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DwarfCasts from Ganymede & Titan

Seems like a good day to bury smug cunts talking about Red Dwarf. Seb, Jonathan, Ian and John return to talk some shit about Backwards, an episode that’s already had a fair amount of shit talked about it in the past.

DwarfCast 29 – Backwards Commentary (32.5MB)

Please note that this DwarfCast was recorded before the deaths of Osama Bin Laden and Henry Cooper.

8 comments on “DwarfCast 29 – Backwards Commentary

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  • Please note that this DwarfCast was recorded before the deaths of Osama Bin Laden and Henry Cooper.

    And Whispering Ted Lowe, I presume.

  • Cool cast. In reference to the “at the time reaction” of fans watching the leap to III. One thing to consider is that at the time of III first screening there were no released video cassettes of Red Dwarf yet, and Rob and Doug kept both the show from being repeated – the early series, (first more than the second perhaps) – and also delayed the first two series coming out on VHS for quite a while. So the only fans that knew the show indepth must have been either forward thinking enough to tape a new unknown series, or quick enough to like the show to start home taping or sharing it. I’d guess more people had the second series taped than the first as a result.

    These moves on restricting it kind of helped the transition into III being less jaring in some ways, at least for me, as memory imagines the best bits of what you’d previously seen was mostly the same as this new better looking faster more roaming version of dwarf. And the other sci fi shows of the time gave you a short hand you quickly understood as the dwarf crew progressed to more travling adventures in their ilk.

    I watched from future echoes, but i started home taping from this very episode. Lucky i did as being able to slow down that scrolling really helped me understand the changes between the series. I might have been more lost without that, I wonder how many other viewers were in pre-internet/dvd days. I dont think anyone really questioned Kryten’s return as a result of that joke about him in the scroll, it felt like we had seen the characters previous introduction and the rimmer stuff with him in this episode was enough to follow that on and see the new version of the mechanoid. I think there was a little more morning for the loss of the continuity of the babies storys arc in screen time and equally a feeling like we might be losing out on continuity ties up with future echoes and stasis leak stuff too, and indeed those didnt really pan out did they in the long term of the show. I remember writing fan fiction for Better Than Life though about these gap bits, and indeed they did an issue all about the gap, so it was a something fans talked about I guess.

    But the show was funny and interesting enough to hold you attension and as a result the ride took over from most worry. I was aware of fans as you guys said that are I & II fans more than later series, and I guess that Porridge-esque trapped thing was done away with a bit to a greater degree and some of the atmosphere of that from pacing. But it just all felt better and still great to me, especially given Backwards, Marooned and Polymorph being so brilliant, felt like it had really hit a stride, and this was the first series I really had to re-watch again and again.

  • This brought back fond memories of being 13 and totally gobsmacked by the opening to Backwards. I was watching the ’94 repeat run (and feverishly buying the videos, more or less, in order) but I was unprepared for the changes in the show. I’d seen images (just from VHS covers) of Series III onwards so I knew about costume and set changes, but nothing prepared me for how different the show was.

    On a related note, I have a bizarrely distinct memory of a friend (who’d seen up the Series VI) telling me about Out of Time, and trying to apply that to what I knew of the show. I still have this bizarre image in my head of Out of Time taking place on Red Dwarf (rather than Starbug) and Rimmer still being dressed in his Series I and II garb. Weird.

    Anyway. I was blown away by Backwards. It was quite a lot to take in, but I just went along with it simply because it made me laugh. Although I have a fondness for the loneliness aspect of the early years (I LOVE Lister reminiscing, alone in the refectory in BoP), I’ve never really missed that, as what the show evolved into worked so well.

    I don’t think Backwards holds up to as much repeat viewing as, say, Polymorph or Marooned, purely because, as you discuss, it’s a one-joke concept, but it’s a good opener.

    Ps. I can’t believe you got Chloe to do a Dwarfcast sting and didn’t get her to make reference to her foaming twat.

  • The Backwards video was the first Dwarf vid I got. I used to take it to school and they’d play it in the dining room during break. I got a heck of a lot of Sheffield school children into Red Dwarf.

  • >The Backwards video was the first Dwarf vid I got.

    Mine too. First ever Dwarf episode I watched too (that I can remember), must have been about 1996 as I know I was watching it by the time Series VII started. At 4 years old I wouldn’t have got a lot of the jokes but I know I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    At the young age I did get scared and run away when Cat jumped up at the end though, bless.

  • The Alan Moore comic mentioned in the commentary can be found in this collection, which is well worth reading. And as I searched for that Amazon link, I learned that it’s just about to be republished in a new edition! (One which is 80 pages longer than the 2006 edition… Why’s that necessary, when the earlier version was already “complete”?)

    At the young age I did get scared and run away when Cat jumped up at the end though, bless.

    The only bit of Red Dwarf I can remember scaring me was the end of Confidence & Paranoia, when I was about 6 or 7 years old: at the mention of exploding heads, I ran out of the room!

  • I’m new to this site but not new to RD. Been watching since first broadcast in 88 and have attended 8 DJ’s, would have been 9 but family wedding where my daughter was a bridesmaid clashed with this years.

    I’ve been “busy” listening to a lot of Dwarfcasts this week whilst off work and there was an interesting (to me) comment about how people who have been watching Dwarf since first broadcast reacted to the changes. This was something I wrote about many years ago in Better Than Life (issue 43 I think). I was 23 when RD was first broadcast and the appeal was the sci-fi with humour. After the first epi my opinion was that it was trying to be HHGttG with canned laughter but I stuck it out. Although I enjoyed ME2 I wasn’t sufficiently convinced it was worth watching again as it was just a sit com set on a space ship which doesn’t make it sci fi.A friend persuaded me to watch series 2 and I never escaped the gravitational pull of the red hole . The first obvious change that immediately got my interest was the opening shot of the Nova 5 quickly followed up by some brilliant comedy notably Lister spraying his leg to cover up an iron shaped burn in his trousers. It’s a cliche but the pivotal moment was Kryten’s “I’ve only been gone two minutes”.

    There was lots of discussion about Dwarf in the pub on a Friday night (ye olde equivalent of the internet forum) but equally the next day at work. The team I was in at the time of series 2, all bar one really loved it and we would discuss the highlights of the previous nights episode. One particularly memorable moment was the Team Manager quoting “I’m gonna smell your behind then you can smell mine” just as a senior manager came into the office. The look on his face was brilliant. He started watching Dwarf the week after.

    I have embraced every new series up until 6 as an evolutionary improvement upon the last,although if Gumnen were in series 5 that would, for me,be perfection. Series 3 was incredible at the time;the new theme tune;the new opening titles;the dark lighting;Backwards was light years ahead of its time not just for a sit com but for anything in a moving visual medium. Every new series was so eagerly anticipated,a joyous occassion, the excitement of which is very difficult to convey or understand if you came to Dwarf through the dvd releases or repeats on Dave. It was UNMISSABLE, easily the best thing on TV for so many people despite just 6 episodes per season. It was something you recommended to friends and colleagues who more often than not were actually already watching it.

    Series 7 I saw in the studio at Shepperton where the audience were shown three episodes so our laughter could be recorded. The first episode I saw was Stoke Me A Clipper and it felt like I was the only one in the room not laughing.I hated it, all of it and this was the first but not last time that an epi of RD had not made me feel great. The second episode shown however was more to my liking and at the end of the third I wanted to see more. I do understand the intense dislike for 7 because for a while I had it too. I was in the audience for the recording of Pete and what we saw being filmed was very funny. The first epi of 8 was a welcome return but BitR was a huge shock to the system. It was the 2nd epi of RD I hated and still do together with BitR 3. I’ve come to appreciate Stoke but BitR 2&3 for me are truly awful and I was genuinely embarrased to be a Red Dwarf fan. I have lots of other issues with 8, the usual ones of too many bodies, too bright, looks and feels like Brittas Empire in space and it doesn’t appeal to my sense of humour. The expectations of 8 with all the cast back together and a live audience perhaps raised expectations too high. All previous changes with series 2 to 6 I had no issue with whatsoever. Overall with 7 I liked it as they were darker stories like the novels but 8 is just too far removed from what had been before.

    Overall I like BtE,just one or two niggles but it does improve with repeated viewing.

    I’m on holiday again in early July so another 20 podcasts by then would be very much appreciated :@

  • Right, just listened to that while watching low quality YouTube video. Very amusing, well done, chaps.

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