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Outcasts (BBC Scifi, Liam Cunningham, Ashley Walters)

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Outcasts BBC Scifi, Liam Cunningham

Scifi drama series Outcasts follows a group of brave, some would say foolhardy, pioneers who set out to build a new life on another planet. Having been given this chance in a lifetime the group, which is several thousand strong and who are led by President Richard Tate (Liam Cunningham) are determined to make the town of Forthaven on the planet of Carpathia a real going concern.

Also on Tate’s team is Stella Isen (Head of Protection and Security) (Hermione Norris), Cass Cromwell (Protection and Security Officer) (Daniel Mays) and Fleur Morgan (also Protection and Security)(Amy Manson) as well initial settlers Mitchell Hoban (Jamie Bamber) and his second in command Jack (Ashley Walters). As the series opens the group have lost contact with Earth and don’t know if a planned transporter that is due to arrive will actually turn up or not, Stella is particulary anxious as aboard the ship are her husband and daughter, meanwhile Tate is far too concerned about the arrival of Julius Berger (Eric Mabius) who is Vice President of the Evacuation Programme back on Earth.

There are some huge themes at work here, yes it is classic science fiction territory (the Earth has been slowly poisoned by nuclear explosions and moving on is the only option left) but it is more akin to a story of the first settlers of Australia or somewhere, especially as the scifi-ness of the whole thing is secondary to the setting up a new town and all the privations that entails. As the series unfolds we learn more about what is happening on Carpathia and the dark secrets it seems to contain (there are a group of cloned humans leading a sort of resistance movement).

Definitely a hark back to the more traditional BBC scifi of the 1970’s – of shows such as Moonbase 3 and the like where the character development is more important than the futuristic accoutrements that you normally find in such shows. Outcasts was actually mostly filmed in South Africa, in a warehouse in Kuilsriver as well as the mountain surrounds of the local area. A far cry from Doctor Who’s salt mine in Wales.

Cast: LIAM CUNNINGHAM as President Richard Tate; HERMIONE NORRIS as Stella Isen; ERIC MABIUS as Julius Berger; DANIEL MAYS as Cass Cromwell; AMY MANSON as Fleur Morgan; JAMIE BAMBER as Mitchell Hoban; ASHLEY WALTERS as Jack; MICHAEL LEGGE as Tipper Malone; LANGLEY KIRKWOOD; PATRICK LYSTER; JEANNE KIETZMANN as Lily

Creator: Ben Richards / Music: Paul Englishby / Titles: Peter Anderson / Executive Producers: Matthew Read, Jane Featherstone, Simon Crawford Collins, Faith Penhale and Ben Richards / Producer: Radford Neville

UK / BBC One / 8×60 minute episodes / Broadcast Monday 7 February – 13 March 2011