Survivors series eight audios – Cultbox review published

Big Finish - Survivors - series eight - cover art

A FIVE-STAR REVIEW of the eighth series of Big Finish’s Survivors audios, written by the editor of the Survivors: A World Away site, has been posted on Cultbox.

The review explores some of the distinctive elements of this penultimate series in the current Survivors audio run:

As well as introducing a key new protagonist whose fate becomes entangled with Abby Grant’s and Jenny Richards’ own, series eight also makes good on the much-trailed reunion between Abby and the son she has been searching for since the outbreak of The Death some four years earlier: Peter Grant. It’s a gambit that pays off brilliantly, with each of the four stories offering fresh perspectives on the world that the survivors of Britain now inhabit – as the plague recedes into recent history.

After revisiting the storylines and the in-studio realisation of each of the four episodes, the review concludes by acknowledging the sense of anticipation that now surrounds the upcoming finale.

With series nine confirmed as the end of the line for the current run of Survivors audios, Big Finish can focus on delivering a fitting final reckoning for what is indisputably one of the most compelling, insightful and thought-provoking audio series that the company has yet produced.

The ninth and final series of Big Finish’s full-cast Survivors audios is released in June 2019 and is available to pre-order in both download and CD formats, direct from the Big Finish web site.

Rich Cross. 2019. ‘Big Finish: Survivors series eight review,’ Cultbox,
26 February

The ninth and final series of Big Finish’s full-cast Survivors audios is released in June 2019 and is available to pre-order in both download and CD formats, direct from the Big Finish web site.

Series one to series eight of Survivors audios are still available for purchase from the Big Finish site, along with the audiobook version of Terry Nation’s 1976 Survivors novel, voiced by Carolyn Seymour.

‘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

‘British Invaders’ sci-fi podcast discusses Big Finish Survivors audios

British Invaders - podcasts

THE BRITISH INVADERS sci-fi podcast team have dedicated the two most recent shows (episodes 270 and 271) to discussing the first six series of Big Finish’s Survivors audio dramas.

The podcasters, who previously discussed the original Survivors TV series in a 2011 edition, turn their attention to the audio incarnation of Survivors, discussing themes, characters, realisation, sound design, plot and more. Each instalment addresses three series (Part 1 – series 1-3; Part 2 – series 4-6).

Spoiler alert: both instalments are highly complimentary and enthusiastic about Big Finish’s Survivors imprint. Although some key plot points and character developments are revealed along the way, this is more of an introductory overview. For detailed synopses and reviews of all of the episodes released so far, head over to the Episodes section of the Big Finish: Survivors mini-site.

Listeners can stream or download the content; and subscribe to the podcast series on iTunes or through another pod capture service.

British Invaders 270: Big Finish Survivors (Part 1)

Survivors was Terry Nation’s post-apocalyptic drama from the 1970s. Big Finish Productions is now producing brand new Survivors audio dramas with original cast members and some new characters. This time, we discuss these audios (10 September 2017). [Listen to the episode on the British Invaders site]

British Invaders 271: Big Finish Survivors (Part 2)

Survivors was a 1970s BBC post-apocalyptic series created by Terry Nation. Big Finish Productions is now producing Survivors audio dramas with new characters along with some of the originals. We are discussing the audios (24 September 2017). [Listen to the episode on the British Invaders site]

Series six of Survivors audio adventures reviewed in Starburst magazine

My review of series six of Big Finish’s Survivors audio dramas is published today in the online edition of Starburst magazine. The review, which awards a maximum ten-out-of-ten, rating observes:

After five extraordinarily well-received box sets, each of which offered a self-contained and themed collection of four episodes, the sixth series of Survivors audio adventures confidently takes a fresh approach. This new release offers a quartet of single adventures, all set within the timeline of the third television series, which follow the parallel exploits of Abby Grant, Jenny Richards and Greg Preston before delivering an unexpected reunion in the closing story. It’s a liberating shift in format and, under the keenly judged direction of Ken Bentley, these scripts make exceptional use of the opportunity to tell diverse, if equally compelling, standalone stories.

Series six is available to buy on the Big Finish web site (alongside the previous five series and Carolyn Seymour’s reading of Terry Nation’s 1976 Survivors novel). Series seven (November 2017), eight (June 2018) and nine (November 2018) are also available for pre-order.

Survivors - Big Finish - series six - slipcase

Big Finish Survivors series five review in Starburst: 10/10

My review of the fifth series of Big Finish’s Survivors audio adventures has just been published in the online edition of Starburst magazine. Awarding the release a deserved 10/10, the review concludes:

As it explores the highest stakes possible, this develops into the most thrilling and compelling set of stories in Big Finish’s Survivors series to date: which, considering the exceptional quality of the drama in the preceding four instalments, is quite some achievement. This is extraordinary, exemplary human drama; by any standard. As The Death again looms large, Survivors crackles with life.

Starburst - Big Finish - Survivors series 5 - review

Starburst preview of series five of Big Finish’s Survivors audio adventures

An illustrated two-page preview of series five of Big Finish’s Survivors audio adventures appears in the new issue of Starburst magazine (No 430, November 2016). Written by the author of this web site, the features includes commentary from stars Carolyn Seymour, Ian McCulloch and Lucy Fleming, producer David Richardson and script editor Matt Fitton.

Due for release in November 2016, series five of Survivors audios is available for pre-order on the Big Finish web site; where digital download and CD copies of the previous four series, and the audio-rook reading of Terry Nation’s 1976 Survivors novel, are also available for purchase.

Survivors - series five - preview - Starburst - 430 - November 2016 - p60

Survivors - series five - preview - Starburst - 430 - November 2016 - p61

Rich Cross. 2016. ‘The Fourth Horseman Returns’, Starburst, No 430, November, pp.60-61.

Lucy Fleming in new play ‘As Good A Time As Any’

Lucy Fleming (Jenny, Survivors) appears in a new play As Good A Time As Any, written and directed by Peter Gill. The play is described as:

a witty and ironic portrait of eight women on a spring morning in London. The play is divided into five choruses. The eight women are the ordinary, unheroic inhabitants of the city, who speak for the continuity of everyday life, and its inexhaustibility. The world of As Good A Time As Any is on the face of it a small one, yet it has an intensity and depth of emotion which make it feel transcendent and universal.

Fleming plays the role of Slyvia, a character described in The Guardian review (5 May 2015) of the production as ‘an upper-middle-class scatterbrain ruefully dwelling on the amorous path not taken.’ She is joined in the production by Roberta Taylor, Tessa Bell Briggs, Indira Joshi, Olivia Llewellyn, Eileen Pollock, Hayley Squires, and Sharlene Whyte.

The play runs at The Print Room at the Coronet, 103 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3LB until 23 May 2015. Tickets for all performances can be purchased online.

Lucy Fleming as Sylvia in the play 'As Good A Time As Any'

Big Finish’s Matt Fitton shortlisted for award for Survivors audio script

Scriptwriter and script editor Matt Fitton’s story for “Revelation” (the opening episode of the first series of new Survivors audio adventures from Big Finish) has been shortlisted for an award.

After being selected from the ‘long list’ of contenders, “Revelation” has now been shortlisted in the ‘Best Online / Non-Broadcast’ category of the 2014 BBC Audio Awards.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Sunday 1 February 2015 held at the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House in London, and hosted by Helen Boaden, Director of BBC Radio.

Last year, Big Finish won an award in the the same category for Doctor Who: Dark Eyes. Big Finish is in the running for a second award this year. Alex Jordan has also been nominated in the ‘Best Actor or Actress in a Debut Role’, for his performance as Captain Robert Walton in Big Finish’s Frankenstein.

Big Finish - Survivors - series one - cover design
Big Finish – Survivors – series one – cover design

Bernard Kay (Sanders in Mad Dog) dies aged 86

Bernard Kay - Mad Dog

Bernard Kay (who memorably played the role of Sanders in the third series Survivors episode Mad Dog) has died at the age of 86.

Kay was found deceased at his home on 29 December 2014, though details of his passing have only been published today.

In 1977, Kay arrived on location in Derbyshire to record his role in Mad Dog only days after the death of his wife Patricia Haines, who passed away aged 45. Mad Dog director Tristan de Vere Cole later recalled: “She had literally just died the week before shooting. And he arrived.. and I had said to him ‘look Bernard, we can leave your scenes.’ He said ‘no, no — I want to work.’ So we stayed up, when he’d arrived that first night at the hotel, until three o’clock playing backgammon.” Come the next morning: “he did his job, he was so professional.”

Kay enjoyed a long and varied career on the small screen, in film and on stage. On TV, he appeared in Z Cars, Doctor Who, The Professionals, Coronation Street and Foyle’s War amongst many other productions.

Toby Hadoke recalls of Kay’s work: “He was one of those superb understated but versatile actors that we don’t seem to have any more. He never gave a bad performance. He was greatly admired by his peers. His sense of humour was combative but there wasn’t any meanness in him.”

News of Kay’s passing appears in today’s (1 January 2015) The Mirror, Manchester Evening News, The Courier and The Daily Mail.

EDIT – 2 January 2015: Listen to Tony Hadoke’s original podcast interview with Bernard Kay and its sequel on the Big Finish site.

British Invaders – two-part Survivors podcast from 2011

British Invaders - podcastsThis blog only recently tracked down a two-part podcast on the original Survivors published in 2011 by the British Invaders podcast site which aims to provide: “a lively two-person exchange about different television series, tele-films and mini-series. These discussions serve as both an introduction and an entertaining conversation, catering to both those who have seen and those who have yet to see these British science fiction and fantasy shows.”

The two Survivors shows are very much ‘complete beginner’ introductions to the series (but one does includes a brief, complimentary reference to the Survivors: Mad Dog site!)

Part one is 29m 30s in length; part two is 43m 03s, and both podcast can be streamed or downloaded from the British Invaders site, which contains a large and growing archive of podcasts on a wide range of genre shows.

British Invaders – Survivors – podcast part one


British Invaders – Survivors – podcast part two