A comedy series set in space

What with all the excitement about Red Dwarf X, let’s not forget that G&T loves to bang on about obscure things from ages ago, too. Several years ago, me and Ian did some research in a massive concrete block for an article on the contemporary reaction to the very first series of Dwarf. The other day, I came across this sheaf of photocopies, and the below seemed worth posting on its own – the Radio Times episode capsule for The End, from its original broadcast on 15th February 1988.

Red Dwarf: The End Radio Times capsule
(Click on the image for the full BBC 2 schedule for the day)

A few things to note:

  • The “Within 24 hours, 168 of them will be dead” was adapted into a line in Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, at the end of Part One, Chapter 11: “In just over seven months, every one of them would be dead.”
  • Crediting Chris Barrie as “Arnold Rimmer BSC, SSC” is extremely amusing. Crediting Danny John-Jules as “?” so it wouldn’t give away a major plot twist is extremely brilliant.
  • Remember when the Radio Times had room to give the lighting guy a credit?
  • That BBC 2 schedule looks like a fun night’s TV to me. Although that Horizon capsule proves that scaremongering isn’t anything new. I remember Horizon being better than that…

Incidentally, if anyone has any contemporary reviews of Series 1 for that planned article, I’d love to see them. Anything that was published in the national press I either have or can get, but there must be some obscure things lying around that I’ve never seen. Surely some Doctor Who fanzines must have reviewed the series?

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48 Responses to A comedy series set in space

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  1. This makes me so happy. Little did ’80s viewers know what was about to hit them. Especially those who came back next week for Future Echoes!

    Craig is rocking a ’50s tough guy look in that photo.

    Also, TIL “tramp steamer” http://www.ehow.com/about_5048297_tramp-steamer.html
    I knew what a steamer is, of course, but not a tramp one.

  2. Always used to scour the Radio Times for details of that week’s episode. More of these would be very welcome!

    Vaguely remember Meltdown’s description being ‘the crew land on a wax world theme park’, Back To Reality’s non spoilery one line synopsis of ‘the crew investigate the derelict SSS Esperanto’ or some such and a nice picture of Anita Dobson and CP Crogan accompanying the Psirens listing.

    The mere mention of Red Dwarf in the Radio Times still gets me all tingly.

  3. I love the description of the ship as a “tramp steamer”. It might not be technically accurate (presumably RD did run to a fixed schedule… although I suppose it became a tramp steamer after the accident!), but it seems to fit perfectly.

  4. The ’168 of them will be dead’ line Is excellent. Not what I expected to read at all.

  5. Hard to believe the old ‘concrete block’ will soon be gone – did a fair amount of research for GW in there, too. Those creaky, old microfilm copiers were ace. Hope they’ll have a new home at the LOB site.

  6. G&T Admin

    Hard to believe the old ‘concrete block’ will soon be gone – did a fair amount of research for GW in there, too. Those creaky, old microfilm copiers were ace. Hope they’ll have a new home at the LOB site.

    Oh, man, I didn’t know it was being knocked down!

    I may be the only person in the country to say it, but – in its own way – I think the building is rather beautiful.

  7. Truth be told, I never thought it sat right with the surrounding architecture – a lone block of New Brutalism surrounded by Victorian / Edwardian classical brickwork. Saying that, in fact, it does have a fair amount of supporters. An Italian mate of mine absolutely loved it when he lived in the area.

    Ironically, I’m not particuarly keen on the new site’s exterior either. It’s just too trendy for my taste. I did recently hear it referred to as looking like an old sprung matress… :/

  8. >Hard to believe the old ‘concrete block’ will soon be gone

    So some of you are from Birmingham then? I was curious what part of England the G&T staff and frequenters are from, but wasn’t sure if I should ask. The sketch for the new library looks nice.

    Weird: above the library images, Google suggests a “related search”: peter the great statue (on the Moscow River). Is there some connection or is Google being wrong? (nb – it’s kind of reassuring that Google still gets things wrong.)

  9. > Weird: above the library images, Google suggests a “related search”: peter the great statue (on the Moscow River). Is there some connection or is Google being wrong? (nb – it’s kind of reassuring that Google still gets things wrong.)

    Ditto.

  10. Ah, Moonlighting. Back before Bruce Willis was a badass has-been and had hair.

  11. He’s a ghost.

  12. >He’s a ghost.

    You just *had* to post a spoiler. (-;

  13. I would say that was a massive spoiler! Letting on the crew were dead, ok spoilt for a week but seeing as the magazine was the only medium, brave.

    I have all the Radio Times clippings cut out and glued to card, nights were long, there wasn’t even any cheese snap!

    I’ll dig out my 1988 magazines, it was reviewed in quite a few, but more stand alone magazines like SFX type, than another show mags. I also have press cuttings, not sure how far they go back though.

  14. > I would say that was a massive spoiler! Letting on the crew were dead

    I think that’s more akin to giving away that Harry Potter is a wizard or that…Jen ends up in the IT basement. It’s the initial setup of the whole show so not really too big a deal to reveal it.

    I AM mightily impressed with that RT listing. It’s no wonder plenty of people tuned in for The End.

  15. G&T Admin

    i always thought that the ? was simply a case of the RT not knowing the proper name of the character. Didn’t even consider that it was spoiler prevention.

  16. >i always thought that the ? was simply a case of the RT not knowing the proper name of the character. Didn’t even consider that it was spoiler prevention.

    That was my first thought, but I would guess the RT would have been working off some kind of press release in addition to a screener (did they even HAVE screeners back in those days)? Interesting how it also says the ship is currently mining around Saturn. I think Titan’s mentioned a few times in The End, but for Saturn to be specifically included in the listings, well that’s dedication. Is Saturn mentioned during the original assembly, at all? Can’t recall.

    In fact, the entire blurb almost reads as if it was written by a fan… BEFORE the show has gone out! :D

  17. > In fact, the entire blurb almost reads as if it was written by a fan… BEFORE the show has gone out! :D

    Blurb writers just knew their shit in those days.

  18. Agreed. Also, with there only being four channels, it must have been considerably easier to focus on the finer points.

  19. Actually, back then, RT only covered the BBC channels. You had to buy the TV Times for ITV and Channel 4. They didn’t start covering all channels til the early nineties.

  20. G&T Admin

    I would be willing to bet money that the capsule was written by Rob and Doug themselves. The joke reuse in Infinity points to that most – along with the fact that the Cliche/Son of Cliche capsules are STUFFED with jokes and nonsense.

  21. > Actually, back then, RT only covered the BBC channels. You had to buy the TV Times for ITV and Channel 4. They didn’t start covering all channels til the early nineties.

    Wow. I assumed they were already covering other channels by ’88. But yeah, definitely satellite & cable by ’92 at least.

    >I would be willing to bet money that the capsule was written by Rob and Doug themselves. The joke reuse in Infinity points to that most – along with the fact that the Cliche/Son of Cliche capsules are STUFFED with jokes and nonsense.

    That does make sense.

  22. G&T Admin

    Yes, pretty sure it’s always been the case that episode capsules are provided for the press by either the channel or the production company, rather than the mags having to find stuff out for themselves.

  23. Wonder what the guidelines were back then, and also in comparison to what is in place today. Either way, the stuff would have been vetted/copy-edited before print, surely. Would be interesting to see how the later episodes were billed, too.

  24. G&T Admin

    Before! I’m interested in how many other comedy writers do the same, though…

  25. TV Times episode descriptions were traditionally quite shit.

  26. Poldark and Moonlighting! I’m now feeling extremely old.

    .

    Actually, back then, RT only covered the BBC channels. You had to buy the TV Times for ITV and Channel 4. They didn’t start covering all channels til the early nineties.

    Are you absolutely certain? Because I’m pretty sure I can remember all the channels being in one magazine through most of the 80s.

  27. G&T Admin

    i remember it being quite a big deal when Radiotimes started listing the ‘other’ channels in their magazine.

  28. G&T Admin

    It was listing other channels which lost us the in-depth capsules due to lack of space, which I *still* mourn…

  29. I’m mourning the loss of reasonably detailed morning listings.

  30. G&T Admin

    I never understood the ’6.0′, ’12.0′ system of time. Was it purely a space saver?

  31. What a lovely thing to see. I’m glad my memories of Red Dwarf followed by Moonlighting followed by bed (school the next day, bah) was correct.

    Back when I was running Dr Who’s Space Comic, I know that Russell T Davies made sure that he (or someone else in the office, approved by him) wrote the Radio Times listings for DW, to make sure they weren’t rubbish. I recall that Gareth Roberts used to write the Coronation Street ones way back in the day, too. But then he also did things like name the knicker factory Underworld, name the old people’s home Mayfield Court (after William Hartnell’s home village) and once introduce a character called Miss Winters who ran a facility called Thinktank. The naughty thing.

    Oh, and as this is my first post – I really do like this site.

    Clay
    x

  32. G&T Admin

    Hello! Welcome aboard.

  33. And congratulations on being the first well known person to post here that hasn’t already been called a cunt in the forum.

  34. Blimey, Clay Hickman. Go Team G&T.

  35. ‘Ey up, Clay! I was the Van Gogh you took a snap of at Gally last year.

  36. Wow, that was a pleasant and unexpected turn of events.
    Conversation died. Then Clay Hickman turns up.

    Fuck, life would be better if everything happened like that.

  37. Well that’s a nice welcome, cheers! Though I hardly warrant a Blimey. And things don’t actually get better when I turn up anywhere, or at least I’ve never noticed it. Except maybe that episode of Richard and Judy, which I livened up immeasurably!

    Anyway, thanks for being so welcoming. And hello!

    C
    x

  38. G&T Admin

    I know that Russell T Davies made sure that he (or someone else in the office, approved by him) wrote the Radio Times listings for DW, to make sure they weren’t rubbish. I recall that Gareth Roberts used to write the Coronation Street ones way back in the day, too.

    It’s nice to know this can still thought of as important (although when it comes to Russell, it’s not much of a surprise that he made the effort!), especially since it almost feels a bit like pissing in the wind when there are now so many other places publishing capsules.

    Oh, and a belated welcome to the site, Clay!

  39. Stop welcoming Clay to the site, everyone, you’re going to make him feel uncomfortable.

  40. G&T Admin

    Careful now, I can *un*welcome you at the flick of a switch, traitor.

  41. Who is Clay Hickman?

  42. (Googles, click, wikipedia)

    Oh wow, done all that, Cool. Nice one. Welcome.
    Oh dam now my previous post looks like a bad gag.

  43. Does anyone have other scans of RT listings for the rest of the run?

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