Big Finish’s ‘Survivors’ box set review: Season 4 is dark and powerful

Big Finish’s latest set of post-apocalyptic tales based on Terry Nation’s 1970s TV series Survivors takes the action forward two years after the plague, and finds yet more moral and ethical challenges for Greg Preston (Ian McCulloch) and Jenny Richards (Lucy Fleming).

As before this is aimed at an adult audience, and is as dark and powerful as ever.

The set starts by winding back to the start of the plague as a device to bring us the background of new character Evelyn Piper, played by Zoë Tapper (who appeared in the 2008-10 TV remake of Survivors). Evelyn is a civil servant surviving (but only just) in a bunker amidst death, brutality and a need to cling on to the past.

Step forward two years and she meets up with the regular character Greg and Jenny who themselves are reunited with Jackie (Louise Jameson) and Molly (Fiona Sheehan). Molly, who first appeared in the second boxset, now lives in a community called the Foundation, led by the charismatic Theo (the excellent Ramon Tikaram).

For the final three stories we get to experience several clashes of culture: those harking back to the old system, those trying to create something new; Greg and Jenny give us a chance to see (remember this was the 1970s) some very old-fashioned views on the role of women contrasted with independence and self-reliance; finally it gives us the chance to experience a lot of tension between both alpha males (Greg and Theo, the latter of whom claims not to be an alpha male), but also between Jackie and Molly. There is also a clash of concept between the Foundation and the community in which Greg and Jenny live.

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There is plenty of chance to learn more about all the new Big Finish characters – Jackie, Molly, Evelyn and Theo, and details emerge without being forced as Jenny looks beneath the surface of life at the Foundation. It is all very convincing and very chilling.

The listener can’t help but wonder how thin the line is between how we behave in a regulated and policed society against the neo-anarchy of this post-apocalyptic world. It’s all very good indeed.

The stories were written by director Ken Bentley, Louise Jameson, Christopher Hatherall and Matt Fitton (who also script edited). This is Christopher’s first recorded piece of writing for Big Finish, but it won’t be the last; this can only be a good thing on the evidence of this story.

Overall then another superb piece of drama, tying up some threads from previous boxsets, revisiting others and introducing the character of Evelyn Piper. Roll on November and the next release.

5star

Released on Thursday 9 June 2016 by Big Finish.

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