Red Dwarf XI title sequence analysis

As has been the case since Series III in 1989, the first episode of a new series brings us a new title sequence, which in turn brings with it several tantalising glimpses of future adventures. Some of them are already familiar to us from the various trailers. Others fall into context when you’re armed with frame advance and a list of synopses. The most exciting ones are the ones that could from anywhere, and there’s a fair few of those. By our reckoning, there are 29 individual shots (plus a title card) in the 35-second sequence, all of which are analysed and annotated below.

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Red Dwarf XI Trailer Analysis

Following yesterday’s trailer-for-a-trailer, the full thing has arrived – premiering in the middle of a repeat of Parallel Universe on Dave. Interestingly, there’s a few shots from the teaser that aren’t in the trailer, most notably the crashed ship that may or may not be the Nova 5, or at least another ship from the same fleet. But what do we have in this forty second bundle of joy? Watch it on Youtube below, then read our shot-by-shot analysis.

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Survey: The Series XI Dilemma

It can not have escaped your attention that UKTV plans to premiere each episode of the forthcoming Red Dwarf XI on their on-demand service, UKTV Play, one week ahead of their television broadcast on Dave. This puts us in a somewhat tricky situation in terms of our coverage. We had planned on doing pretty much exactly what we did last time – an “instant reaction” DwarfCast almost immediately after each episode, broadcast live on the internet, with a tidier version in the usual feeds the following day, followed by a written review over the weekend.

This isn’t so straightforward when not everyone’s going to be watching at the same time. This move has made it a hell of a lot harder to be part of a communal shared experience, but we’re determined to make it work. That’s where you come in. We’d like to know more about how you’re intending to consume this series, and your preferences for how we go about things. To that end, here are a series of polls; the results of which we’ll take on board, but won’t be legally binding or anything. Annoyingly, we’d like to request that those of you from outside the UK abstain from taking part in this vote; it’s the people who have a choice as to how they watch the series that will be most affected by our decisions.

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The Smegazine Catalogue

It seems strange now. Even though Red Dwarf is a current TV show once more, is popular enough to maintain an official fan club even during the ten year hiatus, and has always been extremely well represented on fansites, blogs and social media… a magazine? A whole magazine, dedicated to just Red Dwarf? In proper shops and everything? Monthly? It’s baffling.

But remember, back in the early to mid ’90s, Red Dwarf was a pretty big deal. Viewing figures were constantly on the rise, the likes of Ace Rimmer and Talkie Toaster were invading the public consciousness, conventions were being organised and the show was expanding into other platforms. The audience of teenagers and young adults were ripe for commercial exploitation, as books, videos, t-shirts, posters and more started to hit the shelves. So actually, why the hell not add a magazine to the mix?

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Red Dwarf: The Complete Guide To Almost Everything

Do you remember a time, a few years either side of the turn of the century, when the internet was mostly comprised of auto-playing midi files and non-HD porn? Back then, if you searched Yahoo, or Alta Vista, or Lycos, you could find tonnes of Geocities-hosted web pages for each and every one of your favourite TV shows, which invariably featured the same handful of low-res jpegs, lists of quotes, episode guides and those ubiquitous auto-playing midi files. Then blogging came along, and we all realised that we could just write about our opinions on our favourite shows, rather than trying to provide a comprehensive mine of information, given that new-fangled things like Google and Wikipedia could do that much better.

So things like episode guides disappeared from fansites. Not entirely, but they were no longer an essential component. It was only recently that we realised that G&T had nothing even resembling such a guide – not even a list of episodes anywhere. When we started, in 2002, we launched an ambitious project of producing detailed “capsules” for every episode, but, well, you can see how that went. We got to thinking that it might be fun to try and write an episode guide now, and see where it ended up. As it turns out, it kind of got out of hand…

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History of a Joke

Cliché, Episode 2
(TX: 23rd March 1981, Radio 4)

Out of tune bleeps and bloops, like Wendy Carlos on an off-day.

PRESENTER: The final cadences of the last symphony of the Spanish composer Don Dimitri, who died early this morning at the age of 86. Cliché now pays its own special tribute to Don Dimitri – one of the true musical innovators of this century. Don Dimitri’s life was characterised by his refusal to accept the conventions and mores of the society in which he lived. In 1926, he went to the Sorbonne to study music. Rapidly, it became apparent he could not reconcile his own ideas with those of the establishment, and after three hours at the university, he left to set up his own school of musical thought. Professor Blakehust takes up the story.

BLAKEHURST: Don Dimitri’s biggest contribution to musical theory was the decative. Instead of the conventional eight note scale the octave, he initiated the ten note scale – the decative. He invented two new notes: H and J. Instead of ‘doh, ray, me, fah, soh, lah, ti, doh’, the decative would run ‘doh, ray, me, fah, soh, woh, boh, lah, ti, doh’. And in reverse: ‘doh, ti, lah, boh, woh, soh, fah, me, ray, doh’.

PRESENTER: And he wrote all his symphonies using this scale?

BLAKEHURST: Indeed. And the instruments in his orchestra had to be adapted accordingly. Pianos were fitted with extra black keys; flutes now came in four sections instead of three; and accordions were scrapped, as the decative made them far too long for human beings to play. Trombones ceased to be a musical instrument, and now became a lethal weapon. And the lengthening of bassoons and saxophones extended the mouthpiece into the region of the lower intestine. Incidentally, in Don Dimitri’s orchestra, women were banned from playing the cello.

PRESENTER: What other significant changes were inspired by the decative?

BLAKEHURST: Time signatures were changed. Instead of 3/4 time it was now 0.75 time. 7/8 time became 0.875 time, and common time – or 4/4 time – was now simply… 1. Don Dimitri’s quartets comprised of five players, and his triangles had two sides – neither of them connected.

PRESENTER: And now, the last note of the last chord of the last cadence is written. At the grand old age of 86, Don Dimitri passed away this morning. Never one to do things in a conventional way, he died in a manner he would probably have appreciated – trying to suck a kazoo instead of blowing it. He inhaled the kazoo, it became lodged in his throat, and he died to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy. We leave you now with the strains of what is universally acknowledged as his masterwork: quintet for seven instruments in H minor. The only work he ever wrote in 0.333 recurring time, a time signature which never actually allows you to reach the end of the first bar. Hence it’s popular title: Dom Dimiti’s Unfinished Symph. Goodnight.

A warped version of I Do Like To be Beside the Seaside plays, with accompanying bleeps and bloops.

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Because the ident computer says they do

I recently discovered a very interesting blog called VHiStory. This chap, Jim Lynn, has got an archive of around 3000 video tapes in his garage, and he’s currently in the process of digitising and cataloguing each one, blogging his discoveries in precise detail as he goes. I quickly lost the best part of two days reading every single post, but that’s not important right now. In amongst the archives, I spotted that Jim had taped the original broadcasts of Red Dwarf series one, around 26 years ago. I immediately got in touch to point out that if he happened to have captured the original idents and continuity announcements, he may have inadvertently struck nerd gold.

Skip ahead a day or so, and Jim has only gone and put the buggers on Youtube.

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The English Programme: The Writing of Spitting Image

Whilst G&T is waiting for news on the Dwarf front, here’s something rather interesting I was pointed towards on Twitter. The English Programme was a Thames schools programme examining, well, English – and in one edition which some kind soul has uploaded to YouTube, they take a look at The Writing of Spitting Image. (It was first broadcast on the 8th January 1986, but was repeated later, outside of schools programming.)

The reason it’s so interesting to us, of course, is that this is exactly the time Rob and Doug were head writers of the show. But not only do we get lots of shots of the two sitting in grey offices being slightly awkward, rather endearing, and very fascinating – but the end credits reveal that this entire episode of The English Programme was written by Rob and Doug themselves!

Let’s have a gander, shall we?

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James at Last!

Well, this is quite the nice curio for your Friday morning. Somewhere among the fan-fic, Rimmer/Lister gifs and weirdly out of date pictures of the Trojan premiere that make up the Red Dwarf Tumblr tag, a chap called Kyle (grayk85) has posted a clip of the ‘Copacabana’ scene from Terrorform. What makes this especially interesting, however, is that the clip comes from the original 1992 airing and so features the oft discussed James Last version of the piece, which had to be replaced for all future repeats and home releases because reasons.

Kyle’s post features a version where he’s pasted the audio over the DVD footage, but since this is G&T and we’re horrible, pedantic TWATS, we’re going to embed the original, low quality, rip below the jump. ENJOY THIS MOMENTOUS DISCOVERY.

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Noise From The Dwarf – a tribute to the tribute

When Blake Neale’s video for Noise From The Dwarf – a musical celebration of Red Dwarf‘s past present and future, compiled by former Observation Dome colleague ‘Big’ Blake, and set to music by Ricardo Autobahn – first appeared online, we were blown away. It’s extremely rare to see a fan effort of such quality – technically and editorially – and with so much inventiveness, originality and style. There’s an incredible amount of individual clips in just under four minutes of screentime, but it’s the vast variety of sources from which the clips are drawn, from the obvious to the obscure, that revealed a true love for the minutia of Dwarf history, and inspired us to make a tribute to a tribute.

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