As discussed in our recent Channel Hopping article, there was a brief period in early 1997 when Craig Charles had three different programmes on air, across three different channels, every Friday night. I'd assume we're all familiar with BBC2's Red Dwarf VII, while Channel 4's Captain Butler is still inexplicably available in full on demand. But what of the other, much more obscure offering, late night ITV's Funky Bunker? Usually starting so late at night it would conclude in the early hours of the following morning, it was a chat show/variety show hybrid in the short-lived genre of post-pub television, ie disposal entertainment, designed to be consumed exclusively whilst drunkenly picking through a kebab, to fill the silence and distract from the growing sense of existential dread.

But was it any good? Well, here's a random full episode on YouTube (no way of knowing the date, for some reason I can't find any comprehensive episode guides online), so let's see what the show's got to offer. Brace yourself.

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Thumbnail Wars featured image

Here at Ganymede & Titan, we're never afraid to tackle the big issues surrounding Red Dwarf. Over the last twenty years we've dealt with accusations of racism, homophobia and sexism within the show, gone through the trauma of seeing our beloved co-creators waging war through the courts, and hosted endless debates about which of Series VII and VIII was the shittest. This week, almost the entirety of Red Dwarf was published on BBC iPlayer, including all but three episodes of the Dave era. It's all still available on UKTV Play of course, meaning Mummy Beeb and Daddy Dave have joint custody of all their kids and step-kids. And so there's now a new question to settle. A question that will tax our collective IQs to their very limits. Which platform has the best thumbnails?

Let's go through series by series, awarding points to each streaming service based on which image we prefer for each episode. The iPlayer thumbnails are on the left and can be distinguished by the black background, while UKTV Play is on the right against blue. (If you're on mobile, you'll probably want to tap to expand.) While we're here, we might as well also cover any oddities or discrepancies in the metadata. Honestly, this is going to be pretty niche. Strap in.

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Yesterday, Doug Naylor updated his Twitter to say that an announcement was coming, and sure enough, at one minute past midnight, the BBC published a press release to say that all twelve series of Red Dwarf, plus The Promised Land, are coming to BBC iPlayer. This is great news for the show, with the exposure that comes from having your boxset front and centre on one of the UK's biggest streaming platforms, free to access and free from ads. And it's really significant that the Dave era is included too; it's not entirely unprecedented, and not surprising given the links between UKTV and the BBC, but it's a rare treat to see shows that originated on other channels appearing on iPlayer.

However, now that the episodes have turned up, there's a problem.

Updated with a quote from the BBC below

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The new Beta version of Adobe Photoshop has an interesting feature called Generative Fill. You highlight a section of a canvas, and it uses AI to figure out what should be there, based on the rest of the image. Immediately, people started using it to extend famous artworks, album covers and the like. My immediate thought - what happens when you put Red Dwarf images through it?

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Channel Hopping featured image

It cannot have escaped anyone's attention that Red Dwarf turned 35 years old this year. It's easy to underestimate just how long ago that was in terms of television as a medium. The BBC Television Service was launched on 2nd November 1936. That was only 86 and a half years ago - the lifespan of Red Dwarf to date covers around 40% of the entire history of scheduled broadcasting. And so it goes without saying that British telly in 1988 looked very different to the landscape of today, but just how different? What else was on BBC Two when each series of Red Dwarf first aired, and what was the competition on the other channels?

Using a combination of the amazing BBC Programme Index and newspaper archives, we're going to answer those exact questions for the first episode of each BBC series in detail, along with an overview of how the rest of the run panned out. For some readers, this will be a nostalgic reminder of the television of their childhood, adolescence or young adulthood. For those that are too young or too foreign to have lived through it, it's a window into a bygone age. Either way, the power of hindsight allows us to spot the subtle clues that television was changing before our eyes, as we piece together the transition from one era to another, through a Dwarfy prism.

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DwarfCast 160 - Rob Grant Interview featured image
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"I've got a lot of Red Dwarf to give."

Well then, this is a little bit special. Fresh from the fantastic news that the Red Dwarf legal kerfuffle is officially resolved, we speak exclusively to Rob Grant himself - the co-creator of the programme, who's now returning to the franchise after an absence of close to 30 years. We found out exactly what the legal resolution means for the future of the show, got clarification on the new status quo for Rob and Doug, discovered what new projects are being pursued, discussed possible collaborations with established cast and crew, and touched upon merchandise, continuity, technology, Marilyn Monroe, and much much more.

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Just a few short weeks ago, we had all but given up hope that this day would come. And yet here we are - following the promising yet inconclusive joint anniversary message from Rob and Doug, we have a brand new statement from the pair, and it's exactly what we wanted to hear.

Rob Grant and Doug Naylor are delighted to announce that the ongoing dispute over the Red Dwarf rights has been resolved.

Moving onwards and upwards Rob and Doug hope to launch separate iterations of Red Dwarf across various media, working again with the cast and other valued partners, and wish each other the very best.

Smoke a kipper, Red Dwarf will be back for breakfast!!

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Video DwarfCast #1 - Coral Canvass Livestream Spectacular featured image

That was a heck of a night. To celebrate Red Dwarf's 35th anniversary, fans from around the world (well, some of them) gathered together around a cosy YouTube window, marking the occasion with Ganymede & Titan's first ever live video DwarfCast. The main topic of conversation was the Coral Canvass, with lots of analysis and in-depth stats about the latest definitive ranking of episodes. Next up was Clochebusters, a brand new and wholly original Red Dwarf game show, before the evening was rounded off by a lovely batch of live waffles. But there was so much more to discuss, as a very intriguing statement was released just as we went live, changing the agenda significantly. All this plus some vintage Dwarfy adverts, the rarely-seen visuals that accompany one of our best DwarfCast stings, and a series of catastrophic yet hilarious technical failures. And it's all available to catch up with whenever you like on demand:

We'd recommend watching on YouTube itself so that you can see the chat replay in real time. It's particularly fun to watch the explosion of activity when the breaking news breaks! There's also chapters embedded if you want to skip to certain sections. A huge thank you once more to everyone who came along, for however long, especially those who joined the chat and gave us a lovely warm fuzzy feeling inside. And an extra special thanks to Jason Smedley, Niki Hutchinson and Quinn for bearing with us and being thoroughly brilliant Clochebusters contestants. One heck of a night.

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Some breaking news for you – a message has been released by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. Yes, both of them. Together.

To fans, cast and crew and everything in between, a very smeggy 35th birthday. Fingers crossed for more. Much love Rob and Doug

There is certainly a lot to discuss, so head on over to our Coral Canvass Livestream Spectacular right now, for all the reaction to this and today’s poll results, plus a lovely game of the wholly original Red Dwarf quiz Clochebusters!

The Coral Canvass Results featured image

Ladies and gentlemen, on the occasion of Red Dwarf‘s thirty-fifth anniversary, we invite you to join us, if you dare, in a journey through the Top 74 episodes of all time, as voted for by YOU. Once every five years, the various factions of the fan community come together to rate each and every episode, and we then collate the results and analyse them in far too much detail. 2013 was the Silver Survey, 2018 was the Pearl Poll, and now for 2023, Ganymede & Titan are proud to present The Coral Canvass.

We changed the methodology this year; we'd always previously asked participants to rank every episode in order of preference, but this was a big ask of people's time, and didn't take into account that not everyone taking part would be equally familiar with all the episodes. So we simplified things and asked you instead to rate each episode out of 10, with the option of leaving blank any episodes that you didn't feel like scoring. The result was by far the biggest response we've ever received, with a total of 692 participants submitting at least one vote, more than double the sample size five years ago. A huge thank you to everyone who took part and helped spread the word.

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