As you’re reading this, 2015 is well in the process of getting definitively and entirely fucked off. In tribute to the year in which Marty McFly fell through the bar, we thought we’d take a look back at one of the most significant twelve months in the show’s long and smeg smeared history. So deck the halls with lack of Holly, queue up your favourite Christmassy booze and join us in our in depth inspection of G&T and Red Dwarf’s 2015.
As Samantha Janus looked back at a mostly uneventful 2014 (the Baby Cow partnership, Over to Bill and Craig Charles being good in a jungle being the only notable happenings), little did she know that the year in which she was looking ahead would end up being so significant. Before the storm of conventions, announcements and filming, however, there must come a quiet. A shit, shit quiet.
G&T, as enthusiastic as ever for the fresh year ahead, kicked things off by talking over a terrible thing, with Ian Symes and Danny Stephenson taking another hit for the team, while the rest of us sat around in our pants, eating crisps. In the wider, more official, world of Red Dwarf we can exclusively reveal that it continued to be repeated on Dave, a new Back to Earth / Series X Japanese boxset was announced, and the cast stubbornly continued with their non-Dwarfy careers.
The month started with the sad news of the passing of Geraldine McEwan, primarily known in these parts for her role as/in Cassandra, the least shit episode of Series VIII. In more inconsequential news, February 18th saw a truly rare occurrence; Jonathan Capps actually managed to write something, in the shape of his purely objective and utterly correct ranking of Red Dwarf books.
To cap the month off, we were disappointed to learn that Graham McTavish valued his wider career over spending a weekend in a Nottingham hotel with us lot, but we ended up with an arguable upgrade in the massive shape of Gordon ‘Hudzen 10’ Kennedy. And so began 2015’s build up to Dimension Jump…
Time marched on, but not quite quickly enough, as the world of Red Dwarf continued to spin its wheels (AND NIPPLE NUTS!1) for another month until the big stuff started to ramp up. Here on G&T John Hoare kept us ticking nicely along with his High & Low for deleted scenes, and the resurrection of Xtended Revisited. an article series first begun eight years ago. He may not be quick but he blah blah something blah in the end…
Over in Officialdom, TOS was paying the bills with news of various individual cast projects, as well as the vaguely exciting news that the Red Dwarf Radio Shows (basically abridged versions of the first two audiobooks, with added sound effects) were coming to Spotify. Hopefully we’ll see an extension of this sort of wider availability of Red Dwarf audiobooks in the future – how about a nice, new unabridged version of Backwards and Last Human? Anyone?
The morning of April 1st dawned and all was well in the happy, fun loving community of G&T, and oh well nevermind let’s have a giant fight with Tumblr. I reached out to Ian Symes, tyrannical gatekeeper of the fandom, to defend his words and deeds:
Look, it wasn’t the hand of Ian Symes that wrote that article, it was the hand of god. OK, I did write the article, but I didn’t inhale. Well, it depends on your definition of “writing”. That article was just resting in my account. My finger slipped. QUICK. LOOK OVER THERE. *runs away*
(srsly though, sorry it all got out of hand. No hard feelings.)
I also intended to get a quote from the Tumblr community, but I couldn’t be bothered.
Unperturbed, John Hoare forged ahead with Xtended Revisited, watching far more of Duct Soup than is strictly reasonable, before G&T Towers was visited by the brilliant Hattie Hayridge and SHE USED MY COFFEE MUG. Oh, and she also spent some time talking to Ian Symes, Danny Stephenson and Jo Sharples all about being Hattie Hayridge and also brilliant.
Meanwhile, Seb published a fantastic article about Red Dwarf’s retcons over on TOS, as the TORDFC’s Back to Reality magazine landed in member’s grateful inboxes. As April drew to a close, G&T marked the passing of entertainer Keith Harris – John’s tribute aimed squarely at members of our community who share our interest in great comedy as well as the production design of Paul Montague.
It was a fairly busy month, all things told, but hold on to your wage packets (that’s a Red Dwarf reference) because 2015 is about to get real, and fast. Dimension Jump ahoy!
So, this happened. Doug Naylor gets on stage at Dimension Jump XVIII and announces to 300+ fans that Red Dwarf is back. Twice. The noise in the room was almost as incredible as the news itself, and so we were set up for what would be a barnstorming second half to the year. While the fandom would’ve been forgiven for expecting at least some XI news at Dimension Jump (it is becoming somewhat of a tradition, after all), I don’t think anyone quite expected it to be on such a scale.
Huge announcements aside, DJ itself was excellent, full of great guests and good times, and the present G&T crew managed to be awake enough to kidnap a hapless collection of misfits to record the traditional round-up DwarfCast before promptly face-planting onto our three star beds. Over on TOS, the marvellous Pete Dillon-Trenchard stepped into the shoes of Andrew Ellard, Seb Patrick and Rich Lawden before him to perform the task of officially chronicling the event.
While Red Dwarf repeats ramped up on Dave, John Hoare concluded his Xtended Revisited series by comparing the broadcast to DVD edit of Back in the Red. Which one is better? Spoilers: they’re both terrible.
Finally, the news of the new series shone light on the woefully neglected @Red DwarfHQ Twitter account, with this piece of SCATHING JOURNALISM. Turns out GNP and Baby Cow noticed too, and now everything is fine.
June began with Dave’s Red Dwarf repeats carrying on apace. It was inevitable, then, that the thorny issue of UKTV’s heavily edited tapes would rear its ugly head again, so step forward John ‘Edits’ Hoare to set the ball rolling, ready for a July dominated by edit based curiosities. In related news, Netflix saw fit to stick Red Dwarf back on its servers – again, we’ll see more of this next month.
June, however, was about jokes, starting with a very interesting discovery from the late Bob Monkhouse’s joke book, showing that his meticulous, magpie like tendencies towards collecting and recording jokes extended as far as Son of Cliché. Speaking of Son of Cliché, the month would also see John present the four versions of the ‘Decimalised Music’ joke, seen in Cliché, SoC, Infinity and Kryten. To round up the hat-trick. John also put forward a thesis that the famous “Ringo isn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles” joke was, in fact, written by Rob and Doug. Doug denies it, but John Hoare’s investigation continues during the times when he’s not comparing different versions of things.
Step aside Dave, it’s GOLD’s turn to repeat your show now, and they’re almost certainly going to fuck it up, the stupid bastards. Or… maybe not? They seemed to be actually showing the appropriate edits at the appropriate times, for the first time in ever. No, but wait, Marooned was still, for some ungodly reason, the only episode to be shown in its remastered form.
To wrap up edit based shenanigans, the recent re-addition of Red Dwarf onto Netflix threw up an interesting oddity regarding a music substitution in The End. Intrepid reporter John Hoare was once again on the case. It pleases me, looking back, that anyone with a new found interest in the show after the announcement would find the most prominent fan site talking in gleeful detail about this stuff.
As a counterpoint to the recent news that Red Dwarf was definitely returning, it was nice to see ‘confirmation’ of Chris Barrie’s other sit-com making a come back also surfaced, with G&T taking the COMMON SENSE stance and pointing out that bugger all has actually been confirmed.
The build up to the Series XI and XII recordings truly started in early August as Doug took to Twitter to reveal some details about the audience tickets. At the same time Naylor Minor was mopping up in Chris Barrie’s wake, laying to rest the suggestion that Series XI would air in March of 2016, and Howard Goodall revealed the exciting news that he’s once again on board to provide the music for the new series. And just in case we’re not OFFICIAL enough for you, TOS had its own announcement to calm you all the fuck down.
In the land of G&T, Ian Symes completely and utterly lost his mind and decided to write, like, a million words about Red Dwarf or sutin. Regardless of the quite stunning amount of detail contained within, the entire thing is worth it entirely for “Lister has a really elaborate wank.”
As UKTV prepared to launch its new season of high quality televisual entertainment there were rumblings about something exciting being announced during their press event. In the end it was a competition giving some disgusting Red Dwarf fanboy and/or girl the chance to sully our glorious show with their disgraceful face.
With the first recording day only a couple of months away, Lost in TV once again bravely put itself right in the centre of fandom’s crosshairs by organising the ticketing for the new series, this time with an improved lottery system, giving everyone a luxurious two weeks to apply. This definitely stopped people whining about the process being unfair. Yes.
With ticket details and recording dates out there for all to get a tizz about, it was time for pre-production to kick the fuck off and on the 28th it did exactly that. This is always an exciting time, and this was no exception with a picture of a seemly massively improved Kryten mask and a lovely picture of potential locations to get everyone all slippery and pliant.
The month started with The Official Red Dwarf Fan Club publishing their Dimension Jump edition of Back to Reality – the place where all this Series XI and XII madness first began. Coincidentally, G&T also released a commentary DwarfCast for the episode that provided the name of the previous fan club mag, Better Than Life.
Unlike 2002, pre-production on new Red Dwarf was continuing nicely, and the first script workshop / read-through brought with it some new information on the production crew and some terrifying hints at a Dibbley filled future. The length of that news piece by Ian Symes gives you a good indication as to the building anticipation here at G&T Towers, as it started to finally dawn on us that this is all actually happening.
For the first time in four years, a new series of Red Dwarf began shooting. Presumably tying in to the location information we’d seen previously, pre-shoots began a week before studio work giving G&T just enough time to cobble together a Series XI and XII preview DwarfCast. What percentage of our impertinent guesses and wild assumptions will turn out to be wrong? 100%.
G&T continued to embrace modern journalism by re-posting millions of tweets in the run up to the first audience recording date, the most interesting of which give us a big list of crew and actor names presumably involved in the first episode, ready for Ian Symes to analyse the balls off of. Thank God Big Brother wasn’t in production.
And then the day came, along with around 300 lucky Red Dwarf fans. As our headline pointed out, it had been 1386 days since the last time Red Dwarf had been filmed in front of people and it was almost like we’d never been away. As such, G&T’s set reports were back, but this time in a different format due to the fact we were a tad ticketedly challenged.
Before we knew it, and on a very special day for TOS, episode 2 was on us and it started to become clear that things are looking very positive in Pinewood. In a nice exclusive, G&T community member, and all round good guy, Jonsmad skanked over to Craig Charles and wrung a nice little interview out of him, presumably while making some sort of statement about a rude boy.
In late November, fans were stunned to learn that episode 3 would follow episode 2. Twitter continued to be a giant leak-fest of information about minor guest stars and color based effects setups. The positive feedback from audience members continued to roll in and an incredibly busy and exciting November drew to a close.
The month of Christmas would not be complete without presents, and December started with the gift of spoilers, giving us the first unsolicited glimpse at the new crew costumes. Jumping ahead in a time a little, the much discussed Starbug cockpit also saw the light of day, and then later the light of blue thanks to a UKTV executive that simply does not give a fuck about production secrets.
Conversely, the lead up to episode 4 was scant on information but the set report (this time a full article from the desk of Kris Carter) was full of more positivity, with Ian Symes’s boxout providing a bit of a counterpoint.
The build up to episode 5 recording featured a bit of a kerfuffle around the airing dates based on comment by Bobby on Periscope. The recording itself came and went, and this time our set report was in DwarfCast form, with Danny Stephenson and Jez Harrison coming back with the information, and Ian Symes pumping them thoroughly in the debriefing room.
Meanwhile, Doug’s interview with SFX was published and revealed, among other things, that the episodes will be mainly self contained and could even be shuffled about between series. That’s the Preview DwarfCast assumption about story arcs fucked, then.
And so we reached what we assume is the last big event of 2015, the sixth and final recording of Series XI. Despite the lack of clarity regarding transmission orders, the long shadow cast by The Beginning perhaps raised expectations a tad, and in the days leading up to the recording news of a guest set that “runs the length of the studio” further hinted at something special. 2000+ plus words from Ian Symes backed this up, and 2015 ended on a massive high. Reading that set report you can almost see his Brummie face, beaming with the undiluted joy of a child at Christmas, which is appropriate because it is Christmas now.
Well, that was quite the twelve months, wasn’t it? A year which started with uncertainty about the future of the show and ended with it in as rude health as it’s ever been and a whole new series of Red Dwarf in the can. On behalf of all the staff at Ganymede & Titan I’d like to thank our disgraceful community for keeping us entertained and motivated throughout the last twelve months. Any website that enjoys a healthy comment thread and forum based community in this day and age has a great deal to be thankful for.
So thank you, and please join Ian, John, Tanya, Danny, Cappsy and Samantha Janus’ horrific double face as we look forward to 2016, a year which will see a new series recorded, another broadcast, and a whole lot more G&T twattery to boot.