DwarfCast 170 - The Smegazine Rack - Issue #11 featured image
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"There's two scythes to every story."

In this very exciting instalment of our journey through all things Smegazine, Cappsy, Danny and Ian are joined by two very special guests - Chris Barrie's nipples. Listen along as the five of us discuss neural networks, yuppies, Kochanski's giant forehead, Norman Wisdom's popularity in Albania, whether or not Back To Reality was actually any good, and how The Inquisitor is accidentally responsible for the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein.

It's best to have the magazine in front of you as you listen. If you don't have an actual copy, scans are available on archive.org or Stasis Leak, you freeloading bastard.

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The G&T Review of the Year 2023 featured image
Screenshot from the Red Dwarf episode Better Than Life

Screenshot from the Red Dwarf episode Back in the Red: Part I

At the start of Red Dwarf's 35th anniversary year, things had never seemed grimmer for the health of the franchise. The protracted legal kerfuffle between the show's creators was dragging on into its third calendar year, with no indication whatsoever that it would end any time soon, and any possibility of new material dwindling with each passing day. But as 2023 comes to an end, despite there still being no solid news in terms of actual production, there has been so, so much to give us hope that Red Dwarf shall live again.

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DwarfCast 169 - Christmas Wafflemen Special featured image
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"If it wasn't shit, it would be perfect."

We thought we ought to do something slightly out of the ordinary for our landmark 169th episode, so here's two specials in one - it's time for some Christmas Waffles. Once again our lovely listeners slash readers provided us with a veritable smorgasbord of tasty topics, which we gobbled up whilst writing fan-fiction about the ship's Secret Santa, sharing our ultimate Red Dwarf Christmas wishes, pondering the best box sets of all time, weighing up the current state of the fandom, and coming up with a really good idea for a Christmas special. Plus, like all great festive episodes, we end on a good old sing-song. We apologise for nothing.

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DwarfCast 168 - Re-Disc-overy: Series V featured image
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"Disgustingly Northern"

As we continue our series revisiting the now decades-old DVD releases, the main thing we re-disc-over this time out is that Series V tempts us down conversational side roads like nothing else. So join Cappsy, Danny and Ian as we discuss Juliet May's short-lived tenure as director, attempt to get to the bottom of conflicting stories about Red Dwarf USA, and uncover more examples of institutional racism within the Metropolitan Police. We also speculate as to what the visual effects workshop smelt like, hunt down pictures of Timothy Spall dressed as a pig, and confess the real reason behind our lukewarm response to the fan commentaries nearly twenty years ago. Strap yourself in, this is a waffley one.

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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...

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DwarfCast 167 - The Smegazine Rack - Issue #10 featured image
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"Magnum Ed Bye"

It's been far too long, but we are finally back on the Rack to continue our odyssey through the wonderous world of early 90s publishing. Join Cappsy, Danny and Ian as we take a deep dive into the epic Jake Bullet story that graces the cover, welcome another legendary Red Dwarf fan writer to the fold, marvel at the versatility of Chris Barrie's face, discover an obscure sci-fi writer that none of us have heard of, and attempt to figure out why a parody of Red Dwarf USA bears absolutely no resemblance to Red Dwarf USA. Mostly though, we rip the absolute shit out of everyone who took part in the all-episodes survey. Without looking, see if you can guess what the people of 1992 thought the second worst episode ever was. The 1992 idiots.

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As you may have gathered, we’ve currently got a bit of a bee in our bonnet about media going missing. Ever since being described by the official site as the “potty-mouth archivists” of Red Dwarf, we’ve taken the epithet to heart, to the extent that this description is now backed up in a complete rebuild of said official site. We’ve come a long way since the 50s, 60s and 70s, when master tapes of major TV shows would be reused or binned as a matter of course, and any current releases of significant media are backed up by fans almost immediately. But there does seem to be a bit of a blind spot at around the turn of the century and a few years either side, things that were released recently enough to be documented online, but before decent upload speeds and significant storage space were available to all.

Which brings us on to the Red Dwarf RPG, released in February 2003 by Deep 7 – then a fledgling and relatively new indie, now going strong for nearly twenty-five years, with games such as ArrowflightSanta’s Soldiers and Grimmworld released to much acclaim. It was only ever officially released in the US, although it was easily accessible for purchase at conventions and online within the UK, and it spawned a couple of further additions, the A.I. Screen accessory (complete with the Extra Bits expansion pack), and the Series Sourcebook, which ambitiously converted each episode to a playable format.

All of which is long since out of print, and incredibly difficult to get hold of. Well, you can currently buy a copy of the main RPG book, if you’re willing to part with £1,774.05 for it. Furthermore, digital copies are very hard to find too, particularly in the case of the expansion packs. The licensing rights to produce such a Red Dwarf game have long since expired, which makes official reprints or digital releases extremely unlikely. So unless someone happens to, I don’t know, upload high-res PDFs of absolutely every piece of material that Deep 7 produced for Red Dwarf, it’s likely to be lost forever.

Oh, look at this! G&T regular Ben Paddon (they of Jump Leads fame), has sent us a link to archive.org, where someone has uploaded high-res PDFs of absolutely every piece of material that Deep 7 produced for Red Dwarf. What a coincidence! A huge thank you to all involved.

Just three short days ago, we got the first whiff of a potential new Red Dwarf project, and today more details have emerged thanks to Rob granting an exclusive interview to the Radio Times. You can consume it in both written and visual form, but the key points that answer the questions we’ve been puzzling over all week are:

  • Set before the events of The End
  • Being set “one universe to the side” gives them “leeway in how we can handle things”
  • Lister and Rimmer are already bunkmates, and are on shore leave on Titan (so not a direct transposition of the first part of Infinity, rather a point in the timeline between Lister signing up for Red Dwarf and the crew being wiped out)
  • Planned as a novel and a TV show – although whether that will be a live-action or animated TV show is yet to be seen, however…
  • There will be a new cast, which does seem to imply live action, as the existing actors could easily play younger versions in voice-only roles
  • The original cast are up for making guest appearances

The recasting news will probably generate the most discussion, but it’s great to get clarification at this early stage on the exact setting in our characters’ timelines. I can see the “one universe to the side” excuse being wheeled out to cover for any manner of unforeseen inconsistencies, but it’s a great way to approach Red Dwarf: Titan in general – we’re not sure if it’s Red Dwarf as we know it, but it’s going to be a lot of fun finding out.

Doug Naylor has shared the sad news on Twitter that John Pomphrey, Red Dwarf's original lighting director, has passed away.

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