Red Dwarf and Me: Artificial Reality

In a parallel universe, I know nothing about Red Dwarf XII.

Well, maybe not nothing. I probably know it exists. I may even have clocked that it was back on Dave, perhaps even that it was being broadcast in October. But I didn’t pay that much attention.

In that universe, maybe I still got into Red Dwarf when I was 13, and loved it. But I never really got into fandom, perhaps wasn’t as keen on later series… and just drifted off. Maybe I would have ended up watching XII. Maybe I wouldn’t.

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DwarfCast 88 – Only The Good… Commentary

It can’t have escaped anyone’s attention that things have been a bit slow on the old DwarfCast front of late. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get sufficient numbers of us together in the same room, but we managed to gather three on a Friday night last month. And how did we mark this rare and joyous occasion? By watching the fourth worst Red Dwarf episode of all time. You’re welcome.

So join Jonathan Capps, Danny Stephenson, Ian Symes and the Fan Club’s Jo Sharples as we discuss mostly the bad bits of Only The Good…, covering such diverse topics as how to amuse yourself in prison, multiple piss-poor fonts, Danny John-Jules’s cracking set of pins, having it off with Hollister, what the opposite of lemon is, and Richard Naylor’s first producer job.

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The Hunt For Smeg October

Honestly, you wait a whole week for the next bit of Red Dwarf XII news, and then three come along at once. And they’re three pretty substantial ones too, each of which could probably have carried the traditional Friday lunchtime news slot on its own. A more specific TX date! The traditional four-shot publicity photo! The series synopsis! The first two of these were initially covered in a single tweet:

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What’s going on with the Red Dwarf mobile game?

Anyone who’s been playing GameDigits’ episodic installments of their Red Dwarf XI mobile game are probably starting to wonder where the Krysis episode might be. At the time of writing it’s been around four and a half months since Officer Rimmer released and given episodes prior to this were put out roughly two months apart, and with Series XII rapidly approaching, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the entire thing might’ve been dropped.

Well, according to a Tweet from the official GameDigits account, there’s nothing much to fear. The Red Dwarf XI game still lives but will be on hold while work moves over to a new, free, Red Dwarf XII game. Read more →

End of Part One, Red Dwarf XI Edition

Back in 2016, I took a look at the placing of ad breaks in Red Dwarf X, and how so many of them were a wasted opportunity to use the opportunity for a cliffhanger to its maximum effect. (I highly suggest you read that piece before this one if you haven’t done so; otherwise, this article will come across as entirely ridiculous rather than just mostly ridiculous.)

With publicity for Red Dwarf XII about to kick off properly, it’s time to tie up one last loose thread from Red Dwarf XI. How did XI fare when it came to ad breaks? Did they seem like an afterthought, like much of X? Or was the chance taken to actually do something with them – to add a lovely punctuation point to the episode, and make viewers want to come back after the break?

I’ll be honest… the answer surprised me. Let’s take a look.

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The Fantastic Four

It’s been mentioned several times before that, based on all available data, if there was one word to sum up Series XII, it’s “batshit”. The set reports indicated that several of the episodes are particularly out there, certainly compared to Series XI, and the early publicity would certainly seen to corroborate that initial assessment. Following on from last week’s somewhat unconventional group shot, no less than four individual character photos have been released on social media today (and then handily compiled on TOS), all of which feature one of the four boys in unusual circumstances. Let’s go through them one by one, in ascending order of weirdness.

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Rob Grant GOSSIP

If you’re like me, a couple of times a day you probably sit bolt upright, let out a strangulated groan, and think: “Just what the fuck is Rob Grant doing these days?” After all, his last tweet was in January 2016; his website is stagnant.

Here’s some brand new gossip then, from comedy writer extraordinaire Andrew Marshall, (co-)writer of The Burkiss Way, End of Part One, Alexei Sayle’s Stuff, If You See God, Tell Him, and 2point4 Children. Speaking to Steve O’Brien about his old fanzine:

And just in case that wasn’t enough:

Andrew Marshall and Rob Grant collaborating? That is a very, very intriguing team-up indeed. And something to keep us all excited until Red Dwarf XII hits our screens. Then we’ll forget all about it and moan about UKTV Play for six fucking weeks straight instead.

Anyway, here’s one of my favourite End of Part One sketches, for precisely no reason at all.

With thanks to Ian Potter for the friendly nudge towards this news.

Better Than Reality

“I alter people’s perception of reality.” – Dr. Hypnosis

One recurring theme of Red Dwarf has always been the rather tenuous grip on reality our crew have. Whether it’s the Total Immersion Videogame of Better Than Life, the hallucinations suffered in Back to Reality, those damn reality pockets in Out of Time – to name three of many – perception of reality is something which Grant Naylor return to time and time again.

What’s interesting, however, is that Red Dwarf is far from the first time Grant Naylor have explored this idea. In fact, we can trace their fascination with it right back to their very first solo writing credit: the first episode of Radio 4 sketch show Cliché, broadcast on the 16th March 1981.

I present to you the strange adventure of Dr. Hypnosis: his real name… Dr. Hypnosis.

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