As first back from DJ (at which, by the way, Rob Grant failed to turn up – more on that as we get more info on the reasons), it falls to me to make a quick update about Andrew’s “here’s what Doug asked me to pass on” message, before we go into it (and the weekend) in a bit more detail once everyone’s back and less asleep.
The message from Doug came in three parts, but I’m going to go over them out of order, saving the worst (which was actually delivered second) for last.
First of all, we were given the (almost amusing) tidbit that the production company that so famously asked Doug to recast the movie some years ago was… Miramax. Or “the supporting-British-film Miramax”, as Andrew referred to them.
The final item was the announcement – of sorts – of a project so early in the pipeline that the first that Robert, Chris and Danny knew about it was as they turned up and met Andrew at the hotel. All Andrew was able to tell us was this : Red Dwarf : The Movie : The Stage Show. No other information whatsoever, yet. Make of it what you will.
The second part of the message, though, is the one that will be remembered, and it’s really fucking difficult to write – although not as hard as it presumably was to deliver to a room full of fans. Finally, Andrew has been able to tell us something that he’s wanted to tell us for some time. When people (ourselves included) have grumbled over the years that if only GNP decided they wanted to go back and make more Dwarf for telly, it would surely get commissioned by a BBC mindful of the ratings that series VIII got… well, it turns out that we were way off the fucking mark. At some point – we can’t go into specifics on timeframes, or anything – GNP have actually decided to try and set the wheels in motion on creating some new television (series or specials, we don’t know). The BBC’s reply? They don’t want it. And why? Well, according to a direct quote reported by Doug (sadly, we don’t know the specific source) : “They’re no longer interested in the sort of audience the show used to attract”.
Just let that sink in for a moment.
The BBC, a public service broadcaster, are being discriminatory about their audience.
They’ve been extremely condescending about the show’s existing fanbase (you know… you lot and us lot).
They’re apparently not interested in “the sort of audience” that watches Dwarf. Which beggars the question… who the fuck did they commission two series of Hyperdrive for? Who the fuck do they think watches that little-known programme that goes out on Saturday nights at 7pm in the summer? And why the fuck are they happy to take the royalties from the (incredibly well-selling) DVDs?
The only positive way of looking at this is that the BBC don’t actually own any rights whatsoever as far as new additions to the franchise go. It’s owned by GNP. In other words… they’re free to take it elsewhere. If they want to. Are they planning to? We have absolutely no idea. But personally, the current employment held by a certain silver-haired former producer would seem to us to offer a pretty obvious route to go down…