Infax Wet Dreams – Part One

Infax, or the BBC Programme Catalogue, is a wonderful thing. Originally the BBC’s internal documentation for its programmes, last year it was opened up, shut down, and then opened up again, to us filthy outsiders. And it can bring up all kinds of interesting things – for instance, did you know that the first two series of The Fast Show are labelled “DO NOT WIPE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF CHARLIE HIGSON”?

Searching for Red Dwarf provides lots of intriguing information if you’re a production geek; each entry provides information on repeats, and if you reveal the extra detail, gives a list of all model shots in the programme (presumably listed for easy reference, in case the production wanted to reuse a shot). And hey, I get a kick out of knowing that the official BBC programme number for Backwards is NMRJ901F, even if nobody else does. It’s not perfect; sometimes the descriptions are slightly jumbled, and there’s the occasional repeat date which is suspicious, but overall, it’s very interesting.

But that’s the information you’ll get just from searching for Red Dwarf as a programme title – all it’ll do is bring up a list of Dwarf episodes. Searching the descriptions field brings up a whole different list entirely – a list of shows which merely featured Red Dwarf in some way. And what a lovely list it brings up.

Let’s have a glance at some of the more interesting entries, shall we?

  • Open Air (23rd Feb 1988)“ITEM 02: RED DWARF: Pattie intros item incl intvs with Paul JACKSON, Exec Prd Red Dwarf & actors Chris BARRIE & Craig CHARLES. Incls VT ins: Red Dwarf; The Young Ones; Happy Families & Filthy Rich & Catflap (20m10s)“. A 20 MINUTE INTERVIEW WITH PAUL JACKSON, CHRIS BARRIE, AND CRAIG CHARLES YES I NEED TO SEE THIS NOW. Bonus points for the clip of FR&C, too.

    In fact, this was actually mentioned on here a while back – although oddly, the Open Air entries for the 15th Feb 1988 don’t actually mention Red Dwarf. That’s not to say that Dwarf wasn’t featured in the programme on that date as well, though – Infax can be rather unreliable.

  • Take Two (1st Jun 1988) – Children’s show about telly programmes. This would be the famed bit with Rob and Doug talking about Red Dwarf, then. We’ve actually got a copy of this – no doubt we’ll upload it at some point.
  • Daytime Live (6th Jan 1989)“ITEM 03:Judi SPIERS then talked to Craig CHARLES about his very diverse career – poet, presenter, actor & musician (incs clip of Red Dwarf, episode 5, Queeg tx’d 4/10/88)” Judi Spiers! This gives me a chance to link to The Gus Honeybun Song, as she’s in it. Composed by Ed Welch, don’t you know. In fact, can we stick Gus on the Remastered DVDs?
  • Parallel 9 (18th July 1992 and 18th Sep 1993)Very weird SF Saturday morning kids show, which I chiefly remember for them building at the start of one series a long complex assault course in the studio for the planned weekly game… which they promptly never used again, as it was boring shit. Anyway, Craig Charles and Robert LLewellyn are on the first edition mentioned, and Danny John-Jules was on the second – along with Wayne Morris and Kate Lonergan, Marian fans.
  • Points of View (13th Oct 1993) – Show where viewers send in their letters about BBC programmes, all you non-UK people out there. From the broadcast date, it’ll be about Psirens, broadcast the previous week. A rousing welcome for the return of a much-loved series, or a load of old biddies slagging it off? There’s a later one on 18th Feb 1998, which is presumably about Red Dwarf Night.
  • Pebble Mill (29th Oct 1993)ITEM 02:CRAIG CHARLES:Intv re his new song, & video,playing the part of Lister in “Red Dwarf” and about his new book “Craig Charles Almanac of Total Knowledge” (dur 09m10s)” Forget the whoring of his book – what’s all this about Craig’s song? And was it better than Max Bygraves performing a medley later on in the programme?
  • Live & Kicking (19th Feb 1994) – Chris Barrie guests. The main reason I mention this is that I really hope it was Chris who was forced into doing Trev and Simon’s Star Driving Test. Which, if you don’t remember it, went something like this…
  • Two’s Comedy (24th Feb 1995) – No idea about this one – is that our Red Dwarf featured there, or not? It’s rather ambiguous, with the talk about sketches, and the added “the”.
  • The National Lottery Live (5th Nov 1997) – No historical relevance really; I just want to see Craig Charles start the draw. Also, I’m intrigued as to what clip from Red Dwarf they showed – it’s really difficult to take individual scenes from Dwarf, as unlike a lot of sitcoms, it generally stops being funny when taken out-of-context. There’s probably an article in that discussion, but I’ll spare you for now.
  • Computers Don’t Bite (8th June 1998)“The stars of Red Dwarf book a holiday on line and a look at ballroom dancing on the World Wide Web.” Oh dear. And yet… I need to see this.
  • The Vanessa Show (18th Feb 1999)Vanessa Feltz, there. “ITEM 02:RED DWARF:Vaness intvs Robert LLEWELLYN & Norman LOVETT abt return of Red Dwarf (dur 7.56)” The phrase “I bet that’s fucking excruciating” springs to mind.
  • Look North (13th Apr 1999) – Regional news programme, for those of you who aren’t obsessed with regional telly, like me. “traffic drives to cam, HILL ptc driving ms poster “Don’t Drive Like a Twonk, Kill Your Speed” 3 vox pops re what does it mean? – (1) pillock, (2) no idea, (3) idiot intv John STANLEY (Hull City Council) – a twonk is an idiot, derived from Only Fools and Horses, and from Red Dwarf, an in word, an insult ex Red Dwarf – crew in VR mode “drive like twonks” [but not saying the word: wrong half of programme was played up line – 2nd, not 1st!]” So, in short, people didn’t know what twonk meant… and to clear things up, they showed part of Back To Reality that didn’t have the word in. Great.
  • Culture Fix – Special Effects (29th July 1999) – A programme looking at the “evolution of the art of special effects”, featuring a clip from Red Dwarf. No other info beyond that, and possibly no more than a short mention, but it sounds interesting.
  • Whatever You Want (13th May 2000 – Ah yes, the show where they gave away a prize to appear as an extra on the movie. I believe this was considered for inclusion on one of the previous DVDs, but it was too expensive to clear. A potential extra for the Movie-if-it-happens DVD, perhaps?
  • The Last Laugh (19th Mar 2005) – Programme about sitcoms, featuring an interview with Danny John-Jules. No more details than that, although seeing as it’s specifically about sitcoms, it could be rather interesting.

So… the inevitable question is – will any of this make it onto the Remastered DVDs? Well, we can only hope – and rest assured that I have alerted the relevant authorities. But whilst I hope some of the juicy stuff will make it on there (I’m personally really hoping for Open Air), let’s face it, most of it won’t – whether it’s down to rights, disc space, or simply the fact that certain things would only interest five people. (I’m under no illusions that Craig on the National Lottery is worth spending any money at all on.) I think once the Remastered release has been, erm, released, perhaps we should take a look at what hasn’t been included, and try and find it ourselves. Someone out there must have recorded a lot of this stuff.

But, of course, Red Dwarf isn’t the only interesting search term to stick into Infax. In the next part of this article, we’ll be looking at some other “intriguing” “gems”…

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35 Responses to Infax Wet Dreams – Part One

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  1. >And hey, I get a kick out of knowing that the official BBC programme number for Backwards is NMRJ901F, even if nobody else does.

    Well, now everyone* does. How d’you feel now? =P

    But really, this stuff is intriguing, even to me who have never seen these shows before in my life. I’m guessing inputs for, say, cast members’ names are up next?

    *everyone = “everyone who visits this website”

  2. G&T Admin

    I?m guessing inputs for, say, cast members? names are up next?

    Oh yes. And some crew members as well. There’s one particuarly intriguing entry…

  3. I saw the Vanessa interview, and, yes, it was fucking extruciating.

    No one in the audience knew who they were, let alone Vanessa herself, and the clip they showed before Llewellyn and Lovett came on was from series 8 (SOOOO not funny, but the two stars were there to promote it) and the sound was screwed up so no one could hear it anyway. Just as well, I guess.

    Llewellyn and Lovett behaved brilliantly, maturely and answered all the FUCKING stupid questions that were thrown at them.

  4. John, a word has not been invented for what you are… but you are one and a complete and total one at that.

    I was ‘about’ to venture outside for the first time in three days. Fat (not Rob Grant’s Fat) chance now.

    Btw not sure if it’s listed or not but there was an interview with Craig, Chloe, Rob, Danny and Norm on BBC Breakfast the morning after Back in the Red Part I aired. Infact I’m pretty sure I transcribed the interview for previous incarnation of G&T. I’ve still got it on tape somewhere. It’s pretty bland but the interview gives Danny a ticking off at one point for not letting Chloe speak.

  5. You know, John, I thought the Vanessa Youtube link was going to be her piece from Brasseye

    “You’ve killed me! What did you go and do that for?

    I hate you…”

  6. It’s the ultimate rhetorical question really.

  7. This is possibly the best thing ever.

    Edit: This IS the best thing ever. Just entered a few of my favourite bands in the description box. I’ve now got the most-likely hopeless task of tracking down Def Leppard’s two appearances on the Old Grey Whistle Test.

  8. How about the Breakfast Interview at the time of Series VIII? Where’s that gone? And How do they do that?

  9. G&T Admin

    I didn’t mention How Do They Do That? because it’s already been released on VII, so I didn’t think it was that important.

    I didn’t mention the Breakfast interview because we *did* do a transcript at the time – but actually, I think it’d be nice to host a copy the video on G&T. Any chance of borrowing it at some point, Karl?

  10. G&T Admin

    You know, I think I have a copy of that interview. I’ll have a look tonight and we can STICK IT UP.

  11. That would probably be best. I’d be more than happy to lend you the tape but there’s a very high chance it’s in a box, in a shed, in scotland. Oh and possibly water damaged. So see if Capps has it first.

    *sigh* To think I used to be “Friend of the website” Karl Eisenhauer. We won’t see the like of those days again.

  12. G&T Admin

    Never mind, now you’re ‘Lover of Cappsy’ Karl Eisenhauer, which is a much better title.

    Kiss me, you fool.

  13. G&T Admin

    Well, I do have it, but the quality is rather questionable. Never the less, expect it to be included in our soon to be launched downlaods section, along with some old BBC2 continuity! Feel free to be completely aroused at the prospect.

  14. Oh I’ve loads of BBC2 continuity. Heck I think I even got an episode of Red Dwarf on BBC1.

    During the 1994 re-runs. BBC Scotlands re-runs got a bit out of sync and I’m pretty sure one ep jumped stations in order to catch up.

  15. G&T Admin

    Oh I?ve loads of BBC2 continuity. Heck I think I even got an episode of Red Dwarf on BBC1.

    During the 1994 re-runs. BBC Scotlands re-runs got a bit out of sync and I?m pretty sure one ep jumped stations in order to catch up.

    INEEDTOSEETHIS! That really *is* rare.

  16. G&T Admin

    Jesus Christ! I take it these vids are in Scotland, too? I’d *love* it if you could dig those out!

  17. Sadly yes. I’m trying to recall what episode it was. I can remember it had the stock-footage from Meltdown in the intro so it would be something from Series Four. I’m not back up that way till easter and I could be imagining it but I’ll definitely dig them out when I can.

  18. I’ve got the Breakfast interview somewhere. On one of the 40 VHSs sitting at the bottom of the bookcase. Should be reasonable quality though.

  19. I didn?t mention the Breakfast interview because we *did* do a transcript at the time

    Where?

  20. I remember the 1998 Points of View! (Although I remembered it being from a year earlier in reference to the first episode of series VII, rather than Red Dwarf Night.) I think someone complained about the canned laughter, to which the response was that the pre-recorded tapes are shown to a live audience whose laughter is recorded.

  21. Just HOW MANY times can people complain about ‘canned’ laughter? The IT Crowd is a more recent casualty of this. It pains me to think that there was even a possibility of scrapping the audience for series 2 (or adding a film effect for that matter). In fact I’m not sure what’s actually happened with series 2 yet.

  22. I keep forgetting about that Linehan/Mathews blog. Graham’s comments on series 2 are promising and I can wait ’till August/whenever if it means it’ll be good (it’s probably a good idea to push it away from the Winter slot series 1 had). At least there’ll be an audience. Getting rid of them would have resulted in a pointless overhaul of the show. The only things that need to change for series 2 are what Graham goes on about in the commentary(s). Although, saying that, if he gets rid of ALL the ‘broad’ ideas in series 2 it might make it less funny.

  23. G&T Admin

    Although, saying that, if he gets rid of ALL the ?broad? ideas in series 2 it might make it less funny.

    This is *exactly* what I’m worried about. I don’t think it’ll really happen, but some of the things Linehan is worried about in Series 1 I think are fantastic – Morris’ “Anyone still suffering from stress at the end of this week… WILL BE FIRED!” is fantastic, yet Linehan doesn’t like it at all…

  24. I have to give praise for this site’s influence on a completely unrelated music website I run. The idea of adding a news blog to our website happened after seeing how well this website reads since it’s relaunch. But equally the creative way in which you search out trivia about your related subject has given us more to write about recently. Links like the infax one and others angles you have taken on Red Dwarf stories, has helped a huge amount in our team coming up with similar for our websites readers. So Cheers.

  25. G&T Admin

    Excellent! Thanks.

    What’s the URL for your the music site?

  26. The url is http://www.mis-online.net

    It’s the longest running active website about the 80’s and beyond
    ska/pop band Madness.

    But I’ve sent you a longer email John explaining how things like G&T’s
    nose through infax and other articles have helped MIS dig up news about
    this pop band for our readers. I dont think just visiting the site will
    really explain the influence.

  27. G&T Admin

    Putting a loud soundfile on that site is really mean to those of us listening to something on our ‘puter through earphones, Jonsmad…

  28. Sorry, did it make you jump.
    well Madness is music to get you on your feet!!!
    hmm Maybe a slow fade up at the start would be a wise
    move in future, never considered headphone use on a pc before.

  29. G&T Admin

    I’ll often use headphones whilst surfing when John’s on the Wii, so I don’t disturb his gameplay. I tend to approve of user-activated music; I didn’t hang around on your site because I was already listening to something else.

  30. AWOOGA! AWOOGA! THIS IS NOT A DAFFODIL!

    I’ve only gone and smegging found it. Found what? Well above I mentioned a vague memory that at least one episode of Dwarf jumped channels in Scotland during the repeat run of 1994.

    Well I’ve just found proof via the INFAX link above, with minimum effort too! I was looking for the date of Statis Leak’s repeat run for no apparent reason felt possessed to make a few random clicks on other eps, picked ‘Holoship’ at random and LOOK!!!

    http://open.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/on_this_day/1994/9/9

    21:33 Ship Time. Fact Fans!

    While England was watching ‘The Other Side of Murder’ The BBC Scotland bill was pushed back half an hour to accomodate some red hot dwarfy action.

    Looking back to the previous week (on BBC2) seems to show Holoship & Terroform broadcast. Presumably this was in England and Scotland respectively, why us Scots got out of sequence I have no idea.

  31. More bizarrely it appears Terrorform was allready broadcast nationwide 2 weeks previous.

  32. G&T Admin

    Excellent work, Karl! Now, do you have the continuity from the BBC One airing? Well, DO YOU?

  33. I don’t know but it’s gonna a lot of fun finding out.

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