SERIES 1 DVD
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SURVIVORS 1 DVD BOXSET - REVIEWS
16th November 2003
Rumours abound that Survivors Series 2 may be released in 2004.
Although sales appear to be good and several retailers have speculated
that Series 2 will follow, that is all it is - speculation. I will
post news here if and when a go-ahead is definite and not before.
The following is a selection of reviews of the Series One release - for
those of you that may have missed them - which are not available online:
BBC Ceefax (Page 548)
What is it with 1970s television title
sequences? Just as with Secret Army, the opening shots of this stick in
your mind, whether you realise it or not. The instant you see the first
image of a bespectacled scientist you know you will see a flask drop in
slow motion and a man start rubbing his temple. If you need reminding this
is the famous 1970s BBC series about a virus wiping out most of
civilisation. That's all in the first episode; the rest is about what its
This is a similar release to the recent Secret Army, the same label: DD
Video, with a 4 disc set that includes an extensive, even laborious,
booklet. Army is perhaps the better show but this may be the better DVD as
it has audio commentaries on two of its thirteen episodes and a
documentary. Filmed at the time the commentaries were recorded with cast
and crew the documentary is 48 minutes of interview.
It all looks dated but its amazing how quickly you get back into the
- William Gallagher
Ultimate DVD (Nov 03)
A sobering, unsensationalised '70s drama
about the aftermath of a global pandemic, in which 99.99 percent of the
human race dies. These 13 episodes focus on a small community of survivors
brought together by Abby Grant (Seymour), Greg Preston (McCulloch) and
Jenny Richards (Fleming) and the dilemmas they face. In its first series,
the show is centred on the practicalities of living after the apocalypse,
and the intelligent storytelling is complemented by powerful performances
(Seymour, in particular, is compelling). Still relevant almost three
decades on, Survivors leaves the viewer to ponder if it could ever happen
There are commentary tracks for the two best
episodes: director Pennant Roberts and Seymour are reunited for the first
time in 28 years for The Fourth Horseman. McCulloch and Fleming
tackle the weighty Law and Order. The Cast Interviews (50 mins) dig
deep into the minutiae of the show, but the host - plucked from the ranks
of Survivors fandom - is somewhat awkward, and the piece would have
benefited from illustrative clips. On Location is a minute of mute footage
of filming, there's a decent Gallery of BBC Stills, and a collection of
Fleming's own, more intimate, shots.
- David Richardson
TV Zone 170
There was a glaring omission in Channel 4's
100 Scariest Moments showdown; the most terrifying 50 minutes of
television is the first episode of Survivors, The Fourth Horseman,
and the scariest 50 seconds is its title sequence. Its a masterpiece of
storytelling that gets across three vital points; in a lab somewhere,
something has escaped form a broken flask; it kills, and thanks to air
travel, nowhere in the world is safe...not even the domestic idyll of a
pampered housewife who's about to find steel in her soul.
Nothing can match the impact of the opening episode, and there's an
element of truth to comments that the series becomes a post holocaust
Archers, with homilies on our reliance on technology replacing the
Min. of Ag. lectures. But the quiet patches merely lull you into a false
sense of security until more horrific moments strike, culminating in the
chilling Law and Order. After a drunken killing, Abby Grant's
community is faced with the pragmatic logic of punishment on the edge of
survival: the community is already one worker down; execution would lose
it another; but imprisonment would cost it two people's labour - a
prisoner, and a jailer. What price justice?
The strong commentaries take in The Fourth Horseman and Law and Order,
though its disappointing that star Carolyn Seymour doesn't contribute to
the latter, as she's been outspoken about it in the past. They shine with
the enthusiasm of actors who genuinely believed in the project, though the
moderator can be a little over-enthusiastic with the production trivia.
With home movie footage too, it's a strong package.
- Anthony Brown
SERIES TWO and THREE to follow ONE on to DVD?
28th October 2003
If there's a question about Survivors I'm answering
most at the moment it's this one: 'Are series 2 and 3 going to being
released as well?'. Currently, my answer remains the same: 'providing
series 1 sells well'. I can assure you all that DD Video certainly want to
release them and have the rights to go forward, but sales are absolutely
crucial. As I'm sure you can appreciate there's no point in a company
releasing a series and making a loss (as Sovereign did in the 90s). They
quite rightly need to know that the venture is going to be worthwhile for
them. The DVD does appear to be selling well - all we can do is buy it and
cross fingers that sales are good enough. Rest assured as soon as I get
any news either way I'll post it here.
The second question that I've been asked a lot recently is: "I hear series
2 isn't as good as series 1. Did the series take a nosedive?". Although
different to series 1, in my opinion series 2 is excellent in its own
right, in fact in many ways I even prefer it at times. The immediate
aftermath of the death and the early struggles of the survivors as played
out in the first series was always going to have more potential
dramatically, but the continuing struggle to survive, depicted in the
later series, is equally rewarding, if a little less jaw-dropping. For the
most part the second series does concentrate more on the themes of
self-sufficiency and social order than the first series, but this is an
obvious natural progression. Our survivors have to learn to survive and
this inevitably means learning to live off the land. Perhaps more
importantly they also have to learn to live with each other - something
which appears to be an even more difficult prospect for them! The
emotional and personal conflicts that arise from community living in the
world 'the death' left behind form the meat of the second season.
This isn't too say that there aren't any exciting
episodes in the second run. There's the excellent
- in which Paul makes a dangerous journey to save Jenny's life; the
Lights of London - in which Ruth is kidnapped and taken to
disease-infested London, with Greg and Charles in hot pursuit; and
in Need the first script penned by Ian McCulloch in which the
community are under threat from a sniper.
The second series also benefits from a fantastic
cast. Although we say goodbye to several regulars from the first series,
some of their replacements are a marked improvement: warm and loving
Lewis); a more headstrong
Gregory); cheerful Jack (the late Gordon Salkilld); flirtatious and
and the wonderfully grumpy and troublesome Hubert (John Abineri - clearly
having great fun in the role). One obvious absentee is Abby Grant, however
in her place Corn Dolly's
returns as one of the series leads (again played by
Denis Lill) to
carry on Abby's tradition of crossing swords with Greg. There are some
great guest stars in the second series too, including: Coral Atkins, Nadim
Sawalha, Philip Madoc, Kevin MacNally and Patrick Troughton.
If you're desperate to know what happens to Jenny, Greg and the children
next - I can assure you, you won't be disappointed - the second series of
Survivors has a great deal to recommend it. Let's just hope we get that
GENRE MAGAZINE COVERAGE AND COMPETITION
22nd October 2003
The past month has seen a number of Survivors Series
One DVD articles in the genre press...
Issue 110 (see cover above) features a half page
interview with Carolyn Seymour (which took place on the studio day) and
also promoted the new release. Quarter page ads also appeared in this
Issue 169 of TV Zone (see cover above) features a 4
page article on the release. This will be followed in Issue 170 by a
review of the DVD. Quarter page ads appeared in Issue 168.
A 3 page review appeared in the November edition of
Ultimate DVD magazine (see cover above). It seems the reviewer was not
sent a DVD booklet just the discs.
have also runs ads for the release.
SURVIVORS DVD COMPETITION
Public Servant Lifestyle is currently running a competition which
closes on 31st November. If you can name the creator of the metal meanies
from Skaro (no - not Terry Nation - for the purposes of this competition
he is the creator of the creator) then you could win the Survivors DVD.
The review which accompanies the
Competition Form is a mixture of the writers own views on the series
and many sentences lifted from the back cover of the DVD (what I wrote -
the phrase 'startlingly realistic' will haunt me to the end of my days!)
For those of you who are also
interested in the fantastic BBC drama series Secret Army check out
(Survivors' sister site) for DVD previews. This DVD is now being released
on 27th October - a week later than originally scheduled.
A BEGINNING! - DVD AVAILABLE NOW
9th October 2003
The Survivors DVD should be available pretty much
everywhere as of this weekend. There was a slight delay in the
distribution of the title.
Play and several other online retailers are in the process of
dispatching their initial orders. Some high street shops are already
stocking it, others are awaiting their delivery.
Further advertising, including reviews of the release will appear this
month (or next) in Dreamwatch, Ultimate DVD, TV Zone and Shivers.
5th October 2003
The following images have been screen captured from
a review copy of the digitally re-mastered version of the DVD release.
They all come from the final episode of the first series: A Beginning
(these images may take some time to download).
Below: a screen capture of the Extras Page on Disc
Finally two frames from the 'Cast Interviews'
ONLINE RETAILERS UPDATE
4th October 2003
Thanks to those of you who have been in touch about
Loaded 24 7
which is selling the DVD at 37.99 (free postage).
I've had a few emails from people concerned about the reliability of
Splash (see below) so maybe cheapest isn't always best. Contrary to my
last update I realise that Play didn't quite list all the features as they
don't mention the 36 page fully illustrated accompanying booklet (how I
could forget that I don't know!). Loaded 24 7, however, do refer to it as
well as the other features.
Below: The gang's all here! Clockwise L-R:
Tanya Ronder, Ian McCulloch, Pennant Roberts, Lucy Fleming and Carolyn
Seymour gather round to study behind-the-scenes photos from the first
series. Photo © Rich Cross.
LATEST INFORMATION @ FOUR DAYS TO GO
2nd October 2003
ONLINE RETAILERS - The release date for Survivors is
still scheduled as next Monday. Many of you have noted the sudden price
hike on Amazon from 37.48 to 43.99. This actually strikes me as a good
thing and suggests that sales (on Amazon at least) have been good so far.
Currently the cheapest places to buy the DVD online are:
Play (currently £39.99) and
Splash (currently £35.22). If you haven't bought from Splash
before their is also a £2 off first purchase discount. Incidentally, Play
is the first online retailer to accurately list the release's special
features and to correctly spell the lead actors names!
THAT FILM REEL - The short 16mm film extract is
definitely part of the release but has been processed the wrong way round
(I'm not sure whether this happened originally or in preparation for this
release). It is however still a joy for any Survivors fan! I've captured
two frames (below) to whet your appetites (Note Pennant directing
proceedings in the checked jacket and Lucy watching in that startling tank
COMMENTARY - I have now listened to The Fourth
Horseman commentary. Its very difficult to be objective about something
when your own voice is involved but it is certainly amazing to hear
Carolyn and Pennant enthuse about the episode and the series as a whole
for the first time (in this medium). The BBC have made two extremely
cautious cuts to the commentary where Carolyn vented her feelings about
Dudley and the sound as a result dips in those places. The first cut
concerned her feelings about their initial relationship and difficulty in
getting the part given the fact that Dudley didn't want her to have it.
The second cut concerned her attempts to fight for caravans for the extras
on location which once more saw her come to blows with Dudley.
DD VIDEO - I should add here that DD Video have been
extremely enthusiastic about the release and from the beginning their
primary motivation was to produce the best possible package. Lesser
companies would certainly have gone down the path of least resistance
(i.e. spending nothing and just releasing the episodes) so we Survivors
fans have been very lucky that the rights fell into their hands.
STT! - The well-respected design company Shoot That
Tiger! (STT!) have done a great job of designing the booklet and the DVD
and Video sleeves. Thanks to Adrian Hulme this release will also have the
correct Survivors font (Glasersted).
Two booklet preview pages are reproduced below:
SERIES 2 - It is still too early in the day to
speculate as to whether Series 2 will follow. DD certainly want to, but as
always sales are quite understandably crucial (no company would release a
series if they thought they might make a loss). As soon as there is any
more news on that score I will of course provide it here.
NEW DD VIDEO PRESS RELEASE
16th September 2003
As part of the PR process for the Survivors DVD a
new press release has gone out today:
'SURVIVORS - SERIES ONE'
6th October 2003
Retail Price: £19.99 per VHS volume
£49.99 for VHS slipcase set
£49.99 for DVD set
One of the BBC's most critically acclaimed science
fiction drama series comes to video and DVD this October, from DD Video
Conceived by Terry Nation (the creator of the Daleks and Blake's 7),
Survivors is a groundbreaking and startlingly realistic television drama
series. First aired in 1975 at the height of the Cold War,
Survivors' post-apocalyptic storylines immediately gripped the imagination
of the British public and remain compelling viewing to this day.
The first series of thirteen episodes charts the onset and aftermath of a
virulent plague that wipes out 99.9% of the world's population and the
struggles of a lone group of survivors during the privations that follow.
The action follows the experiences of three principal survivors:
headstrong housewife Abby Grant (Carolyn Seymour - Star Trek: The Next
Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, Quantum Leap), enigmatic engineer Greg
Preston (Ian McCulloch - Zombie Flesh Eaters, Contamination, Doctor Who)
and London secretary Jenny Richards (Lucy Fleming - The Avengers, Smiley's
On video, the series will be available as three video double packs, each
retailing for £19.99, or as a slipcase set for £49.99.
The SURVIVORS SERIES ONE DVD boxed set contains all thirteen episodes,
which have been digitally remastered for enhanced sound and picture
quality. The set also boasts a host of special features including
audio commentaries and filmed interviews with stars Carolyn Seymour, Ian
McCulloch and Lucy Fleming as well as director Pennant Roberts, with a
special guest interview with Tanya Ronder who played Lizzie, private film
footage shot behind the scenes during the making of Series One and a
comprehensive 36 page fully illustrated booklet (containing new and
previously unseen behind-the-scenes photos).
SURVIVORS SERIES ONE will be available in all good video and DVD stockists
from October 6th, or direct from DD Video, Unit 1, Pool Bank Business
Park, High Street, Tarvin, Chester, CH3 8JH. Please add £3.75
towards postage and packing. Credit card customers can also order
copies by ringing the 24 hour DD Video hotline on 01829 741490.
The back cover of the second of the forthcoming VHS releases:
MORE PRE-ORDERING NEWS
Amazon are now listing the Survivors DVD at a reduced price of £37.48.
The videos are listed at £17.59 each and at £43.99 for the slipcase set.
Choices Direct now list at £42.49
Splash are currently offering the cheapest price of £34.22.
Streetsonline currently list the highest price - £45.99. They are
selling the videos at £16.99 each and at £45.99 for the video slipcase
For those uncertain about whether they can view the DVD (region 2) on
their machine please scroll down this page to the region information
PRE-ORDERING ON AMAZON AND BLACKSTAR
/ LUCY FLEMING PHOTO GALLERY
The Survivors DVD and Videos are now available for
pre-ordering on both
at 43.99 and 42.99 respectively. Unfortunately there's no information
about the DVD special features on these sites as yet, but just to remind
you - they include:
36 page full colour booklet.
Exclusive camera interviews with Carolyn Seymour,
Ian McCulloch, Lucy Fleming, Pennant Roberts and Tanya Ronder.
Audio commentaries for The Fourth Horseman (with
Seymour and Roberts) and Law and Order (with McCulloch and Fleming).
Once more there's further good news on the features
front...as I can also now confirm that there will be two photo galleries
on the DVD: a set of BBC photos and Lucy Fleming's personal collection of
series one photos (some of which have previously appeared on Bob Meade's
site) which she has generously provided for inlcusion. In addition, Tanya
Ronder's mother - Anne Christie has agreed to supply some photos for the
booklet, some of which I don't think have seen the light of day before.
I have yet to receive final confirmation re: the
inclusion of the behind-the-scenes film sequence (see below) but 'fingers
PRE-ORDERING ON CHOICES
The DVD and Video releases of Survivors series one
are now available for pre-ordering on
Choices Direct at a price of £42.99 with a new release date of 22nd
September. The site also provides the first glimpse of the DVD cover -
reproduced below. You may however want to wait until you see if other
online sites list the release cheaper.
BEHIND-THE-SCENES FILM FOUND!
Providing the BBC agree to its inclusion, a section
of 16mm film will be included as one of the special features on the
forthcoming DVD release! The section of film, which runs for a little over
1 minute, was taken by a Herefordshire resident, Solveig Tucker, who
provided the two white horses seen in the final episode of the first
series - A Beginning. The film shows recording of one of the final
scenes from that episode in which Abby and Jimmy ride up to the back of
Hampton Court and dismount.
Thankfully Ms Tucker had the foresight to also turn
the camera on the production crew providing a brief but unique
behind-the-scenes view of the making of the series. The film is in
incredibly good condition (looking like it could almost have been taken
yesterday) given that it has lived in a box beneath her bed for the past
Ms Tucker responded to my April Hereford Times
article which was intended to lead to the uncovering of exactly this sort
of material (this was the article which erroneously stated that I already
had exclusive footage). As far as I know this material is the only
behind-the-scenes Survivors film currently known to exist.
I hope to provide some screen captures of the
footage on this page in due course.
DD VIDEO BEGINS SURVIVORS ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN
DD Video's advertising of the release has now begun
and will step up as time goes on. I do not have exact details of where the
adverts will be featured or what they will say but it is likely that as
well as in the genre press, there will be an advert in the Radio Times
(for one), nearer the release date. According to the advert below Saturday
October 4th is the new release date for the DVD and Videos.
Thanks to Rich Cross for providing the scan of the
following DD advert from Darkside magazine:
RELEASE DATE CONFIRMED / BOOKLET NEWS
The DVD set and the three DOUBLE VIDEO sets for the
first series of Survivors will be released on Monday 6th October.
The full colour booklet which accompanies the DVD release is 36
pages long and contains:
episode chaptering, synopses (teasers - no
information on special features
an 11 page behind-the-scenes production article
cast biographies and cast/crew credits
studio day feature
More information soon!
(For those that are interested - the first series of
Secret Army will now be released by DD a month later than originally
scheduled, in late October)
EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS FROM DVD STUDIO DAY
Here are a selection of Rich Cross' excellent
photos taken at the Sound Company recording studios earlier this month...
Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger
All photos © Rich Cross 2003
STAR LINE-UP CONFIRMED FOR DVD RELEASE
An amazing list of Survivors luminaries took part in
the Survivors DVD recording day in central London yesterday. They included
Carolyn Seymour (who had flown over from Los Angeles especially), Ian
McCulloch, Lucy Fleming, Pennant Roberts and Tanya Ronder.
Above: Promotional artwork for the forthcoming release (this will not be
used on the DVD or Video covers).
Two audio commentaries were conducted in the
morning. Carolyn and Pennant recorded the commentary for The Fourth
Horseman, while Ian and Lucy responded to Law and Order. I acted as
moderator on both to help them out with their hazy memories.
The afternoon saw 'before camera' interviews with
all the contributors. Tanya's arrival at 4.00pm was a carefully guarded
secret and a great surprise for the gathered stars.
A full report and images of the shoot will appear
here in due course. The DVD is still scheduled for release in early
ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTRIBUTORS
A full and accurate announcement of the full list of
contributors to the forthcoming Survivors DVD release will be posted here
on Friday 6th June.
One of the planned extras for the forthcoming
DVD release will almost definitely be an audio commentary for the popular
episode Law and Order. No names of any contributors can be confirmed at
this early stage.
SURVIVORS is to receive its first DVD release in 2003
28th April 2003
I can now confirm the
exciting news that the first series of Survivors will be released in the
UK in October as a DVD boxed set by DD Video. The special features and
extras are not yet finalised but are likely to include a photo gallery,
some cast interviews, commentary for one of the episodes and a colour
booklet. As I will be involved in the production of the DVD release, I
will able to update you on the latest news here, as and when it becomes
Watch this space!
For the official press
release click here
Home Page Episode Guide Regular Characters Links Behind the Scenes
last updated: 16th November 2003
All text © Andy Priestner Screen Captures © BBC