Ganymede & Titan is a Red Dwarf fansite that differs from other Red Dwarf fansites in two significant ways. Firstly, it still exists, and secondly, it still exists. Now, we know that strictly speaking that’s only one difference, but it was such a big one we felt it was worth mentioning twice.
The Longest Version
The Long Version
The site was first launched in late 1999 by Ian Symes, who went under the pseudonym of Ian The Smegmeister. Ahem. The name was chosen as it was the first line ever spoken in the show, and Ian couldn’t be bothered to search for a suitable name any further. Also, it lent itself to the catchy slogan “Ain’t no place in the whole of cyberspace”. Using Zyworld Page Builder, Ian created the logo above, added the slogan, wrote a lengthy piece about how great the site was going to be, and then didn’t do anything else for months.
G&T was later relaunched as part of Ian’s next venture – the succinctly-titled Ian The Smegmeister’s British Comedy Website. Armed with a logo, a slogan and an imaginative, yet puzzling index system, whereby there were in fact six indexes, each one introduced by a different character, Ian set to work, and updated a whopping one time. In two bloody years.
Version 3 of the site was launched on 14th September 2002, and, to everyone’s suprise, including Ian’s, it was updated quite a lot. Admittedly, it was sporadic (the site could go for months without an update), but it was going somewhere. Ian wrote some real and actual content, and the episode capsules and DVD reviews were regarded very highly. G&T was beginning to get noticed – with other fan sites and even fan club magazine Better Than Life running features about it.
The next major era in the site’s life came about when John Hoare, who spoke to Ian on the NOTBBC fora, expressed his desire to write his own Dwarf site. It slowly dawned on the pair that they were going to end up with two sites that said more or less the same thing, so they decided to pool their resources. John used his web design skills and ample webspace to give the site a new look and a new home, while Ian frantically scribbled more articles, ready for the relaunch on 4th April 2003, the first day of Dimension Jump X.
By this time, the majority of the sites that had steered fandom through those difficult post-series-VIII years had fallen by the wayside, leaving G&T as one of the few actively-updated fansites going. For the next few years, Ian and John wrote a wide variety of essays, features and lists, as well as attracting guest articles from the pockets of fandom that remained. The site wasn’t loved by everyone in RD fandom – its copious swearing, juvenile sense of humour and refreshing honesty about some of the series’ flaws garnered it a controversial reputation, but its many regulars loved it for being a fresh, witty and occasionally even vaguely intelligent site.
Within a couple of years, a fresh cluster of fansites had sprung up, largely inspired by G&T’s example to provide their own original content and new perspectives on the show. These sites included Jonathan Capps’ The White Hole, Austin Ross’ Garbage World and Seb Patrick’s Fuchal. In 2005, the owners of these sites and G&T realised that they shared a common goal and personality, and decided – along with an assortment of other G&T friends and regulars – to launch a new site that would serve as a group blog and portal to link their various sites together. Thus, Observation Dome was born.
After a good solid year or so – whose main contribution to the world was the Series VII DVD fan-film-competition-winning short The Movie: Yeah, No, Yeah, No – the OD team decided that having the site run separately from G&T was somewhat at crossed purposes. And so, despite all the articles that John had ever written exhorting Dwarf fans to diversify and create as many different websites as possible, on 5th September 2006 four sites closed down and merged with Ganymede & Titan to form a new species of super fansite. The site’s new team consisted of Ian, John, Seb, Cappsy, Austin, Phil Reed and Tanya Jones. Phil and Austin subsequently left active G&T service, while Danny Stephenson came onboard shortly afterwards to provide really rather excellent graphics and such.
By this point, although admittedly largely by default, the site was in the process of becoming the premiere fan-run Red Dwarf site on the net. This meant that when the Back to Earth specials were announced, filmed and transmitted, there was actually a place for curious fans – old and new – to come and chat about the show (alongside a core of die-hard regulars who’d stuck with the site when there was nothing to do but argue whether series VII or VIII was the worst), and this cemented G&T’s position alongside the official site as the hub for the current generation of Dwarf fans. In late 2011, meanwhile, Seb was poached by Grant Naylor Productions to run said official site, and so no longer contributes to new G&T material.
In its current form the site provides a breaking news blog, occasional text features and reviews, a thriving community forum and a sporadic series of podcasts (which we christened Dwarfcasts as a big old “fuck you” to genericised trademarks). We think we do a pretty good job. Our coverage of breaking news during the production and pre-broadcast of Back to Earth was second to none (possibly because nobody else was bothering to cover it, but the point still stands), and we reckon the site currently hosts the biggest and best repository of Red Dwarf-related writing on the internet. In fact, we’re so bloody pleased with ourselves we collected a load of said writing into a book.
We have strong opinions on certain subjects, and especially in the site’s earlier years, we haven’t been afraid to criticise aspects of the show that we don’t like. Some claim that doing this means we can’t be “proper” fans – we disagree. We love Red Dwarf more than is healthy, but so long as we try to do it well we see nothing wrong in picking up on its flaws as well as praising its (countless) strengths. The site may also put off those of you who don’t like strong language – we make no apologies for this, either: it’s just our way, and it always has been. If anybody wanted to start up a funny, original and content-packed Dwarf fansite that didn’t have any swearing, we’d welcome it with open arms. In the meantime, appreciate what you’ve got, because basically, etc.
We’ve been quoted and namechecked in the Daily Telegraph and Independent, described as an essential read on Doug Naylor’s Back to Earth director’s commentary, and slagged off repeatedly by Iain Lee. We are Ganymede & Titan. Hello.
The Short Version
Ganymede & Titan was founded in 1999 and has a lot of fucking swearing in it.
The Even Shorter Version