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Freema Agyeman to star in Survivors

30/05/2008. Contributed by Jessica Martin

Buy Survivors in the USA - or Buy Survivors in the UK

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Dr Who's Freema Agyeman is to star as a teacher in Survivors by Adrian Hodges, a re-imagining of the 1970s BBC drama series based on Terry Nation's novel about a hyper-plague wiping out 99.5% of humanity. Julie Graham, Max Beesley, Nikki Amuka–Bird and Paterson Joseph will also star in the new TV series, Adrian Hodges’s action adventure drama remake for BBC One.

Imagine being the only survivor of a disease that kills every member of your family, that kills lovers, friends, nearly everyone you've ever met. You are among the lonely few to live and now you must start again in a strange new world where everything that was once safe and familiar is now strange and dangerous. Set in the present day, the drama series focuses on the world in the aftermath of a devastating virus which wipes out most of the world's population. What would we do? How would any of us cope in a world where all traditional 21st Century comforts – electricity, clean running water, advanced technology – have disappeared? These are the questions faced by the bewildered survivors at the centre of the BBC's new TV series.

It is an opportunity for new beginnings, but with no society, no police and no law and order, they now face terrible dangers – not just the daily struggle for food and water but also the deadly threat from other survivors.

"What would you do if you were faced with the unimaginable?" Kate Harwood, BBC Head of Drama Series & Serials told SFcrowsnest.com. "Survivors is an exciting new drama series which asks the most fundamental of questions. How would the human spirit endure when faced with the most exciting and terrifying adventures? We have managed to assemble a magnificent cast in a series set to take audiences on an emotional rollercoaster ride."

"Survivors is about what it means to be human," added writer and executive producer Adrian Hodges (Ruby In The Smoke, Shadow In The North, Charles II and Primeval). "It asks questions about our nature and confronts us with our deepest fears. When everything else is stripped away, would we band together and find the best in ourselves, or would we fall apart and retreat into barbarism and savagery? Survivors is about adventure, fear, love, loyalty and friendship. But above all, it's about new hope."

The cast include Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who; Torchwood) as Jenny; Nikki Amuka–Bird (No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency; Five Days) as Samantha Willis; Max Beesley (Hotel Babylon) as Tom Price; Shaun Dingwall (Doctor Who) as David; Julie Graham (William And Mary; Bonekickers) as Abby Grant; Paterson Joseph (Jekyll; The Beach; Peep Show) as Greg; Phillip Rhys (24; Nip Tuck; Flatland) as Al; Zoe Tapper (Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky; The Last Van Helsing) as Anya and newcomer Chahak Patel as 11-year-old Najid.

Currently filming in Manchester until September for transmission in autumn 2008, Survivors is a BBC Drama Production for BBC One. The producer is Hugh Warren (Frankenstein; The Chase), directors are John Alexander (Life On Mars; Sense And Sensibility) and Andrew Gunn (Life on Mars). The executive producers are Susan Hogg (Lark Rise To Candleford; Waking The Dead) and Adrian Hodges.

Kate Harwood tells us about the characters in Survivors ...

Jenny Collins (Freema Agyeman) Jenny is a bright and lively young teacher in a primary school. Overwhelmed by the chaos she sees all around her, she is determined to save the life of her dying flatmate Patricia. Nothing will stop her taking her friend to the hospital and saving her life. But fate intervenes to confront Jenny with choices beyond anything she could have imagined.

Tom Price (Max Beesley) In prison when the story starts, Tom Price is handsome, charming and capable, but also very dangerous. A man who will stop at nothing to achieve his own ends, Price finds himself locked in his cell while all around him are dying. As the long night of the virus wears on, survival and freedom become the only issues that matter...

Abby Grant (Julie Graham) Abby is a mother and home-maker to her son Peter (11) and husband David (Shaun Dingwall). Before the virus struck Peter had successfully defied a near-terminal illness. Peter is now better and Abby has reluctantly agreed to let him go on an adventure holiday. Abby plans to resume her career and re-ignite her faltering relationship with her loving but exhausted husband. But fate has other plans in store for them...

Al Sadiq (Phillip Rhys) A rich, good-looking playboy, Al has lived a life of privilege. In the aftermath of the virus he finds himself responsible for Najid. Al has never seen himself as the paternal type and he initially proves to be a disaster as a father figure; he would rather find a softer life for himself in the post-disaster world. But strangely this frightening new environment ultimately makes him a better man than he would ever have been if he had continued his old life.

Dr Anya Raczynski (Zoë Tapper) Anya is a young doctor who does her best to save as many people as she can when the virus that wipes out most of humanity hits. But there is no cure and no vaccine and all her skill ultimately proves fruitless. While she struggles with the enormity of it, she is forced to stand by helplessly as her former girlfriend Patricia is among those brought to the hospital in the grip of the illness...

David Grant (Shaun Dingwall) David is a self-employed builder, a loving family man who is competent, brave and determined. Although they have been worn down by the illness of their beloved son Peter, Abby and David's marriage is a solid and loving one. But nothing in David's life has prepared him for the crisis which is about to sweep away everything he ever knew and loved...

Greg Preston (Paterson Joseph) A former systems analyst for a big multi-national, Greg felt trapped and dreamed of a new life. But his wife, who had grown used to a wealthy and comfortable lifestyle, was appalled by his utopian vision of a new, hard scrabble future. Nursing bitter personal wounds, Greg is now a man who believes he can live without love, friendship or family…

Najid (Chahak Patel) Eleven-year-old Najid is a lively little boy with all the normal interests of kids of his age – football, his gameboy, school. He is also a devout Muslim. On the night of the crisis he and his family go to the local Mosque but in the morning Najid is forced to grow up very fast when the virus causes a violent change in his circumstances and his life is transformed in ways he could never have anticipated. His relationship with Al is at times funny, at times poignant; but in the end Al and Najid need each other, no matter how much they try to deny it.

Samantha Willis (Nikki Amuka–Bird) Samantha is a junior minister delegated to handle the press in the midst of the crisis. Dealing as best she can with an anxious media and her own stunned colleagues, Samantha at first has no idea how serious the crisis is becoming. Forced to put aside her love and concern for her own family, Samantha becomes the last contact between the government and the people it can no longer protect. Her journey from innocence to a full knowledge of the truth is laced with bravery and horror.

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