G&TV Special: Whatever You Want (13/05/2000) featured image

Way back at the turn of the century, three Red Dwarf fans competed for not one but two money-can’t-buy prizes. Whatever You Want was a Saturday night entertainment show, hosted by Gaby Roslin for four series between 1997 and 2000, and inexplicably not featuring Status Quo as the theme tune. It was part of a lineage of similar programmes, preceded by Jim’ll Fix It and followed by Tonight’s The Night with John Barrowman – Roslin definitely the most wholesome of those presenters – that strove to make ordinary people’s dreams come true through the magic of television. While there were smaller items throughout each show, the main focus was a game show element that pitted enthusiasts with a shared interest against each other for the biggest prize of the night. And on 13th May 2000, it was Red Dwarf‘s turn.

The three superfans chosen to compete were called Vicky, Rob and Jane, the latter of whom later became the Chair of The Official Red Dwarf Fan Club. And the prizes were very special indeed. Firstly, a custom-built Starbug, made for the show by the legendary Bill Pearson, overseen by the equally legendary Jim Francis, both of whom had recently worked on Series VIII. Not only that, the lucky winner would also spend a full week on set, and have their name in the credits, of Red Dwarf: The Movie. This sets an ongoing world record for the longest delay between winning and receiving a competition prize.

After airing over 23 years ago, the programme was never repeated or included on any commercial releases. As it was a few years too early for catch-up services or social media, it never resurfaced online, and has been pretty much considered lost media. But guess what? Gaby Roslin’s not the only one who can make Red Dwarf fans’ dreams come true…

Here we have all the Red Dwarf related bits of the episode, which takes up a good third of the show’s running time. Within that, there’s just been one edit for YouTube Content ID purposes, where we’ve had to speed up a clip from Back To Reality to avoid the video being taken down.

We’ll leave you to enjoy the full very-very-early-noughties aesthetics, and to ponder what the hell the end game has to do with being a Red Dwarf fan. We will just point out, however, that you can see former GNP supremo Helen Norman, along with a barely-out-of-short-trousers Andrew Ellard (then Fan Club mag editor, very soon to be website editor) behind Gaby during her opening link. Want some further reading? Here’s a scan of the relevant section of Better Than Life #33, with contemporary reports from all three contestants.

17 comments on “G&TV Special: Whatever You Want (13/05/2000)

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  • Ah nice one. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since it was hinted at in the G&T Review of the Year for 2021. Looking forward to watching it this evening.

  • This was on YouTube or somewhere at some point before. Unless I just read a really vivid article on here, which I’m not discounting.

  • Does anyone know if Rob still has his ‘bug?

    Also, the end of the BTL article suggests a date had been pencilled in for filming the movie: “November.” Does anyone know if Rob attended a table read or some pre-production or anything like that?

  • Rob’s Starbug was donated and auctioned at DJ a few years back (one of the Nottingham ones, they all blur into one)

  • Obviously the Starbug model on its own would still have been a fantastic thing to win but did he ever get anything in lieu of the other prize, I wonder?

  • Rob’s Starbug was donated and auctioned at DJ a few years back (one of the Nottingham ones, they all blur into one)

    omg, I hope it raised a lot.

    Bill was always very uncomplimentary about that Starbug model. It’s recognisably different from the BBC VFX team filming models, but has a lot of his stylistic hallmarks and is built and finished to his usual high standard.  Here are some more photos of it: https://x.com/TheSpaceshipper/status/1563590319467180032?s=20

    Jeez, I mean it looks pretty darn good. That link describes it as a Series VIII ‘bug. Was it used in filming after all or is that a mistake? (I know VIII was CGI but maybe models were used on some level or on some occasions?)

  • Yeah, Bill’s team built a large scale cockpit section for VIII , which you can see here: https://www.thepropgallery.com/starbug-head-filming-miniature-back-in-the-red

    I believe the prize Starbug was made specially for this show.

    Ah, amazing. Thanks.

    You know, I really can remember this show like it was yesterday. In the BTL article someone (Lucy I think) said she wasn’t sure how to phrase the “rat arsed” answer in the “what happens next round.” Maybe this wasn’t for rudeness exactly but because it’s hard to universalise as something that makes sense to an audience. There was an X-Files episode of this show and they showed the clip where Tooms bursts out of his little gob box, all mucal like, and it was hard for the contestant to explain it. I think she said “a mutant bursts out” or something like that. I mean, would anyone have known what she was on about if she’d said “Eugene Victor Tooms bursts out”? It’s not difficult, exactly, but it’s a bit slippery to have to articulate the answer while universalising it for the audience.

    Another thing about this show is how much it sucks for the losers. As well as simply losing, there’s no consolation prize for them and in the RD edition they had to watch Rob win the surprise Starbug in addition to his movie shoot. That must have been awful. Give ’em a little skutter each! I mean, Jim’ll never made people fight for their fix-its only for them to fuck off home empty handed if they didn’t play hoopla fast enough. That man was a saint!

  • I am convinced that that song was used somewhere in this!  

    “as well as being the theme tune to an ill-fated Saturday night TV show of the same name as the song presented by Gaby Roslin.”


    And wikipedia seems to confirm it.  Maybe on an earlier series

    I am certain it was used. A twee, tinny version of it anyway. And for this show I do seem to be the Memory Man.

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