Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm is GO(ING TO BE MADE)!

Explosion concept artExiting news for fans of Gerry Anderson, puppets, models and big bastard explosions as the aforementioned Kickstarter for Firestorm is STORMING towards the funding date after not only reaching its target but securing two stretch goals. On top of the base minisode that is now already entering pre-production, we’re also getting a whole extra set and scene and, to the undoubted delight of a certain Mike Tucker, “A HUGE EXPLOSION”.  If I was a betting man I would put money on that explosion being closely and devastatingly related to that tasty new set…

Since there’s still 9 days left to pledge, it’s more than a little likely that the third goal will be met, providing funds for a new puppet and if something remarkable happens, and a further £69,000 is pledged in that time, then we can look forward to a full 22 minute episode.  I think what we’ve learnt here is that this stuff is severely expensive, so if you want to see more Firestorm then don’t be as tight as Rimmer would be in this situation!!!!!1

It’s some puppets!

An exciting new project has appeared on Kickstarter – Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm, a sci-fi pilot to be filmed in Ultramarionation, which is a modern evolution of the style used for Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Stingray. That means, as the Kickstarter page proudly boasts, practical effects, physical sets, miniatures and puppets. This would all be incredibly exciting even without all the Dwarfy connections. Our old chums The Model Unit are involved, with Mike Tucker listed as providing Model Effects. He’ll be joined by Red Dwarf X alumni Bill Pearson and Steve Begg, as Model Supervisor and Effects Supervisor respectively. That’s a hell of a pedigree right there. The very finest model makers in the land will see their shit blown up by one of the greatest shit blower-uppers in the business.

Having launched only this morning, the project is already at the halfway mark of its original goal, so a 5-8 minute minisode seems extremely likely to be produced, with a further strong chance of the stretch goals to provide much longer versions being reached. We really hope this happens, both because the concept of the series looks great, and because it’s always good to see hard-working talented folk like The Model Unit being rewarded with projects they’re guaranteed to excel at.

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.

Over to Bill: Tonight, 10:35pm, BBC One

Yes folks, Doug Naylor’s first brand new TV project since The 10%ers debuts tonight on BBC One.  It’s a Naylor-penned-and-directed pilot – part of the revamped Comedy Playhouse strand – and stars Huge Dennis as sacked weatherman Bill Onions, Tony from Men Behaving Badly as his mate, Tracy-Ann Cyberman as Huge Dennis’s wife, and Helen George as Tony from Men Behaving Badly‘s wife. It also features Geordie Jesus himself James Baxter of Red Dwarf X fame, the photography is directed by Ed Moore of Red Dwarf X fame, it’s produced by Richard Naylor of Red Dwarf X fame, and is co-produced by Baby Cow Productions of Red Dwarf XI fame.

So: watch it. You can use this post for your instant reactions – we’ll have a review along by the end of the week, most probably.

Pinch of salt: an epicure’s delight

You’ve undoubtedly seen a whole bunch of blog headlines in the last couple of days, that read along the lines of “New series of Red Dwarf confirmed!!!!11″. This all stemmed from some blog called WhatCulture reporting something that Danny said at a convention in Scarborough – namely that they’ll be recording in October, ready for broadcast in Autumn 2015.

If you’re as sick of this gun-jumping tedium as I am, simply re-read our coverage of the last time Series XI was “confirmed”. But if you’re in the mood for a good ol’ debunking, do read on.

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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…

Pin the pointy stick on Hugh Dennis

After a couple of weeks of increasingly oblique teasers, we now have some solid details about Doug’s new sitcom. Firstly, confirmation that the project in question is indeed Over To Bill, a project that Doug has had in development for a number of years, and of which a pilot was shown a couple of Dimension Jumps back. It’s being produced as part of a revival of the BBC’s Comedy Playhouse strand, previous graduates of which include Steptoe and Son, Last of the Summer Wine, Till Death Us Do Part and Are You Being Served?. So no pressure, then.

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Did I ever tell you about Three Feet?

More rumblings about the Naylors’ non-Dwarfy project, which is a relief considering we spent an hour watching The Alan Titchmarsh Show the other day in anticipation of a non-existent announcement. Naylor Minor today unveiled Three Feet Productions, a new production company founded by the father and son team, and presumably named after the total number of non-prosthetic lower leg appendages owned by the pair of them.

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