Big Finish’s first series of Survivors was a critically acclaimed and harrowing masterpiece.
This second series based off the 1975 BBC drama by Terry Nation is just as grim and rather more grisly.
For those that are not familiar with the original television series,it followed a group of survivors of a mass flu like plague “The Death” which wiped out nearly all of the population of Earth. It ran for three series between 1975 – 1977 The television series was remade by the BBC in 2008 which ran for two series.
The first series of audio dramas was written to run concurrently with the 1975 television series but opening up the drama to take place in London and the surrounding urban areas as opposed to the rural setting of the TV show. It focused on new characters before slowly introducing original series protagonists Jenny Richardson and Greg Preston, reprised by original actors Lucy Flemming and Ian McCullough.
Abbey Grant, another regular of the original show, only had a cameo in the first big Finish series, but here she takes centre stage as Abbey’s search for her son Peter is one of the driving threads of these stories.
Comprising four full length stories across four CDs, there is a nice balance of old characters and new ones which were introduced in the first audio series such as Daniel Connor, played by Big Finish regular John Banks and Louise Jameson as the tragic Jackie Burchall.
Series One focused predominately on the spread of the plague and how society across the world began to break down and the immediate aftermath. Series two throws us into the hostile dangers of the world as the characters have now moved from the city into the dark rural setting of the television series.
Nature as a enemy to survival is very much a theme of this series as the first story Dark Rain, written by series director Ken Bentley has our characters facing the dangers of rising flood water. An escaped Zoo Lion on the loose across the countryside is set up in this story too before the hunt for it is documented in the third story The Hunted.
Survivors is at it’s strongest when it examines the nature of humanity and the depths to which we may sink to survive in a harsh new world. Series two addresses this in some rather chilling ways.
The second story, Mother’s Courage, written by Louise Jameson, tells the tale of a commune run entirely by women in which men are forbidden to enter. What follows is a fascinating examination of the dangers women faced in society at the hands of men and how things just got worse in the aftermath of “The Death”. Featuring an all female cast, Mother’s Courage is a powerful piece of drama and one of the highlights of the series.
Events take a much darker and grisly turn in the last play The Savages written by Matt Fitton, This story is not easy listening and indeed one of the most mature plays Big Finish has ever made.
Featuring excellent sound design and some of the darkest material Big Finish has committed to audio, Survivors series two is a rewarding and disturbing experience. My advice would be to take this series in small doses as it may just leave you with a few sleepless nights.
Title: Survivors Series Two
Publisher: Big Finish
GS Blogger: Matt Davis @DecadentGent