The end of the world – coming soon

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 by

Is this the end? Or a new beginning?

Is this the end? Or a new beginning?

Please God, don’t let me be the only one“. 

Surely not the sentiment of the BBC press office last night at the Apollo West End in Piccadilly as they launched Adrian Hodges’ remake of Terry Nation’s, er, novel based on the 1970s post apocalyptic TV series.

In fact there was a pretty good turnout – this is a show that from the announcement of its commission has really captured the imagination of the TV industry.

“It’s high concept, Survivors. It’s not about car crashes, it’s not about guns and it’s not about explosions,” said Ben Stephenson, the BBC’s Controller, Drama Commissioning addressing the press. “Although they are all in it in quite an exciting way. Most of them have something to do with that evil Max Beesley [playing Tom Price]. But much more than that it’s about who we are as people. It is, at heart, a character drama.”

Plus, there was an extra announcement: “Our audiences will be able to take advantage of the brilliant new iPlayer series stacker feature, which means they’ll be able to watch any of the six episodes of the series on BBC iPlayer right up until the end of the series”.

Adrian Hodges added: “One thing I did want to say is those of you who remember the original version of Survivors will find in this re-imagining some things that are very similar to it, some things that are inspired by the original but handled very differently and many things that are entirely new. I hope everything you see tonight is in the spirit of the work of a great television writer, and I’d really just like to use this opportunity to pay tribute to the energy and imagination of Terry Nation who did so much to make watching TV a great experience when I was growing up.”

And first reactions to this feature-length opener? Very good indeed. We’ll preview the show nearer the time, plus we’ll be interviewing Hodges. But, no, it doesn’t all start with an Oriental-looking man getting all butter fingers with a test tube.


5 Responses to “The end of the world – coming soon”

  1. Zokko on October 22nd, 2008 6:49 pm

    Bet no-one unattractive and over the age of thirty-five survives.

  2. Mark on October 23rd, 2008 3:38 pm

    Hurrah! I have been waiting ages for this.

    Is there a screening date yet?

  3. Mark on November 4th, 2008 1:48 pm
  4. Ljones on November 23rd, 2008 11:41 pm

    I just finished watching the 1st episode. It’s not too bad, but it did seem to be just a little too much like that film where a virus strikes london, or maybe even charlie brooker’s dead set (less big brother and zombies).


  5. Mark on November 24th, 2008 1:15 am

    Well I thought it was very good overall and a fair attempt at capturing the feeling of the original but updated for the modern day.

    Good Things:

    - Some nice nods to the original, e.g. “Please God, don’t let me be the only one” being used in exactly the same way, having a well known actor who had been trailed as “starring” in it be one of the ones to die (Freema Ageyman in this one (and to an extent Shaun Dingwell), Peter Bowles in the original).
    - Pacing was OK and the feeling of desolation was handled better than I had been expecting (although by no means perfect)
    - The twist of having some sort of government silo with people contained within was a good idea which I did not see coming and which should provide an interesting counterpoint to the above ground action in the coming episodes. This was completely absent from the original.
    - Nods to other apocalyptic dramas, “The Stand” with the way Max Beesley’s character was nearly left for dead by a screw and “The Last Train” with the government facility being used for people to survive the catastrophe.
    - Elements of Terry Nation’s survivalist ideas coming through but the audience was not beaten over the head with it (in the original, characters were basically used as ciphers for Nations ideas in this area). It was done a bit more subtly here.
    -Paterson Joseph!

    Not so Good Things:

    - The music was annoying at times (although that is de rigeur these days – I just wish they’d had the courage to tone it down). One of the great things about the original was the quietness of some of the scenes which helped with the feeling of desertion greatly.
    - That “sassy” kid is starting to bug me already.
    - The opening titles were not a patch on the original.
    - The “Coming Next Time” thing is really going to piss me off as I really do not want to know for this series. I will have to be pretty quick with the remote.
    - This is a real fanboy one but it would have been great for Peter Bowles to have had another cameo in this, maybe as a doctor or a government adviser, or even the Prime Minister. A real missed opportunity there although probably only about 50 people in the country would have truly appreciated it!

    I suppose the only other thing for now is the decision already to muck around with the scheduling. I bet there will be some people who really enjoyed tonight’s episode who will tune in next Sunday only to find it is on on Tuesdays from now on. It’s almost like they are willing it to fail. I hope I am wrong.