Red Dwarf and Me: Artificial Reality

In a parallel universe, I know nothing about Red Dwarf XII.

Well, maybe not nothing. I probably know it exists. I may even have clocked that it was back on Dave, perhaps even that it was being broadcast in October. But I didn’t pay that much attention.

In that universe, maybe I still got into Red Dwarf when I was 13, and loved it. But I never really got into fandom, perhaps wasn’t as keen on later series… and just drifted off. Maybe I would have ended up watching XII. Maybe I wouldn’t.

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End of Part One, Red Dwarf XI Edition

Back in 2016, I took a look at the placing of ad breaks in Red Dwarf X, and how so many of them were a wasted opportunity to use the opportunity for a cliffhanger to its maximum effect. (I highly suggest you read that piece before this one if you haven’t done so; otherwise, this article will come across as entirely ridiculous rather than just mostly ridiculous.)

With publicity for Red Dwarf XII about to kick off properly, it’s time to tie up one last loose thread from Red Dwarf XI. How did XI fare when it came to ad breaks? Did they seem like an afterthought, like much of X? Or was the chance taken to actually do something with them – to add a lovely punctuation point to the episode, and make viewers want to come back after the break?

I’ll be honest… the answer surprised me. Let’s take a look.

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Rob Grant GOSSIP

If you’re like me, a couple of times a day you probably sit bolt upright, let out a strangulated groan, and think: “Just what the fuck is Rob Grant doing these days?” After all, his last tweet was in January 2016; his website is stagnant.

Here’s some brand new gossip then, from comedy writer extraordinaire Andrew Marshall, (co-)writer of The Burkiss Way, End of Part One, Alexei Sayle’s Stuff, If You See God, Tell Him, and 2point4 Children. Speaking to Steve O’Brien about his old fanzine:

And just in case that wasn’t enough:

Andrew Marshall and Rob Grant collaborating? That is a very, very intriguing team-up indeed. And something to keep us all excited until Red Dwarf XII hits our screens. Then we’ll forget all about it and moan about UKTV Play for six fucking weeks straight instead.

Anyway, here’s one of my favourite End of Part One sketches, for precisely no reason at all.

With thanks to Ian Potter for the friendly nudge towards this news.

Better Than Reality

“I alter people’s perception of reality.” – Dr. Hypnosis

One recurring theme of Red Dwarf has always been the rather tenuous grip on reality our crew have. Whether it’s the Total Immersion Videogame of Better Than Life, the hallucinations suffered in Back to Reality, those damn reality pockets in Out of Time – to name three of many – perception of reality is something which Grant Naylor return to time and time again.

What’s interesting, however, is that Red Dwarf is far from the first time Grant Naylor have explored this idea. In fact, we can trace their fascination with it right back to their very first solo writing credit: the first episode of Radio 4 sketch show Cliché, broadcast on the 16th March 1981.

I present to you the strange adventure of Dr. Hypnosis: his real name… Dr. Hypnosis.

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Wally Who?: A Belated Look & Listen

Over here at Ganymede & Titan, we like to think we bring a certain amount of professionalism to our reporting. We’re happy to let you know then, that 1982 radio sitcom Wally Who? – penned by a certain Rob Grant and Doug Naylor – is currently being repeated every Wednesday on Radio 4 Extra, at 9:30am, 4:30pm, and 4:30am.

Admittedly, this piece of reporting may have been more impressive if this run hadn’t started on the 17th May, and if we hadn’t missed the first three episodes. It may also have been more impressive if we hadn’t started uploading and reviewing the series ourselves back in 2009, but stopped after the first episode. Mickey Mouse operation, etc.

In our defence, our competency in this matter is about on a par with what the series itself deserves. But judge for yourself. All three episodes so far are available on iPlayer for your listening “pleasure” – with the first episode having 15 days left online at the time of writing. For sheer historical interest alone, they’re worth a go. To be blunt, the first episode is a dreadful half-hour of comedy. The third episode is a bad photocopy of Hancock’s Half Hour, and thus is actually a massive improvement.

Oh, and the second? Let’s single it out for a couple of interesting moments. Such as this:

WALLY: What are those frames up there on the wall?
TIM: Oh, they’re just for certificates and qualifications – your degree, your FSA business diplomas, that sort of thing.
WALLY: Oh, I see – you just sort of stick them up there and show them off, do you?
TIM: Yes, I suppose so – sort of a…
WALLY: I’ll have to bring my lot in then! Now, I’ll tell you what’d look good up there as a centrepiece – my bronze medallion life-saving certificate.
TIM: That’s swimming is it, sir?
WALLY: Yes! And it’s not an easy one that, Tim: you have to swim two lengths in a pair of pyjamas.

And when Wally flames out of the financial services industry? He doesn’t consult The Junior Encyclopaedia of Space. No:

WALLY: And of course, it didn’t help the situation when the chairman walked in and caught me reading The Stock Market Made Simple: A Child’s Introduction

Amazing.

This is the first repeat the series has ever had, at least for absolute decades – so much kudos to Radio 4 Extra for dragging this out. One of the absolute best things about the whole of the BBC. Honestly, it’s brilliant they even remember this exists.

# RED DWAAAAARRFF #

You all remember the big news last year, don’t you? No, not Red Dwarf XI. It was that magical moment when Darrell pointed out on our forums that the opening theme to popular science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf bloody well has lyrics.

All these months later, that fact still blows me away. (Here’s a great write-up of it by Mental Floss.) But aside from that initial thread, the only other thing we had to go on was this little acknowledgement from Howard Goodall:

Now, wouldn’t it be nice if, say, someone like Graham Kibble-White just happened to be doing an interview with Howard about one of his upcoming programmes, and asked him a little more about the subject?

Oh, look what we’ve just been sent. What a coincidence.

I know someone who does this Red Dwarf fan site, and they got excited, I think last year, because they’d been analysing the music…

Right!

And they had discovered there were vocals hidden in the music.

Oh, it’s them who discovered it? Yeah, they then put it out on Twitter, and it was a huge story for Red Dwarf fans, yeah. Oh well, thank them for finding it. I mean, I hadn’t deliberately hidden it. It just happened to be there in the mix. It’s just that no one seemed to have noticed it! [Laughs] So it was a very nice discovery.

Had you forgotten it was there yourself?

No, I knew it was. I didn’t know that people hadn’t noticed it.

So, that was the shock.

I had assumed everybody knew it was there, but it was so long ago, it was 27 years or whatever, and so I thought no more of it. Then all these fans around the world were saying, ‘Oh my God, we’d never noticed it before’. To me, the surprise was it hadn’t been noticed before.

Is that you singing? Is it on a vocoder?

That’s me doing a vocoder, yeah.

And do you mind if I pass this onto them?

Not at all!

Many thanks to Graham and Howard for the above. Now, I’m off to listen to QI theme again. I’m sure I can hear a bit where Howard calls Alan Davies a dickhead using morse code.

A Random Day on G&T: 10 Years On

On the 23rd February 2007 – 10 years ago to the day – Ganymede & Titan published four articles.

It perhaps seems odd to remember we used to be like this. After all, these days you’re sometimes lucky if you get four updates a month. We were a rather different beast back then. True, we still did loads of in-depth articles, but we also prized ourselves on reporting every single bit of Red Dwarf-related news going. Fun though that might have been, it’s the kind of thing that is entirely unsustainable now we have, y’know, proper jobs and stuff. We’d rather concentrate on giving you fewer, more substantial things to get your teeth into.

Still, I thought it might be fun to take a look at what we were up to exactly ten years ago today. If you’re lucky, you may just notice a few comments on one of my bugbears. But I think it’s quite subtle.

(Note that one of the items listed here references our spoilery article published the other day, so stop reading if you’re trying to avoid that.)

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Dave’s Red Dwarf XI Bank Holiday Monday

“Now on Dave, it’s time to sit back and relax this Bank Holiday Monday, as we bring you an afternoon in the company of the finest smegheads out there – with the complete series of Red Dwarf XI.”

– Dave continuity announcement into Twentica, 2nd January 2017

Most people, when greeted with a continuity announcement like that, might think: “Oh, that’s good, I get to half-watch all of Red Dwarf XI this afternoon whilst pretending to get some work done.” Or perhaps: “I hate Red Dwarf, Red Dwarf is shit, I am going to turn over, I need to watch anything other than Red Dwarf because I don’t like Red Dwarf.”

Us? We clap our hands in delight, as we indulge in one of our favourite pastimes: pre-watershed Red Dwarf edit spotting. Although perhaps to our surprise, only two of the six episodes had any alterations whatsoever: Twentica, Officer Rimmer, Krysis and Can of Worms got away cut-free.

Let’s take a look at what was changed…

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The tape must have got twisted, man!

Marooned titlesSometimes, things just work out to provide the perfect story.

Back in 2012 – in the lead-up to Red Dwarf X – I wrote a series of articles detailing the edits UKTV had made to Red Dwarf repeats. One of the worst was in Series III – the seemingly random broadcast of the Remastered version of Marooned, and the only episode of the series where the Remastered edit was broadcast instead of the original. (While it was the first time we had discussed the issue, but it had been going on for years before this. We were too busy complaining about Gold blurring out Fletch sticking two fingers up in Porridge.)

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