Our final monthly trip into the television archives this year is somewhat of an unusual one, in that it’s not something that’s very deep in the archives, and it isn’t strictly speaking television. Nevertheless, given that the Red Dwarf connection is so niche, and the specific subject matter so esoteric, we’d probably have chosen to highlight it even if it wasn’t us that was sort-of responsible for it happening in the first place. Let us explain.

Whenever we see journalist and broadcaster James O’Brien, which has happened increasingly often in the last few years since he’s become the foremost non-racist phone-in host on British radio and found social media fame for his polite but ruthless take-downs of the Brexiteers who ring him up, the first thing we think of is his appearance in the Red Dwarf A-Z back in 1998. Specifically, his assertion that Data from Star Trek wouldn’t have existed without Kryten, the chronological impossibility of which we’ve been talking about since at least 2003. So when we saw that James was an upcoming guest on the excellent RHLSTP (rhlstp!), we sent host Richard Herring a request. Then we forgot all about it, and then the episode came out, and it’s safe to say our request was noted.

We obviously recommend watching the full episode, but if you want to skip to the first mention of Red Dwarf it’s at 8:17, and our question comes in at 9:49. The revelations contained in this podcast certainly cast new light on the A-Z. It turns out that in a shock twist, James O’Brien isn’t actually that much of a Red Dwarf fan, but had pretended to be in order to get some gossip on Danny John-Jules in the mid-90s, and then took up the offer to appear as a talking head because he just wanted to be on the telly.

As Herring points out, how can we trust anything James O’Brien says now that we know this? We used to think he spoke a reasonable amount of sense on politics, but then we also used to think he spoke sense on Red Dwarf. As a result of this revelation, it’s clear that O’Brien is part of Project Fear, and as such Ganymede & Titan is now officially backing a Hard No Deal Red White And Blue Brexit as soon as possible.

25 comments on “G&TV: Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast with James O’Brien

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  • Great! I always put his confusion down to The Next Generation not broadcasting in the UK until September 1990, so casual viewers would have seen Kryten before Data.

  • > his appearance in the Red Dwarf A-Z back in 1988.

    Get the year right, Ian, there’s a bag etc. etc.

    That write up of the A-Z is still great though.

  • Red Dwarf was such a hit on initial broadcast that an A-Z of the show was made as a potential future DVD extra during the filming of the second series. Eternal were actually formed through this documentary, and the crew of TNG were asked to forget that Data was even a character so the episode could go out unscathed.

  • Famke Janssen played a sort of pleasure GELF on a TNG episode, that’s thievery that lines up chronologically.

  • Robert Llewellyn was going to pick up the phone to call his lawyer, but then nothing happened and he fell asleep because he was watching season one

  • The revelations contained in this podcast certainly cast new light on the A-Z. It turns out that in a shock twist, James O’Brien isn’t actually that much of a Red Dwarf fan

    In about 1997, I went to see Terry Pratchett at a book signing. To my child’s delight there was a picture of Jake Bullet (in fact a greetings card) on his desk. “Oh, do you like Red Dwarf?” I asked. He said “Not especially. A fan brought that for me.” And then I saw him on the bloody A-Z saying how much he likes Holly. Booooo. Were there any real fans on that show?!

  • Hm. And yet Pratchett once asked Doug to collaborate on a novel with him.

    Noel Edmonds mistranslated Mr Blobby. He actually said he fucking hates Red Dwarf.

  • >And yet Pratchett once asked Doug to collaborate on a novel with him.
    Juicy. Any more to this story? What year?

  • Doug’s tweet from March of this year, commenting on the announcement of a Discworld TV series:
    Sir Terry of P once asked me to co-write a novel with him but as it was a choice between that or writing Red Dwarf X I didn’t take up his offer.

  • I’ve just done the math(s), and this would coincide with Stephen Baxter’s collaboration with him (Pratchett.)
    Does anyone know if TP had projects lined up with anyone else at that time? Was Doug asked first, or were both asked at the same time?
    Perhaps better asked on the Red Any Good Books thread but is the Long Earth series good?

  • I started on the long earth, got about half way through the third book and kind of stopped. It’s oretty good for what it is. I think Pratchett’s influence is the story and setting and Baxter writes it. It’s not funny in any way shape or form so don’t expect anything whimsical. Maybe Terry has ideas he wanted to get going before he died so reached out to multiple authors, and Doug he was hoping would write a comedy series with him where Terry would put in the ideas and ground work and Doug would write. Who knows.

  • Bit of Red Dwarf chat in this week’s RHLSTP with Do The Right Thing. Mild slagging off of series 8. Incidently I watched series 8 last week and really enjoyed it. I think it’s the Time Wave factor plus being less angry about it generally.

  • Well Terry Pratchett was also at the Back to earth premiere. and I believe Craig Charles said he was invited to Pratchett’s home one weekend.

  • I think it’s a topic that deserves more air time around here, honestly

    Ok. Nobody is stopping you, what are you waiting for?

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