"If we believe that he did it, what do we do with him then?" - Arthur

The hard slog of surviving is beginning to affect community morale. Tom and others have a
problem with Arthur, especially because he is hoarding supplies and eating alone. Emma is
fed up of cooking all the meals and everyone is sick of digging. When the pigs get out and
run riot through the cabbages it is the last straw.

After the pigs are safely penned in, Abby holds a meeting, at which she lays down some
ground rules, including the insistence that everyone must now eat together.

She also suggests that a party should be held on May 1st to get their spirits up. On the
afternoon of the day, Emma, Charmian and Wendy begin to prepare food for the event.

The party is a great success. Greg plays his guitar and everyone dances and has a good

Tom gets Barney drunk on the alcohol retrieved from the quarry and has too much himself.
The former spends much of the evening dancing with Wendy.

Barney eventually leaves feeling ill. Wendy also leaves early as she is tired.

Tom pesters Wendy on the stairs and follows her to her room. He emerges again some time
later.The next morning John and Lizzie discover Wendy dead in her room. She has been
beaten and stabbed. Tom hides his bloodstained shirt under the floorboards in his room as
the community learns of the horrific incident.

Barney's attentiveness to Wendy the previous night makes him the prime suspect. Barney is
not present so a party searches for him in the woods.Tom finds him first, tells him about
Wendy and urges him to run away. Barney doesn't understand why, but does as Tom says.
The others spot him and give chase.

After Barney is caught the community holds a meeting to decide what to do. Abby and Greg
decide they must try Barney for Wendy's murder.  They question Barney, who doesn't
understand what they are asking him.

When asked directly, Barney denies killing Wendy. Emma, Charmian and a guilt-wracked
Tom, are convinced he is innocent, nevertheless the circumstantial evidence against Barney
convinces the majority of the community of his guilt.

Having been found guilty, they now have to decide whether to banish Barney and run the risk
of him killing again or execute him. An option which Greg supports strongly.

They break for lunch during which Greg finds Barney playing with John and Lizzie, the
children having unlocked his room. After lunch the community meets again to vote on
Barney's punishment. 

The vote is split, Emma, Charmian, Jenny and a guilty Tom vote for banishment, whilst Greg,
Vic, Paul and Arthur vote for execution. A tearful Abby is forced to make the deciding vote
and she reluctantly states that he should be executed.

The men draw lots to see who will perform the gruesome task.

Greg draws the short straw. Paul and Arthur dig two graves. Tom sits in his room wracked
with guilt as he hears Greg shoot Barney.

Back at the grange Abby tells Greg that Tom has admitted to her that he killed Wendy. Abby
restrains a furious Greg from attacking Tom.

Abby thinks everyone should know what Tom has done. Greg disagrees and threatens to
challenge her leadership of the community if she tells the others. He fears Tom will be
lynched and thinks they need him to continue to work for the community. Abby concurs

Episode Review

This episode is probably the best known and certainly most talked about Survivors episode of them all. The performances from the main cast members are strong and the enormity of the decision facing the community makes for gripping viewing. Greg's speech arguing that capital punishment can be their only option is particularly memorable as are Abby's heartfelt tears as she makes the deciding vote. Talfryn Thomas is excellent as the guilt wracked Tom. His despair at what he has done and his reactions to the events of Barney's trial are compelling. That Tom has committed the murder is bad enough, but that his protegee and friend, simple Barney, is to act as his scapegoat is a deft touch.

It has to be said that the community seem more distraught at having to face up to what to do about the murder, in a world where they are not distanced from terrible decisions, than at the loss of Wendy. Although maybe this is hardly surprising given that Wendy was clearly only plotted into the series in order to dramatise this very dilemma.

The episode has very few down sides and to mention them does seem rather churlish, but Greg's conversation with Jenny at the party about the old May Day custom of the ritual sacrifice of a virgin does over-egg the pudding somewhat. It also seems rather odd that neither Greg nor Abby fear that Tom will behave violently again. They feared Barney's actions more, even when they were not entirely sure he had committed the crime. This says something about their prejudices against people with learning dificulties. Despite these minor gripes Law and Order stands as a benchmark episode.

Rating: 10/10

Episode 10 :  Law and Order

writer: M K Jeeves
first broadcast:
18th June 1975

Regular Cast:

Abby Grant: Carolyn Seymour
Greg Preston:
Ian McCulloch
Jenny Richards: Lucy Fleming
Tom Price:
Talfryn Thomas
Barney: John Hallet
Arthur Russell: Michael Gover
Julie Neubert
Paul Pitman: Christopher Tranchell
Emma Cohen: Hana Maria Pravda
Charmian Wentworth:
Eileen Helsby
Vic Thatcher:
Terry Scully
Lizzie Willoughby: Tanya Ronder
John Millon: Stephen Dudley

designer: Richard Morris
Pennant Roberts
Terence Dudley
episode recorded: 
12th - 16th May 1975


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Page Last Updated: 25th February 2003  All text Andy Priestner   Screen Captures BBC