Terry Nation terrified a nation in this worrying post-apocalyptic serial set in de-populated Britain. Running on BBC One from 1975-1977 Survivors starred Carolyn Seymour, Ian McCulloch, Denis Lill and Lucy Fleming.
Why is the series so great?
Series creator Terry Nation wanted us to realise that without the trappings of modern life we’re all no more capable of looking after ourselves than Stone Age Man.
How did it begin?
In episode one (broadcast on April 16, 1975) the opening credits showed a Chinese scientist spilling a flask full of a deadly virus. He died immediately and the plague spread across the world via aircraft.
We meet pampered housewife Abby Grant who thinks it’s a flu bug.
Why did Nation choose a female leading character?
It was unusual for the time but he wanted to show how the life of a conventional woman could be turned upside down and how she would cope. Abby wants to find out if her son Peter is still alive.
It’s an interesting premise for a TV serial but wasn’t it just a tad… Depressing?
Yes, in a way. Terry Nation believed that after a pandemic the dead would outnumber the living and our cities would become cess pits.
Food would perish as electricity stopped working. TV and radio would cease to function and anarchy would set in very quickly.
The survivors realise they can only live if they form a community, produce their own food and forage for supplies. Petrol is like gold and starvation sets in.
I mean what happened to Abby?
By the end of series one she has grown tired of the disunity and slips away from the community to resume her search for her missing son.
The series continued for another two seasons with Charles Vaughan (Denis Lill) and Greg Preston (Ian McCulloch) taking over as lead characters.
Take an aspirin and wrap up warm, you’ll be fine. Or, What nonsense. What will they think of next? Anthrax, I shouldn’t wonder.
We’re little better than hunter gatherers. Or, Got 50p for the meter? Or, I’ve never run my car on two-star horse manure. Or, Turnip wine anyone?
The opening credits.
Ape And Essence (The Wednesday Play BBC-1 1966, Alec McCowen)
In Scifi drama Ape and Essence, based on the novel by Aldous Huxley, a group of New Zealand scientists conduct a survey on a Britain ravaged by atomic war 80 years previously.
Series: The Wednesday Play Season 2 Episode 29
Alec McCowen as Alfred Poole
Robert Eddison as Arch Vicar
Derek Sydney as Chief
Jenny Lee as Flossie
Yvonne Antrobus as Young Girl
Sydney Bromley as Craigie
Martin Carroll as Director of Food
Hazel Douglas as Mies Hook
John Falconer as Patriarch
Petra Markham as Loola
Ken Parry as Science Praet
Amanda Reiss as Polly
Jonathan Scott as Int. Priest
Fiona Fraser as Part of Crowd
Ann Mitchell as Shaven-Head
Jacki Salt as Mulatto Girl
Carol Blake as Shaven-Head
Gordon Craig as Part of Crowd
Robert Cude as First Man
Writer: John Finch
Book: Aldous Huxley
Music: BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Producer: Peter Luke
Director: David Benedictus.
Network and Production Companies: BBC One
Duration: 1×75 minute episode
Aired From: 18 May 1966
Plane Makers, The (ITV 1963-1965, Patrick Wymark, Barbara Murray)
Drama series The Plane Makers took us behind the scenes in the boardroom and shop floor of the Scott Furlong Aircraft Factory. After two seasons the lead character John Wilder took a place on the board of a merchant bank and the series was then renamed The Power Game.
Patrick Wymark as John Wilder
Jack Watling as Don Henderson
Barbara Murray as Pamela Wilder (Seasons 1-2)
Ann Firbank as Pamela Wilder (Season 3)
Reginald Marsh as Arthur Sugden
Alan Dobie as David Corbett
Creator: Wilfred Greatorex
Producers: Rex Firkin (seasons 1-2), David Reid (season 3)
Network: ITV – ATV
Duration: 57×50 minute episodes
Aired From: 4 February 1963 – 12 January 1965 black and white
Running Wild (ITV 1987, Ray Brooks, Janet Key)
Sitcom Running Wild was about the ups and downs of separated couple, Max and Babs, trying to get on with their lives. In season two Max wants to return to his wife but Babs is not so keen.
Ray Brooks as Max Wild
Janet Key as Babs Wild
Sharon Duce as Wanda
Michelle Collins as Stephanie Wild
Peter Amory as Rob
Berwick Kaler as Tom Coleman (Season 1)
Brigit Forsyth as Jenny (Season 2)
Writer: Philip Trewinnard
Producers: Marcus Plantin (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)
Directors: Vic Finch (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)
Network and Production Companies: ITV – London Weekend Television
Duration: 13×25 minute episodes
Aired From: 6 March 1987 – 4 June 1989
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