton in a career that has lasted five decades.

Now she opens up in an exclusive two-hour interview with writer, actor and comedian Toby Hadoke, talking with openness and honesty about her astonishing career and life outside of the spotlight.

Please note release contains discussion of alcoholism and attempted suicide and therefore is not suitable for younger listeners.

Big Finish have also released the first trailer from the release, which can also be listened to on, and downloaded from, the Big Finish site.

Carolyn Seymour: In Conversation will be released next month, and is available for pre-order from Big Finish.

Further information about the release was first released in a Big Finish press release back in February.

In conversation – Carolyn Seymour: Survivor

Carolyn Seymour

BIG FINISH HAVE today announced the release of a two-hour ‘in conversation’ session with Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant).

For this digital-download-only release, Carolyn was interviewed by writer, actor and comedian Toby Hadoke in January 2021.

Carolyn Seymour: Survivor is available for pre-order from the Big Finish site, and will be released in April 2021.

Known best to Big Finish listeners as Abby Grant in Survivors, Carolyn Seymour is an actress who is equally at home in a Hollywood blockbuster, a British cult comedy or drama series. She played Jenny in Take Three Girls, Zita in the Steptoe & Son movie, and starred on the silver screen alongside Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney and Michael Keaton in a career that has lasted five decades.

Now she opens up in an exclusive two-hour interview with writer, actor and comedian Toby Hadoke, talking with openness and honesty about her astonishing career and life outside of the spotlight.

In the Big Finish press release, Tony Hadoke says –

I knew Carolyn would be interesting but was thrilled by her openness, her refreshing honesty and the way she was happy to field any question I wanted to throw at her. She’s definitely a survivor. This may be a one woman show – and what a woman – but there are a host of supporting players and she brings them all to life; from HG Wells (well, bits of him) to Terence Dudley via Michael Bryant and Peter O’Toole. The time we spent chatting just flew by.

Big Finish - In Conversation logo

Photo of Carolyn Seymour (c) Tony Whitmore

Survivors feature in November SFX

The opening two page Survivors spread from the November 2020 edition of SFX magazine

A FOUR-PAGE FEATURE on Survivors, that includes comments from Carolyn Seymour, Lucy Fleming and Ian McCulloch, appears in the November issue of SFX magazine.

Written by Steve O’Brien, who’s recently published articles on the 2008-10 Survivors remake in The Guardian and SFX, the piece attempts to summarise the history of the original series forty-five years on from its original transmission.

Those with a reasonable knowledge of Survivors won’t learn much that’s new from the feature, which includes several familiar anecdotes and quotations. There is a tiny bit more on Seymour’s departure from the show, on Terry Nation’s relationship with Terry Dudley, and on McCulloch’s abortive remake attempt, but no major new insights.

O’Brien does introduce what might be a new example of the third journalistic faux pas listed in the How to Annoy a Survivors Fan spotter’s guide (‘Make lazy, repetitive and ill-informed comparisons between Survivors and other shows’) . He describes the Whitecross era as pulling the series ‘more in the direction of Countryfile than Mad Max.’

In a short interview with David Richardson, the producer of the Big Finish Survivors audio range confirms that there are currently no plans for further instalments. With Big Finish’s run of full-cast Survivors audios coming to an end with the ninth series, there were some hopes that the show might continue on audio in the form of single-voice audio books – a transition that some other properties in the Big Finish range have made. That possibility now appears to be ruled out.

Carolyn Seymour joins online Star Trek Q&A session

Carolyn Seymour join online Star Trek Q&A session, 15 July 2020

CAROLYN SEYMOUR (ABBY Grant) will join a three-person panel for an online Star Trek question-and-answer session on 15 July.

Hosted by Wizard World Virtual Experiences, Seymour will appear alongside fellow Star Trek cast members Anthony Montgomery and Alan Van Sprang for an hour-long web session, starting at 21:00 UK time.

The session will be free to view online, although a range of associated merchandise is available to pre-purchase: including signed (and, if desired, dedicated) photos, video chats (scheduled for 18 July) and pre-recorded video messages.

The free Q&A session will be available to view in real-time through the Wizard World Virtual Twitch channel, and the company’s presence on Facebook and YouTube.

UPDATE: 16 July: Wizard World Virtual Experiences have now uploaded a recording of the live session to YouTube:

Wizard World Virtual Experiences - Star Trek Panel - 15 July 2020 - Carolyn Seymour

New study of performance and production in Survivors

A NEW BOOK which examines the way in which actors perform in television drama, and the way in which their performance is captured by the camera, uses Survivors as one of its illuminating case studies.

In The Changing Spaces of Television Acting: From studio realism to location realism in BBC television drama, author and researcher Richard Hewett scrutines the craft of actors and performers working on The Quatermass Experiment, Doctor Who and Survivors.

He looks at the interplay between custom and practice, acting theory, evolving technology and other factors in shaping how performance for television is realised. Hewett pays particular attention to the distinction between studio and ‘on location’ production, exploring the influence that ‘place’ exerts on the way that a story is translated from page to screen.

Hewett’s book builds on the research that he undertook for the doctoral thesis, and an academic journal article that he published as one of the outputs of his research findings. Yet it’s clear that the aim of the book is to reach a non-academic as well as an academic audience.

For those interested in the history of British television production, there’s a great deal in Hewett’s book to capture the attention.

Enthusiasts with a particular interest in Survivors will be able to enjoy some fascinating and original reflections on the making of the show, informed by new interviews with cast members (including Lucy Fleming and Denis Lill and Roger Lloyd-Pack), and illustrated with numerous screencaptures from different episodes of the show.

In a Q&A with publishers Manchester University Press, Hewett explains that he enjoyed “every aspect of writing the book, from re-viewing the case studies to poring over archive documents.” He suggests that conducting interviews was the most satisfying part. “It was fascinating to have my theories challenged by the practitioners who originally worked on my case studies,” he says – people who were on set at the time and who were able to offer “their own unique perspectives.”

This book provides a historical overview and then-and-now comparison of performing for British television drama. By examining changing acting styles from distinct eras of television production – studio realism and location realism – it makes a unique contribution to both television and performance studies, unpacking the various determinants that have combined to influence how performers work in the medium. The book compares the original versions of The Quatermass Experiment (BBC, 1953), Doctor Who (BBC, 1963-89) and Survivors (BBC, 1975-77) with their respective modern-day re-makes, unpacking the effects of the shift from multi-camera studio to single-camera location production. Textual analysis is combined with extensive archival research into production process and reception, alongside interviews with numerous actors and production personnel from more than sixty years of television production.

Richard Hewett. 2020. The Changing Spaces of Television Acting: From studio realism to location realism in BBC television drama. Manchester: Manchester University Press, ISBN 9781526148636.