Country of origin
approx. 50 minutes
No. of episodes
Final episode date
6 May 1999
Stuart OrmeAlex Pillai
Nicola WalkerChristopher FulfordSteve HuisonTreva EtienneAmita DhiriJames HazeldineJanet DaleZoe TelfordSacha DhawanDinita GohilRalph BrownCaroline Carver
Drama, Miniseries, Science Fiction
The Last Train (Cruel Earth in North America) is a British six-part post-apocalyptic television drama serial first broadcast on the ITV network in 1999. It has since been repeated on ITV2 in 1999/2001 and on numerous occasions on the UK Sci-Fi Channel. The serial was written by Matthew Graham and produced for ITV by Granada Television.
In the United States, the Fox Network purchased the rights to produce a new version of the series soon after its original UK transmission. Retitled The Ark, the idea did not progress beyond the pilot stage.
As of May 2013, the series has not been released on DVD or any other format, and has never aired in the US.
A random group of individuals on a train to Sheffield is cryogenically frozen when a canister of gas is released in their carriage. They unfreeze to find the world in ruins. Decades have passed; they are some of the few humans to have survived an apocalyptic asteroid strike and are alone in the British countryside. It is revealed that one of the group, Harriet Ambrose (Nicola Walker), knew of the incoming asteroid strike and had been on her way to a top-secret government project known as Ark.
Harriet wishes to track down the Ark team to find her boyfriend, scientist Jonathan Geddes (Ralph Brown). The rest of the group agrees to join her, since it seems like their best chance to find other survivors and a safe haven. On the way they must deal with the dangers of the post-apocalyptic world, such as feral dog packs and tribes of seemingly hostile humans.
Ordered alphabetically by actors' surnames
In Canada, the series aired under its working title: Cruel Earth.
The series was written by Matthew Graham, who went on to co-create and write Life on Mars, its spin-off Ashes to Ashes, and the short-lived Bonekickers. He also wrote the episode "Fear Her" for the 2006 series of Doctor Who, as well as two episodes of Hustle.