Unabandoned Shop

In amongst all the excitement of Twentica being unleashed to the world, the launch of the brand new Red Dwarf shop has understandably taken a back seat. But on any other day, this would be a huge deal, so let’s take a closer look. The first impression is that the site is functional but attractive. Nice big pictures and prices of everything on offer on the front page, with sub-indexes divided between “clothing” and “accessories”. It’s a bit of a shame, however, that the pictures are quite low-res, and that there’s no option to zoom in to take a closer look at the items you’re expected to pay good money for. There are details you can make out in last week’s TOS update that you can’t actually see on the shop itself!

As for what’s for sale, we have a choice of nine t-shirts (one long-sleeved, one polo, the others regular), all of which are available in S-XXL and presumably intended to be unisex. There’s also two hoodies, a mug, a bag, a poster, a postcard set, a lanyard, a badge set and a keyring. It’s worth noting that none of these things are actually available yet – you can order them all right now, but they’re all listed as shipping in October 2016. Prices are decent, particularly for the clothing, although the lanyard and keyring seem a bit steep at £8 each, before p&p. I placed a massive order earlier, and the shipping cost seemed very reasonable, but I’ve since seen unconfirmed reports that there’s a minimum shipping cost of £5.60 per order, no matter how small.

On the plus side, while we’ll have to wait to inspect the quality of the finished goods before making a declaration on value for money, the designs are consistently good, with a mixture of subtle and blatant branding to suit every need, and great use of the show’s iconography. A handful of the designs appear to make references to specific episodes and characters from Series XI, and it’s strange to see potential spoilers being put out there in this manner, especially as these are all pre-orders anyway – they could have been held back until the episodes in question have been on TV. Aside from anything else, they don’t know yet how the fans will react to these episodes – what if we end up all hating whatever “Captain Bollocks” means?

The single most intriguing item in terms of episode teasers has to be the postcard set. Six photographs feature: two of them are previously released stills (top left, middle left); two were first glimpsed in yesterday’s SFX (middle right, bottom right); and the other two are completely new (top right, bottom left). Again, the image available on the site is irritatingly small, but we can make one assumption: we know that the first still is from Twentica, the third from Give and Take and the fifth from Krysis, so it would make sense if there’s one from each episode, and that they’re presented in order.

In other news, it really is all go in the world of Red Dwarf on the internet – TOS has been redesigned, including a new banner which indicates that it’s now actually called “TOS” for the first time. The basic chassis of the site appears to be the same, but a new stylesheet has provided a simpler, cleaner, more up-to-date look to the content. Navigation is greatly improved, with big friendly blocks in the sidebar of each page, a much more intuitive nav bar at the top, and a rejigged front page, with thumbnails and lists replacing the old image slider, which makes it a lot easier to find updates that are more than a week old, and indeed to notice new content when they post two things at once. Basically, I approve.

And, it has to be said, UKTV Play’s servers coped very well with this morning’s demand. It took us by surprise by being so damned early – the episode was live just after 9am – but it all seemed to go smoothly from where I’m sitting. I’m not hugely enamoured by the picture quality on offer, and it’s a shame that many people’s first experience of the new series will be in inferior quality to how it will appear on TV, but I can confirm that the version on Sky set-top-boxes is HD, and looks pretty close to broadcast quality to my semi-trained-but-admittedly-quite-sleepy eye. Sky Go, on the other hand, looks dogshit, so don’t watch that.

So, if you have watched Twentica on demand, the place to discuss it is right here, and you can be as candid as you like in the comments. If you haven’t watched it yet, you can read the post itself, but don’t venture in to the comments. It’s worth everyone taking a look at our updated spoiler policy, if you haven’t already.

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68 Responses to Unabandoned Shop

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  1. G&T Admin

    In other news-that’s-suitable-for-everyone-regardless-of-whether-they’ve-watched-the-episode-or-not, the audio from Monday’s BAFTA Q&A is now online.

  2. The £5.60 is a bit much for delivery. I’ll wait until the series is over before buying to save on the delivery rather than buy some now and then buy more later as they are released throughout the series.

    I’ve been keeping an eye on the Google Play store and the game isn’t up yet. It was supposed to be out today, wasn’t it?

  3. G&T Admin

    No, that’s next Thursday!

  4. In other news-that’s-suitable-for-everyone-regardless-of-whether-they’ve-watched-the-episode-or-not, the audio from Monday’s BAFTA Q&A is now online.

    Just listened to that, and I’ve got to say that there are a couple of details and references to scenes within that sound – to someone who *has* decided not to watch til next Thursday – a bit spoilery.

  5. I’ve since seen unconfirmed reports that there’s a minimum shipping cost of £5.60 per order, no matter how small.

    After thorough investigation, I have compiled a complete list of shipping prices.*
    Postcards, Lanyard, Badges, Krysis keyring – £2.75 p&p each.
    Totebag, all T-shirts – £3 p&p each.
    Hoodies and Poster – £5.60 p&p each.

    *clicked on a few things

  6. Posters are presumably so much ‘cos they’ll get shipped in one of those tubes, innit.

  7. Is postage combined for multiple items, or is it charged per item?

  8. G&T Admin

    Combined to be as cheap as possible I think – I bought about 14 things in one go, and only paid a tenner or so for shipping.

  9. Oh, that’s OK. I thought it was per item which would be very strange, and also expensive!

  10. I’m rather hoping they release a few more posters but I hope I don’t have to pay £5.60 delivery for each one otherwise I might just buy the one.

  11. Personally i think the merchandise should have been more timeless, i mean clothing with Red Dwarf XI on it will be out of date by next year, it should just have been the logo IMO

    But hey maybe thats the point, the XII t-shirt will be out by next year ;p

  12. I originally questioned the XI branding, but imagine how much cooler it’ll get over time as it becomes more esoteric. Every day I wish I still had my “Red Dwarf VII: Back From The Dead” T-shirt, for example.

    If we’re really lucky after XII they’ll do some classic branded stuff as well.

  13. For the shirt I want, it’s $8.00 to ship, which is not bad for an international order.

  14. The mug’s jumped from £5 to £12, which is quite the uplift.

  15. Really? Wow, that’s harsh.

  16. I think the £5 might have been a mistake, it seemed conspicuously mega-cheap.

    £5 is what I paid in 1997 for my black serif logo mug which I treasured until my mum broke it about six months later. The Slow Dazzle merch was very nice wasn’t it. Loved the calendar that had the free Starbug standee, and they also did the best poster there’s ever been.

  17. God! I forgot about the Starbug standee!

  18. Just had an email. Stock arrives at dispatch warehouse this week. And Ships then shortly.

    Then 3 millions years if you post pod is second class.

  19. I wonder what the story is behind Doug’s evident self-appointment as online customer service operative for this shop? It’s extraordinarily strange to see.

    Have people genuinely not got their deliveries yet? That’s insane, the stuff’s already all half out of date!

  20. https://twitter.com/Thursoloon/status/793846771487244288
    I’m more interested in why that person thought that Doug, rather than the company actually dealing with the merchandise, was the best place to tweet, to be honest. Doug probably wasn’t aware that there were delivery issues, (and that’s not a criticism, he’s been pretty busy), and would of course want to try and resolve any issues… unfortunately he probably isn’t aware just how widespread the problems are, because his very kind offer to help may open the floodgates.

    I have seen A LOT of complaints about lack of deliveries, but so far I’ve not seen reports of deliveries arriving. :-/

  21. G&T Admin

    I’d recommend those that are waiting for orders email CustomerService@sandbaguk.com – they seem to need to be prompted into action. I’ve been informed that it was the Krysis keyring that was causing the delay, but that they’ll now send the rest of my order out asap. God knows how long it would have taken if I hadn’t have got in touch, which isn’t really the way things should work. Also, I know lots of people who are still waiting for orders that *don’t* include the Krysis keyring.

  22. Funny enough I’ve been waiting over three weeks for shipment confirmation from Sandbag for an album I bought. The record label were baffled.

  23. I ordered a t-shirt on behalf of my mum last night. It’s going to make up part of my christmas present. Hopefully there shouldn’t be too much trouble.

  24. Depends which t-shirt…

  25. Starbug Manual.

    Oh shit! That’s my christmas present surprise ruined.

  26. Unfortunately that’s one of the items they’re waiting for stock on (along with Krysis keyrings and also possible the pin badges) and has been holding up orders.

  27. Oh well. It’s my birthday in January, it’ll have to wait.

  28. Hoorah my badges and exponoid T shirt have shipped.
    And the new Madness album is 5 in the charts. (2 on vinyl)
    Its a good day to be Jonsmad.

  29. Huzzah. All aboard the Nutty Dwarf.

  30. My order apparently shipped on October 21st, but then I only got the poster. I don’t have it yet, but considering that it was my Brexit purchase to take advantage of the low pound versus the Canadian dollar, I will give them some time to ship it across an ocean and a continent.

  31. Huzzah. All aboard the Nutty Dwarf.

    Driving In My Carbug
    Smeggy Trousers
    The Return Of The Los Palmas VII
    Uncle Frank
    Bed And I’ll Be Back For Breakfast Man
    Yesterday’s Chen
    Embarrassment (Theme From Pete)
    The (Hud)Sun (Ten) And The (Nirvanah C)Rain
    Something About A Cloche
    Please Send Help

  32. ^Excellent.
    *applauds*

  33. Voorhese (In the middle of our street)
    The Last Grey Day
    Kinatowowi Are London
    Pac-A-Mac McDonald
    Black And Blue Midget
    Tomorrow’s Dr-emohawk
    La Luna City Seven

    Okay, I’m done.

  34. Very nice. But, call me picky, that ship’s at an angle. Rotated to the left a little.

  35. The No Longer Insane shirt is the best Red Dwarf shirt I’ve seen for a long, long time. That Red Dwarf Haynes one is shonky.

  36. They’re really nice but they’re going to regret that “XI” branding on non-series-specific items. Within 8 months they’ll be out of date and massively devalued as merch.

  37. Um, it is an error that the RD manual shirt is just US$5, right?

  38. If they’re charging £40 for a polycotton sweatshirt, they’re not going to give two shits about charging you full price for stuff with the old logo on it.

    Either that or they’ll send stock back to their supplier and have an extra I transferred on to it, which will then come off in the wash. It’ll be like those old carboot sale tshirts that had your favourite band on only for you to wash it and discover it’d been reprinted on top of an a1 tshirt that hadn’t sold.

    On a more serious note, I imagine they don’t order massive amounts in advance so they could just ‘reissue’ the non episode specific ones with XII on the sleeve.

  39. I like the No Longer Insane one because of the reference, but out of context it looks like something a 13 year old nu-metal fan would wear.

  40. I like the No Longer Insane one because of the reference, but out of context it looks like something a 13 year old nu-metal fan would wear.

    Yeah, come to think of it, it is a bit mid 2000’s mosher but I like how not obviously a Red Dwarf t shirt it is. That’s what they should be going for imo.

  41. That RD Manual shirt is *still* listed at $5 on the US shop, so maybe it’s not a mistake. Which makes me feel less guilty about deciding to take advantage of the ‘error’. With postage, it came to $9.54, which is about £7.50.
    Having received it this morning, noticed two spelling mistakes on the front. It has ‘scope’ instead of ‘scoop’, and misspells ‘antimatter’ as ‘antimater’.
    I’d suggest that perhaps these mistakes might be why they’re listed cheaper. But they’re still full price on the UK site, aren’t they? Oh well.

  42. What a bargin.

  43. Sneak peek at the next Red Dwarf shop design.

    UKTV must be in desperate need of proof readers.

  44. I can’t wait to see the stuff they get in for Reed Wharf XII.

  45. Bleu Midjit and Skooter Haynes shirts.

  46. I’m not going to lie, I’ve bought the mispriced T-shirt as well. I feel a bit guilty, and hypocritical, especially after how strongly I voiced my displeasure at people buying the mispriced albums, but after all the terrible customer experiences I’ve read and the massive markups that have priced me out of the running and made me feel like shit since the shop launched, this doesn’t feel half as unfair. Besides, over the past week-and-a-bit, surely enough have sold for it to be noticed and rectified? I’ve given them a fair headstart, for me to refrain any longer from capitalising on a significant misprice of something I genuinely want and couldn’t afford any other way is pointless self-flagellation.

  47. I’m assuming that all the Red Dwarf Haynes shirts are printed wrong, maybe some tactical weathering could rectify the situation. A lot of Haynes rip off shirts are weathered anyway, with the design flaking off, maybe a bit of an all over sand down with particular attention paid to the scope and antimater sections.

    Or they could just sort it out I suppose.

  48. My T-shirt arrived.

    They’ve updated the site with a code for a discount on Boxing Day (clue: it is the word SMENG), but still not fixed the $5 error, so either it *is* deliberate or the admins at Sandbag still haven’t done a WIP for December yet.

  49. I’d hope it’s not deliberate because it’s incredibly shitty to charge Americans (mostly) £3.50 and Europeans £20.

    I’ve been trying to get in touch with them but the most I’ve gotten is an automated email.

  50. You can order it from the US store even if you’re in the UK, though. Cost me around £7.50 with P&P. True, It does feel a bit…dishonest?…to be taking advantage, but if it’s there…

    Oh, unless you’ve already paid full whack from the UK store. That *is* a bit shit, isn’t it?

  51. What I mean is, if you’re in the UK or EU, why would you ever think to change your currency to USD?

    It’d be great if Sandbag or whoever would actually respond because for all the people taking advantage of a tshirt for 4 quid, there are probably more paying £20 and getting a tshirt with spelling mistakes on it to boot.

  52. if you’re in the UK or EU

    Harsh.

  53. if you’re in the UK or EU

    Harsh.

    I’ll always be in the EU at heart, despite what my country says.

    But really I just meant “if you have Euros in your wallet”.

  54. if you’re in the UK or EU, why would you ever think to change your currency to USD?

    Good point, well made.

  55. Ordered some shirts in the Boxing Day sale, they arrived this morning (also got the XI logo hoodie for Christmas). Very impressed.

    Would’ve liked to get the Haynes Starbug shirt and maybe the Krysis keyring too – any idea when these might be back in stock?

  56. I got three RD t-shirts for christmas – the Haynes Bug, the RDXI logo, and most exciting of all, a Jake Bullet t-shirt that my brother found online, because I’ve been moaning about mine going missing for the last twenty years.

  57. The new merchandise seems to be being made in very small runs. I can understand that in a stock control sense but it does look a bit amateur when they’re repeatedly running out of stuff after three months. It’s a deeply weird operation – I can’t see why they’ve not focused on a smaller selection of the more populist items, in bigger runs/stocks and at better prices. It almost looks like there’s a made-on-demand element to proceedings.

    I just can’t fathom it – all I wanted earlier in the year was more merch. What we have now isn’t really what I wanted, the obscene prices, overly esoteric designs, and the exclusivity to a slow and P&P-hungry website being smaller issues. Mainly though, I think they’re flying wide of the crucial middleground, particularly regards the high street which is (literally) a shop window to your perceived presence as a ‘hit’ and that they’re deliberately snubbing for some reason. They *need* to get stuff into Forbidden Planet and HMV, they need a bookshop presence again, and they need a decent poster partner to get them into racks. They’re standing too alone when they need to be schmoozing with the big boys like Half Moon Bay and GB Eye. This isn’t as hard a sell as you’d think for a big brand like Dwarf – people do want it, and what GNP will lose in top-end and the faff of kicking it all off they’ll regain in brand strength which will protect the show itself. Like the whole thing with them completely dropping the ball for international broadcast partners for XI – they need to find the confidence to cede more control to others in certain areas. Because really, by acting like a charning but inoffensive little cottage industry, pairing with other small-fry operations, that’s how they will be seen.

    Also, by making the current merchandise so single-mindedly part of the PR campaigns for XI and XII, they’re not hitting the ‘legacy brand’ seam which is their main power source really, and shying from that will weaken them in the longrun. The new series exist because people like the old ones – capitalise on it! This show is not a mini-brand – if they do that tour, just watch how fast those mega-arenas sell out. RD is a big thing and at the moment I think it’s underselling and undermining itself.

    The game’s a good start, and the Lego stuff will DEFINITELY help (hopefully if and when the Lego Ideas kit emerges it’s undergone some significant content changes as the X set and 6-inch Blue Midget remains a bizarrely unpalatable mix – just do a big bloody Starbug!) but Red Dwarf rates higher here than other shows that have much bigger shelf presence in UK shops.

    All GNP need to do is to take on a dedicated brand manager for a spell. They’re missing a trick, and it’s no doubt costing them money and brand integrity. They’ve already got social media strength, a high quality mother product, good ratings, a wide press interest, proactive backers, international presence with untapped potential… but this big bloody bubble of nothing in the middle. And it shouldn’t be on Doug’s plate to worry about some of this stuff.

    Still, very optimistic stubbornness with the pricing on that Christmas jumper there. That’ll fly off the shelves in May.

  58. Hmmm. I’m aware that last post sounds a bit know-it-all and hectoring. I just want GNP to do as well as it possibly can and be a big player again.

  59. >Also, by making the current merchandise so single-mindedly part of the PR campaigns for XI and XII, they’re not hitting the ‘legacy brand’ seam which is their main power source really, and shying from that will weaken them in the longrun.

    Merch really isn’t my bag, baby. But you raise a good point. The incessant need to brand everything XI (even when it has no specific link to that particular series) seems counter-productive.

  60. I don’t mind the XI logo so much (haven’t bought anything it’s on, mind you) but the episode titles around the JMC logo on the Third Technician hoody is just fucking stupid. I was gonna get it in the boxing day sale til I saw them.

  61. Actually, I’ll tell you what GNP need – someone to deal with (a) all the horrible bootleg merchandise that’s constantly over Facebook and (b) all the pirated shit on YouTube.

    Today’s bootleg crap du jour – a mug of a wonky cameraphone photograph of the Twat It T-shirt with the neediest seller in the world demanding photographs of people using it as a reply to every single comment.

  62. I think they should focus on making official and better quality versions of the good bootleg shirts, the ever present London Jets shirt etc..

    Make those and sell them for a reasonable price and people will be less likely to buy knockoffs on eBay.

    It all comes down to what you said really, tapping in to their vast archive of Dwarf related things and sticking them on shirts. Maybe some reissues on specific dates, “Polymorph aired on this day in 1989 so we’re going to reissue the twat it shirt, available this month” and stuff.

  63. Actually, I’ll tell you what GNP need – someone to deal with (a) all the horrible bootleg merchandise that’s constantly over Facebook and (b) all the pirated shit on YouTube.
    Today’s bootleg crap du jour – a mug of a wonky cameraphone photograph of the Twat It T-shirt with the neediest seller in the world demanding photographs of people using it as a reply to every single comment.

    Believe me when I say there are people working on this, and they have been for a while. It’s just that Facebook are absolutely bloody appalling at caring about people’s intellectual property being ripped off.

    It boils my piss every time I have to see it in my own feed, though. Especially when the page in question can block me from commenting, but I still have to see them as adverts.

  64. That’s a combination of optimistically heartening and nihilistically depressing news. At its worst, stuff like that really eats at the brand like a parasite. Cheap knockoff London Jets/Mugs Murphy shirts are one thing, but some of that Facebook stuff is humiliatingly dodgy.

    By the way, I only realised after I’d written all that spiel (specifically after reading the print on the neck of my ill-gotten T-shirt) that UKTV look after the shop and merch, not GNP. That explains to me a bit more why it’s such a parochial setup, and why the branding is so nanoscopically focused on the current series – it’s basically a pop-up operation. Hope there are longer term plans/hopes to merchandise on a bigger scale. Before too long I want to walk through the Arndale and get sick to death of the sight of bright red ellipses like it’s twenty years ago. I remain adamant that there’s an ecosystem to support it.

    I still think the most remarkable Dwarf thing to happen in 2016 – a year in which a new series launched, another one filmed, I accidentally initiated two completely seperate shit Digital Spy news articles and Howard Goodall recorded a track specifically as a joke about me – was Doug Naylor sitting down to a shift of fielding customer service enquiries. Strangely indelible mental images of him sat there with a headset on, impatiently waiting for half five.

  65. Update: After only 2-3 months they’ve finally corrected the pricing error on the Red Dwarf Haynes shirt that was costing them $20 per shirt bought (well, they probably aren’t owed $25 per shirt but you know what I mean). Anyway, yeah, it’s the correct price now.

    Unfortunately, they still haven’t corrected the two spelling errors on the shirt so now it’s just expensive and wrong rather than wrong but cheap haha… Oh well.

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