Ain’t even Betty Boop Quickies Posted by Ian Symes on 7th April 2020, 23:15 Last night, Dave started advertising a “live Twitter commentary” for their Tuesday night showing of Quarantine, featuring Doug Naylor, the cast and surprise guests. We assumed this would be a text-based tweetalong, and would have made a much bigger deal out of it had we realised it was in fact a full video-conferencing-based broadcast along the lines of Rob, Paul and Ed’s efforts. Mind you, it’s probably best we didn’t. The last time UKTV did a Red Dwarf related live stream was Vindalunar. This was its spiritual successor. First of all, we’d just like to set out from the start that none of the following criticism is aimed at any individuals. As a social media bod in the TV industry myself, I know that Dave’s Twitter person will be absolutely gutted right now, but these things happen. We’ve all got our horror stories. What matters is that they tried their damnedest to provide their followers with something brilliant to keep them entertained through dark times, whilst presumably working from home and battling against problems seemingly out of their control. But fuck me, that was bad. Nothing had happened by the time the episode started airing at 9:40pm, until a tweet appeared apologising for technical issues. Two minutes after that, a Periscope stream with the snappy title “V2.mp4”. This was actually completely blank and silent for a full five minutes, until five faces appeared, stacked on top of each other, talking about the opening titles. This was seven minutes into the episode at this point, and it just started out of nowhere with nobody introducing themselves or what they were doing, which did not make for the smoothest experience for the viewer. What they were saying bore no relation to what was on screen, so it took a while to figure out what was going on, and a bit of squinting to realise that one of the faces – along with Robert, Craig, Doug and Hattie was none other than Maggie Steed. After a while, a mysterious sixth figure appeared, wearing a loosely-fitted mechanoid mask. Then they wandered off. Then they came back and sat in silence for a couple of minutes, with nobody else referencing the fact that they were there. Fortunately, it wasn’t a hallucination, it was just Danny. In retrospect, perhaps there’s a more effective way of displaying six screens at once than stacking them all on top of each other. It was bad on a computer screen, but even worse on mobile, where it took up a tiny fraction of the screen. Meanwhile, Dave reassured us that they’d be able to catch up during the ad break, but the commentary continued throughout the commercials, with Doug saying “this is a good bit” while a gambling advert played at one stage. A couple of minutes after the second part started, the stream ended abruptly. Then Dave tweeted a second stream, which was a little closer to being in sync, but was still nearly three minutes out. Switching to a new stream caused them to lose a fair few viewers too, which was a shame. The commentary itself was as shambolic as you’d expect from that group of people, but could have been a lot more entertaining in better conditions. As it was, it came across as sloppy and deeply confusing. The icing smeared roughly in the vicinity of the cake was when it came to an end – extremely abruptly, in the middle of Craig’s sentence, with nobody wrapping up or saying goodbye. Sigh. The good news is: Dave have promised that they’ll be uploading the full commentary in the morning, where hopefully it will make for a much less confusing viewing experience. It’s fair to say this live event did not go to plan. But it did give us a good laugh, and that’s worth a lot at the moment. With far far more important things to get upset about, we’re starting to find what’s now a fine tradition of UKTV slightly cocking up Red Dwarf‘s promotion quite endearing. It’s hard to complain when these people are bringing us brand new Red Dwarf in two days, and the other half of Grant Naylor is providing a brilliant live commentary experience on a weekly basis for the foreseeable. With all this happening for the episode that contains the “Mickey Mouse operation” joke, it was actually kind of perfect.