It's a genuinely strange feeling for me (as indeed it would be for the rest of the remaining G&T team) to report on Fan Club activity from an outsider's perspective. I'm still not used to finding out what they're up to via official channels, rather than half-listening to their remote team meetings taking place at the other end of the sofa, worrying about what duties I'm going to be volunteered for. But today's announcement is quite a big one, as the sensationalist and yet entirely accurate headline demonstrates.

Via TOS, the Fan Club have unveiled a two-day online convention called Holly Hop, taking place on the most recently cancelled dates for DJXXI, the 6th & 7th February 2021, to tide us over until the proper convention hopefully happens in September next year, deadly pandemic permitting. So, it's a Hop for a skipped Jump, providing "guest Q&As and behind-the-scenes discussions, as well as a few surprises along the way".

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G&TV Halloween Special featured image

This month's G&TV contains scenes which are unsuitable for younger viewers and people of a nervous disposition. You have been warned.

Well, it doesn't really, but then neither does Polymorph, so it's fair game. Anyway, when we noticed that the latest edition of this feature would coincide roughly with a notable date in the calendar, we decided to run with the theme. The Red Dwarf cast and crew haven't had a great deal of crossover with the horror genre over the years, other than a couple of notable and obvious exceptions, which we'll come to. We couldn't find much in terms of full-length programmes that are not commercially available (and so therefore we feel comfortable linking to off-air recordings of them on YouTube), which is the usual remit for G&TV. So instead, we present a thrilling compendium of terror, with four short clips relating to each of our main cast members, which fit the theme with varying degrees of contrivance.

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This has completely flown under the radar, so thanks to Si Bromley for spotting it in his TV guide and tweeting about it. Danny John-Jules and Craig Charles are hosting Craig & Danny: Funny, Black and On TV on Tuesday 13th October at 8pm on ITV. Part of a season of programmes marking Black History Month, the pair present a celebration of iconic Black British comedy stars spanning fifty years, featuring a combination of archive and interviews. Here’s the press release.

It’s an intriguing and welcome move for Craig and Danny to be working together as a twosome, and especially on a mainstream channel like ITV. It’s all the more pleasing given that Red Dwarf is often overlooked in discussions such as these, despite being a prime example of diverse representation and colour blind casting, even though it originated at a time before such terms were coined. Plus, the mere existence of this programme will infuriate racists on Twitter, so win-win.

One of the many, many good things about Rob Grant, Paul Jackson and Ed Bye's regular Sunday afternoon quarantine commentaries is that their meandering conversations about comedy and their careers can sometimes dredge up intriguing lesser-known projects from the past. When Arthur Smith was a guest on the Backwards commentary, he mentioned one of his old Edinburgh shows, Arthur Smith Sings Andy Williams, which also featured fellow Backwards guest and perennial fifth Dwarfer Tony Hawks.

A truncated TV version was produced by Granada in 1993, which commenter Stilianidiadidatees suggested would make a good candidate for G&TV. Don't say we never give you anything. It's on YouTube, and it's pretty great.

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Prompted by a question from listener Si Bromley, our most recent edition of Waffle Men, as featured on the DwarfCast commentary for Samsara, included a discussion on the not-fondly-remembered Chris Barrie sitcom A Prince Among Men. Having grown tired of playing comedy prats like Arnold Rimmer and Gordon Brittas, Chris teamed up with The Brittas Empire producer and director Mike Stephens to bring us Gary Prince, a comedy prat who differed from his previous comedy prats by lacking any charm, depth or originality.

Gary was a retired footballer turned entrepreneur, and also a self-centered egotist, who spent his time annoying his German wife Lisel, belittling his loyal staff, insulting his closest friends and making terrible business decisions. The show ran for two series on BBC One, the first one and a half of which were shown in prime time during the week, before the last few episodes were quietly relegated to Sunday afternoons. It was not very good. See for yourself, here's the first episode:

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We all really rather enjoyed the first instalment of Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years last week, despite some quibbles that mostly involve the treatment of 4:3 material. We will put our thoughts on the record properly at some point in the future, but while we’re still on compassionate leave from having to think about anything too much, here’s a little discussion thread for you in the meantime. This covers episode two, In Studio Space No-One Can Hear You Scream, which airs tonight at 9pm on Dave

While you shouldn’t expect much immediate in-depth coverage from us for obvious reasons, we thought we’d best provide a place for everyone to discuss The Boys from the Dwarf, the first of the three-part documentary series Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years, which airs tonight at 9pm on DaveA few reviews and previews have started to emerge, from the likes of Radio Times, What’s On TV and Sci-Fi Bulletin, who reveal the unexpected but welcome news that the series is narrated by an actual Doctor Who, David Tennant. A fansite of his has what looks like the full press release.

There is also an additional reason to tune in tonight. The Patrick family have asked us to spread the news that there will be a tribute card to Seb included. It was too late to get it added to the programme itself, but thanks to Doug and the team at GNP, UKTV are doing it as part of their presentation. We’re told it’ll happen during an ad break at around 21:25.

It is now precisely two weeks until the first of three episodes of Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years airs on Dave, and so I suppose it's high time for a trailer. Expect to see this approximately a thousand times over the next fortnight if, like me, you're trapped watching Dave's nightly repeats of all episodes of Taskmaster ever on a loop, or here it is on Twitter:

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A brief but happy news story for you – we now have a TX date for Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years, the three-part documentary series produced by North One for UKTV. Having heard the first rumblings of the publicity juggernaut a few weeks back, Dave has tweeted this morning to confirm that it will air on Thursday 6th August. That’s presumably just the first episode, like – no word yet on whether it will be weekly, daily or some other schedule, or indeed whether all or any of it will be available on UKTV Play in advance of broadcast. We’ll figure out the plans for our coverage of this coverage of the show when we have those details.

Also tucked away in that tweet is a new, much much improved title card for the series. When we joked in our previous article that they had time for another crack at the logo, we didn’t expect they actually would, so fair play. This is very much based on the look for The Promised Land, with its weather-beaten aesthetic and same sub-heading font, and it makes sense for Red Dwarf to have a consistent branding style. The powers that be clearly agree, given that both Dave and UKTV Play liked our tweet of the above meme…

UPDATE (17/07/20): Today’s TOS update answers pretty much everything that was as yet unanswered about these docs. The three episodes will air weekly on subsequent Thursdays from the 6th-20th August, and will appear on UKTV Play after broadcast. For the avoidance of doubt, all the interviews are brand new, and we’re promised “newly dug-up archive material”, which is implied to go beyond what’s featured on the DVDs. Exciting!

We also have titles for all three episodes: The Boys from the Dwarf, In Studio Space No-One Can Hear You Scream and Playing Pool With Planets. Weird to dedicate a third of the series to one brief scene from White Hole, but hey.

It’s only taken us fourteen years, but today is the day that we record our final episode commentary from the original BBC run of Red Dwarf. With the bit between our teeth and Broadcunting House having been moved online, we want to carry on this out-of-character run of recording on a weekly-ish basis while we can, so what next for DwarfCasts? Well, we’ve still got thirteen episodes from the Dave era to tick off, plus a whole host of spin-offs, extras and rarities to jabber over if we get stuck. But we’ll be alternating those with something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Welcome to The DwarfCast Book Club.

Every fortnight or so, we’ll be re-reading one part of one Red Dwarf novel to then discuss in great detail, and we’d love it if you joined us along the way. First up, naturally, it’s Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers Part One: Your Own Death, and How to Cope With It, and if you can squeeze in those 94 pages before we record on the weekend of 4th/5th July, we’d love to hear from you so that we can include your comments, reviews and observations in our discussion. Whether you’re just jogging your memory or experiencing the novels for the first time, please leave your comments in this thread. To help us out, please indicate whether each point you make is a general one about the part as a whole, or relating to a specific sub-chapter, so that we can collate everything more easily.

We’re really looking forward to revisiting the novels and finally discussing them with the level of depth that they so clearly deserve, and we hope that as many of you as possible find the time to join our virtual book group.