I’m putting this up as an extra feature, because I don’t normally put up TV series as the Friday Night Movie feature, which is for self-contained films, that have a beginning, a middle and an end. However, this particular TV series is a really good one, an absolute cracker in fact, and quite relevant in these days of worry about Ebola, stories about Bearded Savages trying to weaponise Bubonic Plague and the yearly mutation of the flu virus.
Survivors was a BBC series, created by Terry Nation of Dr Who fame, made in 1975 and set in a post-apocalyptic Britain, after it has suffered mega-deaths from a disease that was spread worldwide as the result of what is shown to be in the titles, a laboratory accident. The unspecified disease leaked out of its containment and afflicted the whole world.
There are three series, 12-13 episodes in each one, which tell the stories of various survivors; from how they survived the disease itself, dealt with the immediate aftermath and how they fed, heated and clothed themselves in the years following the disaster. You may have seen the remake that the BBC did a few years back, but in my opinion this original series is by far superior to the remake. The remake dripped with condescending political correctness and was far less intelligently put together than the original series. The original series really does show a breakdown in society and how people coped with the inevitable struggles to survive, not just in order to acquire the necessities for everyday life, but also how they dealt with the robber barons and others of that ilk who arose after the disaster. None of the subtleties and the practicalities of survival were at all evident in the remake and it was so bad that I could not bring myself to watch series 2 of the remake.
One feature in this series that hooks it to the political environment of the mid 1970’s is the struggle by the survivors in their various camps and communities for fuel and power. This struggle is a thread running through all three series and as these series were made just a few years after the Arab Oil Crisis, such concerns about ‘where is my fuel going to come from?’, would have resonated heavily with the original viewers.
I’m delighted to rediscover this programme and I’d urge my readers to give it a go. The programmes are in ‘chunks’ for obvious reasons, and to watch series 1, click the series 1 link, series 2 the series 2 link and so on.
I hope you enjoy this, because I did when I first saw it in full as an adult, on a scratchy off-air VHS video recording of a series that some people really did say ‘wow’ about.
‘Survivors’ Series 1
‘Survivors’ Series 2
‘Survivors’ Series 3