BBC: filthy smegging lying smegging liars?

So, GNP have responded to the Points of View kerfuffle. And it’s all getting a little bit bitchy.

When the Red Dwarf film was looking for finance the producers logically approached BBC Two in 2004. A former BBC employee who had held various senior management positions was used as a go-between by Red Dwarf Films to talk to the BBC. He passed the message back to GNP that the BBC were no longer interested in supporting the film or commissioning any more series of Red Dwarf as they were no longer interested in attracting the Red Dwarf audience. Without the support of Red Dwarf’s prime broadcaster the finance package dissolved and the film has still not been produced.

So, it was 2004 that they last approached the BBC, which while not quite “at least five years ago” is still quite some time ago. I don’t think the BBC are lying, and I definitely don’t think GNP are; the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and it seems to be a bit of a misunderstanding. The “former BBC reporter who had held senior management positions” bit is still a bit vague, and it’s feasible that this all went on without the Controller of Comedy being involved. I really don’t know what to make of this; I was expecting a TOS announcement to clarify the issue, and if anything it’s left it more cloudy. And the comment at the end that implies that it’s the BBC’s fault about the Movie funding… well, whether it’s true or not, my instant response was to raise an imaginary handbag to my chin and make the appropriate noises.

But the main aspect of this statement is that it’s been sent in to Points of View. So if they choose to acknowledge it, you’ll all be wanting to watch BBC ONE on Sunday 21st October at 5:15pm. Once again, we’ll have it captured and downloadable as soon as possible.

Personally, I blame Jane Root for all of this. No reason, I just hate her.

UPDATE (21/10/07): Absolutely bugger all mention of this on Points of View. Sigh.

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36 Responses to BBC: filthy smegging lying smegging liars?

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  1. I agree that GNP aren’t lying but I think this whole thing has been bizarrely handled.

    Everybody at GNP must have known that when they made that statement at DJ, that it was going to provoke an outpouring of anger and disappointment. So why did they not say that they hadn’t contacted the BBC since 2004? Why did they not say that Doug hadn’t had any direct contact with anybody at the BBC? Why did they not make clear that the comments about ‘not being interested in Dwarf’s fans’ were paraphrased?

    I find this whole thing strange and don’t know why Doug wouldn’t just contact the current head of comedy before making a statement like that.

  2. That does makes things more interesting now.

  3. Argh. I have to watch Points of View AGAIN.

  4. I’m not able to comment on this subject specifically, so I won’t.

    The only thing I will say is that the statement on rd.co.uk is a specific response to a specific statement – it isn’t a potted history of the last 10 years. As such, does is necessarily say all the things that, say, Nick’s post claims?

    I’m stepping out now.

  5. It is strange. And it has has muddied the waters even more. I can’t get near TOS to look at what’s been posted right now, too much traffic I imagine. Why use a go-between anyway, why not contact the BBC directly? Why not tell us then? At least we’d have know that they tried.

  6. > The only thing I will say is that the statement on rd.co.uk is a specific response to a specific statement – it isn?t a potted history of the last 10 years. As such, does is necessarily say all the things that, say, Nick?s post claims?

    Well, I only said 3 things that are absolutely implied in the current statement.

    I also find this comment from the statement curious:

    ‘Without the support of Red Dwarf?s prime broadcaster the finance package dissolved and the film has still not been produced.’

    This seems faintly self-pitying and implies that the BBC are to blame for no film being produced when they clearly had no obligation to have anything to do with it.

  7. >Personally, I blame Jane Root for all of this. No reason, I just hate her.

    Damn, me too.

  8. >This seems faintly self-pitying and implies that the BBC are to blame for no film being produced when they clearly had no obligation to have anything to do with it.

    Agreed. Boo-hoo. Blame them for not having an interest in a TV programme that they made a lot of money for them, but not the development hell of the film.

  9. > Agreed. Boo-hoo. Blame them for not having an interest in a TV programme that they made a lot of money for them, but not the development hell of the film.

    That’s it exactly. Andrew has said that this statement only replies to the comment on Points of View which is fair enough. Why though mention the movie?

  10. I very much doubt POV will have anything to say on Sunday… but I’ve e-mailed them anyway. Infact, over the last few weeks, I e-mailed a few news websites to get the story about. And digitalspy.co.uk picked up the story. Not much said on the matter though.

    Perhaps POV can address the apparent end of ‘Hyperdrive’…. I just think POV aint gonna have a weekly ‘more on Red Dwarf this week’ spot for several months.

    Doug, pick up the phone and call the BBC. Series 9 is possible. That idiot at the BBC I’m sure will be part of the recently announced cut-backs :D…fingers crossed.

    Picture the happy ending:

    – BBC removes Hyperdrive and re-instates Red Dwarf (Half-way there)
    – Rob Grant returns to co-write (Half-way there)
    – Success green-lights funding for movie
    – More DVD’s released….fans rejoice

    ………WHAT! It could happen!

  11. Yeah, why the hell are they bothering to use a middleman (Points Of View)? Why not just offer the PTB a new series now. Or do the BBC have to beg?

  12. I don’t know about everybody else but I feel so close but at the same time so far away from getting a new series. I think if it will ever happen it will be now.

  13. May I just sigh?
    *sighs*

  14. I don’t know why, but I’m leaning slightly in favour of the BBC on this one. Both companies appear to be smudging the details somewhat, but I’m willing to attribute the “five years” comment to simple bad memory. GNP, however, made a statement that seemed designed to specifically irritate fans, perhaps pushing them to begin a campaign such as this one. In response to the BBC’s Points of View show (during which Lucy Lumsden seemed open to the idea of discussing a potential ninth series), GNP issue a statement which seems very vague and, as stated here, doesn’t really clarify the situation.

    This whole situations stinks, in my opinion.

  15. This is getting worse and worse…

  16. > This is getting worse and worse?

    I don’t think so. I am quietly confident that this is going to lead somewhere. It’s quite obvious now that the statement from the BBC saying they don’t want the audience Dwarf attracts doesn’t apply anymore, if it ever really did. That statement was made in 2004 and since then they’ve commissioned Hyperdrive. Turning down a Dwarf series now wouldn’t make any sense. LOADS of people want it back.

  17. G&T Admin

    I think part of the problem here is that TV commissioning is rarely straightforward. And the message isn’t as straightforward as we’d all like it to have been… because it *isn’t*. But the Movie stuff definitely confuses thing slightly. And the third party stuff *reads* weirdly – although actually, I’m sure it made perfect sense at the time when it was actually happening.

    Certainly, the approach being made three years ago is something that surprises me – I’d assumed it had been more recent too. Still, I have no doubt that the statement and attitude attributed to the BBC is correct – that they turned down any more TV stuff because it isn’t the audience they were hoping to attract – and that’s the essential point that it’s perhaps easy to forget under the rest of the stuff.

    Mind you, I can’t help but hope that performingmonkey is right, and there *has* been a change in attitude at the BBC. Wishful thinking? Probably.

  18. This is good news. And here is why:

    Doug Naylor says at the end of the series VIII documentary that he is going to do something before the cast gets too old.

    We all would have to have thought, from that, that he meant a return to television in some form.

    Then this information is released, and we get upset because we think Doug did indeed stroll into the BBC recently with just such a plan and they slapped him in the nuts.

    The fact that the BBC’s dismissal of more Dwarf happened three years ago is GOOD NEWS, because that means Doug made his “I’m going to do something before the cast gets too old” AFTER the BBC shot him down.

    He’s still got something up his sleeve. He might not know what, exactly. I obviously have no idea. But that comment of his reeked of confidence, and it was made after the BBC turned their backs on him. He obviously has some avenues still open to him that he is hopeful to explore. Now it’s just a matter of finding out what they are.

  19. Having read todays update, I have to say I’m left feeling a lttle deflated.

    Given the staunch support displayed by many of us fans following the DJ announcement I cant help feeling we were only told a part of the story and were led to believe this BBC statement was more recent than it actually was.
    Whilst we were not lied to in any way I can only conclude that Dougs statement was made purely to cause a reaction and let’s not forget we were encouraged to voice our opinions to the BBC. Clearly, had we been told this was 3 years ago the impact would have been far less and would have raised many questions about where to go next, if anywhere.
    I had no idea that the BBC were ever part of a possible movie backing package until DJ and remain convinced that when the BBC were mentioned on the webboard as a possible way forward, the response was that they didn’t do that sort of thing.
    I’m also sure that we were led to believe for several years that whilst the movie was a possibility there was never going to be another series. We now find out that both seemingly were discussed officially 3 years ago.

    Todays statement has done nothing really to clear anything up, if anything, it seems to have made some fans shift slightly to the BBC’s point of view. I can fully understand not being able to say more due to legal reasons but this seems little more than a swipe at the BBC for lack of support and seems to imply that they wrecked the movie plans.

    Perhaps Dougs DJ statement was designed merely to get us fans to write to the Beeb and get people there to ask questions, maybe as a last ditch attempt to get them back on board!

    The question still remains, why the Beeb were/are not interested in Dwarfs audiance but a lot of things can change in 3 years…

    If GNP were seeking alternative channels/companies I can see no point in antagonising the BBC after this time, this seems more of an exercise in getting them to change their minds, but who knows.

    The good thing to come out of this is the head of comedy stating that her door is still open, perhaps GNP’s aim all the time. Maybe just maybe, this could all turn out well.

    And yes, I’m sure the support of GNP will continue, I just wish things were a lot less complicated…

    Andrew said in todays update that we ‘should’ discuss this topic on the webboard which is why I’m also posting this there…
    I post it here because there’s more chance of discussion and things tend to get lost on the webboard in a sea of off topic ramblings (as anyone visiting today will clearly see)…

  20. – Andrew said in todays update that we ?should? discuss this topic on the webboard which is why I?m also posting this there?
    I post it here because there?s more chance of discussion and things tend to get lost on the webboard in a sea of off topic ramblings (as anyone visiting today will clearly see)?

    The webboard makes me pull my hair out, though. Now possibly more than ever.

  21. IMO rather than saying ‘we want Red Dwarf back’ (which is only ever gonna get a general response) we should be thinking more specifically. Talking to the BBC about the 20th anniversary could be a little more constructive.

    Surely a celebration of the 20th anniversary, including a special new episode (only needs to be 30 minutes), would be much easier to sell to the BBC than a full series. This episode could then work as a pilot for a Dwarf relaunch (yes, we know Dwarf doesn’t need a pilot, but maybe the BBC would like to see a single new episode as proof that the show still works)

    Obviously the ideal goal would be IX and X to be made over the next 2-3 years (I want this so badly now), but the BBC perhaps need more incentive to commission them. A one-off episode, which would no doubt receive great ratings, would be a solid starting point.

  22. For me this has cleared up exactly what’s happened.

    Circa 2004 Doug has gone back to the BBC suggesting Red Dwarf IX. The BBC knowing Doctor Who is on the way – and possibly even Hyperdrive decided to decline so that they could give Doctor Who’s relaunch its full attention. (Pre New Who I guess the BBC thought that Sci-Fi was dead and relauching two high profile SF franchises is one year woul be too much for their poor little minds. Or, of course, they wanted to clear the way for their new comedy SF project.)

    Now things are different. Red Dwarf has grabbed attention again, Hyperdrive has been axed… I think this is the best chance we have for new Dwarf.

  23. Was the intermediary possibly Paul Jackson? When did he get to ITV?

    From what I recall, the BBC Films statement was something along the lines of “you’re too successful for us”, but I can’t remember when that was made.

    I’m sure that GNP did put the story about in order to get publicity, even if it is along the lines of “Calling all broadcasters! Get your successful comedy here!” It’s possible that they don’t want to deal with the BBC now, whether the door is open or not.

    Who knows? I’m waiting for “Red Dwarf: The Gravedigger Edition”, produced in 100 years time where they make an extensive documentary about… I’ve gone too far…

  24. > Still, I have no doubt that the statement and attitude attributed to the BBC is correct – that they turned down any more TV stuff because it isn?t the audience they were hoping to attract – and that?s the essential point that it?s perhaps easy to forget under the rest of the stuff.

    But essentially what GNP are saying now is that Doug says that an ex-BBC employee said that someone at the BBC said that they were no longer interested in Dwarf’s audience.

    I have a few problems with that.

    I don’t like the fact that they didn’t make it clear at DJ when this took place and that there was no official meeting,

    At DJ, the assumption from people seems to have been that the BBC were showing prejudice in their desired audience. We have no idea what the context was though. As this comment is supposed to have been made in 2004, it may very well have meant that they had other sci-fi projects that they were working on, as Steve has said, which would have been fair enough.

    We also don’t know if that’s the only reason they gave.

    Personally I think that this has all become a little childish and the comments about the movie in GNP’s statement make it seem like handbags at 10 paces.

    I still hope that something good can come out of it though.

  25. >Personally, I blame Jane Root for all of this. No reason, I just hate her.

    Don’t be silly.

    It’s all Gannon’s fault.

  26. > It?s all Gannon?s fault.

    :D

  27. The BBC took one look at the TORDFC website and couldn’t stomach being associated with its Proboards-esque design.

  28. G&T Admin

    No mention of the matter on the show this week. Tsk.

  29. G&T Admin

    Although apparently, a barely-noticable shot of a crew member in a mirror in Eastenders means that the entire production is a disaster.

    And people complain about Dwarf fans and nitpicking!

  30. To be fair, though… Eastenders is shit, so the entire production IS a disaster.

    Considered and thoughtful opinion, there.

  31. Personally I think GNP’s comments simply make things look worse for them, and whatever the truth is I hope something good comes out of it.

    However I still believe that if they hadn’t spent so many years buggering about trying to get a film made, Dwarf would probably have had a few more years public service.

    They stoppped at the wrong time, I’ve always believed that. They should have done ten series, then gone for the film (They were asked to make a ninth series straight after 8 were they not?), and if they could not have got a film made within three years of trying, gone back to TV.

    I also think they should have spent time whilst making the series looking for funding for a film, you can bet the makers of Doctor Who today won’t make that mistake.

    In fact look at Tom Baker, he couldn’t get funding for a Doctor Who film when he was the Doctor (Even though it sounded pants which probably didn’t help), so I do feel sorry for GNP, but I think they brought this all on themselves, much to my annoyance as Dwarf is a brilliant series.

  32. > They were asked to make a ninth series straight after 8 were they not?

    Not. Where on Earth did you get that from?!

    > and if they could not have got a film made within three years of trying, gone back to TV.

    Because in 2002 or 3 we’d have been welcomed back with open arms?!

  33. —> They were asked to make a ninth series straight after 8 were they not?

    >Not. Where on Earth did you get that from?!

    —> and if they could not have got a film made within three years of trying, gone back to TV.

    >Because in 2002 or 3 we?d have been welcomed back with open arms?!

    With regard to Series 9 (And I totally accept I may be wrong), but I thought GNP was asked to do Series 9 and they decided to opt for getting a movie made instead.

    As for whether or not you’d have been welcomed with open arms or not who can say, however I think three years to get a film made and failing is long enough. Obviously it wasn’t my baby, and it wasn’t me trying to get a film made about something I’d invested most of my life in, but I also know the industry fairly well and think that 3 years would have been enough time to know it wasn’t likely to happen.

  34. > I think three years to get a film made and failing is long enough.

    Tell that to…aw hell, anyone whose ever had a movie in development over the last 40 years!

  35. It took J. Michael Straczynski over 10 years to get Babylon 5 picked up by someone, and in the mean time paramount, who he went to with the idea in 1989 nicked it and launched deep sace 9.

    So maybe in 7 years time after Film 4 have done a Hyperdrive *spits* movie, someone will suddenly think it’s a good idea to throw some money at it.

  36. Of course the original series didn’t get sold for three years either…and then the rehearsed production was shut-down. There’s a certain poetry in that.

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