"Please God, don't let me be the only one" - Abby

Abby Grant is relaxing playing tennis against a tennis trainer machine at her home.

When her son, Peter, phones from boarding school, Abby's housekeeper, Mrs Transon,
calls her inside. Abby is pleased to hear from him but concerned about a flu bug that is
spreading throughout the country. She tells him that the village school has been closed
down and that she thought they may have been sending him home. They agree that he will
call again later in the week.

Once off the phone, Abby tells Mrs Transon that the school has taken up measures to
prevent infection from outsiders. Abby realises the time and tells her that she must set
off to pick up her husband David from the early train from London. She asks Mrs Transon
to turn off the tennis trainer. Mrs Transon reveals that she is worried about her sister,
Doris, who didn't answer her phone call that morning. She adds that she couldn't get
through at all this afternoon. Abby thinks its nothing to worry about but agrees that she
should go to her to check everything is alright. Abby goes to get changed, whilst Mrs.
Transon discovers the phone is dead.

On the way to the station they drive past Dr. Gordon, who stops his car and reverses it to
speak to Abby. He tells her that he will pop by that night to give her and David a shot of
the flu vaccine. Abby thanks him and suggests he brings his wife Margaret along as well
for a drink. He agrees to visit them at 9pm.

Abby and Mrs Transon arrive at Brimpsfield station. The stationmaster, Mr Pollard, advises
them that there is a London train just about to set off. Mrs Transon just catches it in time.
Abby asks Mr Pollard about trains coming from London. He tells her that the timetable is
all to pot and that he doesn't know what's going on at the Paddington end.

Abby goes to sit and wait in her car. She turns the radio on and listens to reports of traffic
congestion and the rapid spread of the mystery virus. Mrs Transon meanwhile is on her
way to London and appears to be in some discomfort.

A young woman called Jenny Richards, is tending to her flatmate Pat, who is very ill with
some sort of fever. She complains she is cold and about lumps under her arms. Jenny tries
to make her comfortable, but soon realises there is little she can do for her. She tries to use
the phone but it isn't working, so decides to set off to the hospital instead. She tells Pat that
she won't be long.

David arrives at Brimpsfield and wakes Abby who has fallen into a deep sleep. The time is
8.30pm. He is angry because he has been travelling for seven hours, having got a lift, a
train and a bus to get there. He tells her that cars are bumper to bumper on the roads and
that he thinks it will take days to sort things out. As David starts the engine, Abby feels some
lumps under her arms.

Jenny makes her way towards the hospital. The roads are in chaos. Arriving at the hospital
she tries to get some help from a nurse but is told to ask at the desk. Long queues of
people are waiting for medical assistance.

Jenny spots a doctor, who she addresses as Andrew and tells him about Pat, who is his
girlfriend. He is harassed and tells her that they have begun to turn people away from
the hospital. He explains that the flu bug they are injecting is as much use as squirting
water into people's arms and that they are trying to keep up a fiction of order to avoid

Andrew goes on to tell her that there have been over seventy deaths so far and that
there will be double or treble that by morning. Only one patient has so far made it
past the crisis point. He promises Jenny that he will try to grab half an hour later on.
Jenny offers to help at the hospital in the meantime.

Back home, Abby and David are relaxing in their lounge. David tells her that he doesn't
think it is a flu virus. He asks if she is going to make dinner. She heads off to the kitchen
to make it and asks him to join her so she can talk to him at the same time. David tries
the phone and finds that it is dead. He tells Abby that he has hears that millions of
people have died of the virus in India and China.

As she cooks bacon and eggs for David she tells him that Peter sounded fine when she
spoke to him on the Phone. David tells her that he and Peter have a shared secret
relating to her forthcoming birthday. David tries the radio but can't find Radio 4 or anything

Abby asks David how bad he thinks the virus is. David has decided that he won't return to
work until it is sorted out. Abby muses that it will burn out in time and that the city (London)
is like a big pampered baby and that under these circumstances it won't be cleaned up after.
David thinks that if things get really bad that a state of emergency will be called. He thinks
that whatever happens that they'll manage as they've got a well stocked freezer. There is a
power cut.

Dr Andrew is with Jenny at her flat. Pat is now dead. Jenny finds Andrew's almost
casual attitude towards Pat's death difficult to understand given they were having
an affair. Andrew tells her that she must leave London at once and that he knows
that he has the disease himself.

He wonders if she might have a natural immunity to the disease. He repeats that
she must get out of London and tells her that so far only one has person has gone
beyond the crisis point. He thinks it is a mutant virus to which there is no cure and
that in a few days the dead will outnumber the living.

Abby and David are now in bed together. Abby wonders if they should get Peter
out of school. David agrees that they will if things 'get tricky'. He tells her to stop
worrying and go to sleep.

Jenny has taken Andrew's advice and is leaving London with a few belongings.
However she is soon intercepted by some youths who are busy looting shops.
They attack her but she escapes.

Abby gets up in the night in a wretched feverish state. David comes to her and
she tells him she thinks she's dying. David tries to call Dr. Gordon but realises
the phone is still dead as Abby slides to the floor unconscious.

Jenny, now fearful of everyone, hides behind a car as she seems some people go
past. Meanwhile David has found Dr. Gordon, who tells him that his wife died that
afternoon and that in total seventeen people in the village have died. He fears that
within a week millions will have succumbed to the virus and died.

David asks Dr. Gordon if he will return with him to see Abby. He agrees. Jenny
meanwhile has found shelter in an abandoned car

Time passes as Abby sleeps fitfully under the grip of the virus. Eventually after
days have passed she wakes to find she is alone in her bed.

A very weak Abby makes her way to the kitchen where she finds the cheese and
the contents of the fridge have gone off. She goes to the sitting room and suddenly
sees David lying behind her on the sofa. He is dead.

Jenny is still wandering alone. She meets a Welshman who tells her to keep her
distance. Jenny tells him that she passed through a village the previous night
where a church bell was ringing. She went to the church where some people were
still alive, but they wouldn't let her in.

The man tells her that all they have to do is wait for the doctors to clear it up. He
thinks its a bit like the war and that 'the Yanks will have the cure'. Jenny wishes
him good luck and leaves him be.

Abby is still sitting in shock near David's body. After a time she gets up to dress herself.

Abby has managed to dress herself and leaves her home to explore her village,
which appears to be deserted.

She goes to Dr. Gordon's house but finds that he is dead. She tries the church next.

Abby discovers the church to be full of corpses. She leaves the church and turns
to the heavens crying out aloud 'Please, God, don't let me be the only one!'

Abby returns home and suddenly remembers her son Peter.

Jenny hears the noise of a car engine and rushes towards the road to try and intercept
the car. Abby is at the wheel.

Jenny fails to attract Abby's attention and misses her by seconds. She is alone again.

Abby arrives at Peter's school and sounds her horn to attract attention but no-one
responds. She enters the school and goes to Peter's dormitory, fearful that she may
find his corpse there.

Abby is relieved to find Peter's bed is empty. She is about to leave the school when she
notices a light coming from one of the outhouses. She goes to investigate.

Abby finds a man there, who she initially thinks is dead. The man wakes from sleep and
introduces himself as Dr. Bronson. He tells her that Peter and some other boys went off
with one of the teachers, Mr Fielding, five days ago and that 300 died at the school.
Bronson was the only survivor.

Meanwhile, Bronson shows Abby the wireless set he has been using, from which he has
learned that the same events have happened globally. He knows that a state of emergency
was declared but it was too late as there was no-one left to administer it.

Meanwhile, Jenny approaches a man who is sitting by a campfire. He tells her to keep away
but she decides to stay by the fire, telling him she is too tired to move on.

Night has passed. Bronson is now telling Abby that he believes that the real survivors will be
those who come through what has happened, beyond the stockpiles which will last for a few
years. Scavenging can only sustain the survivors of 'the death' for so long. He thinks that
everyone left will have to learn again. He asks Abby if she could make a candle? He thinks
that himself he could perhaps fashion some sort of stone tool and finds it ironic that they are
of the generation that put man on the moon.

Bronson thinks the survivors have a breathing space of several generations but that
they must learn in this time. He doesn't think he will be a very good survivor as he is
almost deaf. Abby bids him goodbye.

Jenny wakes to find the man dead and discovers that he was carrying bags of now useless
five pound notes.

Abby arrives back home, picks up some petrol from the garage and goes inside. She then
has a shower.

After her shower, Abby cuts off her hair. Soon after she douses the house with petrol and
leaves with a few belongings.

Abby parks up her car some way off from the village and watches mournfully as her house
burns. She then turns away, gets in her car and drives off.



Episode Review

Nothing can prepare the viewer for the shock value of the first episode which is both compelling and terrifying. All the clichés of disaster drama are avoided as events concentrate around just a few individuals and their experiences. Abby and David's discussion of how it 'could never happen here' whilst Abby dutifully cooks is particularly effective. The viewer has all the clues that that this is probably the last supper Abby will prepare in the old world. It is also her very last day as a housewife.

The episode's most memorable scenes are Abby's plea to God outside the church that she not be the only one left alive; the rows of hidden corpses in the school dormitory; the cutting of Abby long hair, which serves to emphasise the shift in Abby's motivation and outlook; and finally the burning of her house, which symbolises the end of her old life. Carolyn Seymour is excellent as middle-class Abby. She engages the viewer's support early, assuring their return next week to see how she gets on in her search for Peter.

Its a great touch that such a strong actor as Peter Bowles was cast as Abby's husband David. This initially makes it look unlikely that he will have succumbed to the plague by the end of the episode. Jenny's introduction is less in-depth than Abby's, nevertheless she has enough screen time to come across as compassionate and unafraid to speak her mind. The signs that her role will increase in importance are all there. Doctor Bronson is a strong character who is rather surprisingly abandoned at the school despite the fact that he is the first person Abby has found alive! Their ground-breaking discussion about the future is Terry Nation's vision of the show in a nutshell. The ideas and issues introduced here, will be explored throughout the series.

The Fourth Horseman is an excellent start to a series which going by this episode promises much.

Rating: 10/10


Episode 1 - The Fourth Horseman

writer: Terry Nation
first broadcast: 16th April 1975

Regular Cast:

Abby Grant: Carolyn Seymour
Jenny Richards:
Lucy Fleming
Tom Price: Talfryn Thomas

Guest Cast:

David Grant: Peter Bowles
Dr. Bronson: Peter Copley
Dr. Gordon: Callum Mill
Andrew: Christopher Reich
Mrs Transon: Margaret Anderson
Mr. Pollard:
Blake Butler
Pat: Elizabeth Sinclair
Kevin Lloyd: Giles Melville
Youth: Len Jones

designer: Austin Ruddy
director: Pennant Roberts
producer: Terence Dudley
episode recorded: 18th - 19th February 1975

To read the two page Radio Times interview with Terry Nation which publicised this episode, preview features and to find out what else was
on TV during this week in 1975 click

For biographies of the guest cast in this episode click here

Find out about the locations used to film this episode:

Elmley Castle
Great Malvern Station
Little Comberton
Llanarth Court
Pitville Circus, Cheltenham
Westway, London



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