G&TV Special: The 10%ers featured image

G&TV logoThese 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.

12 comments on “G&TV Special: The 10%ers

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  • Thanks John I was missing 1 episode from series 1.

    Craig’s delivery in his appearance in a series 2 episode, reminds me very much of his series VIII delivery of
    The line about meths and corn circles.

    I think red dwarf VIII in general becomes Doug writing a general audience ITV sitcom style during this period.
    Krytie TV is even a beadle parody after all, maybe he saw his face on some itv in house star poster!

  • Interesting that Doug got to the name “Galaxy Quest” before Galaxy Quest did. Wonder how he felt about that

  • Got them all on video. Anything like that with such a massive Red Dwarf connection, it’s being recorded. I even gave it one of my Hand drawn sleeves.
    I remember thinking that it was…*alright*…but it’s not something I’ve revisited over the years. Maybe I’ll hav q look over the weekend.

  • I was hugely active in tape trading circles from 2003-2005, right at the end of the phenomena and just before DVD releases started to mine deep catalogue stuff. *Nobody* ever had this on their lists. It’s as though it was never on anybody’s radar to begin with.

    Weren’t there sketchy plans to put it out on DVD after Dwarf had been completed? It felt like it was imminent for a moment back then.

  • Interesting that Doug got to the name “Galaxy Quest” before Galaxy Quest did. Wonder how he felt about that

    Yeah. It’s an easy Star Trek theasauraus though ain’t it. Doug’s being a bit more DS9 of the times.

  • I’ve watched the pilot and the first two episodes of series 1 and this is about as far as I got in 93/94. It’s so much better to watch with the knowledge of what was happening behind the scenes. Actually I thought the first two episodes were very well structured farces with some great ideas like the rock star faking his own death.

  • How haven’t Network gotten the rights to release this yet? It is right up their alley.

    Not within the boundaries of Network’s existing catalogue licence as 1. it’s an indie copro and 2. the Carlton distribution archive is part of ITV Studios rather than Fremantle’s so, although more than possible, would require additional licensing to achieve, as per Network releases of Granada shows etc. Essentially, it wouldn’t be cheap to do and no fucker would buy it.

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