Survivors is a British post-apocalyptic fiction television series devised by Terry Nation and produced by Terence Dudley at the BBC from 1975 to 1977. It concerns the plight of a group of people who have survived an accidentally released plague – referred to as “The Death” – that kills nearly the entire human population of the planet.
The programme ran for three series and 38 episodes (seasons 1 and 2 had 13 episodes, the final season had just 12 – budget cuts and technical problems meant the last double episode was cut down to a single, as some scenes were lost during shooting). All series were broadcast on Wednesday evenings on BBC 1 from April 1975 to June 1977. Popular writer Terry Nation (whose work included many scripts for Doctor Who) created the series, but he quit the show after the first series due to disputes with producer Terence Dudley.
Warning contains possible spoilers.[expand title=”Season 1″ rel=”season-highlander”] As the world’s population is almost annihilated by a mysterious pandemic, accidentally unleashed by a Chinese scientist, the crisis is first seen through the eyes of two characters – Jenny Richards, a young working woman in London and Abby Grant, a middle-class corporate wife living a privileged existence in a nearby commuter village. As Abby goes in search of her son Peter, Jenny wanders aimlessly through the countryside. Other major characters introduced in the first few episodes are the resourceful engineer Greg Preston, the shifty Welshman Tom Price and two children, John Millon and Lizzie Willoughby. Abby, Jenny and Greg eventually come together and realise they must start again from scratch now that the civilization they once knew has been destroyed. After several adventures on the road, they find a property called the Grange which they can use as a base and, joined by other survivors, they form a potted community of disparate individuals all united by a shared purpose – to relearn the old skills of farming and tool-making, and to try to live in this new world.[/expand][expand title=”Season 2″ rel=”season-highlander”] Having received word that her son is still alive, Abby has left the Grange to resume her search while the community is devastated by a fire, killing several of their number. The survivors join another community, Whitecross, run by Charles Vaughan, whom they briefly encountered in the previous series. New major characters that make up the Whitecross band are Charles’ partner Pet Simpson, medical student Ruth Anderson who works as a travelling doctor and farmyard labourer Hubert Goss. Jenny gives birth to Paul, her child with Greg, while the survivors are once more focused on the everyday practicalities of post-Death life. Frequent visitors to Whitecross, both friendly and hostile, act as catalysts for various dramatic situations. Finally, the arrival of Norwegian survivors brings the possibility of re-establishing worldwide contact and technology. To achieve this, Greg departs Whitecross in a hot air balloon bound for Norway.[/expand]
[expand title=”Season 3″ rel=”season-highlander”]Having received word that Greg has returned from Norway, Charles, Jenny and Hubert set out on horseback to find him. It is a journey that will take them right across what is left of the United Kingdom as their search leads them to various dead ends. However, they meet a broad spectrum of other survivors along the way, and the series continues to explore alternative reactions to the Death and what it takes to survive. The third series juxtaposes the more personal story arc of the search for Greg with a wider narrative of society appearing to establish itself again with federated communities, market bartering and rudimentary railway travel, based on utilising the steam locomotives preserved on heritage railways. This culminates in the tentative return of law and order and the quest to restore power through hydroelectricity.