THE FIRST SERIES of the BBC’s 2008 remake of Terry Nation’s Survivors reached its half-way point ten years ago today, as the third of six episodes premiered on BBC One.
The third episode reintroduced the character of junior government minister Samantha Willis (played by Nikki Amuka-Bird), who is revealed to have set up a community, with a level of organisation and purpose which initially inspires Abby Grant. The brutal realities of Willis’ regime are quickly revealed, and Abby is repulsed by the settlement’s cruelty and heartlessness. The character of Willis and her ambitions will play a decisive role in many of the series’ storylines. Abby’s decision to record a video message at Willis’ suggestion, alerting other survivors to her hunt for her son Peter – and revealing in the process that Abby recovered from the Death virus (rather than being unaffected by it) – will have major pay-offs in the series one finale, and set in train events that shape the storyline of series two.
The episode also features a standalone story, involving a farmer and his family who have isolated themselves from the plague, lit up by a superb performance by Sasha Parkinson as the precocious daughter Kate. It also leads to what will prove to be a temporary improvement of relations between Greg Preston and Tom Price (a hopeful development which will also be ripped apart in the series one finale).