As previously established on numerous occasions, this year marks the thirtieth anniversary of 1988. It was a very busy time for so many of our favourite comedy talents, and shortly after the conclusion of the second series of Red Dwarf, Spitting Image preceded its forthcoming fifth series with a 45-minute special, broadcast on 29th October 1988, thirty years ago to this very day.
Of course, Rob and Doug had long since departed to create some sci-fi sitcom thing, but Chris Barrie was very much at the forefront of Bumbledown – The Life and Times of Ronald Reagan, marking and undoubtedly celebrating the end of the incumbent President’s second term – the election to find his replacement took place the following week. Let’s transport ourselves back to the halcyon days when nobody thought that the US could ever elect a worse President than this unintelligent, right-wing, lying celebrity.
It’s been eight days since the start of the twentieth Dimension Jump convention, honouring the thirtieth anniversary of Red Dwarf, and to be honest we still haven’t fully recovered. If you’re looking for a comprehensive, chronological and coherent guide to what happened over the weekend, you won’t find that here (Gazpacho Soup’s social media roundup does a good job of that). Instead, we waited until the early hours of Monday morning, when everyone was at their most tired and emotionally involved, and gathered whichever attendees and team members were still around, regardless of their levels of energy or sobriety. It offers a fairly accurate snapshot of the mind of your average Red Dwarf fan having come to the end of such a special weekend.
Our random anecdotes and memories include our reactions to the weekend’s bits and bobs for Dwarf news – ie. the current status of the Blurays and Series XIII, behind the scenes goss about the time Jo accidentally stalked Charles Augins, speculation as to the contents of a “honeymoon video”, adventures in urinals with three former Red Dwarf producers, complaints about a lack of biscuits, and a very rude story about Clare Grogan and a glass of milk.
In some distant parallel universe, Red Dwarf only got one series. It was never released on VHS or DVD. A fan club never appeared. It got a few reviews in some Doctor Who fanzines, and then quietly faded away.
Yes, the great and the good in the world of Dwarf are gathering for the third convention running at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nottingham, for a weekend of wonder, excitement, and… wonder. And as usual, unlike the early days of G&T, a great many of us are either official fan club members or are helping out in an unofficial capacity, so the weekend promises to be “fairly busy” for most of us.
Fear not, however: I’ll be trying to keep the Ganymede & Titan Twitter updated as much as possible over the next few days, for those of you who can’t make it. As usual, there will also be a DwarfCast looking back on the whole event, although it probably won’t be up until some point late next week. So don’t wait up on Sunday night desperate for our hot content, because we’ll all be too busy wishing we were all still in our 20s full of endless energy, rather than hopping over that invisible line where you really feel death and total oblivion staring you full in the face.
Yes, with just hours to spare before this feature loses its increasingly shaky-looking “monthly” status, it’s time for another treat from the televisual archives. We’re going all the way back to very nearly the beginning this time, with an edition of BBC1’s Open Air, a magazine discussion show about television, complete with contributions from viewers at home. This particular edition aired on 23rd February 1988, which you can verify from the reference to, of all things, Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards competing at the 1988 Winter Olympics ski-jump later that day.
The more astute of you will have noticed that this edition of Open Air was broadcast the day after Future Echoes first aired, and host Pattie Coldwell is joined by Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Paul Jackson and a semi-functioning skutter to discuss all things Red Dwarf. This hidden gem was recently resurfaced by Red Dwarf fan Chris Toone, and uploaded to YouTube by Chris Barrie Fans:
When I say to random people “Hey, what do you remember about the sets of the first two series of Red Dwarf?”, they back away from me and look for the nearest exit. Before they manage to escape, however, they usually mention the bunkroom. They might stammer out an anecdote about a yellow banana. Really cool people might mention how the Drive Room changes between series, or how the Observation Dome is a perfect combination of live set elements and special effects.
Still, all those stories have been told. I want to dig a little deeper, and I don’t care how boring things get in order to do so. With that in mind, Ganymede & Titan proudly present: a history of three wall sections, used at BBC Manchester in 1987-88.
Celebrities doing things you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to do is a constant source of fascination for the British public, and it was in this spirit that LWT produced the Ian Wright-fronted Hidden Talents of the Rich and Famous at around the turn of the century. A spin-off from the former footballer’s chat show, Friday Night’s All Wright, it gave television personalities the chance to showcase skills they don’t get to display in their day jobs, and one such participant was Danny John-Jules. We can’t find the full episode – or indeed much information about the show in general – but Danny’s five minute performance is preserved on Youtube:
What d’you mean you’re dancing the cha-cha-cha? Yes, appearing on The One Show today, it was confirmed that Danny John-Jules will be a contestant in the new series of Strictly Come Dancing. We’ve heard rumours that his dance partner is going to be a CGI Blue Midget.
Well, here’s hoping we’ve never used that headline before.
Before today the only source of information we’ve had on the Blu-ray releases of Red Dwarf 1 to VIII is from a very premature Amazon listing and Doug’s Tweets on the subject. It is, however, now all official and that, and GNP are going ahead with what seems to be an entire set released on the 1st October as part of their ongoing and extensive 30th anniversary celebrations.
This month on G&TV, we’re taking you back to the early-to-mid-1990s, a time when Sonic and Mario were competing for console supremacy, bespoke promotional home videos were an effective means of advertising, and a skin-headed Craig Charles was the go-to presenter for edgy, youth-oriented, low-budget productions. Combine all three and you get 1993’s Super Mario All-Stars video, given away by Nintendo in the UK to promote its namesake SNES game, and indeed the console in general. The nearly twenty minute tape has been uploaded in full by games journalist Chris Scullion, as part of a VHS preservation project.