The G&T Review of the Year 2021 featured image

This time last year, we were cautiously optimistic that 2021 might just be a bit better than 2020 for the world at large, but reflected on what was a bumper year for Red Dwarf content. As it transpired, it didn’t feel like a particularly vintage year in the end, and in Dwarf terms it was something of annus horribilis for the small rouge one. There were however some highlights along the way, and also a hell of a lot of G&T content to hopefully provide a small distraction from the continuing downfall of humanity, and so let us take our customary look back on the last twelve months, once again sorted topic-by-topic.

And unfortunately we have to start with the biggest news story of the year, which was the shambolic, worrying and at times downright embarrassing legal kerfuffle that engulfed Grant Naylor Productions. We learned in February that Doug Naylor is pursuing a high court claim against the directors of GNP over his removal from the company’s board, along with over £160K’s worth of unpaid invoices. A few days later, two of those directors, Rob Grant and Paul Jackson, issued a response disputing some of the claims in the report, and reassuring fans that everyone involved wants the show to continue, and that Doug’s involvement is guaranteed.

It was all a big old confusing mess, and that confusion remains in place. There’s been no sign of the proposed court action, and all parties have maintained radio silence on the matter for the last ten and a bit months. We’re not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing – we could all do with any further dirty laundry remaining private, but we also all want the matter to be resolved. Red Dwarf currently exists in limbo, with any future projects presumably unable to move forward while all this remains in the air. We kind of want to know what’s going on now, either way.

On the plus side, Rob and Paul’s statement came during one of the big highlights of the year: Holly Hop, TORDFC’s interim online convention. With a huge timetable of events for the ridiculously cheap price of £9 for both days, the slick and relentless stream of entertainment was a huge success, so much so that we really hope the Fan Club consider staging future online events regardless of whether or not anyone’s allowed to leave their house. There were Q&As aplenty, features on cosplay, Lego and artwork, a big old quiz, and the final (to date) instalment of Quarantine Commentaries from Rob, Paul and Ed Bye – the one aspect of 2020 that we’re disappointed hasn’t remained part of our lives, although it’s understandable considering they’ve now covered every episode that all three of them worked on.

But the main feature was undoubtedly Into The Gloop, a brand new, original Red Dwarf script written by Rob Grant, which still feels weird and exciting to type. With a cast of fans reading it through, we were presented with an alternative conclusion to Out of Time‘s cliffhanger, which embraced the characters’ somewhat different appearances, killed them all off for good, but established a multiverse theory which cheekily leaves the door open for further Rob Dwarf without diminishing Doug Dwarf. Well, one can dream. The script is available to read on TOS, and we have a DwarfCast covering our opinions on it and, well, everything we’ve recapped so far, as it happens.

While it’s true that almost everything of note in the Red Dwarf world this year happened by the middle of February, there were a handful of rumblings regarding potential new projects, each of which was mentioned once and then never again. Holly Hop introduced us to the concept of Rob Grant’s buttski, from which he intends to fire out numerous yet-to-be-specified spin-offs and specials. He even mentioned a possible new American version at one point, although we can’t be sure he didn’t just drop that one in to mess with us.

Meanwhile, Doug used a video message at Dimension Jump (more of which imminently) to tease all manner of new content including, ordered from least to most surprising: a new Red Dwarf special, the oft-discussed stage show finally happening, a new Doug-penned sci-fi comedy drama, and a 90-minute film called Out of the Red, starring the Dwarf cast as themselves getting involved in a worldwide conspiracy. It seems Doug’s buttski is just as jam-packed as Rob’s at this stage, and bookmakers are currently taking bets on how many of these ideas will ever actually come to fruition. The smart money’s on zero.

But still, Dimension Jump XXI happened, at long last, and it was a much needed tonic for the lucky attendees following the extended gap between conventions, and indeed the reason behind it. As well as the chance to spend time with fellow fans and, you know, just get out of the house for a bit, the most memorable moments involved special not-very-secret guest Johnny Vegas completely taking over the Friday night, Lee Cornes making a long-awaited return and being his usual amiable and amusing self, an extraordinarily high standard in the costume competition, and Rob and Paul giving an annotated guide to 80s comedy. Our traditional Sunday night DwarfCast covers all this and more, plus we tweeted lots of pictures and quotes and stuff.

On to the miscellaneous bits of news now, and May saw the Red Dwarf community coming together once more to help out two worthy causes, with a fundraiser for artist Colin Howard to get a swanky new wheelchair and a petition for Seb Patrick to get a memorial bench overlooking his favourite spot both concluding in success. Very sadly, we lost Officer Rimmer guest star Stephen Critchlow this year, at a tragically young age. Our thoughts remain with his friends and family.

In terms of things that we were too incompetent or lazy to cover, here’s a quick round-up: a new series of Rob Grant and Andrew Marshall’s radio sketch show The Nether Regions was recorded to air in 2022; he and Paul’s Lockdown Theatre put on two events, one football themed and one Strictly themed; Craig hosted new quiz show Moneybags on Channel 4, which at one point featured a Dwarfy question; Cliché was repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra; and sadly, Laredo, the cowboy town that provided the location for Gunmen of the Apocalypse, burned down. There’s a fundraiser to restore it that’s still open. Oh, and Craig mentioned in an interview that more Red Dwarf is on its way, but considering an incredibly similar quote appeared roughly this time last year, we’ve long since stopped bothering to catalogue those.

But never mind that tot, let’s talk about ourselves, and all the brilliant stuff we’ve done this year. Joking aside, we are actually pretty proud of our big new service The Smega-Drive, which launched in November. We’ve always thought there ought to be a dedicated Red Dwarf quote/meme/gif generator online, and the fact that we were the ones to get off our arses and do it came as a surprise even to me, given that Cappsy and Danny went off and developed it in secret before casually presenting me with a working beta one evening. What we love most about this is seeing it being used out in the wild, and naturally the creativity and hilarity of our G&T regulars has been the big highlight. It’s come in handy for memes, quote randomising, and of course the all time number one – slagging off Series VIII. We even built a Twitter bot to fire out random stills, often with amusing results.

Aside from that, the bulk of our creativity has been ploughed into a great number of DwarfCasts, which has been dangerously close to having a regular and reliable schedule at times, although we did tail off a little towards the end of the year. But fear not, as talking to my two favourite cunts in the entire world for a few hours every other weekend has been what kept me sane during the last two abysmal years, so we’ll be right back on it in 2022, regardless of whether anyone is actually listening.

This year saw us reach the end of two mammoth projects, one lasting around fifteen months, the other around fifteen years. The DwarfCast Book Club covered two very different solo-written novels, eliciting very different responses from podcasters and listeners-slash-readers alike, in Last Human and Backwards. And, remarkably, we finally finished our series of episode commentaries for all 52 55 61 67 73 74 episodes of the show, with Series XII and The Promised Land completing the set.

But as those strands came to an end, more came up to take their place, like those skellingtons from Jason and the Argonauts. There were a couple of Wafflemen specials, the latter of which marking the first time the three of us were all in the same room since 2018. We also trialled the first of our “Dwarf adjacent” commentaries on an episode of The Young Ones, with more to follow in the new year, plus of course the launch of the Smegazine Rack, doing for the mid-90s magazine what Book Club did for the novels.

Another somewhat unpredicted development was our foray into crossword setting. The first was very difficult, the second somewhat easier, and we have a massive pile of clues from across the difficulty spectrum lined up for future grids. And finally, our old faithful G&TV feature spluttered on, with Dwarf-flavoured archival treats from All Star Squares, We Need Answers, Up Yer Festival (which achieved the dubious honour of being the first G&TV video to be expunged from YouTube), GamesMaster and Big Break. But the highlight was finally uncovering Norman Lovett’s appearance in character as Holly on Tomorrow’s World from 1999, a curious Red Dwarf rarity that hadn’t previously made it into the online era.

And so with another year over, we look to the future, and in Red Dwarf terms, that’s a massive unknowable conundrum. As we said, our firm hope is that we get some news about the legal situation, preferably that news being that everything’s fine now and we enter a new golden era of everyone’s buttski spewing forth with gay abandon. Or if it really is all over for good, we’d rather just know that for sure rather than having to hope and speculate from now until the end of time.

Either way, G&T will be here for what is unbelievably our 20th anniversary year. I expect we’ll be marking that in some way, and we’ve got absolutely tonnes of ideas for exciting content, if only we can find the time to actually do them. As such we’re not going to make any promises, but we can drop some hints. Whatever you want, we’ve got it covered, so book some time in for us to guide you through 2022.

A huge thank you to all those who have made this place all the better with your comments this year – we’ve said it before, but our community is the best it’s ever been at the moment – and a very Happy New Year to all our listeners-slash-readers.

21 comments on “The G&T Review of the Year 2021

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  • In terms of things that we were too incompetent or lazy to cover, here’s a quick round-up:

    Can’t believe that neither yourselves nor TOS have mentioned Danny’s magnificent turn on The Weakest Link’s panto special last weekend.

    (Unless you have, and I missed it.}

  • As much as it might have been an annus horibilis for Red Dwarf itself, I think it’s been an absolutely cracking year for G&T.

    The book-club Dwarfcasts have been wonderful and a high point of the site’s history (more than replacing the joy brought by last year’s Quarantine commentaries), the Smega-Drive is an incredible achievement and has already provided some fantastic laughs and meme-based creativity, and all of the other stuff – the waffles, the news, the coverage of Holly Hop and DJ and everything else – has been great too.

    In short, it always gives me a little lift and brightens up my day whenever new G&T content appears, and given that you guys do this for nothing except the enjoyment of doing it, that is much appreciated. And especially so when life has been so tough for everyone of late.

    So roll on 2022 and plenty more G&T goodness.

  • I have to echo Dave’s comments. The content coming out of G&T this year (and last) from you three chaps and all the regulars in the forums has brightened by days no end. It’s an absolute pleasure hanging out with everyone and really grateful for the stuff like the crosswords and bookclub etc giving us something to look forward too. Can’t wait to get stuck into the Smegazines.

    Happy New Year All, ya dirty arse smeg heads!

  • Happy New Year, everyone!

    Excited to see what you come up with in 2022, although I still don’t think anything is going to top that Pan’s People joke.

  • If you already told us about Seb’s bench I must have missed it. Excellent news!

    Whatever you want, we’ve got it covered, so book some time in for us to guide you through 2022.

    Sounds odd tome… Oh, and something to do with a Big Breakfast presenter?

    Many thanks to the G&T team for all of this year’s content. Happy New Year everyone.

  • We are a lucky fanbase for the most part, always amazed at the quality content coming from yourselves, and G&T Alumni John Hoare, as well as Kris Carter with Drive Room, and the odd other bit here and there on twitter. Considering it hasn’t been possible to count on Red Dwarf a) being on at all, and b) being good if it is, for over 20 years it’s frankly amazing the cuntmunity is as active as it is.

    Happy new year everyone, cheers.

  • Failure to mention the increasing gaps between Dwarfcasts that basically ruined the year.

    No, really, wonderful content from a great bunch of lads. New G&T stuff is always a highlight of the day or week, and the Smegadrive has kept the occasionally quite forum alive for weeks, long may it live. Three cheers for you all, and a few more for the lovely people who post here too. Roll on 2022.

  • Huh, those were all just this year? My word. Holly Hop and the Smegadrive are probably the main highlights for me.

    Also very glad Colin got his chair! (I unexpectedly found a secondhand one myself, so two newly-mobile people now tearing up the countryside … !)

    No, really, wonderful content from a great bunch of lads. New G&T stuff is always a highlight of the day or week, and the Smegadrive has kept the occasionally quite forum alive for weeks, long may it live. Three cheers for you all, and a few more for the lovely people who post here too. Roll on 2022.

    Hear hear!

  • Also very glad Colin got his chair! (I unexpectedly found a secondhand one myself, so two newly-mobile people now tearing up the countryside … !)

    Excellent news, and puts an entirely new spin on your name.

  • Thank you for the round up Ian. I don’t post much on here nowadays (mainly because the conversation has already moved on by the time I’ve thought up something witty to say) but echoing the others, thanks to the whole team for another year of Quality Content™. Will be interested to see what 2022 brings, hopefully theres some movement on the legal troubles front, but I guess we’ll have to sit tight for now. Regardless, I’ll look forward to whatever delicious scraps you can throw our way to take the edge of the probable shit of a year that lies ahead.

  • Yeah, the book club was great and I look forward to more DwarfCasts over the coming year.

    I also look forward to Rob’s (and other people’s) The Nether Regions which I think is available to listen to on Thursday.

  • Just adding another voice to the echo chamber to say great roundup and well done on a year of great output! Having regular DwarfCasts to listen to over the pandemic era has been great, the world should fall apart more often to enable such a reliable stream of waffle!

  • I also look forward to Rob’s (and other people’s) The Nether Regions which I think is available to listen to on Thursday.

    Oh, so it is! Thank you, well spotted.

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