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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DwarfCast 74 – Fathers & Suns Commentary

Yes, we’ve stuck to something for two weeks in a row. Here’s the second of our Series X commentaries, which predictably enough covers Fathers & Suns. John, Danny, Ian and TORDFC’s Jo Sharples return to discuss such matters as how much help Lister got in creating his video, how this is the show’s third Holly-centric episode, Alf Garnett, and a hidden cock and balls. Oh, and racism. Let’s see if this room full of white people can sort out that thorny problem once and for all.

As well as that, we bring you an excessively angry one-man rant about UKTV’s decision to premiere Red Dwarf XI episodes online a week before broadcast, and how this is going to play merry havoc with our content plan, along with the rest of the news from the last seven days.

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VIDEO. BROADCAST DATE. MODEL SHOT. ONLINE?

Well, there really is quite a bit to take in here. The official social media accounts have all, in one way or another, revealed the Dave *broadcast* date for Twentica to be Thursday, 22nd September at 9pm, placing it roughly around the same time as most people’s best guesses. We are all certainly very pleased that UKTV were considerate enough to fit things into our Series X DwarfCast schedule so neatly. This will presumably put Series XI among the illustrious company of 31 previous episodes to premiere on a Thursday. Wednesday remains as the only day of the week to not hold that particular honour. Read more →

DwarfCast 73 – Trojan Commentary

We estimate that we’re about six to seven weeks away from the first broadcast of Red Dwarf XI. What better way to clear the decks ahead of the new series than by wrapping up our coverage of the last one? Over the next six weekends, we’ll be marking the countdown to new Dwarf by releasing weekly commentaries for all six episodes of Series X. Unless XI starts earlier than we’re anticipating, in which case we’ll either rush them all out or pretend the whole thing never happened.

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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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