IN AN ARTICLE IN the Guardian (UK), Adrian Hodges – the creator and lead writer on the BBC remake of Survivors – discusses how it feels to reflect on his 2008-2010 show in the context of a modern-day, real-world pandemic.
Hodges acknowledges that, even ten years on, the cancellation of Survivors “breaks my heart.” For him, Survivors remains “a show I’m very proud of.”
In 2020, “I couldn’t watch that first season again. It’s too harrowing,” he reveals to journalist Steve O’Brien. “It’s so close to what we’re going through now.”
Suggesting that, in reimagining the show, Hodges “revved up the pace, amped up the action and looked closely at the origins of the disease, something the original series had never done”, O’Brien suggests that the show’s “uncommonly gloomy” atmosphere led to a haemorrhaging of viewers in what remained a key post-9pm BBC One slot. It was that which sealed the show’s fate. “It was a very grim story at a time, in the aftermath of the economic meltdown, when people wanted something happier,” Hodges muses.
Interestingly, Hodges concedes that the new Survivors “was just never naturally a BBC show.” Were it being commissioned today, “it would be on Netflix or Showtime.” He mentions too that there were suggestions that a third series of the show could potentially have found a home on one of those new networks, especially as Survivors attracted decent numbers of additional viewers on these streaming platforms. “That wonderful sci-fi audience was really coming out in numbers to watch it,” Hodges says, “but, sadly, talk of reviving it never came to anything.”
He reveals that the third series of the show would have focused on “the clash between lifestyles”, posing the question: “what kind of society would you want to live in if you had the chance to start again?”
Hodges is not greatly surprised that the remake of Survivors has not been picked up for inclusion in the current list of ‘lockdown’ boxsets on the BBC iPlayer service. “I think there’ll be a time and a place for them to show it again,” he suggests, “but perhaps not during this particular crisis”.
Steve O’Brien. 2020. “‘I couldn’t watch it now’: Survivors was the pandemic drama years ahead of its time”, Guardian, 26 May. https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/may/26/i-couldnt-watch-it-now-survivors-was-the-pandemic-drama-years-ahead-of-its-time