The dusting off of the old “Newsround” format from G&T’s earliest days is a sure sign that a new broadcast is just around the corner; indeed, there are now only nine days to go until The Promised Land airs on Dave – that’s Thursday 9th April at 9pm, as if you didn’t already know. I think it’s fair to assume that it won’t be premiering on UKTV Play a week in advance this time, as that would be the day after tomorrow, and you’d think they’d have mentioned it by now if that was the case. An eminently sensible decision given the one-off nature of this outing, and with linear television audiences being boosted by the current situation, one that could lead to great results. There’s certainly no shortage of press and social media coverage, as we’ll dive into now…

WILL HAVE SFX WITH A-NY-THING – We’ve finally got our hands on a copy of the heavily Dwarf-flavoured SFX magazine that was released a week ago; last time they had a choice of Red Dwarf covers, we drove around every newsagents in West London tracking them down, but this hasn’t been possible in March 2020 for some reason. Each character gets a cover variant, plus a further group shot version for subscribers only, and it comes with a collection of free gifts: a double sided poster featuring this and the first of these; a selection of “smeg-tastic” stickers, mostly various quotes that lean heavily towards the more recent, along with various logos and a couple of nice Hs; four postcards, with pictures of each of the crew; a cut-out-and-keep paper doll of the Cat with a choice of the pink suit from The End, the classic zebra-print outfit and the gold-spangled number from Gunmen/Rimmerworld, along with interchangeable heads (normal, tartan hat, AR helmet, Duane) and an optional Thermos; and on the reverse of this, a montage of rough sketches of a couple of bespoke new sets from the episode, as seen via some fucker trying to sell it over-the-odds on eBay last week.

The mag itself dedicates seventeen pages to the show, continuing its enjoyably extensive coverage of each new outing in the Dave era. For the main feature, the cast and Doug were interviewed during a set visit in December, and it covers whether or not this is a movie (it isn’t), the show riffing on its own history (which Doug compares to Doctor Who having been doing Dalek stories since 1963), Lister’s unwillingness to be a God, Rimmer’s “superhero” upgrade, and hints that the story will reveal big things about our Cat’s backstory. Doug also says that given the choice of what to do next with the show after this, it would indeed be another feature-length special. Additionally, there’s smaller pieces on the history of Cat mythology, a timeline of the show’s production, and a list of other elements from the past that the SFX team would like to see brought back, namely Holly (who, erm, is back), Ace, Duane, Kochanski and the female crew from Parallel Universe. *Harry Hill face* The piece is illustrated by lovely big pictures, almost all of which were released in TOS’s latest batch, but there’s also some costume design sketches and concept art for the supersized guest sets, exclusive to the magazine.

IM-PRESS-IVE COVERAGE – The listings magazines that cover The Promised Land‘s slot came out today, and an embargo on online features has presumably been lifted simultaneously, as a lot of previews and interviews have suddenly emerged. Now, while most of these are pretty much spoiler-free, a few of them do reveal one or two things that would probably be better experienced as a surprise on broadcast, so we’ll provide a few links, but it’s up to you whether you click them: Radio Times with a mostly-positive review; they also highlight it as their Comedy of the Week; The Guardian on the show’s diversity; a short but positive preview from TV Times; another brief four stars from Heat, and a more middling review from Film ’89.

Elsewhere, while it’s not available online, friend of the website Graham Kibble-White has an interesting and topical interview with the cast in this week’s Total TV Guide. It touches on the coronavirus crisis and how the lockdown has affected the show, with a planned press screening having been cancelled – as Craig puts it, “who wants to fucking die going to a Red Dwarf premiere?”. While the piece is very positive about the special being potentially the start of an exciting new way to tell Dwarf stories, there’s a slightly pessimistic tone when it comes to the show’s future, considering the impact the gruelling schedule has on the cast’s health. It’s revealed that it was Robert whose illness caused the first studio date to be pushed back, as he was hospitalised with sepsis. Blimey. Very very glad that he’s fully recovered now.

MY LOVELY MORSE – Every morning this week, Dave are starting the day by tweeting a short Red Dwarf-based video, with a voiceover from a character (presumably recorded recently, as they reference current events) introducing a hidden message in Morse code. Each time someone cracks the code, followers are rewarded with a follow-up video, and a little poster of a close-up feature of the character in question. On Monday, it was Cat, the word “parachute” and a view right down his gob, followed on Tuesday by Kryten, “service” and his befucked chest plate. We’re promised that if all the daily codes are cracked until Friday, there’ll be an extra special reward. Because if they’re not, then they’ll definitely just throw away a piece of carefully-planned publicity.

AND IT’S LIIIIIIVE! – Yes, don’t worry, lockdown or no lockdown, we’re not going to let the broadcast of brand new Red Dwarf pass by without subjecting you to a shambolic live show containing all our semi-thought-through initial opinions. This time round, given that The Promised Land won’t be off-air until 11pm, and we usually bollock on for a good hour and a half, we’ve decided that the best course of action is to do our Live Instant Reaction DwarfCast the following day – it’ll be 8pm on Good Friday, 10th April. We figured you’d probably be staying in. The three of us G&Ters will be there as normal, plus hopefully a guest or three, and given that no more than two of us will actually be in the same room, audiophiles will be relieved to hear that we’ve finally bothered to sort out having a direct feed from Skype to the Spreaker console, rather than just turning the speakers up and hoping for the best. More details to follow, but pop it in your otherwise empty diaries now.

MARCH’S G&TV – …will actually be published in early April. We were hoping the on demand version of Rob Grant, Paul Jackson and Ed Bye’s live Future Echoes commentary and subsequent Q&A would be online by now, but having been involved in the organisation of this endeavour, we can assure you it’s on its way. Things need to be put in place, and given that the entire idea didn’t exist this time last week, we’ve not done too badly. The broadcast was a great success, and all parties are keen to make it a regular appointment, with hopefully a bigger live audience following the initial experiment, so it’s well worth submitting your details if you haven’t already.

That’s all for now, but no doubt there’ll be a lot more press and publicity to come before next Thursday, so keep ’em peeled and feel free to help us out by collating anything interesting you spot in the comments below.

26 comments on “Ian’s Newsround – 31/03/20

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  • we drove around every newsagents in West London tracking them down

    I’m calling the police!!

  • We’re promised that if all the daily codes are cracked until Friday, there’ll be an extra special reward. Because if they’re not, then they’ll definitely just throw away a piece of carefully-planned publicity.

    Come on, Craig Charles opening a bottle of incorrectly dated champagne with his anus or something.

  • I’m calling the police!!

    To tell them that someone drove to several newsagents a few years ago?

  • introducing a hidden message in Morse code

    It’s binary*.

    (*Though, to be fair, I’m not really quite sure of how they differ. Whatever, it fucks up your byline**.)

    (**I’m not really sure that that’s the right word for what I mean, either, but my mind’s gone blank, and it’s more trouble than it’s worth.)

  • The beeps in the videos are Morse code (or at least I think it is, based on what other people have said, I’ve not been arsed to work it out myself), but the images that later get released also include the word in binary. Morse code is the series of dots and dashes, binary is the series of zeroes and ones.

  • Whatever, it’s over and done with by the time I get out of bed anyway. I just get up and look at the nice new picture.

  • >It’s revealed that it was Robert whose illness caused the first studio date to be pushed back, as he was hospitalised with sepsis. Blimey. Very very glad that he’s fully recovered now.

    Bloody hell. He seemed to be on fine form during the studio record in December. I’d have placed money on it being Norm. I think they likely re-recorded a lot of his stuff, cos he seemed so bunged up.

  • Yeah, Robert was an absolute force of nature that night. I’ll never forget dirty Kryten harrassing Ian Boldsworth.

  • My only issue with all this nice press the show is getting is that they all seem to say it’s a “return to form” or “feels like classic Dwarf again” which is what they were saying about X, XI and XII when reviews for them were released. So a lot of bullshit being trotted out to build the hype; they can’t all be returns to form, as that negates the review for the previous series that said the same thing! For me personally I don’t think any Dave era Dwarf has been a return to form or felt like classic Dwarf so I’m very skeptical about hearing such phrases being used once again. I’m ever hopeful to be surprised by the new instalment but shall have to wait and see.

  • Bobby said in a recent twitter Q&A thing while discussing how great the NHS are that he was “very very ill in hospital”.

    Asking a soon to be pensioner to work in a silicone and latex bag for 6 hours a day or more probably isn’t great for him. Think he needs a new costume that’s easier on him if there’s anymore.

    Chinos and a cotton t-shirt and a CG head replacement.

  • Yes, it’s because of Bobby’s age and the demands of his costume that I often think that maybe the show should, maybe, be put on an indefinite hiatus.
    Let’s face it, none of the Cast are getting any younger – It was Chris’s 60th birthday last week, and Danny turns 60 this year as well, as lively as he is. (Craig is, of course, a sprightly 55.)

  • If the cast can, and still want to, keep going, their age shouldn’t be an impediment to more Red Dwarf.

    Any additional content since VIII has been, for me, a bonus. But if they’re done, they’re done, and I’d be fine with that.

  • Doug will beat this horse until he ironically makes enough money to fund the movie twice over.

    Then realise he used up the best chunks of the script for Series X and write something over a weekend, a retread of Demons and Angels, which actually would be ok.

  • Age isn’t an impediment, plenty of actors going strong a lot older than the Red Dwarf cast, but I think Robert needs looking after with all the stuff they cover him with.

    Would be a good excuse to redesign the costume a bit, stick some vents in it and stuff.

    Something like the V one but with lighter fabric and vented underboobs for comfort.

    Covering him in the sculpted foam stuff makes him look 5 stone heavier than he probably is.

  • In all the excitement I’d forgotten about the dwarf cast! Thank you for doing it a day later, gives me a chance to find a way to watch it from Texas.

  • I thought I saw somewhere that it was going to be uploaded at the time it began airing – so 9pm on the 9th. I’m really hoping it is because I’ve not bothered to set up live TV on my TV.

  • My only issue with all this nice press the show is getting is that they all seem to say it’s a “return to form” or “feels like classic Dwarf again” which is what they were saying about X, XI and XII when reviews for them were released.

    Honestly, I don’t _want_ a Red Dwarf TV movie to be “a return to form.” I want it to be special and feel like its own unique take on the show, not just a 90 minute version of “classic Dwarf” whatever the fuck that even means to the particular people invoking the phrase. And frankly, I think a lot of people are so superficial in their analysis that they were satisfied that having the main four guys in front of an audience again was the totality of the supposed “return to form” as if Red Dwarf has no other defining qualities.

    And I say that as someone who _does_ feel that the majority of the Dave era is infinitely more contiguous with the original six series than VIII and most of VII. It’s just that I don’t think many of the qualities I base that on even occur to most reviewers when they call the show a “return to form.” Again, it’s like having the main four guys in front of an audience is pretty much all you need to satisfy these people that the show is like it used to be in every way.

  • >They usually say things along the lines of how old they’re getting but they’ll still do it.

    Well they said it back in 2012… its now 2020… time in between then and now hasn’t stopped..

    Personally i think there will be another special. whether Doug feels time is running out. i think he will keep pushing for more. because i do not get the feeling from Doug that he can see an end.

  • Since I started watching this show there has almost always been uncertainty that there would be more Red Dwarf but also always a glimmer of hope so it’s tough to read Bobby talk about the end. This show has been a constant in my life for two decades now, since I was 8 years old, so it’s hard to imagine a time when it will simply be over.

    Having said that, the last thing I want is for the show to carry on if making the show brings Bobby more pain and discomfort than joy. We’ve been on bonus time since 2009 as far as I’m concerned and have been so lucky to get so much content since then.

  • I thought I saw somewhere that it was going to be uploaded at the time it began airing – so 9pm on the 9th. I’m really hoping it is because I’ve not bothered to set up live TV on my TV.

    Usually UKTV shows are ready to stream as they air. Maybe not dead on 9pm but within a few minutes.

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