In post apocalyptic drama series Survivors a massive virus wipes out 99% of the worlds population and in Britain a band of survivors struggle to come to terms with their new world, one without the usual comforts of our 21st Century technology filled environment. Jenny Collins is a schoolteacher, whilst Abby Grant is a suburban housewife desperate to discover if her young son Peter is still alive (he is away on an adventure holiday at the time the virus breaks out), Greg Preston meanwhile is a former systems analyst whose marriage is in meltdown.
Taking as its starting point the original source novel by Terry Nation, this new reimagining of one the best TV shows of all time, Survivors, brings it right smack up to date. Purists will be upset by the wholesale changes made to characters and situations but the heart of the story remains the same, the breakdown of society and the attempts to rebuild it. The first few episodes also stay pretty closely to both the original series and the novel.
The original SURVIVORS was often viewed as being filled with middle class characters but here things are somewhat the other way, the original Abby was the wife of a successful executive here she is married to a self employed builder. Greg was an engineer and here is a systems analyst, the original Tom Price was a rascally Welshman who was too fond of the booze, here he is a charismatic con man who breaks out of jail once the virus hits. Meanwhile the character of Jenny Richards was a mainstay of the original series but is here killed off in the first episode (quite a clever conceit really as they brought in the high profile Freema Agyeman to play her! Jenny’s role would be taken by new character Anya a doctor who is drawn towards Tom Price.) There are lots of completely new characters too (as is only right) but there is a bit of the classic modern BBC angle of got to have a character to suit every type which isn’t quite believable.
Definitely well worth watching and despite the original concept being well over thirty years old it shows that it still as relevant (more so in fact) today. Season two kicked off just moments after the end of the cliff hanging first season finale, with Abby a captive of the sinister folk at The Lab (truth be told there is too much reliance on the goings on at the lab which tends to turn the episodes into a more generic, formula runaround instead of concentrating on the business of rebuilding society and people’s lives).
UK / BBC One / 1×90 minute episode 11×60 minute episodes / 2008-2010
Season One Broadcast Sunday 23 November – Tuesday 23 December 2008 / Season Two Broadcast 12 January – 23 February 2010
Writer and Executive Producer: Adrian Hodges / Novel and original tv series: Terry Nation / Music: Edmund Butt / Executive Producers: Susan Hogg, Adrian Hodges / Producer: Hugh Warren / Directors: John Alexander, Andrew Gunn, Iain B MacDonald, Jamie Payne, David Evans, Farren Blackburn
JULIE GRAHAM as Abby Grant
PATERSON JOSEPH as Greg Preston
FREEMA AGYEMAN as Jenny Collins (episode one only)
MAX BEESLEY as Tom Price
NIKKI AMUKA-BIRD as Samantha Willis
ZOE TAPPER as Anya
SHAUN DINGWALL as David Grant
CHAHAK PATEL as Najid
PHILIP RHYS as Al Sadiq
DANIEL RYAN as Bob
ROBYN ADDISON as Sarah Boyer
CHAHAK PATEL as Najid Hanif
ROBYN ADDISON as Sarah Boyer
NICHOLAS GLEAVES as James Whitaker
PATRICK MALAHIDE as Michael Landrey