This month on G&TV, let’s take a look at something we’ve been meaning to cover for ages. A shade over two months after Series 1 of Red Dwarf was first transmitted, Children’s BBC show Take Two asked kids what they thought of the series.
Which is automatically a very interesting little time capsule. After all, whether given by kids or by adults, contemporary opinions of Series 1 are as rare as hen’s testicles.
— BBC Archive (@BBCArchive) February 15, 2018
Firstly, an apology. The first time we talked about this Take Two episode was in this article from me, back in 2007. In it, I mention that the show contains “the famed bit with Rob and Doug talking about Red Dwarf“. This is, not to put too fine a point on it, utter bollocks. Having viewed the full episode (through nefarious means that you don’t need to know about), I can confirm that no such interview took place. I can only assume that I was getting confused with this BiteBack segment which we’ve previously covered. So, only 12 years before we managed to issue our correction, then. We may not be fast, but we get there etc etc etc.
In order to make up for the above error, I’ve done a little digging. And the interesting thing about the clip above – as published by the excellent BBC Archive Twitter account – is that some clips of Dwarf that were in the original broadcast version have been removed, presumably due to worries over copyright. The clips removed are as follows:
- At 1:01, there was originally a 52″ clip of the crew in the bunkroom from Future Echoes, starting with Rimmer’s line “Holly, watch my lips – What Is Hap-pen-ing?”, and ending with Cat saying “Nobody gonna break my tooth!”
- Then, at 1:58, we get a surprising cut – some of the kids talking has been removed! This is because if it wasn’t, there would be a jump cut, as it’s the same group of kids talking either side of a removed clip. The deleted section has the girl in the middle saying: “He’s a right poser, the Cat was – I’ve never known a Cat to be a poser before. That was really good.”
- Following that, the other removed clip is 41″ of Cat’s introduction from The End, starting with his squealing and “How am I looking?, and ending with his exit: “This way!”
Personally, I don’t think they needed to remove the above clips in the version posted on Twitter; they are clearly justified “for the purposes of review”. I guess they took the path of least resistance just to be on the safe side, which is understandable. Certainly, the clips of Dwarf themselves aren’t the important bit of the segment.
Speaking of which: the segment itself? I find it endlessly fascinating, from Phillip Schofield’s introduction onwards:
SCHOFIELD: The creators of the series asked us to imagine a science fiction comedy series with no robots, no aliens, and a heavily-disguised message. It was a series set in space: ‘Red Dwarf’ was the name of a mining ship, which was five miles long and three miles wide; an old tramp steamer, mining around the moons of Saturn.
This is a very similar description of the series that was given in the original Radio Times capsule for The End. But I’ve never heard the phrase “heavily-disguised message” in relation to the show before. Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like an amusing joke Rob and Doug would make when a children’s TV series asks about covering their show?
As for what the kids themselves say, it’s far more interesting than adults writing to Points of View manage in 2019. Admittedly, this might not be a difficult bar to clear, but that should probably still inspire some soul-searching among a certain brand of cretin. I particularly liked the boy who says that the show is “quite subtle in places, and other places its not”, which is a genuinely good piece of critique, nailing an aspect of Dwarf that so many seem to miss. The mix of the subtle and the broad is part of what makes Dwarf so good.
Meanwhile, the discussion of the sets is fascinating, and proves that unlike Rob and Doug themselves, not everyone was screaming about how awful they were. “They look just like a spaceship” isn’t just a clever-clever thing fans said years after the fact; some people were saying it at the time. Even the boy who complains about the wobbly sets admits a few seconds later that it isn’t actually true, which is more than a certain breed of TV columnist does these days.
The rest of their comments I’ll leave for your comments below. Instead, I’ll leave you with one final thought. If CBBC brought back Take Two tomorrow… I bet you their first act wouldn’t be to ask a bunch of kids about a show broadcast post-watershed. And I very much suspect parents would be up in arms if they tried.
I’m not saying that it’s right the show did that. Wait a minute, actually, I am. It’s fucking brilliant.