OK, I’ll admit it – I’m usually sceptical about this kind of thing. And I still am. But: there’s a fucking fantastic trailer on for it at the moment. See for yourself:
Isn’t that just utterly fantastic? Such a clever idea – Lister’s plight is similar to Dorothy’s (sent far, far away…) – and it’s executed so damn well. All the characters are worked in brilliantly (Kryten as the Tin Man, Cat as the Cowardly Lion) – and it just looks superb, with the old film effect and the beautifully designed captions. And to top it all off – it ends with a glorious mix of Somewhere Over The Rainbow and the end of the Dwarf theme that just works perfectly. Time and effort has been spent on this. It’s one of the best trails I’ve seen in ages, and far better than the bland stuff than the terrestrial channels usually stick out. They could have just slapped together a load of episode clips – but they didn’t. They came up with something memorable.
So, what’s actually on during the weekend? Well, this Saturday from 9:00pm has Camille, D.N.A. and Justice. It’s then repeated at 11:00pm… and then at 1:00am there’s a signed version of Camille, which is probably fun. Sunday from 9 sees the second half of Red Dwarf IV, with a signed version of Meltdown at 12:20am. Lazy scheduling? Undoubtedly – a 110% Dwarf Weekend should do rather more than just repeat one series of Red Dwarf. Twice.
And this is UKTV’s problem in a nutshell. On one hand, the have a history of doing these brilliant trailers. They did a lovely one at Christmas with a choir singing about what was coming up on UK Gold; they had a brilliant one advertising a week of Rik and Ade shows with lots of extreme violence set to Two Little Boys – and best of all, they advertised a Carry On season using Beep by the Pussycat Dolls. With various rudery happening on the beeps. It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Each trail I’ve just mentioned really shows a huge love of telly, and were created by people who – frankly – give a damn.
On the other hand, their actual programming is often dreadful. Take the aforementioned Rik and Ade week – they showed Filthy, Rich & Catflap (and the more I watch that show, the better it gets) – and edited out the very first scene of the series. Our first introduction to the characters – gone. Or take the Carry On season – the actual prints they used were appalling. And here we are again with a Red Dwarf weekend – one of the best trailers I’ve seen in a long time, but utterly mediocre scheduling.
To be fair to them, they do sometimes get it right. They showed some specially-shot stuff over Christmas with celebs (including Mr. Barrie) giving their views on the perfect Christmas, which was fun enough. And their Coogan weekend recently showed signs of improvement, as clear effort had been made – with some fantastic Coogan links. But still, there was dodgy stuff – they bothered to dig out the (fucking excellent) Tony Ferrino Phenomenon – but then edited out one of the songs. They showed Three Fights, Two Weddings and a Funeral, which was lovely to see – but also scheduled no less than three episodes of I’m Alan Partridge. Three? Two is fine – one from each series – but three is just really lazy scheduling. Why not a Knowing Me, Knowing You?
Back to the Dwarf weekend – and I suppose there’s a chance that this weekend will have some specially shot stuff in-between the episodes – if it does, I’ll take some of this back, at least. But God, if only their programming matched their trails, I’d be constantly glued to the various UKTV channels. As it is, it’s all the more infuriating that so much effort goes on beautiful trailers for weekends like this – and no effort at all goes into the actual content of the weekend itself.