Survivors – tape 1607

Before the first episode here, there’s a bit of old Eastenders courtesy of UK Gold.

Then, Law & Order. This is the next episode after Spoil of War which we looked at recently.

There’s a murder at the community. A young girl was stabbed, after they had a party. Suspicion falls on young Barney, who has learning difficulties. But it’s comedy Welshman Tom Price who’s the real perpetrator, having got drunk and horny after the party. But he lets the group think it’s Barney, and they decide he’s guilty, and that he should be executed.

And when the deed is done, Price is overcome with guilt and admits it was him to Greg and Abby, and they realise that, after the big trial and sentencing they’ve just enacted, it would destabilise the community too much to reveal this, so they have to keep it quiet.

Possibly the grimmest hour of television I’ve seen recently.

The next episode is The Future Hour. Greg and Paul meet a man called Huxley, who has been collecting supplies from towns, and trades them for gold. Two of the people with him have left him, taking some of his gold, so he’s looking for them. One of them is played by Denis Lawson.

Denis Lawson and Caroline Burt

Huxley wants the woman back, and he lays siege to the house. In a stand-off, Price is hurt, but when it looks like everything’s sorted, he shoots Huxley, and Huxley’s men shoot him dead. Greg’s comment to Paul: “He did worse things.”

The next episode is Revenge. Vic Thatcher is depressed about his lack of use to the community, and attempts suicide.

Greg and Paul go scavenging, and find a wheelchair for him. They want to persuade him that he’s still valuable to the group.

And a couple arrives, driving a petrol tanker that’s half full. But it gets awkward when Greg recognises the woman. It’s Anne, the woman who had been with Vic when he got his legs crushed, and who had left him at the quarry, telling Greg he’d died.

She wants to leave immediately, afraid of what Vic might do in revenge, but her partner wants to stay. Vic tells the group what’s done is done, but makes sure they all know what happened.

That night, he drags himself up the stairs to where she’s staying, to find her at the top of the stairs with a scythe. But they manage to survive each other, and she leaves in the morning.

A Grim Reaper

I was slightly thrown by the fact that Vic was played by a different actor here (Hugh Walters) than previously. I wonder if this was actor availability, or whether the production team preferred a stronger actor in the role for this episode that focused on Vic.

The next episode is Something of Value. A man called Lawson arrives, claiming to be a loner, but he’s actually scouting for scavengers, and is delighted to find their petrol tanker. He brings his two friends back to steal it, but Greg and Jenny have taken it to a nearby settlement to trade for seeds and food, after their was ruined by a flood. On the way, he discovers the brakes on the tanker have corroded, and almost crashes. He sends Jenny back to get tools, and the three scavengers grab her, and there’s a bit of a siege before they grab the tanker and drive off, unaware of the brakes problem. They crash, two of them are killed, and the third injured man tries to empty the tanker onto the road rather than let Greg have it, so Greg shoots him. It’s another quite grim episode.

The recording ends after this episode.

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2 comments

  1. The murder episode of Survivors is generally considered its best, a powerful attack on capital punishment with obvious reference to the Derek Bentley case. It was good that a popular entertainment show was willing to tackle the big subjects, but they do it so starkly that it looks very grim to modern eyes, as you say.

    1. Yes, I thought it was really good. Strangely, my memory of the episode was that it was Tom Price who was suspected all along and executed. I totally forgot the innocent man plot. But I was about 11 when I first saw it, so it probably went over my head.

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