Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 12
Genre Post-Apocalyptic fiction
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 2
Final episode date 23 February 2010
Networks BBC, BBC One, BBC HD
|Created by Adrian HodgesTerry Nation (novel)|
Starring Julie GrahamMax BeesleyFreema AgyemanPaterson JosephZoe TapperPhillip RhysRobyn AddisonNikki Amuka-BirdGeraldine SomervilleNicholas GleavesChahak PatelJack RichardsonEmma LowndesSacha Parkinson
Cast Julie Graham, Max Beesley, Paterson Joseph, Zoe Tapper, Phillip Rhys
Survivors is a British science fiction television series produced by the BBC. It depicts the lives of a group of people who survived a virulent unknown strain of influenza which has wiped out most of the human species. According to the producers, the series is not a remake of the 1970s BBC television series Survivors (1975–1977), created by Terry Nation, but rather is loosely based on the novel of the same name that Nation wrote following the first series of the 1970s programme. Two series were produced of the new show: series 1 ran on BBC One and BBC HD in November–December 2008, and series 2 ran in January–February 2010, ending with a cliffhanger. The BBC announced on 13 April 2010 that, due to poor viewing figures and other considerations, Survivors had been cancelled.
- Survivors recap of series 1 bbc one
- Main cast
- Supporting cast
- Series 2 2010
- Series 1 DVD extras and Easter egg
- Differences from the source material
The series premiered in South Africa on BBC Entertainment, in September 2009, in France on DTTV channel NRJ 12 on 12 January 2010, on BBC America in the United States on 13 February 2010, and in Australia on Channel Nine, on 21 March 2010.
Survivors recap of series 1 bbc one
Set in the present day, the series focuses on a group of ordinary people who survive the aftermath of a devastating viral pandemic – referred to as "European flu" – which kills most of the world's population by causing Cytokine Storms in the body's immune system. The series sees the characters struggling against terrible dangers in a world with no society, no police, and no law, led by the de facto matriarch of the group, Abby Grant.
Sue Hogg, an executive producer at the BBC, was inspired to remake Survivors following the recent increase in concerns about future pandemics and diseases such as SARS. It was decided that the show would be a re-imagining of the 1970s material made by BBC Productions rather than an external production company. The BBC pursued the rights for Survivors from Terry Nation's estate so that the series could be revived. The agreement, which was signed in 2007, took months of negotiations. For legal reasons, the new series is billed as being based on Nation's novelisation of material from his episodes of the 1970s series.
In remaking the series, Adrian Hodges worked to avoid criticisms of the 1970s series, and he felt it was "important that a new version had a cultural and class mix that really represented the country as it is now"; to meet this needs, they created two new characters, Al and Najid. The writers claimed that the new series retained the "spirit" of the 1970s show, but Hodges concentrated on the hope and the humanity in what was said to be an attempt to make it "less depressing" to watch.
The city scenes in the first series were filmed in Manchester, while city scenes in the second series were filmed in Birmingham.
To help create a world with no people, some scenes were shot very early on a Sunday morning, including a sequence where Al Sadiq drives his car at speed around the city centre. Producer Hugh Warren said this approach reduced the amount of computer-generated imagery required and allowed the budget to be spent on effects such as when the city starts to flood and fires burn. Other locations included a house near Helmshore in Lancashire, which doubled as the survivors' main base, the disused Earth Centre in the village of Denaby Main near Doncaster, and the Jaguar Cars test track in Nuneaton, which stood in for deserted motorways.
The series was shot using 35 mm film. Warren said this was chosen over high-definition cameras due to the low light levels that would be experienced when filming in a world without electricity and during an autumn filming period, and over Super 16 due to high-definition transmission requirements.
The first series received a mixed critical reception, with some reviewers concerned that it is too derivative and predictable, while others were more positive. The producers were happy to have started well, survived the ratings lull in the middle, and ended with an upward curve in the last two weeks. Audience breakdowns indicate that a higher proportion of younger viewers were tuning in to Survivors than many other shows.
The second season of Survivors was delayed because of the real-life swine flu epidemic in 2009 and thus was broadcast in 2010.
While some characters were emphasised in the BBC promotional material, such as Freema Agyeman, most only appeared in the first episode as perishing during the viral pandemic.
Series 2 (2010)
A second series of six episodes was commissioned and began airing in January 2010. Adrian Hodges returned to oversee the project, and Julie Graham, Paterson Joseph, Zoe Tapper, Philip Rhys, Robyn Addison, Chahak Patel, and Max Beesley returned to their roles for the next series.
The cliffhanger is quickly resolved, while the story of the lab plays through series two, allowing more about the backstory of the virus and the lab's direct connection with that. The production team's intention was to spend more time exploring the nitty-gritty of survival in the post-virus world and how the various characters coped.
Filming took place in various locations around Birmingham including Baskerville House (exterior) and the former ITV Central studios (interior) standing in for a fictional hospital.
Series 1 DVD extras and Easter egg
On disc one the easter egg can be revealed by going to the main menu, highlighting episode selection then when the grey corpuscle appears press up and the corpuscle selects. This reveals around nine to ten minutes of behind the scenes footage.
To tie in with the broadcast of the series Terry Nation's 1976 novelisation was released as a new edition by Orion Books. The 2008 series is credited as being based on this novel.
A web site was launched to tie in with the series, entitled "Survivors Interactive", which included interviews with actors, clips from the programme and original character pieces-to-camera. The interactive component was based on visitors selecting characters from the show and then answering either/or dilemma-based questions, which are then profiled by what type of survivor they would make as they travel through the post-plague environment.
The first series was released by 2 Entertain Video on DVD on 26 January 2009, and includes special features such as an Easter Egg, A New World – The Making of Survivors documentary, character profiles and a Survivors Special Effects featurette.
In 2013, when the show was added to the Netflix platform, it was the highest watched program and consequently, Netflix were in contact with the BBC for discussions on continuing the program. Nothing since has been heard of this rumour.
Classic TV Press published the book Worlds Apart: an unofficial and unauthorised guide to the BBC's remake of Survivors (March 2010), written by Rich Cross, shortly after transmission of the second series completes. The book incorporates: in depth synopses and reviews for all the episodes from Series 1 and 2; insights into the making of the series; examination of the similarities and differences between the new series and the 1970s series; a photographic guide to filming locations; and exclusive production shots.
Differences from the source material
In the credits, the re-imagined series is said to be based on the 1976 novel by Terry Nation; however, there are a number of differences between the series and its source material. In the novel, Jenny Richards survives, whereas her counterpart in the 2008 series, Jenny Collins, does not; this means that Greg Preston and Jenny cannot have a child as the years unfold. Abby Grant still falls in love with Jimmy Garland; however in the book, he eventually dies from septicaemia.
There is a Tom Price in the 1970s novelisation and series. However, in the novelisation, he was a Welsh tramp who witnessed the climactic accidental killing of Abby Grant by her son, Peter. In the television series, he was an escaped convict who joined Abby's community.
The television characters Anya Raczynski, Najid Hanif, and Al Sadiq have no direct counterparts in the book. Samantha Willis does not appear in the book, either, but her television characterisation incorporates and parallels some of the personality and leadership ambitions of the book character Arthur Wormley, a "ruthless former trade union leader," who establishes a paramilitary organisation called the National Unity Force which is responsible for Abby's community's eventual decision to leave Britain for the Mediterranean in the latter chapters of the novelisation.
At the end of the book, Peter Grant, who has joined a nomadic gang of feral adolescents, accidentally shoots and kills Abby, whom he has not seen for the last four years. However, at the end of the current incarnation of Survivors series 2, Peter shoots but doesn't kill Tom, and Abby is finally reunited with Peter, without her accidental death.
The television portrayal of Sarah Boyer is probably the closest character to her portrayal in the novelisation. In the book, her companion was named Vic, not Bob, and in the 1970s series, she was named Anne Tranter. Vic's fate is not revealed in the novelization, but it can be inferred that he starved to death. In the 2008 television series, Bob survives his initial abandonment. In the 1970s series, Anne (Sarah in the 2008 version) leaves during Episode 11; in the 2008 version, she dies from a mutated version of the virus.