"There's nothing a farmer can grow, that you can't get by hunting.
It's a jungle out there!"
- Brod

Jenny who is still travelling alone is being chased by a pack of wild dogs. Luckily
Charles arrives on the scene, coming to her rescue with a shotgun.

Charles frightens the dogs off, allowing Jenny to come down from her hiding place
up a nearby tree.

Charles scolds her for leaving him and Hubert to go off searching for Greg alone.
They are interrupted by the arrival of Agnes. Agnes and Jenny have a tearful reunion.

Some time later Hubert is complaining that looking for Greg is a waste of time. He
wants to go back to Challoner. Charles announces that they are going on to Lichfield
to rendezvous with Greg. Agnes notes that Hubert is still prone to grumbling. Agnes
tells him about Tom Walter's nearby farm that she and Greg visited a few months ago.
The farm is apparently very well run and Greg could teach Tom nothing. They elect to
stay at the farm for the night, but when they arrive it is deserted and overrun by rats.

Hubert moans about their position some more, provoking Charles to anger. He and Jenny
go off to hunt something. They bag a rabbit and also come across a pig squealing in a trap.

Charles is prevented from killing the pig with his shotgun, by two men who call the are 'their
territory'. One of the men shoots the pig with a crossbow.

Charles and Jenny prepare to leave but Charles's gun is shot out of his hands. The men
state that they are Brod's men and that he says 'shoot first and ask questions later'. They
are escorted back to their encampment.

They are greeted at the camp by the two men's mother, Edith Walter. The two men are Tom
Walter's younger brother, Steve and Owen. Jenny is exhausted and cared for by the fire.
Edith tells her sons to also fetch Agnes and Hubert from the farm. She tells Charles how they
were driven from the farm by Brod after Tom left to go trading. They were forced to join forces
with Brod. She bemoans the fact that her boys are now Brod's rather than her own.

The next morning Jenny and Charles wake aboard an abandoned train that Brod's people
sleep on. Charles observes that the train is surrounded by wild dogs on one side and by a
a river on the other. Charles thinks Brod's people are a bunch of brigands.

Brod enters and introduces himself. He demands Charles ammunition which is handed
over. He tells them that Agnes and Hubert are elsewhere on the train having been brought
from the farm. He claims to look after his people well.

Charles and Jenny are taken aback when he casually states that they will have to pay
for bed and breakfast. Meanwhile Agnes is catching up with Edith, who tells her about
Tom's departure and Brod's initial raids on their farm before they had to join up with him.

Brod arrives and explains that they will have to earn their food. Jenny states that they
won't impose. He ignores her and tells them to meet outside by the fire when they have
finished their breakfast. As he leaves he tells Jenny that her job will be to sweep the
train and implies that he has other plans for her as well.

Hubert says they should get out of there. Edith asks them if they will help her to
get the farm back.

At the riverside Charles notes Brod's fishing system. Brod arrives and reveals that
he used to be a butcher, but that he learnt about herbs and grasses from his late
friend, a poacher called Andy, whose scarf he wears around his neck. He believes
that in this new world that farming is a waste of time and that hunting is the only
sensible option. Charles disagrees. Brod throws a water carrying yoke down to
Charles and tells him to fill the camp's water butt.

At the camp Agnes meets Mavis, who is described as Brod's chambermaid. Brod
arrives and tells Edith that Charles is going to fill the water butt. Edith complains
that it is full and Brod promptly empties it. He then takes a mug and makes Agnes
balance it on he head.

He shoots the mug off her head with his crossbow. Agnes is shocked and Edith intervenes
telling Brod to stop his games. She confides in Agnes that she fears that they have no
chance of standing up to someone like Brod.

Hubert has been taken off for some archery practice with the Walter boys. His first
attempts are poor but Brod promises to train him up. Back on the train, Brod checks
on Jenny's cleaning. He talks to her as if she and the others will be staying on with
them to work for him. He wants her to be his chambermaid, implying sexual favours.

Jenny protests and tells him they are not staying. Charles arrives and reiterates Jenny's
response to his demands. He tells Hubert to fetch Agnes as they are leaving.

Edith suggests that they go to her old friends, the Sheridans, who live down river.
Charles however, is determined to return to the farm with Edith and her sons in tow.

Brod intervenes in the discussion telling Charles he will not let him subvert his people.
Brod tells Edith she is just like his late wife. She laughs at the fact that he was married.
He says that she thought he was uncouth too. Brod commands Mavis to gather up the
food on the table and throw it down the embankment, supposedly as food for their journey.

Brod opens the carriage door on the wild dogs side and one by one to his astonishment
they leave to face the dogs rather than him.

However, once they see the dogs mauling the meat, they retreat back up to the train
and Brod lets them back in granted they follow 'his terms'. Brod takes Charles hunting
with him.

Charles realised that Brod sees him as a threat. He attempts in vain, to convince Brod
that there is another way, other than hunting. When asked if he plans to challenge Brod,
Charles does not deny it.

Back on the train, Mavis lets slip to Agnes and Jenny that she shouldn't fear her new role with
Brod as he is impotent. Meanwhile, Brod tells Charles that if anything happens to him that
Steve and Owen have some instructions to carry out involving Jenny.

He directs Charles behind a tree, duping him into walking into a man trap. Brod
and the Walter boys leave him to die, but Hubert comes to the rescue.

Charles is brought back to the train, where Edith, Agnes and Jenny tend to his leg. Charles
thinks it could have been an accident, Hubert is sure that it wasn't. Meanwhile, Jenny has
slipped out alone to face Brod and 'settle up'. He asks her about Greg and tells her that he
is far more practical and able than Greg could ever be.

Jenny mocks him, sarcastically calling hunters 'big men'. Brod loses his cool and throws
a knife that narrowly misses her head. She decides to give herself to him and begins to
remove her clothes. Brod is angry as he thinks she is sniggering at him. He stops her from
undressing and tells her he is not impotent and that instead Mavis has never turned him on.
She tells him that she doesn't find him attractive and that she might if he showed a more
vulnerable side.

Jenny leaves and Brod is left to ponder her words. The next morning Charles and the
others are preparing to leave by river to go to the Sheridans. Charles then announces
that they're staying until everyone agrees to go with them. During his speech, Steve
loads a bolt in his crossbow. Charles spots this and warns Steve that one day that he
might get shot if he stays with Brod.

Brod arrives on the scene and mocks Charles speech and plans. His people decide to
stay. Charles and the others return to the train. Charles muses with Agnes that if they
can't beat Brod then how can they hope to beat 'the jungle'. She criticises him for
using Brod's terminology. Edith has grown weary of the fight and wonders if they should
give in and forget the dream of civilised living and go back to Brod's way.

She warns Charles that he has got Brod worried and that therefore he is more dangerous
and will not botch up killing him the second time around. Jenny elects to try to get around
Brod again as their next move but Charles is not happy about this approach. He protests
that there must be an alternative. Outside, Hubert has returned from hunting with his
crossbow. He spots Brod ahead of him with his back turned...

Hubert suddenly decides to seize the opportunity and fires a bolt at him. He is right on
target. Hubert alerts everyone, crying out that he hit Brod by accident.

Charles, Agnes and Edith try to save Brod as it becomes clear that the wound is likely
to be fatal. In his dying breaths, Brod tells Charles that he should hold on to Hubert as
he is a hunter. Some time later Hubert tells Jenny that they can get the farm back now.

After burying Brod and packing up, Charles leads everyone away from the encampment
and back to the farm.

Episode Review

This episode finally sees the third series hitting its stride. Strong emotive performances from the regulars and guest cast alike make this episode dramatic and gripping. A sign of a good Survivors episode is surely whether you want to continue the debate raised in the episode after the fifty minutes are over. Previous good examples of episodes which prompt this response must include Law and Order, By Bread Alone and Over the Hills, which debate capital punishment, religion and reproduction respectively. Law of the Jungle also fits the bill as a debate starter. Its exploration of different approaches to survival, put simply farming versus hunting, is truly significant as it clearly underpins the entire series not just this one episode. Interestingly, now that the new world order appears to have degraded further, owing much to series three's deliberately 'down and dirty' production values, Brod's way does seem to hold a realistic attraction. Indeed at times it is difficult not to see Charles as the unrealistic dreamer Brod believes him to be.

Brian Blessed throws in a typically impressive performance, clearly relishing the role of Brod, which allows him to rant, stride and bellow as much as he likes. Barbara Lott's Edith is as irritating as she's meant to be and its not hard to see from this performance why she was chosen to play the overbearing Mrs Lumsden to Ronnie Corbett's Timothy in the BBC TV series Sorry! a few years later. The Walter boys are mere ciphers and there is little to distinguish the pair. Cheryl Hall's Mavis is also underused and becomes another in a long line of working class stereotypes. Agnes is fleshed out a little more here, although her motives in terms of Greg and Jenny are disappointingly ignored. Agnes does not tell Jenny that Greg probably saw her riding off on the horizon at the end of A Little Learning, after she hears from Hubert that Jenny also saw the elephant roaming wild near Marbury.

The feel of the episode is bleak and gritty, reinforced by what looks like brutally cold and dismal filming conditions, something which is common to all of director, Peter Jefferies, episodes.

The episode's concluding scenes are its best. Whilst the regulars debate endlessly about a way forward, emitting a lot of hot air in the process, Hubert simply loads his crossbow and kills the enemy, proving that actions speak louder than words. That Brod commends Hubert for his actions despite his impending death is also a great touch, finishing the episode off in style.

Rating: 8/10

Episode 29 :  Law of the Jungle

writer: Martin Worth
first broadcast:
30th March 1977

Regular Cast:

Charles Vaughan: Denis Lill
Jenny Richards: Lucy Fleming
Hubert Goss:
John Abineri
Agnes Carlsson: Anna Pitt

Guest Cast:

Brod: Brian Blessed
Edith Walter: Barbara Lott
Steve Walter: Eric Deacon
Owen Walter: Keith Varnier
Mavis: Cheryl Hall

designer: Geoff Powell
Peter Jefferies
Terence Dudley
episode recorded: 
15th - 21st January 1977


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