Ian’s Newsround – 31/03/20 News 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.