After the merest Morse-based mumblings on Thursday afternoon, the news we’ve all been waiting for dropped in the very early hours of Friday morning. It’s quite late at night and we’ve got work in the morning, so here’s the short version: NEW FEATURE LENGTH SPECIAL! THREE-PART RETROSPECTIVE DOCUMENTARY! LIVE AUDIENCE! RECORDING IN DECEMBER! AIRING NEXT YEAR! TOS, of course, has some finer details, and here are our initial bleary-eyed thoughts…
Following last week’s celebration of Series XII’s second anniversary, we’re back to celebrate Series XII’s second second anniversary, with what’s possibly the happiest and most overall positive DwarfCast we’ve ever done on the subject of Dave-era Red Dwarf. It’s Byte Two of our series retrospective, with John Hoare, Tanya Jones, Danny Stephenson and Ian Symes returning to ruminate on Mechocracy, M-Corp and Skipper, as well as assessing the series, and indeed the XI and XII production block, as a whole.
Along the way we discuss alternative pronunciations of “Mechocracy”, how episodes of Red Dwarf are in fact cobbled together from CCTV footage, invisible dildos, the logistics of owning planets, why Mr Rat is a fried egg chilli chutney sandwich face, and alternative pronunciations of the word “grimace”. Because this was recorded several months ago, there’s also speculation that Skipper might be the last ever episode of Red Dwarf, which seems increasingly less likely after the events of the last few days, but never mind.
There has been an increased amount of rumblings about the possibility of new Red Dwarf recently, and as usual we’ve been kind of ignoring it until something more concrete came along. Most notably, Robert tweeted in a reply to someone the other week that “we start making Red Dwarf XIII in November”, which seemed a little too tight a turnaround to be true. But once again following the usual pattern of these things, a cast member has now posted something that reveals perhaps a little more than they intended, and we can’t ignore it any more. The cast member on this occasion is Danny, who has shared a snap of the other three at what appears to be a readthrough of something…
…and that sheet of paper on the table is very intriguing indeed if you blow it up and rotate it 90 degrees counter-clockwise…
We published the first part of our Series X semi-retrospective two months after the first episode aired. For Series XI, we waited five months. Today is the second anniversary of Series XII launching on UKTV Play, so I guess it’s time to admit that we no longer have a “semi” on our hands. Yes, having finally given up on the plan to get all five of us together in one room, join 80% of the G&T team – namely John Hoare, Tanya Jones, Danny Stephenson and Ian Symes – as we look back on Cured, Siliconia and Timewave.
Revisiting the episodes with fresh eyes and ears, we analyse how they stand up now that they’re no longer brand new, and track how our opinions have changed since our initial instant reactions. Spoilers: we’re still not keen on Timewave. Along the way we discuss Doug’s obsession with castration, Uncle Frank’s questionable true nature, the purpose of James Buckley, a surfeit of MILFs, how annoying it is to have coffee poured on one’s bollocks, and how to fix the “spit on her wrist” joke with one simple word substitution.
Here’s an incredible find that was first brought to our attention by Tom Selway on Twitter at the start of August, just a few days after it surfaced on YouTube. We immediately sprung in to action, opening our to-do list and pencilling it in for September’s G&TV. Which would have been fine if things like TORDFC’s newsletter and reddwarf.co.uk didn’t exist, both of which have featured it in the meantime. Nevertheless, it’s well worth sharing in case those two passed any of you by, as it’s not every day you get to see a fully-fledged broadcast programme all about Red Dwarf. Before Comedy Connections and The Making of Back To Earth, but after Red Dwarf Night, there was Smegheads in Seattle.
Produced and broadcast by KCTS, a local PBS affiliate serving Seattle and Tacoma in Washington, it features Craig Charles and Danny John-Jules on a visit to the eponymous city in May 1998. It’s a compilation of material from various sources: one main interview by KCTS’s Ken Vincent, another interview with Danny solo, viewer Q&As from two separate pledge drives for the station, at least two different convention appearances, plus a couple of specially-shot sections, which we’ll come to. After it initially aired, it did the rounds as a bootleg VHS for a while, along with another show from the same station, Swirly Thing Alert, but then disappeared and slipped from the memory, until now.
That’s 100th DwarfCast. Not 100th PodCast like you and Skeletor think. Very nearly thirteen whole years ago, a group of young and self-important Red Dwarf fans decided to tip their toes into the barely-chartered waters of podcasting, unleashing their verrucas into the world with the first edition released on October 1st 2006. The fact that it’s taken this long for the hundredth episode to come out should be a source of embarrassment and regret, but instead, brace yourself for the most self-indulgent and smug thing we’ve ever done: a documentary about ourselves, which runs for nearly an hour and a half.
Join Jonathan Capps, John Hoare, Tanya Jones, Daniel Stephenson and Ian Symes for a look back on the history, highlights and lowlights of what is undoubtedly a podcast about Red Dwarf, ably assisted by a former regular making a one-off guest appearance many years later, reddwarf.co.uk editor Seb Patrick. We discuss the origins of DwarfCasts, the evolution of our style from ill-informed dickheads to slightly-better-informed dickheads, how the Back To Earth weekend nearly tore the group apart, and the difficulties faced when one of your hosts is on the verge of death in intensive care when he’s supposed to be doing a live podcast. There’s also music, testimonies from loyal listeners, and tonnes of clips of our best and worst moments – including snippets from the proto-DwarfCast episode commentaries recorded by a barely-pubescent Ian and John, previously not heard in the last fifteen years. Thankfully.
Having previously tackled the 80s, the 90s, Christmas telly and children’s telly, TV Years, Bauer Media’s excellent magazine that celebrates classic British television, is back with a new sci-fi themed edition, and naturally Red Dwarf features heavily. Comics writer and, it turns out, big Red Dwarf fan, James Roberts has interviewed (separately, before anyone gets any ideas) Rob Grant and Doug Naylor about the show’s development, for an in-depth feature that we’re reliably informed covers “how a lunch with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson informed Red Dwarf’s opening scenes, and how an encounter with Richard Curtis profoundly affected how we would come to know the show”.
The magazine is out tomorrow (that’s Tuesday 6th August 2019 for anyone reading this in the future), but we’ve been kindly provided with a little extract, concerning the end of Rob and Doug’s writing partnership…
On 17th July 2019, just over six months since the Red Dwarf Series I-VIII Bluray set was first released, replacement discs for Series III and V finally fell through the letterboxes of complaining customers. On the original release, the entirety of the third series and the second half of the fifth were rendered in the wrong frame rate, resulting in blurry movement and grainy pictures, basically the equivalent of accidentally applying a film effect. This subject rather dominated our original review, which lead to a minor lobbying campaign for a fix. The BBC acknowledged the mistake in February, and assured us that new discs would be ready in “approximately six weeks”. Twenty weeks later, were the new editions of these nine episodes worth the wait?
Well, we certainly weren’t expecting this to happen today. We only caught wind of the possibility of Red Dwarf collaborating with The AA last Thursday, when a giant Starbug was pictured with an AA van near the Angel of the North, with resultant undeclared promotional pieces reported in the local press. When Danny John-Jules reassured us that “all will be revealed” on the 1st July, we were expecting a tweet or a press release. Not for a minute-long chunk of full unadulterated brand new Red Dwarf to turn up unannounced at ten o’clock in the morning. This is what all those hints about the cast getting back together have been leading to. It’s not Series XIII – though that’s not to say that work isn’t also taking place on that – it’s Rimmer, Lister, Cat, Kryten and Starbug appearing in a television advert for The AA.
The idea of my favourite show doing an advert might have filled me with dread and disgust at one time, with that Bill Hicks quote about “being off the artistic roll call” ringing in my ears. But the world has changed since then, and there are lot of things working in favour of this particular ad. It’s all original material, not just exploiting old clips and tainting them by association. It looks and feels like the current show, not some nostalgia trip trying to recapture past glories. And of all the brands they could have associated themselves with – betting companies, loan sharks, shady foreign exchange business – there’s not much fault to find with The AA. As it happens, there’s no need to worry. This advert is so well-made and so charming that it’s impossible not to be wooed.
Here’s one that’s been doing the rounds lately – a full, decent-quality (in technical terms at least) episode of Cyberzone has recently been uploaded to YouTube by Red Dwarf fan Chris Toone. The short-lived virtual reality game show was notable for several reasons. It was a new format from the brain of Tim Child and his production company Broadsword, in the same vein as their technologically-groundbreaking and hugely entertaining Knightmare. Cyberzone only duplicated that success in one regard, but it will always have its place in fandom folklore thanks to the presenting style of one Craig Charles, who adopted Hattie’s cry of “awooga” from Marooned as a catchphrase, which was in turn “borrowed” by footballer-turned-presenter John Fashanu – a guest on the first episode of the series – as his own catchphrase on the much more popular Gladiators.
The show saw Craig as the “Zone Warden”, guiding two competing teams of two through a series of virtual reality challenges set by arch-villain Thesp, a hybrid of the GamesMaster and Knightmare‘s Lord Fear, played by James Grout. One team comprised two members of the public, taking on a pair of sportspeople, in this case world rally champions Louise Aitken-Walker and Tina Thorner, in the second episode of the series, aired 11th January 1993: