"Get me out of here" - Ruth

A couple of survivors called Penny and Amul, arrive at Whitecross asking for Ruth.

They claim to have news that Abby is at a place called Derring farm where she and other
members of a community are sick and need medical help.

Greg is suspicious, but after testing them it appears they do know Abby. Ruth goes off with the

At Derring she discovers that the couple have tricked her. They actually want her to go to
London with them and claim that she has no choice, as through contact with them, she is now
contaminated with what they call the 'London sickness'.

Ruth is made to see she has no choice. London is smelly and infested with both rats and

The journey to the Londoners' settlement at the Oval cricket ground is hazardous and

They arrive at the settlement's headquarters and Ruth is introduced to their leader, who is
called Manny. Ruth is very angry about her abduction. She is told that Abby had been in
London the month before and had told them about the community at the Grange, from where
they found Greg's directions to Whitecross.

She learns that London's 500 survivors survive on scavenging and have electricity, running
water, telephones and radio.
Ruth demands to know why she has been brought there. She is
introduced to an elderly doctor who is running a hospital operation with the assistance of a
nurse called Nessie.

She learns that about 1000 people survived the death in London, but that secondary
disease has since halved that number and observes a case of 'London sickness'. The doctor
fears that they will die out if the population level falls much below 500 and asks her to stay
and help.

Ruth agrees and begins to enjoy some of the luxuries at the settlement, including a hot
shower. The next morning she sees how the survivors have cultivating the Oval cricket

Ruth begins to help the Doctor and Nessie with the sick and soon discovers that she has been
brought to London to make up an advance party to prepare the way for a massive move to
the Isle of Wight.

Ruth realises that there is not much chance of her ever returning to Whitecross. Meanwhile
Greg arrives at Derring farm in search of Ruth and is given a map which he can use to get to
the settlement in London.

He and Charles set off for London together. When they reach the Underground station they
are attacked by some rats...

Episode Review

The Lights of London is clearly the showpiece of the second series, but for my money was transmitted too early in the running order to make the impact it deserved. For one thing it could have been used to break up the slower pace of the latter half of the season. As it is, this epic two parter comes hot on the heels of the destruction of the first community and the loss of Paul, making it somewhat indigestible and once again jarring.

Ruth is given centre stage and Celia Gregory makes excellent use of her screen time. We see the setup in London through her eyes and can't help but identify with her fear and surprise at what she encounters. Her discoveries including the odd and seemingly anachronistic shower and radio scenes are particularly memorable.

It is refreshing and surprising to see such a large number of survivors making up the London community. This is in fact the most people the viewer has seen since The Fourth Horseman, informing us that there are more survivors around than the series has so far led us to believe. London's community is populated by people who come across as entrenched city types, personified by the likes of Manny, Penny and Wally, who have such an aversion to the idea of life in the country that they cling to an existence in a city where disease and danger are rife. It is exactly this sort of plotting and characterisation which gives Jack Ronder the edge when it comes to texturing episode content.

That Greg and Charles set off after Ruth seems to fly in the face of the previous episode's events where they were felt to be too important to the settlement to risk finding drugs for Jenny, but their rescue mission is nevertheless a welcome plot turn as it promises to pep up the action in the concluding instalment.

Rating: 9/10

Episode 16: Lights of London Part 1

writer: Jack Ronder
first broadcast:
14th April 1976

Regular Cast:

Ruth Anderson: Celia Gregory
Greg Preston: Ian McCulloch
Charles Vaughn: Denis Lill
Jenny Richards: Lucy Fleming

Guest Cast:

Penny: Coral Atkins
Nadim Sawalha
Sydney Tafler
Patrick Holt
Lennox Milne
David Troughton
Wally: Roger Lloyd-Pack
Barbara: Wendy Williams

designer:  Ian Watson and Peter Kindred
Terence Williams
Terence Dudley
episode recorded:
24th- 25th February 1976



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Page Last Updated: 23rd February 2003 All text Andy Priestner   Screen Captures BBC