The Boys Are Back In Town

Well, then. We’ve been fairly cynical about the prospect of new Red Dwarf happening any time soon. Everything went very quiet for a very long time, and it seemed like once again, circumstances had somehow conspired to kill off any momentum and put the show back into the past tense again. We refused to get excited a couple of months ago when the cast went for a curry together, given that it’s not too unusual for a group of people who’ve known each other for thirty odd years to meet up for a bite to eat, but Danny John-Jules has tweeted a picture today, and…

Yep, it seems like something is happening. All four cast members present and correct (I’d recognise Robert’s bald patch anywhere), in what looks suspiciously like a production company meeting room, with bits of paper in front of them. Doug’s even there, although he doesn’t look massively thrilled about it. Now, this isn’t necessarily Series XIII. There’s still been no official announcement about that, despite what less reputable sites like Den of Geek or Digital Spy will tell you. It could be something to do with the long-proposed live show. It could be a meeting about future merch or something. It could just be them going for a coffee in the world’s worst-decorated Cafe Nero, and we’re reading too much into it. But finally, things are starting to look a little more positive…

Scrambling in a red alert situation, a new record time…

…two months and nine days. That’s roughly the time elapsed between the frame-rate problem on the Blurays first being noticed and today’s TOS update, which represents the first time that the controversy has been acknowledged by an official Red Dwarf source. Snark aside, there are a million reasons why things like this take a while to get addressed – they have to wait for the manufacturers to investigate and put solutions in place before they go steaming in – but even so, it’s been a long wait.

There’s not a great deal of new information since the BBC finally got their arses into gear about this just under a month ago, but it’s nice to see confirmation that such a dramatic change to the source material was never the intention of the boxset. An apology might have been an idea, mind. The word “sorry” does at least feature in the BBC’s response quoted in the article, which is a slightly more official-sounding version of the email that was previously sent to complaining customers. The crux of the message is this bit:

Details of how to obtain your replacement can be obtained by e-mailing BBC Studios customer support line at DVDSupport@bbc.com

If you have already purchased the set and wish to replace the two faulty discs, you can do so at the address above; while we understand that replacement pressings of copies still in shops will be issued as soon as possible.

Good and interesting news that rogue copies in the wild will indeed be replaced. Spare a thought for the poor bugger who has to organise that.

Bluray Re-Mastered (in a good way)

It’s fair to say that the long-awaited release of Series 1-VIII on Bluray was a controversial one. Reaction to the bulk of the content has varied, but the one thing that everyone agreed on is that Series III and half of Series V were utterly ruined due to some sort of de-interlacing error that rendered the episodes in the wrong frame rate. Since we published our not-entirely-positive review, a small but noisy campaign for replacements and/or refunds started, thanks to the likes of Andrew Orton and his tireless emailing, and George Martin of Which?, who teamed up with perhaps the most intelligent and sexy Red Dwarf fan in the world in his reporting of the issue.

And today, that campaign has paid off. Those who have emailed the BBC to complain have finally received a satisfactory response, the pertinent bit of which is:

After a comprehensive review with all our suppliers involved in the manufacturing of this product we have now identified the source of the problem. De-interlacing did occur at tape to digital capture stage with one of the suppliers. This was not part of the Blu-ray authoring process as we originally had reason to believe.

The mastering of this release was a multistage process involving three separate suppliers. We hope you will understand that it would be inappropriate for us to say specifically where this fault occurred as we are remedying this with the company concerned.

We have started the process of recreating the masters and re-authoring these discs which will take approximately six weeks.

This is great news, obviously, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results, whilst not holding our breath bearing in mind that we weren’t keen on the rest of the Bluray versions in the first place. But after a frustrating few weeks in which official Red Dwarf sources have been silent and the BBC initially refused to acknowledge that anything was wrong, this is a big win. Well done and thank you to all those who fought for this.

Rob Grant’s Nether Regions

In somewhat unexpected news, Rob Grant and Andrew Marshall are doing another radio series, one that isn’t The Quanderhorn Xperimentations. Tickets have just been made available for The Nether Regions, along with a description that frankly defies neatly summarising:

Welcome to … The Nether Regions: a place where the laws of physics and even time itself take a day off, put their feet up and watch daytime television in their underpants.

This is our world, today, though not quite the today we know. And not entirely the world we live in. But nearly.

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Let’s Talk About Series I-VIII (on Bluray)

The release that is both long-awaited yet not particularly hotly anticipated is finally happening this coming Monday, the 14th January. However, it’s become clear from both social media and our forum that some lucky individuals have started to receive their pre-orders already, mostly ones from Zoom if you want to try and get in on that action. Our review will be along in due course (not promising any dates, as none of us have received our copies yet), but in the meantime, please use this thread to jot down your thoughts and share your insightful opinions.

For example, there’s an extremely intriguing nugget hidden away in today’s TOS update:

(Incidentally, contrary to our previous reporting, we can now confirm that the bonus DVDs for each series do actually contain everything that was on their equivalent original release discs – including the original menus!)

So it looks like we are getting the music cues and talking book chapters after all, so it would seem the controversy and debate on that score was in vain. Ho hum.

Bluray Extras Confirmed!

With the Bluray release just over a month away, we now have confirmation of exactly what’s packed in to those 19 shiny discs. Firstly, with regards to the episodes themselves, the TOS update is keen to emphasise that the extent of the re-mastering this time around is to upscale the video, clean up any damage and polish up the colour grade, rather than making any significant changes to the overall show. They note that there’s no change “to the feeling of each unique season”, so VII will keep its film look but none of the others will have it added. Bless, they know we’ve been burnt before with re-mastering, so they’re just trying to reassure us.

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Dimension Jump XX is HAPPENING

Dimension Jump XX logoIn some distant parallel universe, Red Dwarf only got one series. It was never released on VHS or DVD. A fan club never appeared. It got a few reviews in some Doctor Who fanzines, and then quietly faded away.

In this universe, meanwhile, the 20th Dimension Jump convention is about to happen this weekend. Odd how things turn out.

Yes, the great and the good in the world of Dwarf are gathering for the third convention running at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nottingham, for a weekend of wonder, excitement, and… wonder. And as usual, unlike the early days of G&T, a great many of us are either official fan club members or are helping out in an unofficial capacity, so the weekend promises to be “fairly busy” for most of us.

Fear not, however: I’ll be trying to keep the Ganymede & Titan Twitter updated as much as possible over the next few days, for those of you who can’t make it. As usual, there will also be a DwarfCast looking back on the whole event, although it probably won’t be up until some point late next week. So don’t wait up on Sunday night desperate for our hot content, because we’ll all be too busy wishing we were all still in our 20s full of endless energy, rather than hopping over that invisible line where you really feel death and total oblivion staring you full in the face.

Happy DJ, everybody!

Strictly Cat Dancing

What d’you mean you’re dancing the cha-cha-cha? Yes, appearing on The One Show today, it was confirmed that Danny John-Jules will be a contestant in the new series of Strictly Come Dancing. We’ve heard rumours that his dance partner is going to be a CGI Blue Midget.

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Blu-ray is loaded

Well, here’s hoping we’ve never used that headline before.

Before today the only source of information we’ve had on the Blu-ray releases of Red Dwarf 1 to VIII is from a very premature Amazon listing and Doug’s Tweets on the subject. It is, however, now all official and that, and GNP are going ahead with what seems to be an entire set released on the 1st October as part of their ongoing and extensive 30th anniversary celebrations.

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