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RICHIE: Maybe it’s a producer with a wonderful part.
EDDIE: Oo-er!
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:

Behind the scenes of Confidence and Paranoia, showing the studio wall The Dwarfers outside the ship in Confidence and Paranoia

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:

The Dwarfers outside the ship in Confidence and Paranoia Filthy Rich and Catflap with the same studio wall showing

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.

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