We're all very sad to hear the news that Bill Pearson, one of the all-time greats of the British visual effects industry, has passed away.

As part of a long career in film and TV, which took in such classics and cult favourites as Alien, Flash Gordon, Space Precinct, Casino Royale and Moon, his contribution to Red Dwarf was the stuff of legend. He first joined the team for Series IV, working on set dressing and handheld props up to and including Series VI. He returned for Series VIII as the visual effects designer, with perhaps his finest and most memorable triumph being the Starbug crash and explosion from Back In The Red (Part One). His ability to work to a limited time and budget was also in evidence; he famously agreed to knock up an escape pod for Only The Good for the cost of a bottle of wine, only to be presented with a full crate as a token of Doug's appreciation.

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Red Dwarf: The Promised Land Trailer Analysis featured image

Ah, here were are again. You'll all have seen the full 40 second trailer for Red Dwarf: The Promised Land by now, and made your minds up about the jokes within. Personally, I like them, my favourite being the way Kryten, Cat and Rimmer all confirm that Lister is a nobody in slightly different and expertly timed ways. But let's face it, we always get into a bit of a tizz ahead of a new Dwarf broadcast by over-analysing the handful of gags we've seen, when deep down we know that only a certain type of quick-fire joke works in a trailer, and they're not necessarily representative of the humour of the whole show.

So we're going to ignore the actual dialogue for now, and instead do what we do best - painstakingly and pointlessly analysing every single shot, pointing out both the big talking points and the little things you may have missed. Well, we say "every shot", we've not bothered doing screengrabs every time it cuts back to a similar shot within the same scene, because the tiny snippets you see in the montages are much more interesting anyway. Here we go...

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Well then, today’s TOS update has certainly given us something to talk about, despite having already had a teaser trailer and title reveal this week. It’s hard for us to say too much, having attended the recording, but for those of you who didn’t, get a load of this:

As TOS points out, there’s still a lot of things to speculate about with this special. Fill your boots.

You know how there's a long and ignoble history of things like synopses, titles and even whole episodes of new Red Dwarf accidentally getting released before they're supposed to? Well, we'd been reliably informed that the title of the upcoming Special would be revealed on Monday March 16th, presumably with some degree of fanfare attached, and yet for some reason it's already out there online through official sources. And while none of the proper PR channels have drawn attention to it, it's pretty easy to stumble across completely accidentally, as evidenced in the comments on today's teaser article.

This presents us with somewhat of a dilemma - we don't want to scupper anyone's plans, but it's not our fault it's out there, and Red Dwarf fans are already talking about it, even on this very website. We're also aware that not everyone will want to know the title in advance for fear of spoilers, so we're hiding it behind the jump. [EDIT: You're free to mention it in the comments on this post, but nowhere else on the site until there's been a proper announcement, if you'd be so kind. Dave have now tweeted the title, so it's all official now and any comment restrictions are now lifted.] So if you don't want to know the score, look away now.

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Well, this has certainly given me a rod-on.

A twenty second teaser for the as-yet-untitled Red Dwarf Special has been released. And when teasers and trailers for new Red Dwarf get released, we like to go through them shot-by-shot in far more detail than is strictly necessary. This time we have but six proper shots to be getting on with, in a trailer that's effects-heavy and somewhat serious and dramatic in tone, hinting that the Special will have high stakes and grand scale. And lots of BIG SPACESHIPS.

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Ooh! Eight months and one day later, a second AA advert featuring the Red Dwarf crew has been released.  It’s time for another brand new minute of Red Dwarf, everyone.

We’ll have a review along at some point soon, but do let us know what you reckon in the meantime. There are also some new behind-the-scenes videos and photos on the AA website to keep you occupied.

G&TV Special: The Strangerers featured image

G&TV logoThe 15th of February is a date forever etched into the history books of both science-fiction and comedy. It's the anniversary of one of Britain's most beloved sitcoms, from a writing lineage that includes Spitting Image and Son of Cliché, and with a cast featuring the likes of Mark Williams, Jack Docherty, Sarah Alexander, Ricky Grover and Morwenna Banks. Yes, Rob Grant's The Strangerers debuted on Tuesday 15th February 2000, twenty years ago today.

Made by Absolutely Productions for Sky One, it was much-hyped as the channel's first foray into original comedy commissioning, but it's fair to say that it didn't quite make the same impact as Rob's previous sci-fi sitcom. It was never released on video or DVD, and has never been repeated since its original broadcast. But luckily, it's all on YouTube (albeit in off-air VHS quality, with the credits cut off and irritatingly in the wrong bastard aspect ratio), so let's all give it an anniversary airing and see if it's worth reappraising.

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Initial announcement? Check. Behind the scenes pictures? Check. First proper publicity stills? Check. The journey towards the broadcast of brand new Red Dwarf is progressing nicely, and it was about time for us to hit another milestone. While we're still waiting for an episode title, today TOS has furnished us with not only an official synopsis but also a list of guest cast. Hurrah! Let's go through it bit by bit, as is the tradition.

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Red Dwarf G.A.G Playthrough featured image

Many years ago, when a young teenage boy who for some reason liked to call himself "Ian The Smegmeister" first got home internet access, there was only one thing on his mind. But after that, I searched for all the information about my life-long obsession Red Dwarf as I could. I signed up for forums, chatted in chat rooms and delved deep into webrings, which sound a lot more sinister now than they did in the late 90s. It was undoubtedly the first step on a path that led to this place existing, for better or worse, and I'll always fondly remember and salute our fansite forefathers from that era, such as Smegweb, Red Dwarf World, The Red Dwarf Clearing House, Groovetown, and Planet Smeg among others.

Inevitably, most of those are long gone now (although the Wayback Machine is always useful), but the exception is Planet Smeg, which I accidentally stumbled across a few months ago while looking for something else, and was amazed to see was still online. Its USP back in the day was its collection of unofficial Red Dwarf games, lovingly created by site owner Greg Haywood. I had vivid memories of playing his magnum opus, the Red Dwarf Graphical Adventure Game (GAG), a javascript-based in-browser point and click adventure. 'There's no way that will still be online and functional in modern browsers', I thought. I was wrong. I fired it up and it was just how I remembered, only much wider.

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