Let’s Talk About The Quanderhorn Xperimentations (on Radio 4)

Tell me when will you be mine? Tell me Quander Quander Quanderhorn. Well, the brand new sci-fi comedy radio series, written by Rob Grant and Andrew Marshall, starts today at 11:30am on BBC Radio 4. You can listen live via the Radio 4 website or the iPlayer Radio app, or tune in on an actual radio via DAB, FM or LW. It should be available on catch-up pretty much straight after it finishes airing, again via iPlayer Radio, or on the BBC programme page, which has now been updated to get the co-writer’s name right. (This is all assuming you’re in the UK, of course – foreign types will have to resort to more nefarious means, I would imagine.)

Anyway, this is your thread to discuss the episode before, during and after broadcast. Spoilers for episode one are allowed in the comments, but when the book comes out on Thursday, keep please keep discussion of the book confined to that thread, so as not to reveal anything about future episodes of the radio series. Why can’t anything vaguely Red Dwarf related ever be released in a straightforward manner?

This will most likely be the only Let’s Talk About for Quanderhorn, unless each episode ends up attracting as many comments as a new episode of Red Dwarf does. Either way, the signs are very promising, and we’re very much looking forward to devouring new Rob Grant material for the first time in years. Let the Xperimentations begin.

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73 Responses to Let’s Talk About The Quanderhorn Xperimentations (on Radio 4)

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  1. I think people not living in the UK can still listen to the radio on iPlayer, or has that changed?

  2. iPlayer radio works fine in my random country.

  3. I don’t think it did much interesting with the stock B-movie tropes (and I was somehow hoping it would sound properly vintage with old-time Mr Chomondley-Warner voices and a warbly strings soundtrack), but the mysteries of that guy’s amnesiac background and What’s Going On have me interested and I like the characters, especially the Prof. I really want to read the book.

    Considering the frozen time premise already reminded me of that Doctor Who episode, Winston Churchill showing up to explain it in a similar scene was odd.

  4. Great cast, expected a quatermass riff, bit like that Mark Gattis Nebulous thing, so a brussel sprout muted human in the opening ticks the box straight away. A character jokingly named Bri-Nylon means this is going to be traditionally silly fare. Beyond that I’ll have to listen again to see if theres much more. The joke about Re-raising someone from being a baby after a mind wipe amused felt like a dwarfy style concept.

  5. It was…OK. The concept and performances were good, but the jokes felt a bit thin. Gags about Scottish people not eating vegetables and idiots not knowing the word for idiot seem like pretty low hanging fruit for such a pair of such comedy heavyweights. The speaking in opposites sequence at the end was OK, but again felt like the kind of stuff Rob has done before, better. Hopefully it will pick up as it goes.

  6. I liked the concealed weapon gag.

  7. Well, it is obvious that Andrew’s letting Rob mostly have his way with all the “humorous” “torture”

  8. It was okay, the cast have great timing. The characters are gimmicky at the moment, though, I was expecting them to be a bit more fleshed out from the start, I guess since the main character has lost his memory that restricts him somewhat. The Troy character is latter-day Cat mixed with the security guard clones (forgotten their name) from Colony. Must admit, I enjoyed it a lot, even if it is flawed.

    However, the woman with the clockwork brain… It reminds me of a certain joke from “Only the Good.” That’s never a good thing.

  9. G&T Admin

    Only just listened. I have the same opinion as I had when I finished the first chapter of the book, unsurprisingly: it takes a hell of long time to get going, but when it does it’s rather good. Loved the final scene, it’s just a shame there was so much set up to do before we got to it. Vast swathes were just John Sessions telling us who everyone is one by one. Luckily (without giving anything away), the book continues with the quality that the first chapter ends with, and the characters get better the more you get to know them, which bodes well for the series.

  10. I’ve just listened to it on iPlayer and my thoughts are as follows:

    I QUITE ENJOYED IT

  11. I thought what Ian did, except I haven’t read the book yet.

  12. The “always being wrong” thing was vaguely similar to Entangled, wasn’t it?

  13. A bit of a slow start, but I was very into it by the end.

  14. Just like others have said, It starts out a little dry but it really winds up towards the end, I can’t wait for episode 2!

    Also It was nice that it wasn’t geoblocked.

  15. I thought it was ok but I didn’t laugh very much. The cast is good and they elevated material that was quite creaky in places, and it definitely picked up towards the end, but I don’t know that I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next episode.

  16. I haven’t read the book or listened yet.
    But I thought it started slowly and got better towards the end.

  17. I liked it.

    A lot of the jokes seemed well-worn and obvious (Isn’t it funny that women want to dance and men just want sex? Hahahaha what a hilarious and completely true observation.) and there was indeed a lot of exposition for the runtime, but the performances carried it, there were some good moments, and the plot has me interested.

    The conclusion with the opposite talking was pretty fun too, though I was on the verge of shouting “Either try to say the opposite of what you mean on purpose, or shut up and let Quanderhorn be the only one speaking!” at my phone.

    The very ending made me wonder if this is trying to do the early Hitchhiker’s Guide concept, where each episode would be a different continuity and end in the world being destroyed? But given how much time they sacrifice to establish characters and mysteries yet unsolved here, proooooobably not.

    Anyway, they’ve got me on board for episode 2 at least.

    I also like how people have so far compared it to both Only The Good… and Entangled. Maybe Rob Naylor really did write it after all.

  18. Despite being infinitely funnier than any episode of Red Dwarf since 1993, it’s basically Futurama, isn’t it?

  19. Despite being infinitely funnier than any episode of Red Dwarf since 1993, it’s basically Futurama, isn’t it?

    Except for the fact that it definitely isn’t infinitely funnier than most of post-1993 Red Dwarf and the fact that only some minor aspects of it are like Futurama, you’re absolutely right.

  20. oh COME ON – a crazy old scientist with weird alien chum sends hapless crew including bossy lady and hapless manchild on life-threatening space missions?

  21. I think Futurama’s distinctive character designs just easily map onto similar stock character types when you can’t see them, even when they’re not much alike. When I first read the Hitchhiker’s books as a teenager, not having seen/heard the series, I had to shake off Futurama mental images for half the characters (mainly Marvin/Bender, but it spread to others too) and I’d never even really watched Futurama. Anyway, Futurama’s just American Red Dwarf isn’t it? (Never really watched Futurama).

  22. Of course, Futurama’s just Open All Hours really, isn’t it.

  23. I just found it amusing that anyone’s mind would jump to Futurama, because the premise of The Quanderhorn Xperimentations is almost literally the exact opposite of Futurama’s.

    Sure, Quanderhorn is kind of like Professor Farnsworth, but he’s just as much a Dr. Venture or a Rick Sanchez. It’s an archetype. Maybe Troy is similar to Fry, too, but only because he’s stupid, and he’s not even the main character here. That’s really where the noticeable character similarities end.

    Of course, the main difference between The Quanderhorn Xperimentations and Futurama is that Futurama has more than 0 non-white actors in it.

  24. The Quotahorn Xcoriations.

  25. You can make anything sound like anything else if you boil it down to such rudimentary ingredients. Hell, using those rules, Star Trek Voyager is basically a rip-off of Red Dwarf.

  26. Rob Grant and Doug Naylor were about to call their lawyers, but then nothing happened that made them laugh.

  27. plenty of shows about people in spaceship, yeah. not many where they’re the last people alive though, so no. and there’s only one show where a crazy old man with a wierd alien pal sends a group of young folks including a bossy lady and an idiot boy on crazy space missions. well now two.

    would it help you guys if i explained that it’s not a criticism, just an observation?

  28. You’re right, maybe they should have looked to some old 1950s BBC sci-fi serial for inspiration instead, rather than just ripping off Futurama.

  29. It would have helped if you hadn’t felt the need to hyperbolically shit on the entirety of Doug Naylor Red Dwarf in your opening observation/criticism as if it’s a competition. Even if it is a bit of a competition.

  30. The brassica woman has reminded me of Darkplace.

  31. So much projection and cherry-picking is necessary for the Quanderhorn/Futurama comparison.

    – “Robot”, “genius scientist” and “alien” are just archetypes of sci-fi in general.

    – “Idiot boy” and “bossy lady” are just archetypes of comedy in general (though I reject the impulse to codify any female character who asserts her authority or refuses to put up with crap as “bossy”).

    – Calling Dr. Zoidberg an “alien pal” of anyone is a bit of a fucking stretch. Actually calling a character who’s only there as a prisoner of war an “alien pal” is a bit of a fucking stretch too, but either way they’re completely different to each other.

    – The Quanderhorn gang go on ONE space mission at the end of this ONE episode. That doesn’t make it the format. At the beginning of the episode they do a ground mission, and they recall other types of adventures in dialogue. That’s not Futurama (not yet, at least).

    – Farnsworth and his experiments are only the focus in SOME episodes of Futurama. Based on the title and the story established so far in TQX, they’re clearly going to be a focus for the whole series.

    – Did I mention how Futurama is about a guy from the present finding himself in a futuristic setting, while Quanderhorn is about futuristic technology making an impact in the past? I feel like I did.

  32. I’d hardly call that ending acene a ‘space mission’ or Guuuurk an ‘alien pal’ either.

    By the way, when they’re on the spaceship, it’s a lot like early Red Dwarf – clever guy with no physical presence, dumb guy, guy who’s had some sort of physical reset, pretentious person.

  33. You guys are going to feel stupid when it turns out that Quanderhorn largely revolves around an intergalactic delivery service in the year 3001.

  34. “Futurama!”
    “Voyager!”
    “Red Dwarf!”
    “Hitchhikers!”
    “Colony!”

    “Has anyone in this family even seen a Quatermass?”

  35. First Quatermass has someone mutate into a creature; in Quatermass II they go into space at the end to blow up an asteroid; third has a Martian, but it doesn’t look like a purple Kevin Eldon. I think that’s where specific comparisons end (so far), and that’s just silver age sci-fi and B-movies generally.

  36. Quatermass? I hardly knew her!

  37. It would have helped if you hadn’t felt the need to hyperbolically shit on the entirety of Doug Naylor Red Dwarf in your opening observation/criticism as if it’s a competition. Even if it is a bit of a competition.

    ‘felt the need’

    dude, i’m on your side. i love post-grant dwarf just as much as you. but scientifically, objectively, you just gotta concede it plain ain’t funny. it’s fun to watch, i watch ’em over and over, some of them are even good shows, but even the best ones just ain’t funny at all, and that’s totally fine.

    and seeing as one of the big questions in fandom is ‘was grant the funny one then’ (a question that wouldn’t exist if it had been funny since he left) then the issue of mr grant’s own sci fi comedy series being funnier or even funny at all seems pretty pertinent to me

    i’m not sure it’s a competition, but it’s an interesting comparison to make. it’s definitely not internet war. or is it?

  38. The new episodes are only “n’t funny at all” if you’re actively trying not to enjoy them. There is no way in hell that none of the new episodes are funny. One, maybe, but Timewave is fucking shit.

  39. Sorry flanl3, but you heard besbvesdy: the post-Grant episodes are SCIENTIFICALLY, OBJECTIVELY not funny at all. You can’t dispute hard facts! That’s just how art works, I’m afraid. I don’t make the rules.

  40. Sorry flanl3, but you heard besbvesdy: the post-Grant episodes are SCIENTIFICALLY, OBJECTIVELY not funny at all. You can’t dispute hard facts! That’s just how art works, I’m afraid. I don’t make the rules.

    Shit, I didn’t see the absolute evidence right there. My bad. I believe in science before all.

  41. buddy, i wish you were right. i wish i was sitting there with my arms folded, big frown on my face, shouting at the TV to prove itself and make me laugh now my favourite rob grant was gone. then the problem would obviously be me being a mysanthropic idiot and red dwarf would still be funny. i’d much rather live in that world

    sadly i’ve greeted them all with open arms since 1993 and without even knowing about the personnel change suddenly noticed in 1997 that i wasn’t laughing anymore. haven’t laughed at the new shows since. giving it my absolute best. ‘have a fantastic period’ made do a small smile. ‘washed him down and gave him a hat’ illicited a sort of forwards sniff. i’ve enjoyed them all thoroughly in the same way that you enjoy stuff that is brilliant but not at all funny, like classical music or a delicious pizza

    like i say, it would be great if you were right and i was trying my hardest not to enjoy them. but i guess all i can say is you gotta believe me that the opposite is true – but also that it’s not necessary to defend your favourite show from me like i’m some marauding army at the gates of your fandom – i’m inside the gates with you, having a whale of a time! i’m just not laughing is all

  42. Honestly even if you don’t like them you can probably find at least something funny in series 8,BTE,10,11 and 12.

    It’s just there is ALOT that is painfully unfunny, especially when you have seen the show do better previously.

  43. I think they’re only funny IF you are giving them that benefit of the doubt, that fan love, that willingness. When I mention to people that there’s a new series of red dwarf on, after being amazed and saying things about the 90s and smeg they ask if it’s any good, and i tell them that if you already love it then yeah, but if you’ve never seen it probably best give it a miss.

    i shudder to think what the average viewer thought of something like BTE. it’s not that they’re churning over old ground and only doing stories that will please fans – it’s just that I can’t see how anyone who doesn’t already love these characters could possibly find any of it the least bit amusing

  44. Let’s Talk About Red Dwarf VII-XII Again (on The Quanderhorn Thread)

  45. Let’s Talk About Red Dwarf VII-XII Again (on The Quanderhorn Thread)

    again – super pertinent, seeing as quanderhorn contains the exact ingredient missing from vii – xii. this isn’t a quanderhorn forum, it’s a red dwarf forum, so it’s a given that we’re going to compare and contrast to our favourite show

  46. Maybe a thread in the forum titled “Is Red Dwarf still actually funny?”

    If you don’t create it, Jawscvmcdia will.

  47. Would Quanderhorn have been funny if it had been released in 1988 instead of 2018?

  48. Would Red Dwarf have been more or less funny if it was co-written by Andrew Marshall instead of Doug Naylor? In this series of articles I will attempt to

  49. I laughed out loud at BTE from the ‘bit crap joke’ onwards.

    I lolled at X from the first pig racing joke.

    I can’t remember laughing out loud at XI at all, same for XII with the glorious exception of Mr Rat.

    I put this down mainly to watching the last two series on my own on a phone.

  50. I would like to point out that both my parents, who struggled to enjoy any of the old episodes at all, laughed harder than I did at any of the new episodes I watched with them.

  51. I remember with fondness watching Rimmerworld on first broadcast with my mum (who is not a fan) and she laughed at ‘fistulated teeth disorder.’

  52. Series 8 got good reviews…

    Let that sit for a moment.

  53. The clue is in the page title.

    I tried to listen to episode 1 while walking to town for lunch today but I was too delirious from heat to focus. I will try again in less awful weather and have just bought the book.

    Interesting? No. Thread-relevant? Yes.

  54. >i shudder to think what the average viewer thought of something like BTE.

    my uncle is an average viewer and he said “that was shite, when are they going to do that movie they were on about a while ago?”

  55. G&T Admin

    Let’s shut the fuck up about things that aren’t Quanderhorn, eh?

  56. I remember with fondness watching Rimmerworld on first broadcast with my mum (who is not a fan) and she laughed at ‘fistulated teeth disorder.’

    Surely it’s “fist-related”, not “fistulated”?

  57. I’ve reached the end of episode one in the novel and it’s basically identical, just with more room for character insights and observations, which I like. The bits that were good on radio are better on radio, while everything that wasn’t the ending I prefer in the book.

  58. Let’s shut the fuck up about things that aren’t Quanderhorn, eh?

    Well, I liked the back and forth about the adventure with the mole people quite a bit!

    Also,

    Churchill: “I’d have to resign. Is that what you want, Labour in power?”
    Brian: “Oh, Heavens, no!”

    is an A* reaction to hearing that the space-time continuum is fucked.

    Though it does have the side effect of making the main character a Tory, and therefore inherently unlikable.

  59. it does have the side effect of making the main character a Tory, and therefore inherently unlikable.

    It’s complicated isn’t it, because Churchill was a Liberal for the first bit of his career. Then, like his protege in fatness, Rob Grant, he changed teams.

    But a greater question would be, was Winston Churchill serious, or was he silly?

    Besides that, I think making a main character John Sessions is unspeakable.

  60. Is there going to be a separate thread for the novel, because I want to point out how the a****-p****** s******** is quite similar to an idea in a Dave episode in execution despite the concept being quite different, and the use of “z*******” which is surely a deliberate reference?

  61. Not read (or bought, for that matter) the book yet, but I’ve *just* got round to listening to episode one. My general opinion is “it’s alright”.
    There are those situations that are a bit like them wot are in ‘The Wedding of River Song’ and ‘Skipper’, aren’t there? But yeah, I’ll listen again, and probably buy the book as well.

  62. Personally I think Professor Quanderhorn is Professor Wanderlust, Brian is Eric, Dr Janussen is Nina and Troy is Oscar.

  63. I knew it reminded me of something.

  64. G&T Admin

    Episode two starting now!

  65. “it definitely isn’t infinitely funnier than most of post-1993 Red Dwarf” That’s a scurrilous lie LOL. I’m never going to get bored of that

  66. Episode 2 was great. I absolutely love Kevin Eldon in this. I’ve started reading the book but haven’t even got to the end of episode 1 in it yet so I’m staying out of the comments for it. But yeah, I’m really enjoying this series so far.

  67. Just chiming in to say I enjoyed episode 2 a lot more than episode 1. It feels like it’s getting into a good groove now, and I don’t mind the cliffhanger ending as much when it’s got more of a “multi-part story” type feel rather than a “they delayed the end of this episode to the first few minutes of the next episode” type feel. We’ll see if they actually follow through with that.

    Troy’s unyielding stupidity is just irritating, though. At least it was only a problem at the very beginning of the episode, and the episode otherwise split focus between Brian and Guurk. A Troy-focused episode with this characterisation would be outright painful.

  68. Getting into it a bit more now I’ve reached Episode 3. Episode 2 reminds me of the numbskulls from the Beazer comic. I see how they are changing character perspectives now, which is a nice device. Havnt started reading the signed Novel I have received yet. I’m probably going to listen first and read the relevant chapters second If I start now.

  69. Or we could use the Hammond organ / Teleporter.

  70. I tried listening to the second one today and gave up. Admittedly I was working and my attention wasn’t grabbed immediately.
    I just don’t like the Terry Thomas character of Eldon’s. The sort of thing that writers find funny but audiences don’t. Or the sort of thing that’s funnier in the writing room than for real, perhaps. I think it’s because it’s Terry Thomas specifically. If it was written as an RP speaking radio announcer, I may have been more sympathetic. Still something I tire of quickly.
    Anyone else suffering with it?

  71. Not suffering at all, but I get what you mean. I had a similar issue with Arthur Atkinson in the Fast Show, but I’m loving Guurk.

    I’ve just caught up with this. Still enjoying it, still haven’t overtaken episode 1 in the book so can’t enter the thread about it. Episode 3 wasn’t great, but not awful. The bra thing didn’t make me laugh, sort of made me cringe, but the cellar plot is intriguing. Episode 4 seemed a bit of a filler episode on first listen, but I found it funny, most of the jokes landing.

  72. Rob confirmed on Twitter earlier this week there’ll be a second series.

  73. I got a few Dwarf Echoes in the final episode of series 1. From the phone call to yourself being a bit like the famous future echoes, to the joke about gritting the path with decomposed clones. Enjoyed the series over all. Laughed at the “right” ouch! scene the most. Overall a silly adventure yarn.

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