Outcasts (TV series)

For other television series with same or similar titles, see Outcast (disambiguation).
Genre Drama
Science fiction
Created by Ben Richards
Written by Ben Richards
Jack Lothian
David Farr
Starring Liam Cunningham
Hermione Norris
Amy Manson
Daniel Mays
Ashley Walters
Michael Legge
Langley Kirkwood
Jeanne Kietzmann
Eric Mabius
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 8 (list of episodes)
Running time Approx. 50 minutes
Production company(s) Kudos Film & Television
Original network BBC One
Original release 7 February (2011-02-07) – 13 March 2011 (2011-03-13)
External links

Outcasts is a 2011 British television science-fiction drama serial,[1][2] starring Liam Cunningham, Hermione Norris, Amy Manson, Daniel Mays, Eric Mabius and Ashley Walters. It originally aired on BBC One, and BBC HD. It was broadcast in the United States on BBC America.[3]


Outcasts is set in the year 2060[4] on the fictional planet Carpathia, a habitable planet five years travel from Earth. Carpathia has been colonized by a succession of spaceships fleeing destruction and nuclear conflict back on Earth. Most of the planet's population is living within the limits of the pioneer town Forthaven, which was first settled ten years before the time of the beginning of the series. The Carpathians live in ignorance of Earth's fate, receiving news only through the few evacuee transporter ships that successfully pass through the difficult atmospheric entry to Carpathia. Carpathia was so-named by the colonists in honour of the RMS Carpathia, a ship that came to rescue survivors of the historic RMS Titanic disaster.[5]

The story focuses on the President of Carpathia, Richard Tate, and core members of the Protection and Security (PAS) team, as well as Expeditionaries (XPs), whose role is to explore the planet on foot and retrieve resources and medicines. With the arrival of CT-9, perhaps the last transporter that will reach Carpathia from Earth, the storylines revolve around the ongoing lives of the existing settlers, the induction of new evacuees into the Forthaven community and the effect of others living outside the walls of Forthaven.

Science fiction elements

While much of the series deals with human relationships in a hostile environment, there are a number of sci-fi elements – such as being set in the future, on a planet in a faraway solar system, after some sort of global catastrophe.

The Advanced Cultivars (ACs) are a group of genetically enhanced humans designed to survive in harsh conditions. Early in the colonisation, they were wrongly accused as being the carriers/source of a plague which killed many of the new colony's children, including those of President Tate. Some of the ACs have specific problems due to their conditioning. They are supposedly sterile.

Though the planet has only simple native animals and birds, over the course of the series the colony discovers evidence of both an extinct native hominid species and a mysterious alien intelligence capable of manifesting physical entities based on the colonists.

The Deep Brain Visualization (DBV) machine translates brain activity into visual images on a screen showing what the person remembers. The person sits in a reclining chair with their head between two blocks containing sensors to non-invasively collect the data.



In development since 2007,[6] produced by Kudos Film & Television for BBC One, the series started shooting in South Africa in May 2010, coinciding with the 2010 FIFA World Cup being held there.[7] According to David Stephenson, writing in the Daily Express, the original scripts underwent 25 rewrites.[8]


Episode Title Directed by Written by UK viewers
Original air date
1"Episode 1"Bharat NalluriBen Richards4.50[9]17.9[9]7 February 2011 (2011-02-07)
CT-9, a transport ship, is about to arrive to Carpathia, but its re-entry heat shield is compromised. Meanwhile, Mitchell Hoban, head of the Expeditionaries, displays increasingly erratic behaviour.
2"Episode 2"Bharat NalluriBen Richards3.30[10]13.0[10]8 February 2011 (2011-02-08)
The escape pods have landed. Julius Berger seems to have saved his life at a high price. The ACs have taken a girl hostage and want the colonists to cure a baby as a price for her life and freedom.
3"Episode 3"Omar MadhaBen Richards and Simon Block2.95[11]11.8[11]14 February 2011 (2011-02-14)
While a huge whiteout (a ferocious dust storm caused by Carpathia's twin moons) is threatening Forthaven, two technicians are sent to secure the Earth beacon, and Cass leaves on a rescue mission that no one believes he will survive.
4"Episode 4"Omar MadhaJack Lothian2.63[12]10.05[12]15 February 2011 (2011-02-15)
Elijah, a troubled AC, enters Forthaven and attacks a citizen. Fleur wants to return him to his people and seeks the help of Cass and Rudi. Expeditionaries make a stunning discovery.
5"Episode 5"Andy GoddardBen Richards and Jimmy Gardner2.70[13]10.8[13]21 February 2011 (2011-02-21)
Pak, an old expeditionary, leads Cass and Fleur around radioactive areas to a diamond-scattered beach with skeletons of a hominid-like family in the foreshore. Julius secretly contacts spaceship CT-10.
6"Episode 6"Andy GoddardDavid Farr1.52[14]10.5[14]27 February 2011 (2011-02-27)
Three expeditionaries disappear and nobody seems to know why they were outside the town. One returns but the mystery only gets deeper. The ACs hatch a plot of their own. A choice must be made between the life of a mother, or that of her baby. Julius secretly continues to contact spaceship CT-10.
7"Episode 7"Jamie PayneDavid Farr1.33[15]9.7[15]6 March 2011 (2011-03-06)
Cass finds a note threatening to expose his secret, while Stella and Tate must face the prospect of another, superior, hostile lifeform on Carpathia.
8"Episode 8"Jamie PayneBen Richards1.56[16]11.6[16]13 March 2011 (2011-03-13)
A deadly virus hits Forthaven and Berger sets about bringing down Tate's government. A disturbing secret about Fleur is revealed and many people including Tipper and Lily are infected by the virus but are saved and CT-10 spaceship is about to land.


Writing in The Independent, Brian Viner admitted that at first Outcasts rekindled his prejudices about science fiction but he was gradually sucked in. The first episode was "well written", "smartly directed" and "splendidly acted".[1] These quotes are also used as blurb on the cover of the Blu-ray Disc release of the series.

However, other reviews for the series were generally more negative. Reviewing for The Daily Telegraph, Chris Harvey found it "one of the most staggeringly uninteresting dramas that’s been on television for a while", "drab" and "pretty turgid human drama."[17]

Kevin O'Sullivan writing for The Daily Mirror said, "Hermione Norris and Daniel Mays in excrutiating [sic] sci-fi rubbish", and "Who directed it? Ed Wood? And what a script! So jaw-droppingly dreadful it hurt".[18]

The Times reviewer, David Chater wrote, "Not since Bonekickers has the BBC broadcast such an irredeemably awful series. Sometimes catastrophes on this scale can be enjoyed precisely because they are so dismal, but this one has a kind of grinding badness that defies enjoyment of any kind".[19]

Andrew Anthony for The Observer concluded, "All along I've been misreading the series as a kind of cosmic tragedy when in reality it was a tragic comedy. It wasn't trying to be wise. Deep down, Carpathia was pure Morecambe."[20]

Discussion of the series and its plot/script issues took place across various sites, including The Guardian's episode by episode review by Phelim O'Neill,[21] an interactive interview with writer/creator Ben Richards,[22] and at Digital Spy.[23]

Audience figures for the series were poor: starting from an initial low figure of 4.5 million viewers for the pilot episode, the show lost nearly two-thirds over its run, to finish with 1.56 million UK viewers.

Scheduling and cancellation

Having originally launched on Mondays and Tuesdays at 21:00, The Guardian reported that after disappointing ratings, the fifth episode would be the last in this prime time slot, with subsequent episodes being rescheduled to late nights on Sundays.[24]

Ben Richards, the writer/creator of the show, remained defiant, commenting, "I have every confidence we will rule our new slot. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!" and "Cultdom beckons. And keep watching hardcore because remaining eps great."[25]

On 14 March 2011 (the day following the final episode), the BBC confirmed that Outcasts had been cancelled, and that there would be no second series.[26] A second series was in planning by this point, which Richards has said he intends to write as a novel instead.[27]

International broadcast

Country Network First broadcast
Australia ABC1 28 May 2011
Canada Space Channel 18 June 2011
USA BBC America 18 June 2011[28] Netflix.com[29]
Scandinavia Canal+ Scandinavia October 2011 Netflix.com[29]
New Zealand Choice TV August 2012

DVD releases

Outcasts was released as both a three-disc DVD and two-disc Blu-ray Disc package on the 4 April 2011, through 2 Entertain, BBFC rated 15.

Format Prod. code
ASIN ref
Other details Special Features
3 disc
Region 2, Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9, PAL, Run Time 470 minutes, English language, English subtitles
  • Reaching out to the stars: Hear from the Producers, writers and cast from the series.
  • Forthaven – Set Tour
Blu-ray Disc
2 disc
Region 2, Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9, PAL, Run Time 470 minutes, English language, English subtitles
  • Reaching out to the stars: Hear from the Producers, writers and cast from the series.
  • Forthaven – Set Tour

See also


  1. 1 2 Viner, Brian (8 February 2011). "Last Night's TV". The Independent. London.
  2. "Meet the Outcasts in a major new BBC One drama series". BBC Press Office. 13 May 2010.
  3. http://press.bbcamerica.com/program.jsp?id=16157
  4. Norris, Hermione (1 February 2011). "Hermione Norris: I'm on another planet!". What's on TV (Interview: Transcript). It’s an incredibly bold thing to set something in 2060
  5. Hassan, Genevieve (3 February 2011). "BBC drama sends Outcasts to new planet". BBC News. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  6. "BBC Drama develops Outcasts", BBC Press Office, 24 May 2007.
  7. Wilkes, Neil (13 May 2010). "BBC unveils "epic" new sci-fi series". Digital Spy. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  8. Stephenson, David (20 March 2011). "A False Start for 2012". Daily Express. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  9. 1 2 Jaques, Liz (8 February 2011). "TV Overnights: BBC One's new Outcasts debuts with 4.5m viewers". MediaTel. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  10. 1 2 Jaques, Liz (9 February 2011). "TV Overnights: Big Fat Gypsy Wedding wins peak-hour top spot with 8m viewers". MediaTel. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  11. 1 2 Laughlin, Andrew (15 February 2011). "BBC One's 'Outcasts' slumps to 2.9m". Digital Spy. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  12. 1 2 Rosser, Michael (16 February 2011). "Gypsy Weddings beats Brit Awards". Broadcast. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  13. 1 2 "BBC comedy 'Mrs Brown's Boys' grabs 2.6m", Digital Spy, 22 February 2011.
  14. 1 2 "Over 1m watch 'Got To Dance' finale". Digital Spy. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  15. 1 2 "New 'Wonders' captivates 3.5m". Digital Spy. 7 March 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  16. 1 2 "BBC confirms 'Outcasts' axe". Digital Spy. 14 March 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  17. Harvey, Chris (8 February 2011). "Outcasts, BBC One, review". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  18. O'Sullivan, Kevin (13 February 2011). "TV Review of Outcasts: Hermione Norris and Daniel Mays in excrutiating sci-fi rubbish". The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  19. Chater, David (5 February 2011). "Monday's TV: Outcasts". The Times. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  20. Anthony, Andrew (20 March 2011). "Rewind TV: Lily Allen: From Riches to Rags; Twenty Twelve; Waking the Dead; Outcasts; Wonders of the Universe". The Observer. London. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  21. O'Neill, Phelim (7 February 2011). "outcasts-episode-by-episode". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  22. Richards, Ben. "Interview: Ben Richards, writer/creator of 'Outcasts'". Dan Owen. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  23. "BBC unveils "epic" new sci-fi series – Outcasts". Digital Spy. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  24. Conlan, Tara (16 February 2011). "Outcasts cast out to Sunday late slot". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  25. Fletcher, Alex (16 February 2011). "'Outcasts' writer responds to critics". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  26. Love, Ryan (14 March 2011). "BBC confirms 'Outcasts' axe". Digital Spy. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  27. Brew, Simon (8 Apr 2011). "Ben Richards interview: looking back at Outcasts, its critical reaction, and where next". Den of Geek. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  28. "Outcasts". BBC Press Office. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  29. 1 2 http://www.netflix.com
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