New series DVD – new release date and special features listed

The release date for the three-disc DVD of the first series of the new Survivors (which was previously announced as 5 January) has now been confirmed as 26 January 2009.

The release is listed for pre-order on Amazon; the BBC shop, and on other online retailers. The listed price is £29.99, though several retailers are discounting this to less than £18.00 (for pre-order).

The (unconfirmed) list of ‘special features’ on the release are as follows:

  • Making of Survivors
  • Character Profiles
  • Survivors Special Effects Featurette
  • Easter Egg

Pennant Roberts, original series director, rates the new Survivors

*** EXCLUSIVE *** Pennant Roberts, who directed numerous episodes of the first and second series of the original Survivors – including the classic opening episode The Fourth Horseman – shares with this blog his initial reaction to viewing the first two episodes of the remake:

“on the whole I enjoyed watching the first episode. Remakes often have a chequered history, but writer Adrian Hodges never permitted his audience to lose the plot. Terry Nation’s storyline was faithfully reproduced, even some of his actual lines recycled. The timing of the remake appears perfect. We find ourselves challenging ‘difficult times’ once more, as Gordon Brown is so fond of saying. What a relief! Things could be far, far worse for us all.

I didn’t enjoy the second episode as much, because it contained more of Terry Nation’s bish-bash-bosh philosophising, which thankfully I was able to avoid first time around. Nevertheless, I’ll be watching the new series to the bittersweet end.”

Pennant Roberts, 28 November 2008

Viewing figures down for Survivors second episode – but still solid

Viewing figures for the second episode of Survivors are reported to have been around 5.3 million (a 22% audience share) – down on the 6.5 million audience (a 26% share) for the pilot episode according to “unofficial, overnight” figures. The strong showing for the opening episode was recognised as an “excellent performance” by viewing figures service Attentional; and such a fall-off in numbers (although not welcome) is far from atypical for drama series of all kinds.

This dip still left Survivors as the most popular programme for the 21:00 slot; and saw the show hold its own against significant competition from live football on ITV.

More reviews of Survivors episodes one and two

More reviews of (one or both of) the first two episodes of Survivors have been published: Den of Geek – episode one and two site; Quiet Earth – episode one; Quiet Earth – episode two; Digital Spy – episode two; Dreamwatch – Total SciFi – episode one; Dreamwatch – Total SciFi – episode two.

Comment on episode two was also published in Guardian (25 November); and Guardian (28 November).

Another post-apocalyptic TV remake is green-lit

The BBC has today announced that a new version of John Wyndham’s classic tale of killer plants let loose in a world gone blind – Day of the Triffids – will be remade for the BBC One.

The new small-screen version of Wyndham’s novel will consist of two 90-minute features, scripted by Patrick Harbinson (ER, Wire in Blood, Dark Angel). Made by BBC Wales, the production will be overseen by former Doctor Who executive producer Julie Gardner.

According to Broadcast magazine, the new version of Day of the Triffids will be set in 2011, “when the hunt is on for alternative sources of energy after the planet’s fossil fuels dry up”.

The BBC’s most recent adaption of Day of the Triffids, a six-part serial shown in 1981, starred John Duttine and Emma Relph.

BBC launches Survivors Interactive

The BBC Survivors web site has launched Survivors Interactive. This new site (which requires Flash software, and which seems to work far better in Internet Explorer than Firefox) includes interviews with actors; clips from the programme; and original in-character pieces-to-camera. The interactive component is based on visitors selecting characters from the show and then answering either/or dilemma-based questions, which are then profiled into survivor ‘types’ as they ‘journey’ through the post-plague environment.

BBC Survivors interactive
BBC Survivors interactive

Adrian Hodges describes the demise of Jenny in episode one

On the Digital Spy web site, show creator Adrian Hodges today explains his decision to ‘kill off’ the character of Jenny (played by Freema Ageyman) in the first episode.

“There’s nothing wrong with the character,” he says, “and there’s certainly nothing wrong with the actress who played her, but I didn’t think she had a dynamic in the group that was particularly interesting. I felt we could give fans of the original a surprise by killing off a major character from the original that they expected to go on in the series, and at the same time create a new character in Anya (Zoe Tapper) that seemed a bit more lively and connected.”

Survivors first episode: press reviews and reaction

Reviews of the first episode of Survivors appeared in The Guardian; The Independent; the Daily Record; Daily Telegraph; The Scotsman; and Digital Spy on 24 November 2008.

BBC Press Office publishes details of Survivors episode six

The BBC Press Office has released information about the sixth and final episode of Survivors, series one which is now almost certain to be shown on 23 December.

***SPOILERS*** Please note that this link reveals significant plot spoilers

Episode one: 6.5m tune in to Survivors

Broadcast magazine reports that 6.5m viewers tuned in to the first episode of Survivors on BBC One on Sunday 23 November – a good showing, but one that – predictably – could not hold its own against ITV’s I’m a Celebrity.

BBC1’s new apocalyptic drama Survivors got off to a fine start last night at 9pm with a strong 6.5m viewers (25.4%) but the show was no match for ITV1’s I’m a Celebrity. The opening 90-minute episode began with 7.1m (26.5%) but saw its audience steadily decline to 6.3m (27.5%) in the final quarter of an hour.

The drama, featuring Julie Graham and Max Beesley, was up by 35.4% on the channel’s slot average for the year so far of 4.8m (20.5%).

Despite the strong showing for the terrestrial channel it was still below its commercial rival ITV1 at the time by 1.1m.

The latest goings on in the Australian jungle appealed to a sizeable 7.6m (29.7%). The 90-minute edition of reality series I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! was up by 40.7% on the channel’s slot average of 5.4m (22.9%).

Broadcast, 24 November 2008

Early viewing figures are also reported on the Digital Spy web site and Media Guardian.

BBC adds video content to Survivors web site

New video content has been added to the BBC Survivors web site, including:

  1. Episode one extract: ‘Abby searches for son Peter in the aftermath of the deadly viral attack’
  2. Interview: ‘Actor Chanak Patel tells us why Najid’s faith is important to him
  3. Context feature: ‘Ecologist Joaquin Hortal gives us expert advice on how to survive a disaster’

First episode of Survivors available on iPlayer

The first ninety-minute episode of Survivors is now available on the BBC’s iPlayer service (and was loaded within 20mins of the episode’s broadcast).

The episode will be available until the transmission of the the sixth and final episode of the first series has been added to the iPlayer for seven days – under the Series Stacker service.

BBC YouTube channel Survivors preview

The BBC has added a Survivors preview video to its YouTube Channel.

The clip features an exchange between government minister Samantha Willis (played by Nikki Amuka–Bird) and a colleague, discussing the spread and seriousness of the virus, and ends with an image of the contagion at work in a victim’s bloodstream.

BBC Writers’ Room – Survivors

The BBC’s BBC Writers’ Room blog includes a post by Piers Beckley, introducing interviews by scriptwriters Adrian Hodges and Gaby Chiappe, who both discuss their craft on the programme.

Beckley also announces that, to assist would-be scriptwriters in understanding how to translate ideas to screen-ready telescripts, the full-script for the first episode of Survivors will be uploaded to the BBC Writers’ Room site and available on Monday 24 November. Budding scriptwriters can then compare the submitted script with the final televised version of the episode…