Survivors (1975–1977): Season 1, Episode 1 - The Fourth Horseman - full transcript

A strange disease sweeps through Britain and the world with amazing swiftness. Abby Grant searches for her son. Jenny thrust out of her city life wanders through the country around London trying to find a way to survive.

Mrs Grant! Mrs Grant!


Oh, I'm coming.
I'll just switch this off.

It's Peter. He's ringing from school.

Oh, coming.


Hello, darling.
You all right?

Oh, good.

Oh, yes. We're fine.

Daddy's in London,
but he'll be home this evening.


No, I've just been
playing tennis with that new machine.

Well, what's happening there?

Gosh! That sounds exciting.

Just like being under siege.

Darling, listen, will you call me
before the end of the week?

No, no. I'm not worried.

It's just that they've closed off
the village school.

And I thought they might be
doing the same and sending you all home.


Yes, all right. No, we'll be in then.

Yes. All right, darling.
I'll talk to you at the end of the week.

All right, darling.

Yes. Well, take care of yourself.

Bye, darling. Bye.

I could do with a cold drink,
Mrs Transon.

- Is he all right?
- Oh, yes. He's fine.

Sounds like they're all
enjoying it actually.

They've closed the school off.

The tradesmen deliver
the goods at the gate

and the boys go down and collect.

Ah, very sensible.

- No sign of it there yet?
- No.

Well, Peter says there are a dozen or so
boys in the school sam,

but matron thinks it's
some sort of stomach bug.

- Nothing to worry about.
- Well, that's good.

Well, if they're lucky they might
miss the worst of it.

Yes. I hope so.

Mmm. Goodness, I must dash.

I'm picking David up
from the early train.

Mrs T, would you be a love
and turn off the tennis trainer?

I'd like to go home
for a couple of days, Mrs Grant.

There's nothing wrong, is there?
Have you heard from your sister?

Well, I tried to ring her this morning
and there was no reply.

So I tried again about an hour ago
and there was a funny sort of signal.

I got the operator.

She said there's a big breakdown
in the South London area.

No calls going through at all.

Well, that doesn't mean anything bad
necessarily, does it?

They said in the radio today that
all the exchanges were short-staffed.

I know. But the phone
was ringing this morning

and she didn't answer.

Doris never goes out in the morning.

Yes. Well of course, you must go then,
just to set your mind at rest.

- Thank you.
- You get ready now.

I'll run you to the station.
We'll be in time for the 4:20.



There should be the news on at 4:00.

It's Dr Gordon's car.

He's stopping.

Hello Joe.
- Abby.

- Are you and David home tonight?

May I come by about 9:00?

I want to give you both
a shot of the flu vaccine.

Oh, that's marvellous.
I've been meaning to ask you about that.

Listen, why don't you bring Margaret?
We'll have a drink.

Oh, she's not feeling any too grand
at the moment.

Anyway I won't be able to stop.

I'm trying to get around
the whole district

before it gets too serious.

Have you had many cases of it yet?

I've got a couple of dozen
who are showing symptoms.

But I think they're just
trying to be fashionable.

Anyway, I will give you
all the news tonight.

- All right. About 9:00 then. Bye, Joe.
- Bye-bye.

Now, don't you worry, Mrs Transon.
I'm sure Doris will be fine.

London train's in if you want it.

You'll have to hurry.

You better get your tickets
at the other end.

I'll probably be back tomorrow
but I'll try and ring.

Now, go on quickly.

And don't worry.
Everything will be all right. Bye!

I must be slow.

Well, that's not the 4:20.

That one should have been
leaving here at 2:15.

And what about the trains from London?
Are they leaving on time?

Well, there's been nothing
on the down line for a couple of hours.

They don't know where they are
at Paddington.

Can't get any sense out of them.

As far as we can tell, only about
half the crew's turned up to work.

We don't even know which services
have been cancelled.

They're a right, old mess
if you ask me.

Everything all gone to pot.

And on top of that,
even the telephones are jammed up.

Oh, yes. That reminds me.
I want to report a fault on our phone.

That's no good.

That's out of order too.
It has been all afternoon.

Look, I expected my husband on the 4:45.

Do you have any idea
when it is likely to...

Your guess is as good as mine.
Time tables don't mean anything today.

Everything's all gone to pot.

...monitoring organisations
say that massive jams are building up

on roads throughout the country .

The Metropolitan Police advise drivers
to delay their homeward journeys

for as long as possible
to help stop further congestion.

And now, news from other world capitals.

New York is still without electric power
24 hours after the breakdown.

It is estimated that half
the city's workforce are affected.

And the Governor has declared
a state of emergency .

Sources in both Rome and Paris

report growing concern
among the medical authorities

about the rapid spread of the virus.

The World Health Organisation
have issued...

Oh, you're soaking wet.

Come on. Take this.
It might bring the fever down a bit.

I thought you'd had the injection.

Didn't they give everybody
in your office a shot?

What's the matter?

Lumps. My arms.

Do they hurt when you touch them?

I'm so cold.

- Oh, you're burning.
- I'm so cold.

I'm going to get the doctor
to look at you.

It's still off.

I'll go around to the surgery.

If he's not there, I'll see if I can
find Andrew at the hospital.

Even if he can't come himself,

he might be able to
give me something for you.

Don't... Don't leave me, Jen.

I won't be long, love.
You try and get some sleep if you can.

I won't be long.


Abby !

Oh, you got here?

- You all right?
- Yes.

I just dropped off.
I've been here since about 4:00.

- Why, what time is it now?
- About 8:30.

I've had a hell of a time
getting here, you know.

There wasn't anything moving
out of Paddington at all.

I had to get a lift up to Slough
and then a train up to Twyford

and then a bus.

You wouldn't believe.

I've been travelling
for about six or seven hours.

Darling, you must be exhausted.

I'm too angry to be exhausted.

The radio said
there were bad traffic jams.


In the city they were bumper to bumper.
Tailback must have been miles long.

Well, I've never seen anything like it.

It'll take them literally days
to get things sorted out.

Not that I saw anybody
doing anything about it.

Well, never mind.
You're at home now, darling.


Well, I've got to stay here
till they get things organised.

I'm not going through another journey
like I've been through today.

Attention. Attention please.

There has been a major power failure

on some of the London sections
of the region.

It is possible there will be
very considerable delays

on both up and down line traffic.

Passengers are advised
to find alternative forms of travel.

Attention please.

- Oh, excuse me. Do you know...
- Oh, just ask at the desk, please,

- would you?
- ... where I could possibly find Dr...

- Andrew! Andrew!
- Jenny, what are you doing here?

I went to Dr Weston's surgery.
They said he was here.

- Pat's sick.
- Oh, no.

I think she's very ill.

Well, I'm sorry, love,
but you're not going to get

anybody to come out and see her tonight.

But she really is bad.

Fever, and she's got sort of lumps
under her arms.

She really does need a doctor.

Now, look, Jen, I mean
we're snowed under here.

We're so under-staffed, we've had
to stop admitting new patients.

Well, I mean if you see
there's not a bed in the place.

You're turning people away.

Yes. As far as I know it's the same
in all the other hospitals.

I mean our people are going down with it
as fast as the patients.

Now, most of the GPs in the district
had to come in to work in the wards.

Well, how long does the attack last?

- I mean flu isn't...
- It is not flu.

Oh, yeah. We're giving people jabs.

Oh, we might as well squirt water
into them for all the good it's done.

Now the Home Secretary
has ordered us to keep up the fiction.

- Try and stop a panic.
- Panic?

I know there have been some deaths.
I heard it on the radio.

But not enough to cause a panic.

Oh, it's been played down.
I mean we've had 70 deaths.

- Seventy?
- And it could be double or triple

that number by the morning.

Yeah, we took in our first cases
about six days ago.

That seems to be the time
it takes for infection.

About six days.

From what you say about Pat's symptoms,
she must have had it that long.

Well, can't you just come around
and see her?

There must be something
you can give her.

All right. I'll tell you what,

I'll try and grab
half an hour later on, okay?

- First chance I get.
- I'll wait for you.

Is there anything I can do to help here?

Yeah, you bet there is.
Look, we need all the help we can get.

By the way,
I saw Joe Gordon today, darling.

He wants to call in tonight
and give us a shot of the flu vaccine.

- It's a waste of time.
- I don't see why.

It may not give us a 100% protection
but at least it's better than nothing.

- I don't think it is a flu virus.
- Well, what then?

we've had flu epidemics before.

I mean I don't think there was
one office in London today

where everyone turned up for work.

Oh, dear.

- Are we going to eat?
- Hmm?

Oh, yes of course.

Why don't you come and talk to me
while I make it?

Bacon and eggs all right?

Oh, I talked to Cameron this morning.

You know he's got an agent in Hong Kong?

Anyway, he was telling me,

of course the Chinese government
has clamped down the news.

But he was saying
that there are rumours

that millions have died there.

Isn't it odd?

You talk about millions dying
in India and China,

has no impact at all.

There was nothing
on any of the news bulletins today.

Yes. Some people have died
in Rome apparently.

Where's the radio gone?

Yes, darling, on the dresser.

I spoke to Peter today. He's fine.

Yes, I know. He telephoned me
after he had spoken to you.

Oh, what for?

actually I'm sworn to secrecy.

All I'm allowed to say is that
seeing that he's confined to school

I've been assigned a top secret mission
concerning your birthday present.

Oh, that's sweet.

Now, where's Radio 4 on this?
Third button.

Oh, there's nothing.
Well, try going up the dial.

There was a bad epidemic of something
about the time of the First World War,

- wasn't there?
- Hmm. Yes, that was flu.

1918, I think.
You know 20 million people died from it?

I didn't think it could happen nowadays
with modern drugs on that scale, do you?

Here's something.

No, I can't make that out.

- Like a freshener?
- Hmm.


How bad do you think it is?

Well, it's pretty widespread,
pretty disruptive.

If today was an example,

I don't see how we are going to
carry on with business?

We're going to take ages to catch up.

Oh, it'll burn itself out.

Oh, yes. But judging
from the chaos today,

it's going to take a while
to get back to the normal.

London really was impossible.

Only way that could happen to it
is a bad snowfall

or a rail strike.

It all takes time but it gets itself
sorted out in the end.

Mmm? Oh, yes. Yes, I suppose so.

- Aren't you eating?
- No, I'm going to have some cheese.


You know, I never thought
what happens to a city.

- What do you mean?
- Well, if it all breaks down,

all at the same time.

There's no power,

there's no lighting or cooking,

and food, even if you
get it into the city

you can't distribute it.

Then there's water, sewage.

Things like that.

You know, it just never occurred to me
when I lived in London.

The city's like a great,
big pampered baby,

with thousands of people
feeding it and cleaning it

and making sure it's all right.

Pampered baby?

Look, you...

If things really get as bad as all that,
I'm sure they'll declare

a state of emergency or something.

Call out troops.

Anyway we are all right
living in the country.

We got a deep freeze full of food,

big, open fires in case
the central heating goes off.

We'll manage.

Well, damn it.

Do you think it's just us
or the whole area?

Jenny, you've got to get out of here.
Not just the flat, I mean London.

- She's dead.
- Right. Into the country if you can.

Now, just take a few things.
You might have to walk.

I shouldn't have left her.

She must have been so frightened
all on her own.

Now, you should start as soon as you can
and take any food that you've got in.

Don't you feel anything?

Two years? You've been having
an affair with her for two years.

- She's dead!
- Now, you just listen to me!

Now, Jenny, listen to me.

I've got the disease.

I've worked it out that I picked up
the infection about three days ago.

Now, that roughly gives me
three more days

before it hits its peak
and then, well I...

I don't know what my chances are.

Now, you've been exposed to it.
I imagine everybody in London has.

You might have it too.

Now, look, I've watched tonight,
you've not shown any symptoms

but well, that's no guarantee.

- How will I know?
- Well, you'll know all right.

I mean you've seen enough of it tonight.

You see, you could be
one of the lucky ones but...

You see, in every disease there are
certain people who seem to have...

Well, it's a natural immunity.

They can be in direct contact with it
and never get touched.

Now, look, I've got to go back
to the hospital.

- I'll come with you.
- Now, Jenny, please.

Why don't you listen to what I say?

Now, I have told you
to get out of London.

But if I have already been exposed,
what does it matter?

What difference does it make where I am?

Because if the death rate
keeps accelerating at this speed,

we're not going to be able
to bury our dead.

There could be cholera, typhoid,
and God knows what else.

We've had one survival, Jen.

In all the cases we have admitted,
only one person has lived

beyond the crisis point.

But they'll find something, won't they?
They'll find a cure.

They're not going to let
millions of people die.

It is a mutant virus, Jenny,
and not yet identified.

And with the speed
this thing is travelling

we have no way of stopping it.

In a few days, the dead
will outnumber the living.

The cities will be like open cesspits.

Now get out, Jen.
You could have a chance.

I am sorry about that.

- Darling?
- Hmm?

Do you think we should
get Peter out of school?

No. I think he's all right.

The school's been very sensible.


later if things get tricky...

All right.

Oh, come on. He's fine.

Stop worrying.

Get off to sleep.

You're a bit hot.

Yes, it's very warm in here.

Hello, darling.
All on your own, are you?

See you home, shall we?

Shouldn't be on your tod
this time of the night.

It's not safe.
You watch this for a laugh.

Leave me alone.

Kick up all the fuss you like, lovely.
There's no one about.

- Oh, nice.
Get away. Stop it.

Come on, darling.
Have a bit of fun then.

Go on. Get in there.

Go on my son.

Ah, come on. Leave her.
We got more shopping to do.



Abby? You all right?
Why didn't you wake me?

Oh, God, I feel terrible...

Come, sit down. Here.

- You're okay, really..
- I'm gonna die, David.

Oh, don't be silly. You're all right.

Rest your head down here a minute.

David, I'm gonna die.

Abby's got it, Joe. she's bad.

I've been looking for you everywhere.
I went up to the house.

- There was no answer.
- Margaret died this afternoon.

Oh, God!

Oh, Joe!

Oh, I am sorry.

Bit like the old Jewish joke
about chicken soup.

It may not do any good,
but it won't do any harm.

They're dying, David.

And there's nothing
I can do to help them.

I thought we'd missed
the worst of it down here.

I had 17 tonight.
Four of them.

A whole family went
within an hour of one another.

God knows what it will be like
by morning.

In another week...

Go on! In another week?

I'm tired.
I may be getting a bit fanciful.

If it goes on this way
a week could see us with millions dead.

You will come and have a look at Abby?

Of course.



Are you all right?

- Stay back! Stay away from me!
- I thought you might be hurt?

Don't you come any closer!

All right.
Have you seen any other people?

No, I'm keeping away from them.
I'm keeping away from everybody.

I don't want to catch their germs.
And you keep away too.

- All right.
- Where have you come from?

- London.
- Oh.

Bad, was it?
Was it bad there?

- Yes.
- Yes, well, I'm keeping away from them.

I'm keeping away from everybody.

- Have you seen anybody?
I saw a car this morning.

Out on the motorway.

I went through a village last night.
There was a church.

The bell was ringing.

There were people inside
but I don't know how many.

They wouldn't let me in.

Ooh. Where are you going?

Don't know.

Have you got any food?

I took some things from a shop.

Um, tins and some chocolate.
I left the money.

Well, I got a rabbit last night.

Caught it with a snare.

Are you going to stay here,
out in the open?

I'll wait until the doctors
have got it all cleared up.

I say, it's a bit like war time,
isn't it?

- I suppose.
- Ah!

Don't worry, the Yanks
will have something.

A cure! I'll bet the Yanks
will have a cure.

I heard something on the radio
but it must have been days ago now.

But they said that there are a lot
dying in America.

Ah, they'll have something,
don't you worry.

After this there'll be
plenty work about.

Good jobs. Big money.

Good luck.

You keep away from people, Miss.
Till all this is cleared up.

Keep away from them.

Oh, God,
please don't let me be the only one.

Oh! Peter!


Hey! Hey!

Can you help me?
I'm looking for my son Peter.

Are you all right?

- So sorry, I didn't mean to scare you.
- I thought that you...

I'm sorry. It's Mrs Grant, isn't it?

Yes, I'm looking for Peter.
He's in Third form, Dover house.

I've had this thing for nearly ten years
and I still can't get used to it.

I've been to the dormitory.
He's not there.

I know, uh...
Peter went off with a group, 20 boys.

- Uh, Mr Fielding went with them.
- Then he's alive?

This was four... Five days ago.

The school had been hit very badly.

Fielding thought that he ought to get
some of the boys away,

those who weren't actually
showing symptoms.

- Where did they go?
- They took camping equipment.

Fielding's idea was to find some place
where they could isolate themselves.

Look, Mrs Grant, it'd be wrong of me
to offer too much hope.

There's no certainty that the boys
who left weren't already infected.

But there's a chance.

Some of the older boys went off,
trying to get home

and some more
were collected by their parents.

This was before
the peak of the outbreak.

For those that remained...

Three hundred.

All of them?

I'm the only one.

Shall I build up the fire?

You've got the fever, haven't you?

Let me try and make you
more comfortable.

Keep away. Keep away.
Leave me alone.

I'm too tired to go on. Can I stay?

It's getting light.

The battery is all but gone.

There's nobody sending anyway.

The boys made this. It's very good.

We used to talk to other radio hams
all over the world.

Have you talked to them lately?
Have you told them what's happening?

They knew.
Well, it's the same for them.

What's happened here has happened
in every country on the globe.

We sometimes listen to aircraft.

Oh, police signals, things like that.

There was a state of emergency declared,
but it was too late.

There was nobody left to implement it.

They even tried to set up
a seat of government in the country.

There was no hope of that, of course.

The administrators died
along with the rest of them.

Oh, I'm glad I wasn't in the city.

That must have been...

What's going to happen?

I thought about it
a great deal.

Now, those of us
who have come through this

are in some way biological freaks.

We've survived by chance.

Now, the aftermath of this sickness

will be more terrible
than we can imagine.

The real survivors will be those
who can come through what must follow.

but surely it won't be that hard.

I mean, there must be
tons of preserved foods, cars, petrol.

The stockpile of things
must be enormous.

Oh, there'll be enough
for many, many years,

but that would be simply scavenging,
wouldn't it?

And a constantly diminishing supply.

What is important is learning again.

Things you've never even needed
to consider before. For instance, that.

Could you make that?

Where does the raw material come from,
do you know?

Well, some sort of oil product,
I suppose.

- Or before that tallow or animal fat.
- But could you make it?

Something as simple as a candle,
starting from scratch.

Well, I could probably find out.
It must be in a book somewhere.

All right, take it from there.

A book will tell you
how electricity is generated.

But could you do it,
right from the very beginning?

Find the metal in the earth,
dig it up, refine it, turn it into wire?

Could you make and cast
glass for a light bulb?

You'll need to know
every part of every process.

A carpenter, a man who works in wood.

He doesn't chop down trees,
he doesn't forge the steel for his saw.

Could he make a hammer? Nails?

For myself, I could perhaps,

fashion some sort of stone tool.

- We really are that primitive.
- Incredible, isn't it?

We're of the generation
that landed the man on the moon

and the best we can do
is talk about making tools out of stone.

What you called a stockpile of things
will merely give us

a little breathing space,
perhaps several generations.

But in that time, all the old crafts
and skills must be learnt.

We must learn.

Yes, well, I must go.

And then I must start
to look for Peter.


What will you do?

Well, I've got two more batteries
left for this.

I suppose I might find
some more after that.

I shall be totally deaf.

I won't make a very good survivor.

Mrs Grant.