"Look at the pig!" I shouted to my wife as she came in, while I was watching rushes of Outcasts early on in the shoot. "It's a real piglet."

As if to prove the point, the pig farted, squealed and peed on the floor of the set.

"Cut!" shouted Bharat Nalluri, the director, a little wearily.

Danny Mays - playing Cass Cromwell - giggled. And I smiled.

Pigs In Space: The porcine inspiration and driving creative imperative behind all those long and lonely nights working on the scripts.

They weren't of course. The inspiration behind Outcasts was the desire to tell a pioneer story, and the only place you can do that really now is in space.

I wanted to explore second chances, most fundamentally whether humanity is genetically hardwired to make the same mistakes again and again.

The stories that kickstart the series are intense, and hopefully moving, but the world view is never cynical or wilfully pessimistic.

Part of my inspiration was to write against the kind of world view developed by William Golding in Lord Of The Flies, and the planet of Carpathia is not a dystopia - it is named after a rescue ship.

It would be silly to think that a pioneer community wouldn't have all kinds of conflicts and problems - the drama lies precisely in those political and emotional challenges.

But ultimately, it is a show about hope and human dignity.

It is about one of the most attractive aspects of our species - our ability to think morally, to empathise with the suffering of others, to sacrifice self-interest for our loved ones or even people we don't know.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of any new show is meeting actors I have not worked with before.

I knew Hermione Norris from Spooks, where I had loved writing her character of Ros Myers.

But I hadn't worked with any of the others and they brought an energy and enthusiasm, which I really think shines through in the show.

I particularly love the dynamic between Cass and Fleur, played so beautifully by Amy Manson and Danny Mays.

But all the actors brought something special to their parts.

I always have lots of favourite scenes, such as Jack (played by Ashley Walters) and Cass bound together and bantering in episode two, and the conflicts between Tate (Liam Cunningham) and Berger (played by Ugly Betty's Eric Mabius).

Then there's Tipper remembering his dead sisters, Stella's face as the transporter in episode one nears the end of its journey, and Cass and Fleur's agonising last scene together in the final episode.

But it is the piglet, of course, that wins by a snout.

Snatched from the barbecue coals by Protection And Security (PAS) officer Cass Cromwell - an image of survival against the odds that lies at the heart of our show.

Ben Richards is the writer of Outcasts.

Outcasts starts on BBC One and BBC One HD at 9pm on Monday, 7 February.

For further programme times, please see the upcoming episodes page.

You can follow updates from @BBC Outcasts on Twitter, and also share your thoughts on the show with the production team on the BBC Outcasts Facebook page.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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  • Comment number 226. Posted by Gary Andrews

    on 8 Apr 2011 15:38

    Hi all,

    Thanks for all your comments, both positive and negative. I don't think we've featured a show on this blog that's divided opinions quite like Outcasts has - it's evoked a passionate reaction from both fans and critics of the show alike on here.

    As it's been a couple of months since we published this post, and nearly a month since Outcasts left our screens, it feels like the right time to close comments on this post. If you still want to talk about Outcasts, there's a thread on the Points Of View messageboard devoted to it, and, if you want some further reading, plenty of bloggers outside the BBC have had a lot to say about the show.

    Thanks again to all those who liked or disliked the show for taking the time to leave a comment about Outcasts.

    Gary
    Assistant Content Producer, BBC TV blog

  • Comment number 225. Posted by Macspain

    on 8 Apr 2011 01:46

    "Its viewing figures plummeted from 4.5 to 2.7million in its prime time slot then to 1.5million in the graveyard slot."

    All a misunderstanding :)

    The show had its fans and it had its haters and it had 4.5 million very curious watchers at one time. The point is there are many people petitioning for it to be re-instated - BBC, whether 1 person watches or everyone with a TV watches Outcasts - viewings and ratings don't pay the bills WE DO.

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  • Comment number 224. Posted by Macspain

    on 8 Apr 2011 01:34

    I read until my eyes hurt and my mind giggled with glee when at first this random and yet epic Sci-Fi drama has people ripping into the sinews and meaty bits of the show, blood letting and dragging it to its knees. But towards the end of this discussion others have come to its defense and have hailed it a truly novel concept that has had us supporters tuned in and anxiously waiting to see what happens next...but in vain.

    One person cited Star Trek and lamented that THAT sci-fi was weak as well...obviously not a geek because as poor as the props were in Kirk-dom, to this day people are still learning Klingon as a language.

    Look Outcasts despite the repeated heckles about wooden acting (methinks someone is writing that under different names) spoke to the imagination - it wasn't about the age of the guns or the vegetation of the land or the fact there was beach but no birds. It was about the concept of human beings ...being human, it was about science fiction taking a stab at what would happen if the last of humanity tried again...but more so...it was a BRITISH sci-fi without the big budget of Stargate Atlantis and it was blooming entertaining!

    If you're not a sci-fi boffin - then I don't expect you to appreciate how sometimes it does take faith (or the Force) to allow a seemingly rubbish programme to develop. If your thing isn't sci-fi then why on earth did you sit and watch it...just to come and complain about how poor it was? I don't sit and watch Eastenders or Dancing on Ice and then decimate them! (because we all know life in Walford has no resemblance to real life at all).

    I'm doing whatever I can to get the series back and looking forward to season 2!

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  • Comment number 223. Posted by Bukleyschance

    on 3 Apr 2011 21:28

    macjim wrote: “What I can't understand is this, the new Sherlock was a dive into the deep end for me, was different and refreshing (as far as I know they have commissioned a second season) - and so was Outcasts! So why couldn't the BBC take a chance on giving us a second season...”

    The answer is simple. Though it may or may not be to everyone’s taste, Sherlock was a well written, consistent (more or less) show that deservedly received universal critical acclaim by press and public, nominated by digital spy as 2nd best show of 2010 and received viewing figures of 7.0, 6.4 and 7.3million to support such. By contrast, Outcasts was very poorly written and totally inconsistent. It deservedly received almost universal criticism as such by press and public. Its viewing figures plummeted from 4.5 to 2.7million in its prime time slot then to 1.5million in the graveyard slot. Both replacements in the primetime slot Crimewatch and repeats of Motorway Cops received more viewers than Outcasts. Outcasts was four years in the making and cost many millions of pounds. BBC are right not to make a second series. For the few who care and have been let down by the cliff-hanger and unanswered story threads you can lay the blame with Ben Richards as much as the BBC machine. Though personally, I don’t think a second series would have solved much. The ailment is poor writing- period.

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  • Comment number 222. Posted by macjim

    on 3 Apr 2011 11:39

    Well, I just wish the BBC would given the a show a chance. When a new show is aired it will take a little time to take off, and for the story and characters to develop, but the BBC has shown themselves to be unwilling to take a gamble. The constant changes to schedule was the real problem, plus the lack of advertisement of the show too - I didn't know about the show until the week before.
    What I can't understand is this, the new Sherlock was a dive into the deep end for me, was different and refreshing (as far as I know they have commissioned a second season) - and so was Outcasts! So why couldn't the BBC take a chance on giving us a second season, fix the time slot and keep to it the same scheduled time and finish the story too and if it still didn't succeed, then cancel the show.
    Hopefully another channel will see the potential and buy the show, and then commission the second season, remember, Babelon 5 got of to a poor start and it turned into a brilliant show!

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  • Comment number 221. Posted by cappsman

    on 2 Apr 2011 15:57

    Sorry this series has been cancelled - I have to say I am no big fan of British sci-fi series (hope this will not offend anyone), so this one has really surprised me because it looks so much better than any other British sci-fi thing I've seen so far.

    I emphasize it "looks" much better IMHO, while visual is one of the basic aspects that either turns me to or off a sci-fi TV series. I don't say that the how-clever-it-is aspect is much secondary for me, no, it's a very close second. Yet the way a sci-fi thing "looks" means very much indeed because the genre obliges. No matter how clever, for example, Dr.Who is thought/said to be, I cannot watch it longer than a couple epps...

    The Outcasts are far from perfect. But, they are as far from being that bad.

    This is what Outcasts either do NOT have or have just a little, which makes it likeable enough for me:
    - bad camera work
    - bad looking actors predominant
    - poor CGI
    - drama for the sake of drama only
    - obscure motivations
    - lame mystic stuff
    - pseudo-important over-drmatised stuff
    - theatrical over-acting
    - nauseating diversions into law&order/murder-mystery/court-drama stuff, which usually degrades the sci-fi adventure genre so much
    - irrationality

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  • Comment number 220. Posted by 1234kasey

    on 31 Mar 2011 07:23

    I think its a real shame we are being denied the 2nd series. Can you tell me that you are not interested to find out where the story is going? There is no virus on the planet, there is another life presence that is more sophisticated than humans. Why do you need to see animals and flying life that we are familiar with? For me it makes a nice change to watch something different than 'Who done it ?' that seem to monopolise the tv these days.

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  • Comment number 219. Posted by Smithy

    on 29 Mar 2011 19:15

    I am a fan of science fiction fantasy. I have seen almost all of the recent tv series that fall within this category from the highly dramatic american shows like The Event and Lost, the more less believable dramas like True Blood and the more serious BBC drama The Deep. For me I hate the way that the US dramas (lost, Event etc...) seem to get a million and one seasons where as the BBC dramas only get a handful of episodes. In my opinion Outcasts was an incredibly thought provoking show that kept me wanting more each time. I always thought about the show well into the next day. For me it had it all with the unknown that left you guessing, the individual relationships of love and hate as well as the powerful political battles. I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!! If you are reading this Ben Richards (writer) PLEASE do something (I am converted to your belief that this will be a cult drama) write a book, read an audio book, anything to keep going what I have found to be an exceptional sci-fi drama. Keep the faith!!!! I will pray for you!!!!

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  • Comment number 218. Posted by Val

    on 29 Mar 2011 16:15

    PLEASE BRING BACK OUTCASTS - yes I am shouting. BBC has given up at the first hurdle. More - I need to know!

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  • Comment number 217. Posted by Gary K

    on 25 Mar 2011 15:36

    Personally the show did'nt have that hook that gave you the need to watch the next episode, but that aside i did watch the hole series, which finished with an ending that could bring a whole new twist of events.

    Its about time the BBC invested money into SF and they would find there a mass of people out there wanting to watch a good futuristic SF based around the hope of mankind, either that or such films as Avatar and Skyline have got it wrong.

    Me and my wife thoroughly enjoyed Outcasts and we are very dissapointed that the BBC have given up at the first hurdle and will probably pump more money into imported series that saves them atleast taking a risk with something that could be great.

    Everything takes time, look at the remake of Battlestar Galatica, the first series was found to be a little slow. So when they began series 2 thats when it took off, the intrigue and suspense was there and it turned out for me an amazing series.....

    Outcasts also has the chance to go this way, so dont give up now, give it a chance!!!!!!

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