These days, it’s difficult to imagine the sheer unavailability of Series 1 of Red Dwarf. Broadcast in 1988, it was only released on VHS in 1993, and got its first repeat run in 1994. For five years, the series existed merely as fuzzy off-airs, passed around among fans with increasing generation loss. It’d be really odd if anything major linked to Red Dwarf was like that these days, wouldn’t it?
On an entirely unrelated matter, today’s topic is Grant Naylor talent agency sitcom The 10%ers. Which has never had a commercial release or a repeat run. And seeing as it’s 2019 and both are looking increasingly unlikely, we’re going to be a little cheeky. Today is the 25th anniversary of the start of Series 1, after all.
So here’s the pilot, broadcast as part of ITV’s Comedy Playhouse in 1993:
And, erm, here’s the whole of Series 1 which was broadcast a year later, for your viewing pleasure:
|No.||Episode||Written by||TX date|
|0||Pilot||Rob Grant and Doug Naylor||23rd February 1993|
|1||Sack||Doug Naylor||18th April 1994|
|2||Galaxy Quest 8||Doug Naylor||25th April 1994|
|3||A Small Package||James Hendrie||2nd May 1994|
|4||Libel||Steve Punt||9th May 1994|
|5||Feud||Doug Naylor||16th May 1994|
|6||Awards||Doug Naylor||23rd May 1994|
|7||Sex, Death, Suicide and Adultery||Rob Grant and Doug Naylor||6th June 1994|
The above little lot really deserves to be looked at in detail, and there will be more from us about them in the coming months. I would especially point to the episode Galaxy Quest 8 as being, erm, relevant to Dwarf fans.
But for now, it’s worth considering exactly what an important place the show has in the context of Rob and Doug’s writing partnership. When it comes to Red Dwarf, their split happened cleanly: between Series VI and VII. The 10%ers was far messier; the split happened between the pilot and Series 1. Meaning we have the odd situation where both Rob and Doug get credited for creating the show and writing the pilot, but Doug gets most of the writing credits for the actual series… apart from the last episode, which is a remake of the pilot, so Rob Grant gets credited as a writer again!
Series 1 of The 10%ers is also a dummy run for what happened with Series VII of Dwarf, with Doug bringing in other writers to work on what was originally a pure Grant Naylor idea. And while James Hendrie is a familiar name when it comes to Dwarf – a short time later, he would also co-write Nanarchy – Steve Punt is a name somewhat out of the blue. (Not out of the Blue, of course, because that was Kim Fuller. This is a terrible joke which I should really delete, but quite clearly am not going to.)
So watch, enjoy (or don’t), and comment below on a piece of Grant Naylor history which really isn’t talked about very much. Oh, and as for Series 2, broadcast in 1996? We might just have our hands on a copy of that as well. But I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for me to write ten articles about the rivets in the Series 1 bunkroom set first.
With many thanks to Steve Williams for help with the TX dates.