The current pandemic and Survivors (1975)

It is difficult to write, or even think about, anything apart from the current pandemic, and the so-called novel Corona-virus. I haven’t got much to say, other than that we have been lucky so far in New Zealand. But I just wanted to mention the British TV programme made in 1975, Survivors, which was created by Terry Nation. I did write about the first four episodes not so long ago, but that was before life started to imitate art. So I have borrowed an image from the Archive TV Musings blog, of Lucy Fleming, who played Jenny in Survivors, and made it through all three series, from 1975 to 1977.


This is from the first episode, where Jenny has escaped London, and is wandering aimlessly somewhere near the Welsh borders. She has just encountered the character Tom Price, played by Talfryn Thomas, and wearing her iconic blue coat (I think it is anyway). Both characters are adjusting to the fact that the death toll from the plague outbreak has been huge, and so the social structure has completely gone. This includes all the preparations for post-apocalypse that are not mobile: in other words, there is no use hoarding toilet paper because you can’t carry it around. And if you do drive, there is only so much petrol left etc. Terry Nation coined the term ‘future hour’, but was not able to really explain it, even though he used it as the title for an episode late in the series. But it captures the idea that there is no actual plan for the future that can be made, in units of time, when there is complete uncertainty. Or complete certainty that all your existing habits or ways of life have to change. But we have not quite got there yet, this time.

In hindsight of course, one could go back to 1975, and say that environmental crises and pandemics were inevitable. It was only a matter of time, or, perhaps, living on borrowed time.

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