"Look at what the last industrial revolution led to, it could only be
stopped by a plague that wiped out almost all mankind!"
Sam




Alec is woken by the sound
of a steam train whistle. He calls for Sam who is just outside.
Sam says he didn't hear the train and thinks that Tom Walter wouldn't have got the trains
working in Scotland yet anyway. Alec wonders, if it was a train, whether Jenny might
have been on it.


Sam suggests that they get moving so that they can get to the first of the power stations.
Alec thinks there is no hurry and tells him they will go after some breakfast.


A man is fishing by a fast flowing river. He is joined by another man who tells him that
it was a train they heard earlier and that it has stopped nearby because it has broken
down.
He explains that two of the passengers are coming down the track in their
direction.


Charles and Jenny are the two passengers in question. From the bridge over the river
they spot the two men and decide to ask them for help. They introduce themselves and
tell the men they have come from England and need help fixing a brake connecting rod.


The fisherman, a Scot, announces that he "wondered how long it would be before the
English found their way up here".
He tells them that he heard that it was terrible
graveyard down South. Charles replies that it is not that bad and that they have even
got a government established. The man thinks a government is an extraordinary thing
to be wanting again.


He asks Charles and Jenny why they have come up to Scotland. Jenny explains that they
are looking for two friends who were coming up from Yorkshire and that they may have
passed them already. The fisherman's companion, Davey, suggests that a man called
Angus may be able to fix the rod. He is instructed to take it and the train driver to see
Angus. Davey grabs the rod off a surprised Charles and walks off. The man finally
introduces himself as the local Laird, McAlister, and offers them a spot of luncheon back at
his castle.
 

Charles and Jenny travel with McAlister back to his castle by horse and cart. McAlister
tells them that there are 150,000 people left in Scotland and that 'the Death' claimed nine
out of ten. Jenny tells him that they estimate that there are only 10,000 left in England.
Charles surmises that the Highlands of Scotland may well be the most densely populated
area in the country now.


Arriving at the castle, McAlister instructs a man called Hamish to retrieve their friends
from the train. He urges Charles and Jenny to follow him into the castle.


McAlister advises a woman who he addresses as Mrs Crombie that there will be two
extras for dinner. She observes that they look like they haven't had a square meal in
months.


McAlister shows them around what is a magnificent castle. He complains that he can't
maintain it in the way that he would like.
He tells Jenny that she has the freedom of
his late wife's wardrobe and that there is plenty of hot water for a bath. He bemoans
the continued lack of electricity.


McAlister muses about getting the treadmills going again for clothing and the possibility
of using whisky as petrol. Charles observes that it would make expensive fuel, but the
Laird tells him that it was only taxes that made whisky expensive. Charles asks him if
he has tried to get any power stations going. McAlister replies that he has tried but
needs an expert to help, maybe a man from England?


At a nearby switching station. Alec is switching off another power line labelled Reyrolle.
Sam finds some master keys.


Alec explains that he needs the line to Glasgow switched off and tells Sam it is labelled
Windyhill. Sam goes to switch it off, but notices that it is already set this way.


Sam checks Alec isn't watching and then turns the switch back on. He returns to Alec, who
tells him that this is the last switching station and that if they are going to be able to switch
on the power at the nearby station that they must have isolated all the lines along the way
by switching them off.


Hamish delivers Hubert to the castle entrance, where he meets Jenny, who has washed
and changed. Jenny scolds him for not staying with Tom Walter at the train, but Hubert
tells her that it will take at least two days to fix.


Hubert observes that Jenny has "done something queer to her hair" and that she is
wearing a dress. Their conversation is observed by the Laird.


McAlister pours Charles a drink and tells him that the train will not take them to
the power station, which is called Loch Mannoch, as the track doesn't go that
way. Jenny enters and tells them that she has put Hubert in the bathroom.

McAlister tells them both that Alec and Sam have been seen following the
pylons towards the power station. Charles tells the Laird that Alec Campbell
is an engineer. He is intrigued that the man sounds like he is a Scot.


Hubert has washed and changed but upon meeting Mrs Crombie observes that the
others won't want him to join them. She suggests that in that case he can bring
some logs in for her from Hamish's shed.


Over dinner, McAlister, Jenny and Charles are discussing Alec. Charles explains how
they have been shutting off lines on their way up North. McAlister is concerned that
this means only the South will get the electricity when the power is switched on.
Charles tells him that he didn't expect anyone to be alive in Scotland.


McAlister describes the good life they have in Scotland, what with trout and salmon from
the rivers, oatcakes instead of bread, fruit farms, game, cattle and sheep and remarks "and
now electricity, if we are allowed to keep it!" Charles assures him that there is enough
hydro-electric power in Scotland for everyone.


McAlister suggests they all go to Loch Mannoch the next day to see what Alec is capable of..


Alec and Sam have stopped near the reservoir up valley from the power station. Alec
explains that he wanted to check if the reservoir was full. He describes water as the 'elixir
of life' and tells Sam that he believes that hydro-electric power is the only kind of energy
that should ever be used.


Some time later, Alec and Sam reach Loch Mannoch power station and find it open.


On their way to Loch Mannoch, McAlister tells Charles and Jenny that he broke into the
power station a year ago and that he pulled a few switches but nothing worked, except
the lights that is.



Meanwhile, Alec is complaining to Sam about the bumbling amateur who broke in and
left the lights on and pulled some random switches. Alec explains that the lights run on
batteries which are now dead and that he will have to start the station by hand.


Alec goes on to explain that the batteries will re-charge automatically once the
generators are on. He locates the inlet valve control and sends Sam to look for
a piston nearby.


A shepherd, Rob, observes the two horses that Alec and Sam had been riding, which are
tethered near the power station.



Alec tells Sam that they need to open the guide veins, but that first they must check the oil.
He doesn't like the look of the oil, which is needed to lubricate the bearings before they
start up, and asks Sam to find a spanner so he can check it. Sam finds a whole cupboard
of spanners and takes a large one back to Alec.


They are amused by the size of the spanner and Alec calls Sam a "thick-head". Alec says it
doesn't matter that the spanner is too large as he thinks it was just a bit of grit on the
dipstick. Sam reaches out too touch a valve. Alec calls out for him to stop and explains that it
would drain the oil form the bearings. Without oil the bearings would smash.


Alex explains that they now need to open the vein on the turbine so the water will turn
them. Again the oil has to be equalised first. The dials start to register and Sam asks if
they are making electricity yet. Alec tells him that they need to check the field switch
first.


Alec and Sam locate the field switch, but the handle is missing. Sam asks if the power
station would not work if the switch couldn't be closed. He goes on to relate that once
one machine runs again on the electricity that they supply, then all the power stations
will be turned on again. He asks Alec if he wants to work in a factory, as he muses that
turning on the power could make this peoples fate. He thinks that Alec would far
rather live up in the hills.


Sam goes on to ask Alec if he thinks its not for him to consider the implications of what he
is doing. Alec agrees and replies that he is just an engineer. Sam retorts that bombs have
been dropped and gas chambers built for that excuse. Alec can't believe that Sam is
comparing those things to electricity.


Sam thinks that if they get electricity and industry going again then people will once more
depend on their livelihood from something they have no control over. He sees this as a form
of slavery. He asks how anyone can be trusted with this switch?
Alec asks him why he waited
until now to say all this. Sam replies that he wouldn't have let him in if he had known and
that also he wanted to know what he had to destroy.



Alec replies that he is not going to destroy anything there. Sam is undeterred and suggests that
they could destroy this one and then go up to the next dam, staying one step ahead of Charles
and the others. Sam thinks that it will be okay for people to make their own electricity from
windmills and waterwheels as they would still be free - as long as it is 'their own'. He goes on
to state that the last industrial revolution led to 'the Death'. He cannot believe that Alec wants
to start it up again. Alec is now ignoring Sam and having found the handle is about to close the
field switch.



Suddenly, Sam hits Alec with the large spanner he is carrying. Alec collapses to the floor.


Sam checks that Alec is still alive and remarks that he will wake with a rotten headache. He
turns his attention to the field switch and is about to hit it with the spanner when he is disturbed
by the sudden appearance of the shepherd.


Sam runs off to find the man but he is nowhere to be seen, instead he sees the horse and cart
arriving carrying Charles, Jenny, Hubert and McAlister.


Sam hears her and runs to hide. She doesn't see him and returns to the others to tell them that
no-one is there. Charles tells Hubert to look outside. They can hear the turbines turning which
suggests that Alec has got it going again, but Charles wonders if that means it is generating
electricity.


Charles finds Sam's abandoned spanner. McAlister asks Charles whether the new English
government has any real authority. Charles tells him that
they are currently trying to
hammer out a constitution. McAlister asks who heads the government. Charles tells him
that Greg is the head. McAlister accuses Charles of claiming 'their' electricity for his government.


Charles and Jenny are dumbfounded by his attitude "your electricity!" Charles tells McAlister
that he questions his 'right' to claim ownership of the power station. He cannot believe that the
Scot has turned it into a nationalist issue. Jenny exclaims that they don't even know if the station
is working yet!


They are set to leave the area, when Jenny notices hands coming out of the grating in the floor.
She and Charles lift the grating and a dazed Alec emerges.



Sam rides off on one of the horses. In the control room Alec is recovering. He suggests that
Sam must have replaced the grating and not known he was down there.


Alec tells Charles and Jenny that the turbines are going but it is no good as there is no power. 


McAlister finds Rob, the shepherd and asks him if he has seen any strangers about. He has.


Meanwhile Alec is instructing Charles and Jenny in an attempt to restore the power. He goes
to close the circuit breakers outside.


Jenny sees the dial register but then the power goes again when Charles closes off the
field switch. Jenny tells Alec what happened.



Charles suggests that one of the lines to a big city must still be on. Alec retorts that this could
be the case anywhere between there and Derby and he can't face the task.



McAlister arrives back with Rob, who has told him that he saw Sam standing over him with a
spanner. Jenny asks Alec why he is protecting Sam, as he must have known he attacked
him. Alec tells them that Sam intends to destroy all the power stations on their map, which
is in the saddlebag on one of the horses.



McAlister sends Hubert after Sam and tells Rob to stand guard outside. He shouts at Charles
that in England they may have a government, but in Scotland they protect their own and that
there'll be a man stationed at every power station by night.


Sam has ridden up to the reservoir he stopped at earlier with Alec. He sees a building by the
reservoir which appears to be his objective.


Alec and Charles are arguing about the overloaded circuit problem and the fact that a city
may still be connected. Charles suggest a method by which the load is shared but Alec is
dubious. Charles feels that Alec is holding back on them. Alec tells him and Jenny that he
didn't agree with Sam until he came to in the shaft and heard the Laird and Charles arguing
over the electricity. He states that it maybe better if nobody has it!


Hubert catches up with Sam by the reservoir and sees him carrying a log into one of the
buildings. Sam locks himself in, so Hubert gets back on his horse and goes back the way
he came, to go and tell the others.


Another test fails at the power station. Charles asks Alec if he let Sam isolate any of the
substations. Alec says yes, but he can't remember which ones.
Charles is at the end of his
tether with Alec and asks him what gives him or Sam the right to decide whether the world
has electricity or not?


Hubert arrives and tells them about Sam and the log. Alec thinks Sam's plan is to send the
log down river, through the pipeline to ultimately smash the turbine.
Alec instructs Charles
to gain access to the building by the reservoir and turn off the valve. Sam and Jenny stay
at the power station to close down the turbine.


Some time later Alec reaches the reservoir building, Sam is nowhere to be seen and
Charles has managed to drain the tunnel of water. They hope the log doesn't reach the
pipeline. 


It transpires that Sam is still there. He observes Alec descend a ladder to carry out some
checks. Meanwhile Hubert has found Sam's horse in a nearby quarry and tells Charles.



The building door suddenly slams hut. They think at first that Alec has locked himself in,
Charles notices the log at the edge of the reservoir and realises that they have fallen
into a trap set by Sam and that he is in there with Alec.


Charles shouts to Sam, warning him that if he re-opens the valve, because the tunnel
is now full of air, that the water will hit the compressed air and blow them all sky high.
Sam seems to be oblivious to these warnings at first but then stops turning the valve.
Sam encounters Alec and kicks him back down the ladder he is climbing up.


Sam breaks out of the building as Hubert and Alec try to barge in with the abandoned log.
Sam takes Hubert's horse and rides off.


Back at Loch Mannoch, McAlister and Davey are returning by horse and cart. McAlister
tells Davey that he is putting
him in charge, in case Sam comes back. He orders him to
shoot on sight. Hubert meets them and tells them that Alec has recovered and is at one
of the substations with Jenny.


Alec breaks the circuit at the Windyhill line control box. He recalls that it was the only
one he let Sam do on his own. He tells Jenny that it should work now, once he has
closed off the circuit breakers back at the power station.



Alec asks Jenny what she will do once it is switched on? "Go back to Greg?" She
tells him that Greg is dead.


Back at the power station Charles is sharing his concerns with Hubert about control
of the power station and particularly that it all can be operated from one desk. He
muses that too much rests upon the man who sits in that chair.



McAlister enters and tells Charles that the lines could be cut outside and they
could hold the electricity to ransom. McAlister doubts they could afford a ransom
in England. Charles assures him that industry will return in time. McAlister says
he is sure that they will come to terms and that he will make a list of everything
Scotland needs.


Meanwhile Jenny and Alec are talking about switching on the power. Alec asks
her if she wants electricity to return? She admits that when it looked like Sam was
going to destroy everything, she was quite relieved and thought that if they did have
to make do again, then there was no better place than there. Alec suggests she could
bring the children up and move to where he was brought up and live on a farm.


Jenny muses that they could "rise at dawn and go to bed at dusk", but is soon broken
from her reverie and tells him that its easy enough to make the best of things when
there is no choice, but now that there is a choice of bringing electricity back 'so much
of what they have all lost', it is quite different. She tells Alec that she wants her children
to have everything she had and asks him to switch the power on again.


Alec asks her if she plans to go back with Charles and Tom. She does. Alec realises
that if it wasn't for the choice he has that Jenny would be happy to live up there
with him. Jenny asks him again to switch on the power and kisses him on the cheek.


Sam is still at large at the power station. Jenny returns and tells the others that Alec
is just closing the circuit breakers.



Alec turns closes the circuit breakers and says "let there be light!" A little later
McAlister suggests to Charles that he could be his secretary of state for England.
He asks Alec what his plans are...


Alec tells him that he will have to stay at the power station and that he will pick
and train men who will be responsible to him only and that he will be
answerable to no-one, not to McAlister and not to Charles. He tells them that if
they don't like it he can close the place down in such a way that they'll never
get it started again!


Sam has reached the oil draining valve and turns it. There is an explosion
and an alarm sounds.


Alec runs off with the others following to see what had happened. Sam appears
above ground and runs into Hubert.


Sam falls into the water below and is washed down into the turbines and certain death.


Some time later, back at the castle, McAlister assures Charles that they will
meet again and that they are both in Alec's hands now. Charles tells him
that Alec has lived in England for the past fifteen years and is no more
Scots than he is. McAlister replies that he is no more English than he is.
Charles suggests that they must remember that.



Outside, Jenny and Hubert are waiting for Charles. They say goodbye to
McAlister and he wishes them a safe journey. The cart moves off. After
the cart has gone he thanks them for bringing Alec Campbell.



That evening at the Laird's castle, Mrs Crombie brings candles to an evening
meal and chooses to turn off the newly acquired electric light. She and
McAlister toast each other.


At the power station the lights are all on. Power has been restored to the
world of the survivors...


 

Episode Review

Put simply, Power does not feel like it is, or should be the very final episode of Survivors. If anything, it feels more like the opening episode of a new series, as if Long Live the King had closed the third. The restoration of power is a fitting end in some respects, but the third series more pressing theme was always going to be the quest for the missing Greg and the resolution of the Jenny, Agnes, Greg triangle and by Power this is of course finished business. Perhaps the dramatic punch-line, that was Greg's death, came too early on. Nevertheless there is much to enjoy here and there are several pointers here that this is the end of the (power) line.

Martin Worth leaves us in no doubt that we’re in Scotland, what with trout fishing, talk of whisky distilleries and oatcakes and characters called Hamish, Davey and Rob (Roy is presumably his surname). Even the unseen blacksmith is called Angus. I guess we should be thankful that Worth resisted the temptation to have a piper in full costume atop the power station playing ‘Scotland the Brave’. I would be intrigued to know what a Scot would make of this episode. Whether they would be deeply offended by the stereotypes or proud of McAlister’s nationalistic stance? I suspect the former. Despite the above it is actually a nice change to be in Scotland, especially given the dour and dirty look of the English countryside in the rest of series three. The green trees and grass are refreshing and the episode feels bright.

Jenny’s transformation into ‘new woman’ is faintly ridiculous. When she flounces up to Hubert with posies in each hand, she is more reminiscent of Ophelia in her mad scene than the Jenny we know. And when Hubert states that she’s ‘done something queer to her hair’, we can’t help but agree with him. It stands almost as tall as Babs Windsor's. Thankfully she reverts to our beloved 'floppy haired Jenny' for the rest of the episode.

For my money, Power, more than any other episode emphasises the class divide in the post-Death world. The new world of the survivors is no more equal than the previous one. Hubert, my first case in point, is treated abominably here. First of all he is scolded by Jenny for leaving Tom at the broken down train, when she has already been lucky enough to wash and change (and relax enough to pick flowers!). Then he is told not to walk muck into the house. After he has been ‘put in the bathroom’ he decides that he knows ‘his place’ and declines the invitation of a drink and meal with the others.  Instead he is asked to bring in some logs! Later at the power station, he is ordered here, there and everywhere by Charles and the Laird, without the slightest courtesy. The Laird’s role further emphasises the continuation of the ruling class and obedience of the workers. He even says “you just can’t get the staff these days”!  However, the important difference between Power and other Survivors episodes is that here, the class divide is deliberately scripted. Yes, Survivors can be terribly middle class, (Carolyn Seymour is fond of pointing out “we all had helicopters” which is a wild exaggeration), but at least here and in a few other places, the show owned up to the fact and observed that the class system would endure through something as apocalyptic as ‘the Death’.

The central theme of restoration of electric power is handled well. Sam, although clearly a fanatic, has several cogent points to make. He is quite right to criticise Alec for his “I’m only an engineer” fallback position, but wrong and desperate in the execution of his ideals. His grim dispatch at the hands of what he is trying to prevent is never in doubt. What will Mary-Jean and baby do now? I bet no-one goes back to tell her!

A fourth series could well have seen our heroes living up in Scotland, for as Charles said, ‘the Highlands are now the most populated area of the country’. Although the English would be pretty outnumbered up there, 15 to 1! 

Power is all about choice and despite the fact that this makes the episode fairly anti-climactic, it is in many ways a fitting theme for the last episode. After all the final series has seen: Greg realise that he should have chosen Jenny and the kids, Alec 'choose life' rather than regret and most importantly a collective of English survivors choosing law, order and government over the chaos and disparate development that has characterised the post-Death world. The closing scene emphasises the theme further, showing what a difference three years has made to our survivors. In The Fourth Horseman, Abby and David have no choice but to eat by candlelight, whereas here Mrs Crombie and McAlister choose to turn off the electric light and eat by candlelight. This is a neat touch which is effectively Worth and Dudley telling us that the show has definitely come to an end, because our survivors no longer have to make do.


Rating:
8/10



Episode 38 -
Power


writer:
Martin Worth
first broadcast:
 8th June 1977


Regular Cast:

Charles Vaughan:
Denis Lill
Jenny Richards: Lucy Fleming
Hubert Goss:
John Abineri
Alec Campbell:
William Dysart
Sam Mead:
Robert Gillespie

Guest Cast:

McAlister:
Iain Cuthbertson
Davey:
William Armour

Hamish:
Brian Carey
Mrs Crombie:
Dorothy Dean
Rob:
Ray Jeffries


designer: Geoff Powell
director:
George Spenton Foster
producer:
Terence Dudley
episode recorded:
2
6th - 28th May 1977
 

Coming Soon... a location feature on Power - watch this space!


 


 

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