June Brown (Susan, Manhunt) dies aged 95

June Brown as Susan in Manhunt, the opening episode of the third and final series of Survivors

JUNE BROWN, WHO appeared in the opening episode of the third and final series of Survivors, has died at the age of 95.

Brown appears in the role of Susan in ‘Manhunt’, the only episode in the series written by producer Terry Dudley. Susan is a survivor who shares a small settlement with the blacksmith Seth (Dan Meaden) who finds the ill and delirious Jack after he narrowly escapes a wild dog pack on his return from Norway with Greg and Agnes. While Seth makes contact with Charles Vaughan at Challenor, Susan tends to the injured traveller as best she can. The pair then play host to Charles and Jenny, before their two visitors head off in pursuit of Greg Preston hoping to make sense of Jack’s confused account of what awaits them at Wellingham.

Born in Needham Market, Suffolk in 1927, Brown served with the Wrens during World War Two. After the war she was accepted at the Old Vic School in London and subsequently joined the Old Vic company, appearing in touring shows and in productions at Stratford-upon-Avon and the Birmingham Rep. 

WAYMARKER

By the time she was cast in the small guest role in Survivors, Brown had already established a career on the small screen as well as on stage. On TV, she’d appeared in Armchair Mystery Theatre (1964), Z-Cars (1964-72), Dixon of Dock Green (1965-69), The Prince and the Pauper (1976) and many other series.

Amongst fans of genre TV of the period, Brown is especially well-known for playing the role of Lady Eleanor in the Doctor Who story ‘The Time Warrior’ (shown between December 1973 and January 1984).

In 1977, the same year that she featured in Survivors, she also secured guest roles in Crown Court and The Duchess of Duke Street and appeared in a television adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Her role in one episode of Survivors was a minor waymarker in her long career, and was not something that drew much attention (outside of the ranks of Survivors fans) in the years that followed.

Brown continued to win supporting and guest roles in TV series of all kinds, and appeared in numerous stage productions. But it was her audition in 1985 for the role of Dot Cotton in the BBC soap Eastenders that completely transformed Brown’s career.

PANTHEON

Dot was the “chainsmoking, hypochondriac launderette manager of Albert Square”, a role that presented Brown with “a great Dickensian character of detail, humanity and colour” that over time saw Dot secure her place in the “the long-running soap’s female pantheon” (Guardian, 4 April 2022).

Brown would go on to appear in more than 2,300 Eastenders episodes as her character became one of the most fondly-regarded of the show’s ensemble, featuring in any number of major soap storylines. The role won her several industry awards, and Brown was also awarded an MBE in 2008, and an OBE in 2022. Brown retired from the cast of Eastenders in early 2020 at the age of 93.

June Brown: 16 February 1927 – 3 April 2022

Peter Bowles (David Grant, The Fourth Horseman) dies aged 85

Peter Bowles (as David Grant) - The Fourth Horseman - at the Grants home

PETER BOWLES, who played the role of Abby Grant’s husband David in the very first Survivors episode The Fourth Horseman, has died of cancer at the age of 85.

“He was lovely,” Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant) recalled on the episode commentary for the DD Video release of the first series of Survivors on DVD. “He was just wonderful as my husband.”

By the time he was casting for The Fourth Horseman, director Pennant Roberts had been aware of Bowles’ rising stage and screen career for many years. The pair had first met while Bowles had been working at the Bristol Vic in the early 1960s.

Audience expectation

By 1974, when Roberts was looking to cast the role of the home-counties businessman David Grant, he knew he needed an actor with real presence; someone that – despite his character’s privileged social status – TV audiences would identify with. By that time, Bowles “had established himself”, Roberts recalled in 2003. He was “not as established as he became subsequently” but he was an actor that, in 1975, many TV viewers would have recognised.

That was an important consideration, because Terry Nation’s script for The Fourth Horseman deliberately confounds audience expectation about David Grant’s likely fate. The plotline strongly suggests that the ailing Abby might die, while her as-yet unaffected husband could survive the outbreak.

What Bowles captures so well is the sense of displacement that David Grant feels

“To make the story work you had to feel that [he] was another lead actor” on a par with Seymour, Roberts explained. Someone who could become a series’ regular. So when David Grant subsequently dies, his unexpected death “has a real effect on the viewer,” Roberts reflected.

The character of David Grant only appears in a few pivotal scenes before he succumbs to the virus, but Bowles’ performance leaves a memorable impression. As the virus reaches his commuter-belt village, Bowles brilliantly captures David’s rising panic – as his world comes apart, and Abby falls ill. What begins as irritation at a difficult journey home from a disrupted office, ends with David’s desperate attempts to save Abby’s life and his recognition of the full, terrible reality of the pandemic.

INNER-ALARM

What Bowles captures so well is the sense of displacement that David Grant feels. In conversation with Abby at their dinner table, it’s clear he’s attempting to silence his inner-alarm about the worsening situation in the country through denial. By the time he races off into the night to find Doctor Gordon, the businessman – who’s used to being in charge of every aspect of his life – is now struggling in a world in which nothing is any longer under his control. The fact that David dies alone (and unseen) on his living room couch, while Abby battles through the virus upstairs, only adds to the poignancy – and indeed the shock – of his passing.

Born in London in 1936, Bowles would begin his sixty-year acting career by securing a scholarship for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), going on to join The Old Vic Company. It was the start of a lengthy and diverse stage career, which saw Bowles appear in more than 40 productions over the years.

Finely judged comedic performances were balanced by serious dramatic roles

His interest in theatre never diminished, even as he secured success and recognition for his TV roles. One of his final theatrical performances, at the age of 81, was as Father Merrin in a stage version of The Exorcist.

Whilst he enjoyed a low-key career as a movie actor, appearing in films such as The Offence (1972), Try This One For Size (1989) and The Steal (1995), it was his work in television that secured him the most attention.

Good life

Famously turning down the role of Jerry Leadbetter in The Good Life in favour of some more theatre work, Bowles later found fame in TV sit-coms including Only When I Laugh (1979-82), The Bounder (1982-83) and Executive Stress (1987-88). He drew most plaudits for his role as the self-made businessman Richard DeVere in To The Manor Born (1979-2007), alongside Penelope Keith. It remained a hugely popular show throughout its run, consistently attracting huge viewing figures.

But those finely judged comedic performances were also balanced by serious dramatic roles. Building on one-off appearances in a wide variety of TV series in the 1960s, including The Baron, Softly Softly and Take Three Girls (in which Seymour starred), Bowles would go on to take more substantive roles in series such as Rumpole of the Bailey (1979-82), The Irish R.M. (1983-85), Lytton’s Diary (1985-86) and many others. His last major small-screen role was as the Duke of Wellington in Victoria (2016-2019).

Bowles’ impressive acting career saw him take on a varied and contrasting roles over course of six decades, allowing him to showcase his talents in both comedy and straight drama. He was often cast in the guise of the dapper gentleman or the charming professional rogue, but he was always keen to avoid typecasting.

Without in any sense discounting his impressive corpus of work, for enthusiasts of Survivors Peter Bowles will always be indelibly associated with the role of the doomed David Grant. David’s abrupt death comes as a body-blow to Abby Grant, confirming that her former life has gone forever. Like the passing of Jenny Richards’ flatmate Pat, this intimate, personal loss is a potent on-screen metaphor for what is, by the closing credits of The Fourth Horseman, confirmed to be a global human catastrophe.

The final image of the episode shows Abby driving away from the flames consuming the Grants’ home – an improvised funeral pyre for David Grant- and towards whatever life now awaits her.

Bowles’ death was widely covered in the British press, with obituaries appearing in The Guardian, The Mail, The Independent, The Mirror and many other publications.

Peter Bowles: 16 October 1936 – 17 March 2022

Peter Bowles (David Grant) - The Fourth Horseman - meeting Abby at Brimpsfield station.png
Peter Bowles (David Grant) - The Fourth Horseman - meeting Dr Joe Gordon

Robert Gillespie launches new book of reminiscences

ROBERT GILLESPIE, WHO appeared in two separate roles in Survivors, is about to publish his second book of reminiscences about “a life in sitcom, TV, film and theatre”.

Gillespie’s first role in Survivors came in 1975 in the third episode Gone Away, when he featured as John Milner – a reluctant member of Wormley’s militia, who is disarmed by Jenny Richards at the Cash-and-Carry stand-off, and who later enables Abby, Greg and Jenny to escape after the gang track down their centre of operations at the church.

Gillespie returned to Survivors in 1977, featuring in three episodes of the third series as Sam Meade, a recovering heroin addict who is determined to prevent the return of power and industry in post-Death Britain. As Charles’ group works to bring the first Scottish hydroelectric station online, would-be saboteur Meade falls to his death in the plant’s inlet turbines.

Two roles

No other actor in the original Survivors appeared in two completely distinct and unconnected roles.

Gillespie’s new book Are You Going to do That Little Jump?, is a sequel to a first volume of recollections from a supporting and character actor’s life and career published in 2017. “Robert was pleased enough with sales to launch part two which picks up where part one left off,” his publicist explains. “Part one was mostly about theatre, but part two has more of a focus on TV and film” and in particular his career in sitcom.

This new volume does include a “passing reference” to Gillespie’s work on Survivors and a photo of him as Sam Meade. “His memories of the production are hazy”, the publicist concedes, “but he does talk about going down a live mine shaft whilst on location.” That would have been during the production of The Enemy, the first episode in which Meade’s character appears.

Book launch

As part of the promotional campaign, Gillespie is hosting a “big bash book launch” featuring “chats, clips and Q&As” at 19:00 on 6 October 2021. Advanced registration for the event is available online.

Ordering details for Are You Going to do That Little Jump? will be available shortly. “Robert is launching a new website very soon,” the publicist explains. It is anticipated that the book will be available for sale direct from Gillespie’s site. The new website will also offer “extensive archive material” from across the actor’s decades’ long career.

Morris Perry – an actor’s life

THE RESPECTED CHARACTER actor Morris Perry, who died on 19 September 2021 at the age of 96, enjoyed a long and diverse career on television and on the stage.

Fans of Survivors are likely to know Perry best from his extraordinarily well-judged performance in the third series episode Mad Dog as the misanthrope former academic Dr Richard Fenton. But this kind of exemplary character acting was the signature of a small-screen career that spanned several decades.

On TV, Perry was rarely – if ever – awarded “leading man” status. But he excelled in those supporting and guest roles that required presence, substance and intellectual or emotional intelligence – and, when the script required it, a sense of controlled menace.

Television remained a perennial feature of Perry’s working life. But while TV acting gave him the most national exposure, it was love of the theatre that shaped Perry’s career more significantly. “There’s no doubt the theatre is much more interesting, most of the time,” he reflected later.

Stage and screen

Born on 28 March 1925 in Bromley, Kent (as Frank Morris Perry), as a young man he learnt his acting craft at The Old Vic Theatre School, “one of the most successful and well-respected conservatoire drama schools in the UK”. In 1953, Perry married the British actress Margaret Ashcroft. The couple had four children, and remained together until Ashcroft’s death in 2016.

After graduating from The Old Vic, Perry began a career that combined work on stage and screen. In the theatre, Perry pursued his deep interest in the writings of Shakespeare, appearing in numerous productions of The Bard’s work.

He excelled in those supporting and guest roles that required presence, substance and intellectual or emotional intelligence

In the late 1950s, Perry appeared in minor and supporting roles in a number of TV productions, including The Man Who Was Two (1956), Charlesworth at Large (1958) and The Life and Death of Sir John Falstaff (1959). During the 1960s, Perry continued to feature in similar one-off appearances in TV shows, including Sergeant Cork (1964) and The Protectors (1964).

But he had also begun to secure more substantial small-screen commissions. In 1964, he appeared as Baron Danglars, the instigator of the plot to frame Dantès for treason, in a BBC serialisation of The Count of Monte Cristo, adapted from Alexandre Dumas’ novel. He took the role of Dr. Heddle in the 1966 BBC serial Lord Raingo, an adaptation of Arnold Bennett’s fictionalised account his wartime government service, which starred Kenneth Moore; and in 1967 appeared as the Reverend Philip Nyren in the serial Witch Hunt, a story of pastoral isolation threatened by the spectre of the black arts.

Recurring TV roles

During the 1970s, Perry’s TV career reached a new peak, with substantial and recurring roles in shows such as the police serial Special Branch (1969-1970), Doctor Who (“Colony in Space”, 1971), The Sweeney (1975-1976), and Secret Army (1979). “Around that period I did quite a lot of telly,” he remembered later. “So you’re sort of ‘known’ by people”, he suggested – most usefully by television producers and directors.

One such TV director Michael Briant, who hired Perry to appear in “Colony in Space”, said of his passing: “he was such a powerful man both physically and mentally. I liked and admired him greatly.”

Morris Perry was 52 when director Tristan de Vere Cole hired him to appear in one of the three episodes of the third series of Survivors he had been commissioned by producer Terry Dudley to deliver. The world-weary, cynical and dismissive former academic Doctor Richard Fenton, instrumental to every strand of the fabric of Mad Dog, was a first-class creation. A superbly crafted role, Fenton was gifted with finely honed dialogue throughout what was arguably writer Don Shaw‘s most accomplished script for the show. Yet it was Perry’s acutely observed portrayal of this most cynical of hermits that made his single appearance in Survivors so memorable and so impactful.

“At the time I hadn’t seen any episodes of the series”, he recalled many years afterwards. “I watched some later and it appealed to me. It’s a rich theme – humanity released from its usual restraints in a melancholy English landscape.”

Everyone involved with the (wholly location based) production of Mad Dog acknowledges that it was a tough and demanding shoot – with cast and crew required to work on day and night shoots in the wilds of the Derbyshire Peak District in the depths of a freezing winter. Leading man Denis Lill (Charles Vaughan) later recalled that the episode was “one of the most exhausting jobs I have ever done” with physical demands that were akin to “living on an assault course”.

Perry’s acutely observed portrayal of this most cynical of hermits made his single appearance in Survivors so memorable

But alongside Lill, Perry had an especially demanding time of it – required to depict the suffering of a rabies carrier in the full throes of contagion; to be bound and dragged prone through slush and snow; to be drenched in icy water; and finally to collapse to the freezing mud after Fenton is shot and killed.

When Shaw visited the shoot at Monsal Dale and Ilam, he was deeply impressed by Perry’s uncomplaining commitment to the demands of the role. When he met him again, during one of Perry’s appearance in a production of Shakespeare at Stratford, he reminded him of the challenges of the shoot. “My god, you were hours being dragged around by a horse in the snow… supposed to be suffering from rabies – you must have been absolutely frozen.” Shaw remembers that Perry was sanguine. “‘Well’, he said, ‘it comes with the job – you do it.'”

An agreeable shoot

When talking to fans, Perry was keen to downplay any sense that the actors suffered the privations of the cold on Mad Dog. “They usually have blankets standing by for that kind of thing,” he explained. “There are members of the crew who dash after you as soon as you’ve stopped filming and throw things over you – and your horse! And then take them away again before you’re on to the next take.” While he did accept that “it was good to get back to the hotel where I remember low rafters and real blazing fires”, his abiding memory of working on Mad Dog was that he “found it very agreeable.”

In August 2005, at the age of eighty Morris Perry was reunited with director Tristan de Vere Cole at a sound studio in London to record an audio commentary for Mad Dog, for inclusion in the special features of the DDHE DVD release of the third series of Survivors. The following day, Perry joined the cast of his next London-based theatrical production to continue working.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to moderate that Mad Dog commentary session, and was greatly impressed by the detailed reminiscences of both these Survivors‘ alumni of a one-week shoot that they were involved with some 28 years earlier. It was such a pleasure to be able to contribute, in a small way, to the creation of a ‘time capsule’ of memories of what, for many fans of Survivors, is one of the most highly regarded episodes of the show’s three year run.

Perry’s theatre work continued unabated in the decades following Survivors, over time eclipsing his more infrequent TV appearances. “I haven’t done much telly lately,” he noted in a letter from the late 1990s. “I seemed to be into priests and judges for a bit but that’s dried up.” At the same time, theatrical roles, large and small, continued to draw his interest. “I did my second King Lear recently at The Tabard,” he explained in the same correspondence. “Currently, I’m doing a butler in An Ideal Husband at The Old Vic.”

Perry was keen to downplay any sense that the actors suffered the privations of the cold on Mad Dog

Throughout this, his close attention to the nature of the actor’s craft remained keenly in focus. Reflecting on roles in The Merchant of Venice and The Honest Whore at the signature Globe Theatre in 1998, he observed: “It’s important to get really prepared to go on stage, getting the mind right. It means getting your imagination into a state that is responsive. You probably need to be much more alert than usual.” 

Perry’s intellectual curiosity, and in particular his fascination with words and language, continued through his eighties and into his nineties. “He’s the kind of chap who is… learning Latin and Ancient Greek in his spare time”, Toby Hadoke noted, when promoting a podcast interview with Perry in 2016.

Those who worked with Morris Perry are most likely to recall a gregarious actor possessed of talent, quiet professionalism and a warm and self-effacing demeanour. To return to the words of Don Shaw, Morris Perry can quite properly be remembered as a: “Great trooper, wonderful actor, and a delight to work with.”

Morris Perry (28 March 1925 – 19 September 2021) 

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

Big Finish podcast spotlights fourth series of Survivors audios – with discount offer

Big Finish - Survivors - series four - audios - cover

THE LATEST BIG Finish podcast (13 June 2021) picked the fourth series of Survivors audio adventures for a one-week price discount.

In each episode of the Big Finish podcast, hosts Nicholas Briggs and Benji Clifford used the super-secret technology of the Randomoid Selectortron to pick a title from the Big Finish back catalogue.

The pair then share recollections of the making of that Big Finish release, and then offer listeners a seven-day-only 25% discount on the list price of that title.

This week’s podcast 2021-06-13 War Doctor Begins saw the Randomoid Selectortron choose Survivors: Series 4 for the discount offer.

“Excellent fun. Always loved working on the Survivors stuff,” says Clifford of the selection, as he recalls his musical and vocal contributions to the series’ sound design. After a replay of the original pre-release trailer, Briggs notes that the release received “great reviews”, and reads out several glowing review quotes from the genre press (including one from the writer of this site that was published in Starburst). “Some winning stuff there,” Clifford agrees.

To take advantage of the offer, following the simple instructions on the podcast page (up until Sunday 20 June, when a new title will be selected).

In other Survivors-related Big Finish news, Carolyn Seymour (Abby Grant) returns to the latest series of The Robots (volume four) “from the worlds of BBC Doctor Who” as the character of Ullmann. This latest instalment in the The Robots saga is released later this month and is available for pre-order from the Big Finish site.

Cover of Big Finish's The Robots: Volume Four

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 – 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 remake retrospective in SFX magazine

Survivors remake retrospective feature in SFX August 2020, No 329

THE AUGUST 2020 edition of SFX magazine features a six-page retrospective feature on Adrian Hodges’ 2008-10 remake of Survivors.

The article includes recollections and reminiscences from Hodges, Paterson Joseph (Greg Preston), Julie Graham (Abby Grant) and Robyn Addison (Sarah Boyer).

It’s clear from the feature that Hodges’ disappointment at the abrupt cancellation of the show at the close of the second series is still keenly felt. Although he suggests that the Survivors‘ prospects suffered as a result of management changes at the BBC, he concedes that lower-than-hoped-for viewing figures played a key role in the axeing of Survivors. “The show had probably not managed to get the kind of numbers the BBC wanted,” he reflects, “it certainly wasn’t a show that had a massive audience.”

As the showrunner Hodges reveals some of the key components of his plans for the show if a third (and subsequent) series had been commisioned.

He also accepts that closing the second series with a (now never to be resolved) cliffhanger left many loyal viewers dissatisfied. “With the benefit of hindsight, I perhaps should have given it a slightly more rounded ending”, Hodges says.

Written by Steve O’Brien, research for the SFX feature also informed the brief retrospective on the Survivors remake published in The Guardian back in May.

Steve O’Brien. 2020. ‘Survivors unseen’, SFX, No 329, August, pp.60-65.