The TATP Years: 1988

I meant to link to this when it was first released back in 2012, but I am called John Hoare and I am a useless little shit. So having been duly reminded, I highly recommend the following: a trek through 1988 from Ben Baker and Tim Worthington, with music, TV and radio clips galore.

Oh, was 1988 the year Red Dwarf first aired? I think it just might be.

I won’t spoil what any of the clips are: the surprise is part of the fun. It’s an excellent reminder of what pop culture was like back when Red Dwarf was first shown. Which we foolishly tend to ignore in favour of wondering exactly what that motion control rig they used to shoot the model shots was like.

Sit back, whack up the speakers, and enjoy. And if you want a bit of extra background with TRIVIA AND POP FACTS GALORE, the accompanying commentary track on the show by the aforementioned Worthington & Baker comes highly recommended. Despite that sounding like an artisan bread company.

Arena: Whatever Happened To Spitting Image?

Go on, guess what programme is on BBC Four tonight at 9pm? The clue is in my trademark unoriginal headline. More details on the BBC Arena site.

Usually we’re pretty useless at reminding you lot of stuff like this, but there’s a particular reason I’ve managed to remember this time – I was at the BFI in January where an early edit of this documentary was shown. I absolutely loved it – it’s not a straightforward clip-interview-clip-interview documentary, and all the better for it. Not only did it make me want to watch Spitting Image from scratch all over again, but it also made me realise that Arena is quietly making superb documentaries which I am entirely failing to watch. I fully intend to rectify that latter point.

Incidentally, the showing of the documentary at the BFI ended with a thrilling cliffhanger – the last part of the doc will be made up of highlights of the actual Q&A session at the BFI which took place after the showing. Rob Grant was present at this Q&A, but in the spirit of the excellent journalism which typifies this site I can’t remember a bloody word he said. I can remember that one particularly stupid audience member asked whether Spitting Image could ever be revived… in 3D. Why we didn’t all just pile in and kick the fucker to death is anyone’s guess.

As for the documentary itself, I don’t really want to give too many spoilers. But dare I say that when I saw it, there was a clip from one of the unbroadcast pilots…

The English Programme: The Writing of Spitting Image

Whilst G&T is waiting for news on the Dwarf front, here’s something rather interesting I was pointed towards on Twitter. The English Programme was a Thames schools programme examining, well, English – and in one edition which some kind soul has uploaded to YouTube, they take a look at The Writing of Spitting Image. (It was first broadcast on the 8th January 1986, but was repeated later, outside of schools programming.)

The reason it’s so interesting to us, of course, is that this is exactly the time Rob and Doug were head writers of the show. But not only do we get lots of shots of the two sitting in grey offices being slightly awkward, rather endearing, and very fascinating – but the end credits reveal that this entire episode of The English Programme was written by Rob and Doug themselves!

Let’s have a gander, shall we?

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Dimension Jump XVII is HERE

And has been for nearly 24 hours now. Hey, what better time for G&T to go through one of its frequent periods of non-activity than during the biggest event in the Red Dwarf calendar – and the biggest DJ for bloody years?

Luckily, we’re not completely dead. Follow the G&T Twitter feed for as many updates from the convention as I can frantically tap out with my sweaty unpleasant fingers – and it’s also worth following the TORDFC Dimension Jump account. We should be doing a DwarfCast on Sunday to round up the convention, if we haven’t all done a Norman Wisdom. Can’t believe they let these two idiots anywhere near the running of the convention, though.

Anyway, must dasharoonie – there’s a blow-up doll doing the rounds. I believe it’s my turn.

Red Dwarf X: Lemons Review

Last year, I wrote this little piece on audience sitcom and ambition. About how too much audience sitcom these days doesn’t look much further in terms of setting than a house, or office; and how much more it could be with a bit of imagination.

That article was based on an old set of emails I wrote, a long time ago – but I must admit, when I finally got round to writing that article, I knew Red Dwarf X was coming, and I knew it would be shot in front of an audience. I wanted the show to prove that audience sitcom could still move beyond french windows and a sofa – and I wanted to write a follow-up piece pointing out exactly what I was driving at.

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