RICHIE: Maybe it’s a producer with a wonderful part.
RICHIE: Eddie, I said wonderful part, not attractive willy.
When talking about Filthy Rich & Catflap, there’s many routes I could have taken. I could have focused on it being an ahead-of-its-time dissection on the nature of celebrity. I could have talked about alternative comedy butting heads with the old showbiz. I could mention the endless fourth wall breaking – done far more than The Young Ones or Bottom ever did.
Or I could start with a knob gag. OK, fine, I’ll go with that.
Of course, Filthy Rich & Catflap and early Red Dwarf are very much sister shows. Both were part of Paul Jackson’s pot of money at BBC Manchester, and were both recorded in BBC Manchester’s Studio A at Oxford Road. And both shared many of the same crew. As you take a look at this video from the very end of the series – featuring the show gleefully knocking down the last remaining barrier between them and the viewer – see how many people who also worked on Red Dwarf you can spot.
But that isn’t why I’ve chosen this video for this month’s G&TV. Here’s a fun fact: did you know you can see the outside of Red Dwarf – that is, the hull of the ship itself – in those closing moments of Filthy Rich & Catflap? Despite it being recorded a year before Red Dwarf?
Allow me to explain, dear reader. In Confidence & Paranoia, we see the outside of the ship’s hull – with Lister and Confidence walking across it, in an ahead-of-its-time-for-an-audience-sitcom combination of live action and model work. And as we can see in the Series 1 documentary The Beginning, this was shot by using the stairs to the sound gallery, and adding a lot of red to the studio wall:
Which is interesting, because the walls of Studio A at BBC Manchester had very distinctive vertical white stripes. Which means when Eddie Catflap starts destroying the set, we end up seeing part of what became part of Red Dwarf’s hull:
So there you have it. Next time someone asks you for which special guests appeared in Red Dwarf and Filthy Rich & Catflap – a common occurrence in daily life, I’m sure you’ll agree – you have the ideal answer. Don’t say Chris Barrie. Don’t even say Johanna Hargreaves.
You can simply answer “a bit of wall”, and look really cool. Trust me. Try it.