Survivors is a British post-apocalyptic fiction drama television series created by Terry Nation and produced by Terence Dudley at the BBC, that broadcast from 1975 to 1977. It concerns the plight of a group of people who have survived an accidentally released plague – referred to as "The Death" – that kills nearly the entire human population of the planet.
The programme ran for three series and 38 episodes (series 1 and 2 comprised 13 episodes each, the third series just 12; budget cuts and technical problems reduced the planned last double episode to a single, as some scenes were lost during shooting). All series were broadcast on Wednesday evenings on BBC 1, from April 1975 to June 1977. Popular writer Terry Nation (whose work included many scripts for Doctor Who) created the series, but he left the show after the first series due to disputes with producer Terence Dudley.
The series' main actors included Carolyn Seymour (Abby), Lucy Fleming (Jenny), Ian McCulloch (Greg), and Denis Lill (Charles). The child actor Stephen Dudley (John) was given his part by his father, the show's producer Terence Dudley, while the child actress Tanya Ronder (who in series 1 and 2 played Lizzie) is the daughter of Jack Ronder, who wrote eight episodes of Survivors. Notable guest stars in the series included Patrick Troughton, Peter Jeffrey, Brian Blessed, George Baker, Philip Madoc, Bryan Pringle, Iain Cuthbertson, and Peter Bowles. Appearing in the series before becoming famous were Kevin McNally (Pirates of the Caribbean), Robert Fyfe (Last of the Summer Wine), Denis Lawson (Star Wars), David Neilson (Coronation Street), Peter Duncan (Blue Peter), June Brown (EastEnders), David Troughton, and Roger Lloyd-Pack (Only Fools and Horses and The Vicar of Dibley).
In a High Court case in the mid-1970s, which was abandoned by both sides due to escalating costs, writer Brian Clemens claimed that he had told Terry Nation the concept for the series in the late 1960s and had registered the idea with the Writers' Guild of Great Britain in 1965.
Nation strenuously denied this.
A BBC Four documentary, entitled The Cult of... Survivors, featuring interviews with actors Lucy Fleming, Ian McCulloch, and Carolyn Seymour, director Pennant Roberts, and scriptwriter Martin Worth, was broadcast on 5 December 2006, as part of the channel's Science Fiction Britannia series. The Cult of... series also included documentaries on Blake's 7 (another series devised by Terry Nation) and Doomwatch (produced by Terence Dudley).
Audio drama version
In June 2014, Big Finish Productions released the first four-episode volume of an audio drama expansion of Survivors, with Seymour, McCulloch, and Fleming reprising their screen roles. The second and third volumes were released in 2015, and the fourth and fifth in 2016, with sixth and seventh volumes scheduled for 2017