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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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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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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This isn’t happening. It’s a nightmare.

UK Gold pre-launch caption Last time, we left you with a cliffhanger. Would Gold show the original version of Marooned in its current repeat run, or would it show the crappy old Remastered version instead? (In case you need reminding: this is the “Remastered” version which is so terrible it shoves in a new CGI shot of the ship at the beginning of the episode, and then cuts to the existing model shot of the cargo bay doors opening… covered in film dirt. Encapsulating the warped priorities of the Remastered project in a nutshell.)

Sadly, despite Gold continuing to show both pre-watershed and post-watershed edits of the show for the most part – which is far better than Dave managed on their last repeat run – both showings of Marooned this time round resolutely remained the Remastered version instead of the original.

It’s truly bizarre, really. If the whole of the first three series was shown like this, that’d be one thing – not a great thing to do, but at least somewhat consistent. But for it simply to be one episode has to be the result of some dodgy paperwork somewhere down the line. It’s difficult to have respect for a channel when they clearly don’t know what the hell they’re broadcasting. For nobody at UKTV to even query why Marooned looks completely different to every other episode in the series for years on end is complete madness. I mean, you can tell it’s the wrong version from the opening titles, let alone anything else.

Still, as a continuation of a years-long issue, I must admit there’s a certain amount of glee in seeing exactly how long this can go on for. I won’t bore you with regular updates on this issue any more – but let’s see whether this version is still being shown in five years, shall we?

I’ll leave you with one final thought. Marooned was the episode which pushed the video of release of Red Dwarf III – Byte One up to a 15. Even with the DVD release, the episode was rated 12. All because of Lister admitting he had sex at the age of 12 on a golf course. Gold cuts out many PG-related “bastards”, V-signs, and general rudery – but the version of Marooned they play pre-watershed is exactly the same as the post-watershed version. (Two adult men wanking off over Lolita and all.)

It’s hardly the first time there’s a disparity between what the BBFC and what broadcasters will worry over – but that doesn’t stop it being hugely interesting. I must admit, I’m on the BBFC’s side – whilst I wouldn’t have ever rated it 15, I think Lister fucking someone when he was 12 is dodgier than all the cut bastards too. But that requires more of a judgement call, whereas mild bad language is easy to put on a checklist of disallowed things.

And Red Dwarf edited by checklist isn’t really a very appealing thought.

Crimewatch Update

Crimewatch U.K. logo because I am doing a big funny Back in 2012, as the lead up to Red Dwarf X, those good folks at Dave showed an entire run of the first eight series. I took this as my cue to finally take a look at an issue which had been bugging me for years: the edited versions of the show Dave always insisted on showing. Here are the results of that investigation from 2012. It doesn’t make especially pleasant reading.

But no matter. Yesterday, Dave started a new run of repeats, starting from Series III. In the last three years, the channel has shown one brand new series of the programme, and commissioned two more. Surely by now, those shitty edited versions will have been replaced with the proper episodes?

I think you know what I’m going to say here. In fact, it’s so obvious, I don’t think I’m even going to say it.

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High & Low: Deleted Scenes

Let’s be perfectly clear. Generally, when talking about deleted scenes – whatever the given TV show or film – the quality of the scenes themselves doesn’t actually matter. When I pop in a DVD, I don’t care how good they are. It’s how interesting they are which makes them entertaining. A scene can be absolutely appalling, deservedly cut… and still be one of the best extras of the lot.

This perhaps doubly-holds for Red Dwarf. It’s easy to forget how lucky we are with deleted scenes being included on the DVD releases; you only have to check your shelves to see which other sitcoms from 1988 include such things for the proof of that. (Mind you, sadly these days, budget cuts across DVD ranges mean we’re lucky to get them for a sitcom made today.)

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DwarfCast 53 – Timeslides / Backwards Forwards Commentary

It’s DwarfCast time once again, and this time we’re dusting off another commentary recorded on the anniversary weekend, spruced up a bit by a more recent, and possibly ill-advised, commentary on the DVD extra Backwards Forwards. Rejected options for the bonus extra for this ‘cast was Hattie’s DJ Diary, and 20 minutes of bitter, teary complaints about the broken menu on Disc 2. I think we chose wisely.

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DwarfCast 47 – Bodyswap Commentary

It’s 2013 and yet here we still are, foisting the same old shit on you. Rejoice! Join Ian, John, Cappsy, Danny and the Fan Club’s Jo Sharples as we once again gather to talk over an episode of Red Dwarf, namely Bodyswap and the series III deleted scenes. Marvel as we inform you on such as topics as the lack of a live audience, why the cast’s impressions of each other should’ve been included in the final episode and the exact dimensions of Craig Charles’ penis.

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New Broadcasting House, Oxford Road (1976-2011)

We admit this rather snuck up on us. Last night, BBC Manchester’s New Broadcasting House studios in Oxford Road closed its doors after 35 years. Over the decades, the studios have been host to any number of shows – A Question of Sport, The 8:15 from Manchester, Mastermind, Filthy Rich & Catflap, Life on Mars, North West Tonight… and, of course, the first three series of Red Dwarf.

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