This isn’t happening. It’s a nightmare.

UK Gold pre-launch caption Last time, we left you with a cliffhanger. Would Gold show the original version of Marooned in its current repeat run, or would it show the crappy old Remastered version instead? (In case you need reminding: this is the “Remastered” version which is so terrible it shoves in a new CGI shot of the ship at the beginning of the episode, and then cuts to the existing model shot of the cargo bay doors opening… covered in film dirt. Encapsulating the warped priorities of the Remastered project in a nutshell.)

Sadly, despite Gold continuing to show both pre-watershed and post-watershed edits of the show for the most part – which is far better than Dave managed on their last repeat run – both showings of Marooned this time round resolutely remained the Remastered version instead of the original.

It’s truly bizarre, really. If the whole of the first three series was shown like this, that’d be one thing – not a great thing to do, but at least somewhat consistent. But for it simply to be one episode has to be the result of some dodgy paperwork somewhere down the line. It’s difficult to have respect for a channel when they clearly don’t know what the hell they’re broadcasting. For nobody at UKTV to even query why Marooned looks completely different to every other episode in the series for years on end is complete madness. I mean, you can tell it’s the wrong version from the opening titles, let alone anything else.

Still, as a continuation of a years-long issue, I must admit there’s a certain amount of glee in seeing exactly how long this can go on for. I won’t bore you with regular updates on this issue any more – but let’s see whether this version is still being shown in five years, shall we?

I’ll leave you with one final thought. Marooned was the episode which pushed the video of release of Red Dwarf III – Byte One up to a 15. Even with the DVD release, the episode was rated 12. All because of Lister admitting he had sex at the age of 12 on a golf course. Gold cuts out many PG-related “bastards”, V-signs, and general rudery – but the version of Marooned they play pre-watershed is exactly the same as the post-watershed version. (Two adult men wanking off over Lolita and all.)

It’s hardly the first time there’s a disparity between what the BBFC and what broadcasters will worry over – but that doesn’t stop it being hugely interesting. I must admit, I’m on the BBFC’s side – whilst I wouldn’t have ever rated it 15, I think Lister fucking someone when he was 12 is dodgier than all the cut bastards too. But that requires more of a judgement call, whereas mild bad language is easy to put on a checklist of disallowed things.

And Red Dwarf edited by checklist isn’t really a very appealing thought.

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  1. Y’know, along similar lines, the discovery that Red Dwarf aired on a kids network in some parts of Canada has always piqued my curiosity. How on earth was it edited for children? How much survived? Were any episodes left out of the run entirely? I think that merits investigation.

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