It was announced toward the end of May of 2008 that Freema Agyeman, who co-starred alongside David Tennant in the third season of the hugely popular Doctor Who television series, would be appearing in a remake of the 1970s science fiction series, Survivors. Freema played Martha Jones in the third season of Doctor Who, becoming the newest companion of The Doctor after the departure of Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler character. Freema continued in her role as Jones throughout the third season and returned this year for five episodes alongside David Tennant’s Doctor character and Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble, the latest companion of the Time Lord that travels through Space and Time.
The original Survivors was written by Terry Nation, whom Doctor Who fans know as the creator of the Daleks. The Daleks, which Nation created for the second ever serial of the series in the 1960s, became hugely popular and provided Doctor Who and the BBC with its very first merchandise boom. In this series, the story follows a group of people who have survived a plague on Earth. Although considered by some to be science fiction, it is probably best described as apocalyptic. The original series ran for three years and the almost forty episodes were produced by Terence Dudley.
The original series followed the adventures of Jenny Richards (played by Lucy Fleming) and Abby Grant (played by Carolyn Seymour) as they searched for other people who survived the plague, which was accidentally released by an unnamed Asian scientist. Jenny was a working class woman living in London and Abby was the wife of a corporate executive living in a privileged community. Abby went searching for her son, Peter, and Jenny was wandering through the countryside. Eventually others were found and the characters of Abby and Jenny finally met. A new community was founded by the survivors, who try to live together in the strange, new world they find themselves in.
The second season saw the character of Abby continue her search for her son and Jenny give birth to a son by fellow survivor Greg Preston (played by Ian McCulloch). The third series had Greg Preston, who had left at the end of season two in a hot air balloon bound for Norway, return and several characters, including Jenny, going in search of him on horseback. During the series some guest stars would show up, including second Doctor Who, Patrick Troughton and his son, David (who just guest starred in an episode of the newly revived Doctor Who series).
The BBC got the rights to remake Survivors from the estate of Terry Nation. They announced in November of 2007 that they would be remaking the series with writer Adrian Hodges at the helm of the writing staff. According to speculation, Freema will play the role of Jenny Collins, a primary school teacher. Many of the original characters of the 1975-1979 series are being retooled for the new show and rumor is that the character of Jenny Collins is a revamp of the character of Jenny Richards. Two other former Doctor Who actors are set to appear in the series as well. Shaun Digwell, who played Rose Tyler’s father Pete Tyler in season one and season two, will appear as will Paterson Joseph, who appeared in season one and two in minor roles.