Folks, today is a day for both sadness and joy. Sadness, for the passing away of The White Hole, Garbage World, Observation Dome, and Fuchal – and joy, because they are back with us, albeit as Ganymede & Titan. And yes, this quote would have worked better if this article had been published on relaunch day as originally planned, but I’m damned if I’m getting rid of it now.

Still, perhaps this is the time to sit back and ask – where are we with online Red Dwarf fandom?

Red Dwarf World, in 2000.I first came on the internet in 1998. (Quite literally – I sat in the corner of the Physics lab and downloaded dirty stories, and stuck them on floppy disc. It was only when I got the disc home that I realised most of them involved both paedophilia and incest. A quick search and replace on the participants ages gave me something to have an emergency wank to, though.) This was a time of great excitement in the Red Dwarf fan community – details of Red Dwarf VIII were leaking out, and there were plenty of active fansites around. Sites like Red Dwarf World, the Clearing House, and Smegweb, amongst many others. The full story of these sites can wait for another time; at some point, we plan to do a full multi-part history of Dwarf fandom, going right back to Nic Farey. But suffice to say that whilst I don’t want to get into a full exploration of the Red Dwarf online community at that time here, the important thing to note is: it was exciting, it was busy, and it was brilliant. I know now there was politics going on – I was never really party to that at the time, as I didn’t have decent net access. (Which is why I never contributed anything to the community then.) I’ll be spending most of this article talking about things I’ve been involved with, but make no mistake – whilst there was plenty of unpleasantness, those were the glory days, in terms of actual activity, at least.

Early in 2001, Smegweb and RDW merged under the RDW banner; and in in May of that year, Red Dwarf World went offline with a flame. I’ve given my objections to that post many times before; I won’t repeat myself here. The Red Dwarf online community wasn’t entirely dead, however. In 2002, there was still stuff going on. There was still Groovetown, The Red Dwarf Zone was busy reporting news nobody else was doing, and Ian Symes was continuing with a site called Ganymede & Titan, which he’d originally started back in 1999. In 2003 I got involved with the site; with the two of us working together, for the next year and a half we were kicking arse.

The White Hole, in 2004.It was around this time that another wave of fansites started springing up – sites like The White Hole – which had been around for a while, but the presence of G&T inspired Cappsy to start doing stuff again, and Garbage World – newly started by Austin Ross, who had been hanging around G&T’s comments system and got inspired. The same goes for Seb Patrick’s Fuchal.

We all got on. So, in November 2004, we set up a group Red Dwarf blog together – called Observation Dome. This was brilliant fun, and the highlight of our lives so far was being declared joint winners of the fan film competition, and ending up on the VII DVD.

But, as one by one, the sites died, and our faith died also. You tested us, Grant Naylor, and… we failed you. This happened for a variety of reasons. For my part, I was also going through changes in my life that meant I had less time to spend on G&T than before, and Ian had the same problem. The site also needed a redesign, and I hadn’t got the time or energy to spend on sorting it out. In the end, things came to a crunch – and we all decided that Observation Dome, The White Hole, Garbage World, and Fuchal should all come together under the G&T banner. Which was absolutely the right decision, as you can see by how much we’ve updated this month. I’m newly enthused about Red Dwarf fandom, and it’s a lovely feeling. (It also helps that as from the end of May, I’ve been working from home, in order to start my own web design business – so I’ve been able to justify spending time on the site…)

The merger does mean, however that four Dwarf fansites have disappeared from the online community. And what does that actually leave? Not a huge amount. Groovetown is pretty much dead. The Red Dwarf Zone is most definitely dead. The Clearing House disappeared without warning. (I specifically haven’t mentioned TOS so far, it being an official site not a fan one – even if is actually fan-run…) There’s the odd forum here and there, and there’s obviously some non-English sites – including some intriguing sites based in the Czech Republic. But in terms of general English-speaking Red Dwarf fansites, that actually report news, or publish articles – apart from us, there’s not a lot, is there?


At this point, perhaps it’s worth taking a look at exactly what G&T is actually about. We’ve been criticised many times in the past; and a lot of that is for the fucking cunting swearing. I remember two long discussions about this, on (click “Newer” at the bottom for the rest of the discussion), and the Webboard. My favourite complaint was that “the woman that I work with was disgusted by the language” – the answer being, of course, that the site was clearly not written for the woman you work with!

G&T does not simply reflect Red DwarfTOS does this perfectly well (although there’s a big chunk of Andrew Ellard in there too). What G&T also does is reflect a certain part of fandom. We’ve never pretended we speak for everyone, or that the site is for everyone.

Personally I’ve never seen the problem with swearing. I call my girlfriend a cunt. She calls me a cunt. I tend to think it’s the intent of words that matters – and if there’s no unpleasant intent behind the swearing, then it doesn’t matter. And yes, I sometimes swear simply because I think it’s funny. It’s not the shock value – HA HA HE SWORE!!!!!!1111 – it’s more the rhythm of it that I find funny. And sometimes its utter inappropriateness is funny too. But perhaps most of all, I enjoy sapping the power out of swearwords – a power that I just don’t think they should have. Some ideas are offensive to me; a collection of sounds isn’t, even if they do represent a woman’s genitalia, a big poo, or masturbation. We’ve definitely made mistakes in the past – and bad ones, too – but the swearing is not one of them.

But all of that justification is irrelevant really – lots of people don’t agree with us on that stuff. The whole point is, that we don’t claim to be a Red Dwarf site for everyone. If you like us, great – we’re more than happy to have you as visitors. Don’t like the language? Then don’t hang around on here – the site isn’t for you. (Ironically though, the site is actually licenced under a Creative Commons licence – meaning that if anyone wanted to, they could republish our articles without the swearing, as long as they acknowledge where the material came from!) A lot of people seem to think that the only thing we want to do is increase our audience, but that simply isn’t the case. We’re not the BBC ONE of Red Dwarf fandom – we’re like a cross between BBC THREE and FOUR. Being a Red Dwarf fansite for everyone simply isn’t our goal. It is interesting to note, however, that our “style” does tend to bring people in from outside fandom – which can only be healthy for Dwarf fandom as a whole.

Still, I’m concentrating too much on us. And strictly speaking, we’re not the only fansite around of course. There’s loads of others, offering such things as, erm, an episode guide! Or a gallery of images… nicked from TOS! Or the same manky incorrect transcripts that have been doing the rounds for years! Exciting stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. It sometimes makes you wonder what people are acually trying to achieve with their sites. Do they really think that the same boring ripped-off thing is going to interest anyone? It’s beyond pointless.

So then, what’s the actual point of this article? That G&T is great and everything else is shit? No – a thousand times no. There’s some things G&T has done that I’m very proud of – but a lot of what we do could be done by anyone. I’m a reasonable enough writer, I think – but I’m hardly the best in the world. There’s people in the Dwarf fan community who could do a better job than I do at writing news stories.

I wrote an article for NTS that touched on some points I’m trying to raise here:

So, here’s a challenge. If you don’t run a website – pick a topic you like. It could be a TV programme, it could be a band you love, it could be an old computer game from 1982. Hell, it could be Red Dwarf, if you want. Have a look round on the net, and see if the kind of stuff you would have written about the subject has been done. If not: write it. Stick it on the net somewhere. Send it in to us perhaps, but if you want something of your own, it’s not hard to start a website – you could even just get a free blog somewhere, and start posting on it. If you decide later that you want to restructure it into a different kind of website, fine – you can do that. But just get out there and start writing, start researching, start doing something. It doesn’t take long – it’s amazing what you can get done if you just put aside a couple of hours a week.

Start off simple, if you like. Take The Fast Show, for instance – build up an episode guide. Then write some reviews. Look around for interviews in papers. Or, heaven help us, try and get some interviews yourself. (Another thing I’ve learnt from G&T: getting interviews is a lot easier than you’d think.) Before you know it, you could be researching contemporary reactions from the show in a pile of old Radio Times listings, and have a website to be proud of, packed with stuff that’s nowhere else on the web. It’s just so gratifying to have people mail you and say “love what you’re doing”. Before you know it, you’ll end with with a on your hands.

The web is a wonderful place. Go on – help make it even more wonderful, for all of us.

What I said still stands. The web can support another Dwarf fansite. Hell, it can support another ten Red Dwarf fansites. There’s a reason why everyone who works on G&T now got together – it’s because we have similar views and interests. Most of our pieces about VII and VIII are going to be negative about those series – because in general, we don’t like them. (Although I’ll still stick up for some of VIII…) But there’s loads of people who do like them – in fact, downright adore them. I want to read about that. There’s also the fact that a lot of us are very interested in the production aspect of the show – there’s not many articles that actually look at the world of Red Dwarf itself and examine that. This has changed slightly since good old Austin joined the site, but there’s still vast swathes of stuff about the production of the show that a lot of people just aren’t interested in. I want to read about the other stuff – the stuff that I’m terrible at writing about, but love to read.

Everything on G&T goes through a filter – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Nearly everything is editorialised, even news – but that’s only dangerous if people’s opinions are used to twist things, or are left unsaid, and instead spread insiduously. We try to be as fair as possible, and report the facts – and then give our opinion on the news. Which is fine – we’re not the BBC reporting on the Middle East, or anything. But the same views can get kinda boring – it’s always nice to read about a different point of view. That’s why the comments system is there, of course – but it’d be great to see other Dwarf sites with entirely different takes on things. Even if I strongly disagree with them, I’d love to read it, and talk about it – because that’s what fandom is all about.

I know the cries that this article will meet – that there’s nothing else to write about Red Dwarf, that it’s all been done. And that the show is dead anyway. The latter point is easily refuted, by Doug Naylor’s own words on the VIII docco The Tank:

“I don’t consider the series done with, no.”

He goes on to explain what’s happening with the Movie, and a possible new series or specials if that doesn’t come off… but that first sentence is the important bit. Dwarf is not dead. And if the Movie funding doesn’t come together (I honestly believe it will, but that’s a separate discussion), then the BBC would bite every single one of its limbs off to have more Red Dwarf on telly. Just look at VIII’s viewing figures. The show is the highest rated sitcom BBC TWO has ever had. Red Dwarf is just not over – there’s absolutely no reason to believe that it is. I can’t quite understand why anyone could think that, if I’m honest.

But even if that wasn’t the case, it wouldn’t matter. Because on the former point, all I can say is this – if you think that, you have very little imagination. I can think of shitloads of articles off the top of my head that haven’t been done. Where’s an in-depth examination of Cliché, giving the links the show has to Red Dwarf – down to individual lines? Where’s the episode reviews? (There’s the odd one, but not loads.) Where’s a decent review of the UMD ‘Smeg Ups’, or the ROK mobile card, or the bobbleheads, or Flibble? Where’s a look at all the mentions of the Movie, right back to the 90s? To say nothing of the fact that, like we’ve done, you can use Red Dwarf as a starting point to cover so many shows. Where’s a decent episode guide for Spitting Image? Where’s an interview with Richard Fegen and Andrew Norriss, creators of Brittas? Where’s any decent articles about Maid Marian, beyond detailing the basic premise of the show? I could go on. And on. And on. And on. There’s bloody loads to write about!

What I’m saying is: if you want to give something back to fandom, and if you have the time to to a Red Dwarf fansite – do it. It doesn’t have to be some vast, tightly-designed site to start with – although if you want to start big, then don’t let me stop you. But there’s plenty of free blogging systems on the net – why not just set one up, and begin posting about Dwarf? The odd news item here, the odd opinion piece or review there, and before you know it – you’ve got pretty damn good site.

And the reward? All I can say is there’s very few things in my life that give me as much joy as contributing to this site – and most of the others involve my cock being sucked in some fashion. It’s truly a wonderful feeling to contribute – and to know that people appreciate what you’re doing. Every single time someone comments on this site, I get a thrill. I love it, and I love fandom. It’s a wonderful thing.

Be part of it.

74 comments on “The only survivors…

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  • >Where’s the episode reviews? (There’s the odd one, but not loads.)

    Hmmm…I’m quite obnoxiously opinionated, and I use proper grammar (at times); I always have a pen…you’ve given me something to consider.

    By the way, did you consciously recycle that opening paragraph from The End, or is it just an instinctive response from years of ingrained fandom?

  • >By the way, did you consciously recycle that opening paragraph from The End, or is it just an instinctive response from years of ingrained fandom?

    It’s a bit of both. I ought to measure just how much of our conversation is either direct quoting from a comedy show, or inspired by it. It would make scary reading.

  • Shame that the wayback machine has archives the Old Hole wrongly. Ah well, that was a shit design, anyway.

    That was a excellent article, John. It’d be utterly brilliant if there could be at least one other, nicely opinionated and interesting site that can give us a proper run for our money. That’s how a fan community thrives; on friendly competition. It’s no coincidence that the news section of G&T was at its strongest during a time when The Red Dwarf Zone were being brilliant with news…

    Arlene, I’d be very interested in seeing you write something about Dwarf. Why not set up a blog or something?

  • I’ve said it before and will no doubt bang on about it again, but *so* much of what I want from fandom *is* opinion.

    As John’s piece points out, this isn’t the same as bias. Facts, then feedback.

    It helps to have your own tastes and opinions questioned – I feel genuinely comfortable with my love of VII and VIII, and part of that has come from how…unshakable it’s been when getting in amongst the critics. (Note this is not the same as being uncritical, it’s not blind devotion. It’s just that, overall, I think they make for great TV.)

    Opinion is also a useful guide. On we’ll always support a new Dwarf venture. But what you won’t – can’t – get is a review. (Though I don’t hesitiate to go overboard on the positives if I genuinely believe in a thing.) If something’s worthwhile, or not, a fanbase deserves to know. There should be a second tier. There’s movie publicity – posters and trailers and interviews – and then there’s Empire, Total Film, Jonathan bloody Ross.

    Just because we’re a specialised sub-community, doesn’t mean the only feedback available has to be an eighth-of-a-page DVD review.

    Me, I come back to G&T for the opinion. But not just the opinions of the site runners – the reason to return again and again is the comments. Because that – and the webboard – is as good a barometer of fandom as I can think of.

    Everyone’s opinion is useful. Both to fans who buy, and to GNP as producers. No one comment speaks for everyone; but each is representative of a certain section of the commnity.

    Which is to say: I second the call to arms. Red Dwarf review blogs – ho!

  • I like the fucking cunting swearing on here.

    “It’s never funny. There’s one great, brilliantly clever joke about bleeping
    the F-word, in John Water’s Cry-Baby. Other than that one instance, I can’t
    think of a single time when either the F or C word was funny.”

    They’re all cunts out there!!

  • Arlene, I’d be very interested in seeing you write something about Dwarf. Why not set up a blog or something?

    Y’know, I saw that comment just as I was in the middle of setting up this…

    Updates soon. Ish. Soonish. Tentatively. (I’d say more, only my relationship with deadlines most closely resembles that of Douglas Adams…)

  • Excellent!

    Updates soon. Ish. Soonish. Tentatively. (I’d say more, only my relationship with deadlines most closely resembles that of Douglas Adams…)

    You like the ‘whoosh’ noise they make, too? ;)

    Actually, that’s the beauty of having your own site… you very rarely have deadlines you need to stick to.

  • I’m just too damned lazy to write anything constructive. If I’m
    asked to write something, I do it, if I find a comment or feature to reply to, I often get carried away and like a dog with a bone, I wont let go. I’d love to do something like a blog on a regular basis but have not got the confidence in my own writing really. I actually have a keen interest in the fans themselves, not in a pervy way of course, but rather a what makes them tick kind of way. I also think, I’m seen as someone who believes that everything in Dwarf paradise is perfect which is simply not true………Anyway……It’s good to talk.

  • This is excellent Arlene! It was worth writing the article if it’s only inspired that!

    Just think – if a few more people did stuff like that, it’ll add *so* much to the fan community. Blogs just make it so easy for people to start their own fansite.

  • And yeah Andrew, I agree with you about opinion. It’s why G&T has always had opinionated pieces – it’s half the *point* of runinng a fansite.

    It intrigues me how few episode reviews there are on the net for Red Dwarf. In a few weeks, we’re looking to launch an episode reviews database on G&T – where anyone with an account can contribute an episode review. (That’s why the old reviews of Series 1 on old G&T haven’t made it to the new site yet – they’ll be incorporated into the database). But whilst that’s fine if people want to write a review, but don’t want to run a blog or fansite, I’m convinced that a series of in-depth episode reviews could form the basis of a *brilliant* Red Dwarf blog. Do one a week, and you’ve got material for an entire year. Just think of the comments it would generate!

    I can’t emphasise enough how enjoyable running a fansite is. Yes, it’s hard work – but not *ridiculously* so. There’s nothing saying you have to update every day. And you get just as much out of it as you put in.

  • Where’s an interview with Richard Fegen and Andrew Norriss, creators of Brittas?

    On your Woof! site?

  • Oh, I so want to do that Woof! site. I really haven’t had time, but it’d be so marvellous – there’s just nothing about it anywhere on the net.

    I haven’t given up on it, though!

  • > I sat in the corner of the Physics lab and downloaded dirty stories, and stuck them on floppy disc. It was only when I got the disc home that I realised most of them involved both paedophilia and incest. A quick search and replace on the participants ages gave me something to have an emergency wank to, though.

    Thanks for that.

    > In a few weeks, we’re looking to launch an episode reviews database on G&T – where anyone with an account can contribute an episode review.

    Good. I’ll do one for my favourite episode, ‘Thanks For The Memory’, if no-one has any objections (I’m sick of ranting about episodes I dislike e.g. Rimmerworld, Nanarchy). Yeah, there have been small episode guides/reviews all over the place, but nothing really in-depth that I’ve seen. Simply recapping the episode isn’t good enough.

    I’m afraid the only way Dwarf’s web presence will grow is with a series relaunch OR the Movie (sadly, I don’t share the optimism regarding the securing of funding for the project. It’s over…). If IX and X happen – which, to be honest, I would prefer above anything else – there would be a resurgence in fandom.

  • >at some point, we plan to do a full multi-part history of Dwarf fandom, going right back to Nic Farey.

    God YES.

  • I think you raise some interesting points, Jonsmad. The politics involved with some fansites is all rather sad. I’m not saying G&T has never been involved with that kind of thing – indeed, there was something unpleasant with us recently – but the old Red Dwarf fansites, whilst exciting, just fell apart due to pointless in-fighting. It’s something I’m determined will never happen to G&T.

    The weird thing is that yes, in the early days of the web, people could see gaps, and went to fill them. But there’s still huge gaping gaps in the web today – there’s so much stuff that isn’t covered properly. But maybe sometimes there isn’t the same pioneering spirit with some people these days that there needs to be. People seem to automatically assume that everything they could contribute is already out there, done by someone else – but it just isn’t the case. At all.

    I do disagree that starting a fansite is difficult, though. I thought this might be brought up, which is why I mentioned free blogging systems in my article. You don’t need to be a whiz at designing websites, or put hours every day into a fansite. All people need to do is just sign up for a free blogging service, pick a template, and start posting – maybe once or twice a week. That’s more than enough to start anyone off.

    And if anyone ever wanted to take things a bit further – leave the free blogging service, and move onto their own webspace – I’m always here to help.

    Oh, and no, I haven’t heard George Carlin – I’ll hunt it out! Ta.

  • Oh yeah, Austin, I remember reading that, and the Cassandra one was also great. I don’t think every episode needs to be analysed in as much depth in a full episode guide database though. I think the reviews should be like this, except it should also be compulsory to give a mark-out-of-ten, or stars. And no-one should hold back on ripping the shit out of episodes they don’t like.

    What might be good is seperate sections in the review for comedy, story, sci-fi, each with a seperate out-of-ten rating and then an overall conclusion and rating. Many VII episodes would get one or two in the comedy rating from me, and the sci-fi concepts (and the way they’re dealt with) are also shitter in VII & VIII. I would immediately give one star to Tikka To Ride’s sci-fi rating for jumping the fracking shark with the Time Drive, and also having Kennedy shooting himself when it’s an obvious paradox.

  • I would immediately give one star to Tikka To Ride’s sci-fi rating for jumping the fracking shark with the Time Drive, and also having Kennedy shooting himself when it’s an obvious paradox.

    Reversely I’ve always thought Tikka was one of the better sci-fi episodes. Sure the S7 version of the ‘Time Drive’ goes against continuity but then that’s always been the Red Dwarf way, if it opens up a potential new avenue for plot or humour.

    As for the Kennedy paradox. Well yes you’re right of course, It’s a blatant paradox and yet it fits nicely in as another classic dwarf twist on history. A little like all the twists revealed in the backward universe. That kind of idea which Dwarf did so well and no one else had done before.

  • I am overwhelmed with instant blog-admiration. My best wishes to you in your endeavor. **raises glass, makes Holoship H-salute** Salut.

    Also, remember on my own blog, how I said I’d start with reviews as well? I lied. I have an idea for an article–it’s not exactly original (it’s been done before, by more expert folks than I), but it’s timely, and I think it needs to be done again. I’m working on getting someone to help me with it now.

  • “Oh, and no, I haven’t heard George Carlin – I’ll hunt it out! Ta”

    The original seven words you cant say stand up monolouge.

    Some of the trouble it caused with people who’s use of swearing and
    sense of humour isnt as well developed as the writers of this website.

    And relating it back to Red Dwarf for anyone who’s read or is familiar
    with the above routine….. Had George written the list in the Grant Naylor
    universe would it perhaps have been.

    Git, Gimp, Smeg, Goit, Gimboid, Smeghead, and Twonk.


  • (Whoops I clicked edit by mistake this post was originally about 7 earlier in the thread)

    Nice to read about the history of red dwarf websites.
    Or Dead dwarf websites as they are now.

    I didnt regularly visit RD fan sites, they all seemed to not
    have been updated for ages. Until discovering Observation
    Dome’s regular take on things just in time to see it shut down.
    So glad this new shared site is active now.

    Also glad I missed Red Dwarf world, as that final statement is a pathetic
    turnpike attitude, I bet that guy went on to raise 3 lovely children
    and then shot two of them.

    As for the F’ing swearing…..

    “I tend to think it’s the intent of words that matters”

    John have you heard George Carlin’s “Seven Words you cant say” bit of stand up?
    If not you should search it out, (it’s easy to find as a download) and you
    would probably love it for all the reasons you’ve stated about swear words in
    your article.

    Overall your article mirrors what happened over a similar time period in an
    online music fan community I’m closely involved in. Your story of active exciting websites, later stagnating or dissappearing, I’ve seen. The early politics being laterly told to you, I’ve experienced with slight sadness how it wasnt about fandom but individual ego or jealous rivalry taking front stage. Next a group of interested people banding together on one good website instead of individual projects, I’ve been a part of a similar collective. And now its a situation of one website left, lightyears ahead in content terms of the remaining unupdated simple sites still around about the same topic, sharing an online community with 1 official site, a couple of forums and 2 foreign updated websites. It’s a very similar set of events.

    I think that in the late nineties the internet was new to many and doing
    a website was something loads of people got into in a way that doesnt
    happen as much anymore in the same way (despite a growing number of people online).

    Back then there was less on the web, people would see more gaps to fill with
    websites about topics, any one would do it and content would always be new
    and unique at first and design didnt matter too much. Forums were less a part
    of things then except newsgroups and email lists, so people would do more website
    content rather than comments or blogs. Linking and search engines werent as developed, People would see gaps in topics and start up a website and
    be finished before they found out someone else already had a similar website, and then they would just link to each other.

    You criticise in your article old unupdated RD websites that you consider not to
    be trying very hard anymore, and I understand your point there, but it demonstrates
    that expectation, of what a good website is, have gone up too. This puts people
    off, (if it cant be good I wont do it). The design of great websites or flashy
    websites puts people off (if it cant be as good as that design I wont do it)
    and I guess when people see you guys covering things so well there is the attitude
    of (if they are doing it I dont need to bother, that’s covered I’ll do something else.)

    I think these days you dont seem to get 4 or 5 websites on a similar topic (band or tv show etc) without a unique angle to take on a subject.

    Despite that trend going on in probably a lot of internet communities, I hope you get your wish of more Dwarf sites springing up in answer to your clarion call article.


  • Like I say she’s not perfect…

    An actual makeover will happen sometime shortly after DJ. It just seemed a good idea to get it up and running prior to DJ.


    Erm, great to see, though! Will look forward to reading these weekly, and I hope they don’t become as “weekly” as my comics reviews on NTS…

  • I am really, really excited that two blogs have been set up already! I never expected this kind of response.?It’s great.

    Anyone else want to join in?

  • > As for the Kennedy paradox. Well yes you’re right of course, It’s a blatant paradox and yet it fits nicely in as another classic dwarf twist on history. A little like all the twists revealed in the backward universe. That kind of idea which Dwarf did so well and no one else had done before.

    Yeah, but for some reason I just want to rip my eyeballs out on watching the episode. When they end up in the Book Depository it suddenly becomes a different show in my eyes (which, admittedly, have already been ripped out at this stage). It’s like it’s time to kiss goodbye to Red Dwarf forever as it has officially jumped the shark (or ‘knocked the Oswald’ if you like). I wouldn’t CARE about the Time Drive thing if the Kennedy story didn’t happen. It’s like ‘oh how hilarious, they end up at the Kennedy assassination’. It’s like a sitcom that’s gone on too long sending the characters on holiday, or a baby being left on their doorstep for endless hilarity to ensue (this is nicely ripped off in the Father Ted Christmas special).

    I have similar feelings regarding the whole ‘historical celebrity of the series’ aspect to new Who. They meet Shakespeare. So what? Get some effing original ideas for eff’s sake! Maybe that’s a bit harsh but I don’t care. Suddenly it becomes less real and more of a farce when the Doctor is running around with Queen Victoria and Dickens, pushing things even further with Mark Gatiss’s Dickens fanwank. It seems these decisions are made just to get smug jokes and one-liners into a script , like the obsession with ‘one is not amused’, and setting ‘Fear Her’ during the 2012 Olympics just so we can get the moment with the Doctor carrying the torch, and…god I’m in a bad mood, I don’t know why. It’s VII!!! It flipping sends me that way.

  • See the funny thing is I’m totally behind you on all that with regard Who. The difference with Dwarf is I don’t really think it’s ever really played up the idea of Historical Celebrity for the sake off it.

  • Tika was never one of my favourite episodes as I think it tried to be too clever and failed at times. The re-construction of the shooting though was excellent and there were some good comedy moments. Maybe because of the subject matter, for me, the comedy elements didn’t sit too well with what came across at times as a
    moralistic message, the balance wasn’t quite right.
    Personally, I think it’s always going to happen when portraying famous characters from history, that they will use a saying or fact that that person was famous for. I know very little about Queen Victoria, who does in all honesty, but I suspect most have heard the ‘we are not amused’, even if it probably never happened.
    I found the whole episode a tad non-Doctorish, not that I’m an expert, but it seemed to me that it was made merely to give Torchwood a starting point in history. Mind you, this is probably the one episode I’ve watched only once.

  • >god I’m in a bad mood, I don’t know why. It’s VII!!! It flipping sends me that way

    It usually has a similar effect on me. I love this idea of writing episode reviews on this site as well; I for one would love the opportunity to defend Demons and Angels from the naysayers…

  • Hello, there. Love this site. Was wondering if anyone can help me. I created a new account a couple of days ago but I havn’t had an e-mail with password yet.

  • I’m new to this site and I’m interested in writing some episode reviews that John just mentioned, with full series wrap-ups. I see a lot of series reviews, but none really in-depth episode reviews anywhere, so it’d be a nice challenge to be able to tackle these.

  • First review has been rescued from the garbage pod. Bit cheeky this one as it’s just a copy + Paste of my original G&T review from several years ago. Allthough as I’m still sans Series I DVD hopefully you’ll let me off.

    Additionally a mammoth account of DJ will be on it’s way in the next few days.

    Finally since their was a bit of support offered with the techie/web side of things any offers of help on changing this…

    Into something a little more like this…

    A very rough design concept knocked up in photoshop this morning. If anyone can lend their expertise then could you please drop me an email at – oh yes I’ve even got a special dwarf only email and everything. Go me.

  • The comments for this article are now FIXED, BTW. Feel free to carry on the discussion, as this is the most constructive discussion EVER on G&T!

  • > Could you put a link to the home page please? it’ll be easier to navigate that way :)

    The title bar links straight back to the home page.

  • I’m currently working on some episode reviews. I was gonna do them all in order, but shuddered to think I’d be swimming in VII and VIII, so I decided to do one ep from each series first. I’ve got Back To Reality sorted first, any ideas on where to start for the rest of the series?

  • Holoship? Thanks for the Memory? Camille? DNA? I also second Meltdown.

    How about you just write all the episode titles on a bit of paper, pin it onto the wall, throw a dart at it and review whichever the dart hits =P ?

  • Second review will be up in a matter of minutes + a bit more DJ diary stuff as well. Had a few connection issues over the weekend. The inconsiderate sods I’m stealing wireless broadband off appeared to turn off their router. How rude.

  • I promise I’ll have your design done soon, Karl, I just haven’t been able to find the time. It’s coming, though!

  • *sniff* Heartbreaker! With your midnight promises, broken by the dawn.

    No it’s cool. I’m still grateful for the assistance.

  • Thanks for the advice, everyone. Meltdown is screaming at me from the DVD shelf (or that could just be the result of last nights drinking) to be reviewed. There’s a lot to say on that episode – the Gulf War thing, and of course the (I believe) urban myth about fans hating it…

  • Yes, I must say, I’ve always been slightly suspicious of that statistic. Seeing as everyone I know *loves* it.

    It was more than one survey though – I *believe* it was official fan club surveys in BTL (someone correct me if I’m wrong). I think some serious questions need to be asked about who exactly voted in that survey – I don’t think it’s entirely representative, even of just fans.

  • Having been part of the community since 1991/2, I’m confident the vibe against Meltdown was genuine – at least until VII arrived.

    The BTL polls, the Smegazine poll, the letters pages, the conversations at conventions – it all said much the same. Of course it wasn’t universal, but nothing is. It was certainly…typical that a fan would have Meltdown last or near-last on their list in the early to mid 90s. (From my experience.)

    Of course a lot of the time this was coming from first-gen viewers, who watched the series go out for the first time and found themselves disappointed in what MIGHT have been the last ep ever. (In those days every series ending felt that way, like the last ever.)

    There’s an interesting moment in Joe Nazarro’s Smegazine interview with Rob and Doug – after Series V, I think – where the writers are asked what went wrong with the episode. And, typically, Joe then goes on to explain how he woud have improved it…

  • And here is that interview.

    DOUG: What did you think about Meltdown?

    TS: It might have been one of the weaker shows of the fourth series, but there are some bits, such as the Winnie the Pooh scene, that were very funny.

    DOUG: The trouble with it is though, when you didn’t know where they were, I don’t think it was funny. That’s a big mistake we made, whereas when you know that it’s a waxworks, it’s funnier.

    TS: Perhaps if they had gone through an amusement park sign in one of the earlier scenes, the viewer would have known where they were.

    ROB: And then you’re looking forward to it; yeah, I think you’re right. We had people coming from the fan club after the fourth series, and saying, “What are you doing, putting Meltdown out?”

    ROB: We actually contemplated putting Meltdown out first.

    TS: And now you’re glad you didn’t?

    DOUG: Oh yeah. The reason it didn’t go out first was really because of the Gulf War. We were told that it couldn’t go out until after the war was over, and Dimension Jump had connotations of Tom Cruise in Top Gun, so that couldn’t go out either. The first four shows had to be the other four, and then the Gulf War had finished, and the other two were able to get out.

    I think it’s interesting what you say about first-gen viewers. I first got into Dwarf during the 94 repeat run, so I suppose I count as second-gen, at a push.

    I’ll never understand why people didn’t like it though – I always adored it. Maybe you’re right – it’s just that it doesn’t feel like a sensible swansong for the series. Back to Reality really *does* feel like the whole thing could end there – perhaps more than any other episode.

  • Or maybe it’s just that, at a time where the show seemed to have settled down into a format, it completely broke it. And not in a way you’d expect Dwarf to do so – because it just doesn’t feel very SF. Although there are shades of Better Than Life in Meltdown, so it’s not entirely unprecedented.

    I don’t know. I’m just really intrigued that one of my favourite episodes seemed to have been hated so much. And even more, I’m intrigued as to where that hatred has disappeared to!

  • It’s a lot of factors. Weight of expectation at that point (II and III end differently, but both very neatly). Nazarro’s sign theory IS basically sound – it’s a better story once you’re not dealing with the shock of bad FX monsters and apparently-living celebrities. Plus the whole thing DOES smack a bit of ‘everyone dressing up’. Also, I think that Risk stuff is very flat.

    But you can pull this stuff on any ep. At the time we mostly felt, I think, that Meltdown was less than the sum of its parts. That that opinion has long since vanished just reveals how easy it is for knee-jerk opinion to stick and become ‘truth’.

  • Ah. The RISK story is one of my favourite bits. (Cat’s “What?” is just fantastic). It does smack of people dressing up – but they are saying funny things with it, so it’s OK. But yeah, it’s a good example of opinion changing over time with things. And I think you’re probably right about end-of-series expectations. It doesn’t really say anything fundamental about what Red Dwarf is *about* – like Parallel Universe, The Last Day or Back To Reality.

    Anyway, let’s save all this until back 2 reality has written his review. You know you just *have* to choose Meltdown now, don’t you?

  • In news relating to the original topic, Outpost Gallifrey is shutting down shop, effectively. Now, isn’t it blindingly obvious what you should do when you’ve got a well-established fansite, but no longer have the time to dedicate to it properly? OPEN IT UP TO OTHER PEOPLE.

  • Ayup! Some of us fans are more than willing to share the burden of making a site interesting.

  • Indeed. Why the bloody hell doesn’t he just find other people to update the news page?

    Either he’s being precious – or he genuinely doesn’t know anyone else who wants to take it over. Considering how large Who fandom is though, that’s easily solved – simply request CVs for potential news posters, and find people right for the job.

  • OG has royally pissed me off over the last few weeks. First he claims he’s ‘re-launching’ the site, which ended up consisting of upgrading the forum and NOTHING ELSE. In fact, the only other things of note we got was a big news update. WELL DONE, THAT’S WHAT YOU SHOULD’VE BEEN DOING ANYWAY.

    I know for a fact he has a large number of people supplying him with news and I bet any one of them would jump at the chance of being news editor. It just smacks of him being precious with his site. He should spend less time writing his fucking Unofficial guides which no one reads or cares about. It makes me cross.

    I know sites like that owe us nothing, but it just makes sense to try to keep it going as best as possible. Hell, G&T has managed it and, on average, John works a fuck load more than a few hours a day on here.

  • John, do not despair. The ‘Meltdown’ Review is on its way!

    Outpost Gallifrey: This is terrible news. As a lifelong (and worryingly obsessive) Dr Who fan, OG has been the source of news and information for a LONG time. I read the official announcement of the relaunch there, JNT passing away, Eccleston/Tennant, everything. And it was extremely handy if you couldn’t be arsed searching through three bloody WH Smiths in order to find DW Magazine.

    But I’m not terribly surprised. News updates and the like have dried up considerably in the last few months. Knowing that Dr Who news was always going to become a lot bigger around 2005, the editor should have started using other people to bring the news in and open it up more. Let’s face it, the DW universe is gigantic. As well as the classic and new series, there’s novels of different forms, comic strips, BF Audios, radio plays, DVDs and a stack of a lot more, and that’s not going into the spin-offs. It was always going to be a big undertaking.

    Cappsy’s comments above are absolutely right. Red Dwarf is also a very big universe, and G&T operates even better with more people contributing things. Not only does it take pressure off John and Ian, but it makes the site a hell of a lot more diverse. Recently, OG has plodded along a well-marked groove when it could really just break out and overtake the official site.

    Dear Lord, I Need To Stay Off The Coffee

  • *I’ve* certainly found G&T a lot more entertaining since everyone else started contributing!

    The problem with Outpost Gallifrey though, is that whilst their news was (or, rather used to be) thorough – it was written with no sparkle. It was functional, yes, but I want to hear a bit of the writer’s voice in there – or indeed opinions. I found the whole thing rather dry.

  • I found the whole thing rather dry.

    And then I withdrew from Tanya’s fanny, aaaaah.

    Well, your talent for bedroom ennui is hardly her fault, innit?

  • I’ll have you know I get her POSITIVELY DRIPPING.

    Just whispering threats like “if you don’t get wet, you’re fucking dumped” is usually enough.

    Although it’s probably just piss. But still, it works well enough.

  • Ah-ha. I, erm, haven’t set up the reviews section yet. You’ll be able to post it for yourself there when that’s set up.

    Two options – either keep hold of it for now and I’ll definitely get it set up next week for you – or set up your own blog and start posting them there.

  • No problemo, I’ll hold onto it. I would set up my own blog, but frankly I’m completely shite (as the review will no doubt bare out) and rarely get a day to myself nowadays (except yesterday and today, cuz I’m feeling quite poorly).

  • Speaking of our own sites, I got something new over at the Holoship–not much, but I’m proud of it anyway. It’s been my lucky day!

  • I have written a rather personal (perhaps) review of Krytie TV which will get torn to shreds I suspect, but am still eager to share, if anyone is in the slightest bit interested…
    I’m not really a review-writing type person but thought I’d have a pop at it….

  • This weekend, I’m going to get the reviews database set up. So if people hang fire until Monday, it should all be ready.

  • For anyone who STILL CARES – now the Beat The Geek review is up, the reviews database is next on my list…

    Also, regarding Outpost Gallifrey – they’re opening back up as a news site, and doing EXACTLY what we suggested they do – employ other news editors. Hooray!

  • Oh, god, I’m sorry. I really am. I’ve had a lot of things on, but there’s so excuse – it should be done by now.

    I’ll make it the very next thing I do for the site (bar news stories) – before my next proper article.

  • A reviews database! That’s a good idea.

    Anyway, I’d suggest that this moment is EXACTLY the right time for some more fansites to be starting up. Go on, then.

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