There are now just fifteen days to go until Red Dwarf XI starts on Dave, and a mere eight days until it premieres online. As we put the finishing touches to our plan of how to deal with all this (there’s a spreadsheet, with upwards of four pages), there are enough small pieces of news knocking about to warrant dusting off this old strand, for the first time in four years. The snippets of new information are coming quicker than we can front page them, so do keep an eye on our Twitter and our forum to keep up to date. But if you’ve missed anything so far this week, it’s hopefully all here.
SOMETIMES YOU (KTV) LIVE, YOU DIE, AND THEN YOU (KTV) LIVE AGAIN – Yesterday saw the latest annual UKTV Live event, which is essentially a massive press launch for the year’s flagship original productions, across the family of channels. Naturally, Red Dwarf was the main draw, with the event culminating in a screening of Twentica followed by a chat between Chris, Craig, Robert, Doug and the pornography enthusiast Alice Levine. Quotes from this chat have shown up in various places, with the Radio Times and Chortle providing the most comprehensive collections I’ve seen. I like this bit:
“It is quite interesting and relevant,” Naylor said at a special screening. “The horror of a society that represses science, I feel, is quite contemporary.
“There’s a lot in this series that is of the moment, that is about big issues.
“Because it’s set in the future you can play with so many ideas, that is why [Red Dwarf] doesn’t ever look dated. You can look back on some of the comedies that were made in the same year we started in 1988 and they really start to feel their age. But because we are set so far in the future it doesn’t affect us so much.”
And I would draw attention to Chris’s comments about a toupee, but let’s not go there again. Elsewhere at the event, former Junior Phantom Flan Flinger Jamie East hosted a Periscope chat with the three cast members. Unfortunately, it was beset with both technical problems and the cast’s inability to remember what information had and hadn’t been released, but our lovely friend Jonsmad has typed up the highlights in our forum.
‘BUG WANKER – One big bit of news to come out of the event came from someone who was there to promote a different show entirely. James Buckley, best known for being off of The Inbetweeners and for standing awkwardly next to Ocean Colour Scene on stage at a festival I went to several years ago, outed himself as having guest-starred in an episode of either XI or XII. His comments about his love for the show are pleasing to hear, and they’re genuine too, as we already knew he is a fan. He also says that he may not be recognisable in his role, which suggests he’s playing some sort of droid, GELF or other non-humanoid character.
ARE YOU SAYING I’VE GOT A BIG BUMPER? – Meanwhile, Dave’s on-air promotional campaign continues apace. Our thanks to Craig Walker and Curtis Threadgold on Twitter for tipping us off regarding a short break bumper which is starting to appear on the channel on a regular basis. We hear a brief snippet of the iconic original theme music, under a model shot glide-by of the bottom of the ship, which is largely obscured by this special logo:
— Craig Walker (@Craigster_90) September 6, 2016
It’s a simple thing, and I’m still not particularly enthralled by the word “Smegtember”, but it’s always a good sign when elements of a show are so iconic – the music, the ship, the shape of the logo, the word “smeg” – that they can be used in this context, without the name of the programme, and a channel-hopping audience will instantly know what it means. You see these types of bumpers for shows like Big Brother, The X Factor and Doctor Who, and the fact that Dave are putting them out with more than a fortnight still to go are another indication of how important Red Dwarf is to the channel.
[Incidentally, Danny John-Jules responded to our tweet about this, but we have absolutely no idea what he’s bollocking on about.]
YEAH, COME ON, LET’S DO IT – Naturally, Red Dwarf is front and centre in a new promo spot for UKTV Play, the on demand service that will host the first showing of each episode. A microscopic amount of new footage features in the ad, which we exclusively and expertly pointed a phone at last night:
— Ganymede & Titan (@ganymedetitan) September 6, 2016
YOU GOT MERCHED – In intriguing news, some character badges were handed out as freebies at the UKTVLive event. Gazpacho Soup have spotted that some enterprising opportunist has decided to flog some for hugely inflated prices on eBay. We’re not going to link to that, but check out the pictures from the listing:
— Gazpacho Soup (@GazpachoSoupRD) September 6, 2016
New merchandise at last! This is long overdue, and we look forward to seeing what’s unveiled on 15th September (other than a brand new episode of Red Dwarf, of course). Currently, the URL on the back simply redirects to Dave’s Dwarf page, but keep an eye on it.
UPDATE! More details of the merchandise have emerged, along with pictures of some of the products on offer! The UKTV press release shows a hoodie and a t-shirt, along with details and a screen-grab regarding Red Dwarf XI: The Game, which is very exciting indeed. Curiously, Den of Geek’s write-up also features two different garments; the press release mentions far more items than those we’ve seen pictured. @RedDwarfHQ promises more pictures for tomorrow’s TOS update, so we’ll save our analysis for then, as hopefully their write-up will be a bit more definitive. But just to forewarn you all: if this game isn’t available on Android as well as iOS, I will never ever shut up about it.
NEWS FOR FOREIGNERS – Reading between the lines, it seems likely that Doug might want people to stop tweeting him the same questions over and over every time anyone so much as mentions the new series. He’s addressed the issue of how fans from outside of the UK can watch the new series, by pointing out that it’s not been picked up in the US yet, but that the DVD will be released in both America and Australia, and that they’re still working on TV deals.
V WILL MAKE YOU GET DOWN NOW – Thank you to everyone that participated in our tweet-along to Series IV last Saturday. It was really good fun, and we made some memorable additions to the #dwarffacts canon. This weekend, Dave are repeating Series V back-to-back in the same slot – Saturday, 1pm-5pm – and we’ll be doing much of the same again. So make sure you’re following us on Twitter if you want to see our searing insight into something which happened 24 years ago, and make sure you’re not following us if that sounds utterly tedious.
Also coming up this weekend, probably quite late on Sunday to be honest, will be the last in our series of weekly X commentaries. The DwarfCast will also contain all the information you’ve been dying to hear regarding our plans for how we cover Series XI, in light of the audience being split between the online and TV timings. It’s naturally not going to be ideal for some people, but we’ve come up with what we think is the fairest way to provide something for everyone. Thank you for all your feedback on this – the main thing we got from it was a sense of warm fuzziness from the tremendous support you’ve shown us. Come on, let’s do it.