With this seventh boxset in their Survivors range, Big Finish reaches an important milestone – the audio dramas have now covered the whole of the timeline of the television series from the 1970s. This release marks this by giving us a set of powerful stories for the three key characters (Abby, Jenny and Greg) as well as its own creations (Ruth, Evelyn and Jackie). In many ways it looks forward but also reflects on the time since the plague hit and there are even some ghosts along the way. It’s a powerful set of stories and as strong as any so far released.
New to the range writer Roland Moore gives us the first story, Journey’s End. Roland has the task of focussing on Abby (Carolyn Seymour), and the heart of her existence – the search for her son Peter. It’s a moving tale, and despite the core Abby plot, the other characters are well fleshed out and Katherine Rose Morley impresses as young Sonia, surviving on her own since the death. It’s a story full of pain and despair, yet still the promise of more to come. Hopefully we get more from Sonia in later sets.
Next Simon Clark switches the focus to Jenny (Lucy Fleming) in the story Legacy, and even though her partner Greg Preston is now dead in the TV timeline, his presence is provided for in this tale of love and steam engines. The world of Survivors is now a far cry from merely scrabbling for food in the wreck of civilisation, and has a slightly Mad Max / steampunk feel as Jenny gets one of her strongest stories as she and Ruth (Helen Goldwyn) are faced with several difficult decisions.
Matt Fitton gives us more ghosts in Old Friends, in which Ruth and Evelyn (Zoë Tapper) are desperate to help Jackie (Louise Jameson) come to terms with her past and dangerous forces on their way to destroy all they find. Matt weaves in a return for the dead Daniel Connor (John Banks) in another moving tale, packed with emotion and a reassessment of what it means to be a survivor.
The fourth story marks the first furrow into the future of the show, and Christopher Heatherall’s story Reconnection does this with great skill and brings the long-needed reuniting of Abby and Jenny. Not only have they a lot to discuss (and argue about) but Jenny is also on her way to restore another power station to operation (this being the theme of the final TV episode, Power). Of course, nothing is simple, and they must confront old values and prejudices to move forward into the future. It’s a dark, dark story with great performances from the supporting cast.
The set as a whole is well-directed by Ken Bentley and Nick Briggs’s music coupled with the sound design of Benji Clifford and Steve Foxon all add to the enjoyment and coherence of this collection.
If you’ve enjoyed the previous releases this is a must buy, and is making the way clear for the evolution of Survivors as we have two more sets coming in 2018. We can’t wait!