Decent SF From England On The Way To Sheffield?
I had the Scifi UK Channel turned on in the background as I was doing something else, and caught the third and fourth episode of The Last Train. I’d noticed the trailer the prior week, but sadly missed the first and second episodes. I’ll need to check out an episode guide.
Anyway, what intrigued me as I watched it, is that it’s set in Britain, and actually originates in a train going to Sheffield (where some of the first episode is set). I used to live in Sheffield, so this kind of thing is ‘close to home’ so to speak. It’s not science fiction based on some fictional place (either in this time, or a future time; another continent or another planet), but science fiction set somewhere which is accessible and realistic.
It’s a bleak story of a band of survivors who have woken up after a third world war (or something - I am not 100% sure, maybe it’s chemical leaks or something). But basically, they were on a train to Sheffield when it all went bad. They froze for about forty years or so and woke up, and everyone (or so it seems) have gone. And (at the moment) they are still orientating themselves, and really ‘getting used to each other’, working each other out.
The episodes I saw were a good example of (if anything) a pictorial view of the British landscape. I understand that in either episode one or two a railway station is shown as Sheffield, but in reality it appears to have been filmed at King’s Cross St. Pancras. This is what makes it fun, spotting the places you recognise. So, as the band of survivors travel across the British countryside, they travel through a good brochure for Britain.
The thing that sticks in my mind after seeing the two episodes is that it looks like today, even though it is set at 40 years in the future. This obviously makes filming easier, but it also shows that we ourselves are indeed living in the future. They wear the same ‘commuter clothes’ that they wore when they left for work that fateful day. Ties, suites. Even though we haven’t gone through armageddon or an apocalypse (though some would probably beg to differ), we are living in what conceivably is someones future.
It reminds me distinctly of another film which was based and filmed in Sheffield called Threads. It is basically the story of a build up to Nuclear War, and thus because Sheffield at the time was a big industrial area producing mainly steel, it was one of the main targets of the agressor. Sheffield was nuked, in which the film makers showed the inihilation in loving detail. Showing areas which I lived in at the time, places I shopped at, places I knew, just simply getting blown away.
(Trivia: one of my friends from Sheffield has said that either I was auditioned for it, or a class in my school was. He thinks it was for the main detonation scene, where there’s a crowd of shoppers running down The Moor, and a nuke is exploded. You see the everyday shoppers glued to their spot, looking up. You even see one person pee themself at the sight of the mushroom cloud (before getting crisped in a white light). Which I guess shows one aspect of reality. But I have no memory of any possible audition, although he swears that it happened - I was only about 10 or 11 at the time. I also remember a scene where someone complains or just mentions the price of a can of beans. I would love to get Threads on DVD and just see how much those can of beans were in that future.. Addendum: Threads is apparently out of production, and is £99.99 used!)..
It was an eye opening and a particular heart wrencher to see places you knew to be real, blown away on the television; for entertainment.
This, to some extent was how I felt when I was watching The Last Train. I will definitely be tuning in to follow their story. I found it gripping, and worth a watch, but hey, maybe I’m a bit biased.