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Red Dwarf XI episode list and synopses released

seriesxi-episodes

Well, this is a relief. After almost a week of ignoring the massive elephant in the room (an elephant that is now back online), Red Dwarf XI‘s full episode list has been officially sent out into the wild. Episode titles, synopses, they’re all there. Despite the unfortunate early release, it’s nice to get this information in this way rather than the previous method of rooting through BBFC’s bins. So, let’s take a look, shall we? Read more →

Hancock’s Half Hour: The Tycoon

When people talk about antecedents to Red Dwarf, it’s often science fiction which is endlessly referenced. Films like Dark Star, in terms of the situation and portraying working class people in space, or Alien, which amongst other things directly influenced many sets in the show, to Blade Runner, which… erm… I got nothing.

When it comes to sitcoms, there’s the classic “Steptoe and Son in space”, which is often thrown around as an early concept for the show. Porridge is also mentioned, in terms of the claustrophobic trapped situation between characters which the show was trying to evoke. All of this is certainly true, but typically there’s very little analysis beyond mentioning a TV show or film, along with a one line description.

Recently, I’ve had the utter delight of watching Hancock’s Half Hour for the first time. And the episode The Tycoon (TX: 13/11/59) has a number of remarkable similarities to the Dwarf episode Better Than Life, broadcast nearly thirty years later. Moreover, I don’t just mean in terms of character work – the main plot beats of the episode are broadly identical, despite Better Than Life seemingly hanging off a science fiction idea which Hancock would find impossible to replicate.

Rather than vague hand-waving or simplistic single line reductions, let’s take a look at the episode in detail, shall we?

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Medi-Bot v2.0

Friday lunchtime rolls around, and once again provides an intriguing tweet treat to keep us going throughout the weekend.

Well, it certainly seems to me like Lister will wake up to discover a deranged droid has stolen some of his body parts. That seems to be the droid in question – the scaredy-cat Seb Patrick’s tweet suggests so – and it looks brilliant. Unusual, creepy, and not unlike an evil fish. The only way this can go wrong is if it turns out that it’s Kerry Shale under the costume.

“We’ve found a stasis leak on Floor 16…”

Hanging around on a deep, dark, unloved corner of the internet is an old version of Ganymede & Titan. The reasons for this are long and complex, but essentially amount to laziness: during one of our relaunches many years ago, we didn’t move all of our stuff over to the new version of the site. We thought until we did, the least we could do would be to leave all that stuff online.

We never did get round to moving it, of course, which means you can insert a certain Mickey Mouse operation quote here at your leisure. But clicking around on that old version of the site can be fun, especially for old-time G&T visitors. And one page in particular fascinates me: our links page, last updated in mid-2004. It’s an interesting snapshot of online Red Dwarf fandom at the time; a list of the sites we thought were important back then.

12 years later, how many of them are even still online, let alone important? I thought it’d be fun to go through the list and take a look at the fate of that slice of Dwarf fandom. And dare I say that it might shed a bit of light on the development of the web over the past decade? Tune in at the end to see whether I manage to tie that one up at all convincingly.

So, let’s start with…

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Fool’s Gold

UK Gold pre-launch caption As we ramp up inevitably towards September, there’s probably some news we should be reporting. Like, for instance, this early screening at Edinburgh of the first episode of XI on the 24th August. (With a strict embargo on spoilers, and it ruining the first watch of the show as a shared experience, it’s not really worth it for us even if we could wheedle ourselves in.) Or as noticed in our forums, it seems the DVD for XI has a provisional release date of the 8th November in Region 1. (We deliberately haven’t reported on Craig Charles’s foot injury, because nobody needs a tedious stream of Thanks for the Memory quotes.)

Anyway, we don’t care about all that. What interests us is the repeats of Series III, which started on Gold last night. Which is perhaps a bit of an odd thing in itself. If UKTV are trying to cement Dwarf as a Dave show, how does it make sense to start a repeat run on Gold? If it confuses hardcore fans, however dumb we are, surely it’s also confusing to the more casual viewer? I can’t help but feel this repeat run would be far better suited to just being on Dave.

Still, Dave, Gold, whatever – a repeat of Series III on a UKTV channel means only one thing: the never-ending game of Marooned Remastered. We previously reported on this last year – with the inevitable disappointment – but we’ve been talking about it for years. (Bonus points to anyone who can be arsed going through G&T’s archives and finding out when we first talked about it.)

Well, Marooned has its latest repeat showing tonight at 11:30pm, and whilst it’s possible that the correct version of the episode may be shown, past experience shows that this is exceedingly unlikely. Which means more wailing from us, more gnashing of teeth, more abusing our genitals in dismay, and PRECISELY NOTHING CHANGING.

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Cool story, board

It’s Friday, it’s round about lunchtime, it’s three near-identical tweets from various official accounts time! This week, as they got there first by a matter of seconds, let’s embed @RedDwarfHQ’s:

It’s a storyboard! A storyboard with actual dialogue on it! When it’s fully embiggened, you can see that the establishing shot looks somewhat similar to the recce that Richard tweeted ages ago, which, when combined with the desired angle being so high, suggests that this is a location sequence. We also now know that in one episode, the Dwarfers board a space station (I’m assuming space, as opposed to railway) amidst an asteroid storm, and split off into pairs. There’s also a joke that, while far from unpredictable, is undeniably Rimmer-ish. This is very exciting.

Credit also to Nik Afia for the brilliant artwork, proving that he’s just as adept at capturing the likenesses of our main characters as he is at spaceships. I hope we get to see a lot more of this work at some point, either in the form of teasers ahead of broadcast, or a more substantial gallery when it’s all done and dusted.

Twentica

Lunchtime on a Friday has always been a traditional time to receive a weekly dose of Red Dwarf news, and it seems that the various Dwarf-affiliated Twitter accounts have decided to follow TOS’s lead. Today, @RedDwarfHQ, @Join_Dave and @babycowLtd have all tweeted variations of the following:

Twentica!  That’s an excellent sounding title. Now, I don’t know for sure, as the episode titles were not revealed to the audience at the time, but I’m pretty confident that this is one of the two episodes I saw recorded. And I wasn’t at the first recording session. While Series X stuck rigidly to the same order for recording and broadcast, it seems that they’re happy to jiggle things about this time round, a practice which took place more often than not in the old days. Either Doug, UKTV or both clearly think that this is the best episode to launch with… and without giving anything away, I can totally see why.

The pre-publicity machine is well and truly up and running now, and it’s growing ever closer. There are now somewhere between 55 and 85 days to go until the launch of Red Dwarf XI. Blimey.