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Terry Nation’s Survivors

Just finished watching the entire three series of the 1960’s series Survivors by Terry Nation.

I’m not going to give a blow by blow account of each episode just a quick overview of the entire three series.

First of all I thought it was a good representation of a pandemic, a likely situation around then when we were growing accustomed to the bomb and the MAD doctrine. In this case a modified version of the Flu by an Asian scientist which was accidentally released and was spread globally. Wiping out 98% of the population.

The story followed several survivors throughout the next three years, three series, the usual feel good component made up by not one but two mothers being reunited with their lost children and our heroes always coming out on top despite the handicap of being good and moral people against ruthless scum. Besides those unlikely events there were a few scenarios set up that we have discussed here and a few concerns shown in perspective.

They showed several wildly diverse communities. Each one working in a fashion. Our heroes interfered in every one that didn’t suit them. They were arrogant and dominating even when in a very poor position.
They had people drinking from streams, pond and any other water source. Everyone was fine. No issues with germs or illness from bad water.
Everyone was concerned about disease and catching any illness. Quarantines were set up and any ill people were either quarantines where possible, good guys, or sent on their way, bad guys. Even out heroes were bad guys at one point.
Almost everyone had guns, very few pistols, mainly rifles and shotguns and not much ammo which they mostly used for warning shots. (They were good guys after all)
They talked about the time taken to harvest food and how it left little time yet they travelled all over the country away from home.
There were a few example of bad people roaming the countryside but each one was stopped by our heroes.
One interesting point was that in the start they met people that had missed being infected, the survivors infected them and they died. Later on people in remote places, who missed the death, were back in the communities. The disease having no effect.

There were a couple of scenarios that we should consider;
Rabid Dogs. They shot them, where possible, or hid away from them but basically left them alone. They needed to be destroyed and not left alone to spread the disease.
They avoided towns because of disease whilst recognising that there were a lot of supplies there. Perhaps they didn’t have the equipment but we do.
They managed to get a lot of old equipment up and working, water pumps, sewing machines, blacksmiths forges, engines. I doubt any of that equipment is around now as most have been replaced with modern versions which won’t work without electricity or computer control. Things won’t be as easy.
It was interesting to see the old equipment, buildings and tools. For one thing I doubt we could build bridges across rivers the size they had in the 1800s. Building churches and castles. Rope making gear and the mill wheels and gears. It puts things into perspective how much we have moved in a few short decades.

There was a few interesting episodes where emotion overrode common sense and people ran off doing their own thing. It worked out fine in general. There were a few that showed the darker side of people, rapes and murders mainly. People were kidnapped for their skill sets and a high proportion of doctors survived despite them being on the front lines in the pandemic fight.

There were a few ideas there for us to think of. Most we have already thought of and others that I hope never come to reality, particularly their way of governing their communities. Hydro electric power generators would be an interesting concept. I wonder how much computers have changed them over the years?

It was interesting to see what, back then, seemed a very realistic view of what could have happened. The shows gave us a view on the way most people at that stage would have reacted and it was all very harsh but the usual stiff upper lip. A show made now would be completely different.

The survivor ethic may still be there, even if it doesn’t show, but people have lost their sense of morals. Things would be different for a while and it would not be helped by the lack of many common itesm, mills and mill wheels may still be there but sewing machines, horse drawn ploughs, even horses would be few and far between. Even the car would not be as easily converted to alcohol or wood gas as it was then.

Worth a watch though. Consider how you would perform under the same situation.

20 comments to Terry Nation’s Survivors

  • Northern Raider

    I’m just rereading the book which as a different ending to the TV series, but its still inspiration stuff 40 years on, as is John Christophers No Blade Of Grass and John Wyndhams Day of the Triffids.
    I noted way back then that the successful trading colonies ended up being the ones with steam powered railway lines and access to navigable waterways, ergo most of my plans follow similar routes.
    I just wish i had not now PXed my old Singer treadle operated sewing machine for a japanese electrical powered version. And if I had my time again I WOULD have bought the Enfield India 500 cc Diesel motorcycle. I did not communal effort and mutual cooperation played a great role rather than modern societies socialist systems.

    • midnitemo

      Northern Raider there is a new Diesel motorcycle on the market, made in germany to a very high standard using a fair sprinkling of enfield parts, its called the Sommer 462 , costs a packet(7.5k) but is very simple very sturdy and has the performance of a commuter 125 but achieving 140 mpg with ease , i’d love one but its beyond my budget

  • RoadWarrior

    That programme was great , i was only 8 when it first was on tv…..and it was made in the mid 1970s… parents both watched it too…and i remember it to be abit scary …especially the music and the intro where that guy gets on the plane and you see his passport getting all the diff countries stamps etc…then the bacteria spores…..etc …..the remake in 2000 and odd wasnt bad i thought …..realistic as it had chavs guarding “their “local Lidls…or was it aldi…..gonna have to watch them again sometime…..

  • Northern Raider

    I may be mistaken but I think the great Ludlow Survival group came about in part at least because its owner was originally a Survivors fan.

  • bigpaul

    I think its a great the entire thing on DVD…much better than the modern PC one, but to my mind they spent too much time wondering about and meeting other people and getting into serious trouble when there was a lot of work to do at their community/farm! apart from that..good attempt.

  • Paul

    Good Series.
    Summed up group mentality to a tee.
    One or two thinking they were better than the rest.
    Greg? I’d have happily fed him to a rabid dog toe by toe.
    It showed just what would happen in groups.
    Even modern reality shows demonstrated that basic failing.
    It’s always an idiot that takes charge.

    • bigpaul

      seems to me Abby and Jenny were the ones doing all the ordering about, Greg just went along with it, a lot of middle class trendy “hooray Henries and henrietta’s” who wouldnt last 5 minutes if and when TSHTF!!

  • Northern Raider

    Snout like the book, the book is much more gritty, one must remember the BBC was ran by middle class trendy any nuclear liberal bleeding heart dogooders. Barney would love em 🙂

  • Skvez

    Building stone bridges, churches and castles in the middle ages into the 1800s were often tasks that took decades to complete. Often the original designers never lived to see their creation finished. Alas in this age we’re all about “this years budget” or “This four year electoral term” and we do not consider any long term projects. But if you have the will, the long term view and the money/resources to spend over the long term you could still create these structures “by hand”.

    “A show made now would be completely different” … you are aware they remade survivors in 2009? I’ve seen the new one but not the old one so I can’t comment on the differences.

    • Northern Raider

      I’ve seen both and the original for all its middle class kerfuffle is vastly superior to the remake.

      Lets be honest here for a second, its a PA world society collapses and you are a pretty young woman trying to survive on her own. You are trying to get out of London and you come across a Landrover containing IIRC a large fit black gentleman, What woman in her right mind is going to jump into any vehicle with a complete stranger when there is no law and order. Naaaaa the remake was just politically correct, diverse, inclusive multi cultural garbage.

  • i liked the new one and power to the people NR i do love the left

  • ib1

    I thought the first two series were good but the 3rd seemed to just be about a few people running round the countryside looking for greg. I didnt mind the remake as it was better than most of the crap on the box but nowhere near as good as the original.

  • Northern Raider

    I prefer the originals for both Survivors and Day Of The Triffids, I dont think they have remade No Blade Of Grass yet?

  • wots no blade of grass about NR

    • Northern Raider

      Classic British PA novel by John Christopher very similar to Survivors or DOTT, Some countries published it as DEATH OF GRASS. Its about a fungal outbreak that destroys all the worlds grasses like Wheat, Rice, Barley etc. The main characters are a family trying to get from London to the Lake district to get to some family members spud farm. Twas made into a mini series for the Beeb I think.

  • Gregor

    I think its about all the crops dying off, the bit I always remember is where the planes go to drop nerve gas on Liverpool and Manchester, scary stuff.

  • oh the death of grass bloody great book read the other too as well

  • Northern Raider

    Tis a pity they never made A WRINKLE IN THE SKIN or THE WORLD IN WINTER into movies, both great British stories.

  • kiddsy

    To all, of you that have access to Amazon(as in kindle e books)all the above books are available, plus a hell of a lot of post apocalyptic books which are FREE, and you can down load to a lap top and read them on it if you do not have a kindle reader, very convenient

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