G&TV logoIt's a tricky thing trying to launch a new TV vehicle around a particular actor or comic. Sometimes you have bags of acting and comedic talent wasted on a dreadful script and sometimes the talent have an on-screen personality akin to sand paper being rubbed violently all over your brain, and make jokes so terrible by today's standards that fan sites 20+ years later have to quickly change their article plans because they don't have the brain power to handle it correctly.

No risk of that with our Norman, however, as this month we take a look at his I, Lovett-esque contribution to BSB Galaxy's The Last Laugh series, information on which is quite thin on the ground but we can definitely assume the channel offered rehearsal facilities in Edinburgh.

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It’s only taken us fourteen years, but today is the day that we record our final episode commentary from the original BBC run of Red Dwarf. With the bit between our teeth and Broadcunting House having been moved online, we want to carry on this out-of-character run of recording on a weekly-ish basis while we can, so what next for DwarfCasts? Well, we’ve still got thirteen episodes from the Dave era to tick off, plus a whole host of spin-offs, extras and rarities to jabber over if we get stuck. But we’ll be alternating those with something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Welcome to The DwarfCast Book Club.

Every fortnight or so, we’ll be re-reading one part of one Red Dwarf novel to then discuss in great detail, and we’d love it if you joined us along the way. First up, naturally, it’s Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers Part One: Your Own Death, and How to Cope With It, and if you can squeeze in those 94 pages before we record on the weekend of 4th/5th July, we’d love to hear from you so that we can include your comments, reviews and observations in our discussion. Whether you’re just jogging your memory or experiencing the novels for the first time, please leave your comments in this thread. To help us out, please indicate whether each point you make is a general one about the part as a whole, or relating to a specific sub-chapter, so that we can collate everything more easily.

We’re really looking forward to revisiting the novels and finally discussing them with the level of depth that they so clearly deserve, and we hope that as many of you as possible find the time to join our virtual book group.

G&TV logoConsidering Saturday Live is basically the primordial soup from which most of the 90s British comedy establishment first emerged, it should be no real surprise that many members of Dwarf royalty got if not their first, then certainly a good chunk of, their early TV exposure from the show. In fact, Chris Barrie's episode as host in the first series is what kicked off G&TV to begin with. By the second series Ben Elton was on permanent hosting duties and by the third it had moved to Friday nights and added a 'Night' to the title, because why not. It's in this series that Hattie Hayridge got what must've been her first TV appearance.

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G&TV logoAs we continue to cogitate on The Promised Land, let's cleanse our palates with our monthly dip in to the archives of vaguely Red Dwarf related things from the past. Here's a particularly obscure one, discovered by Jim Lynn of the always excellent VHiStory blog, the guy who dug up the original 1988 continuity for Series 1 a few years ago. On the end of a tape of Babylon 5 episodes, he found Beam Me Up, Scotty!, a one-off Channel 4 magazine programme about sci-fi, filmed at the 53rd World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow in August 1995, and presented by Craig Charles.

In it, Craig introduces self-contained segments on a variety of connected topics, such as "filk music", cosplay before it was called 'cosplay', Klingon theatre, a somewhat nauseating section on sci-fi erotica and the sexual fantasies of its proponents, an extremely low-energy discussion of the British comics scene with some very morose people who are now very famous writers and artists, and Craig interviewing Terry Pratchett, best known for his appearance on the Red Dwarf A-Z. Jim's blog entry has the who's who of all the interviewees, and of course the full programme itself:

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So, it’s been about 8 years since we had our last big redesign and, honestly, things were starting to get a bit musty and suspicious smelling around these parts. So, we’ve gone ahead and… well, not really changed that much on the surface of things, but underneath now beats the heart of a website that is actually fully mobile responsive. With the increased activity bound to be occurring over the next few days and weeks we thought it might be a nice idea to give our community the gift of using a website that looks like it might, possibly, have been made with some sort of modern usability standards in mind.

This is very much our first draft of the new theme and we’re going to be building on this constantly from now on. A list of layout tweaks, functionality fixes, additions and general improvements are all on our collective radar but, as ever, I reluctantly extend an invitation to our BELOVED COMMUNITY to let us know what you reckon so we can put you in the Trello list called “Things some cunts said”.

Last night, Dave started advertising a "live Twitter commentary" for their Tuesday night showing of Quarantine, featuring Doug Naylor, the cast and surprise guests. We assumed this would be a text-based tweetalong, and would have made a much bigger deal out of it had we realised it was in fact a full video-conferencing-based broadcast along the lines of Rob, Paul and Ed's efforts. Mind you, it's probably best we didn't. The last time UKTV did a Red Dwarf related live stream was Vindalunar. This was its spiritual successor.

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G&TV logoA little over a week ago, Rob Grant decided he wanted to do something to cheer up all the Red Dwarf fans who had suddenly found themselves confined to their own personal Bay 47. The idea was to recapture the magic that formed the conclusion to the most recent Dimension Jump, whereby he was joined by Paul Jackson and Ed Bye to do a live commentary on The End. It made sense, therefore, that the reunited trio would do Future Echoes next, and so they took to Zoom last Sunday afternoon, and broadcast their thoughts to around a hundred webinar viewers. As well as sharing their tips for lockdown survival, we were treated to in-depth details about how the complicated show was put together with analogue technology, the story of how Tracey Ullman was partly responsible for the word "smeg" being used in the show, and even surprise cameo appearances from two former Red Dwarf guest stars. And now the whole thing is available on YouTube for everyone to enjoy.

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G&TV logoFollowing the sad news that the brilliant Nicholas Parsons has passed away at the grand old age of 96, I saw a tweet summarising the various short-lived attempts to bring his seminal Just A Minute to television. Despite it obviously being a BBC show, there were two series produced by Carlton for ITV in the mid-90s, and just one glimpse of that garish, neon-adorned set triggered a vivid childhood memory of watching an episode starring none other than Craig Charles. I looked it up and it turns out that memory is indeed accurate; he appeared once, alongside team captain and fellow Dwarf alumnus Tony Slattery, on 21st July 1995.

And that episode is... seemingly not online anywhere. Bah. Still, a handful of editions are on YouTube, including one from the first series that features not only the aforementioned Slattery, but also one time pub manager Arthur Smith, alongside a very young Graham Norton and Ann Bryson. Sod it, two guest stars is enough of a Red Dwarf connection to justify us featuring this, in tribute to its wonderful chairman.

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G&T News logo in the style of the 90s BBC 9 O'Clock News titlesForget Harry and Meghan, this is the real story. After nearly 17 years of writing on Ganymede & Titan – I started when I was a useless 21 year old, and I’m now a useless 38 year old – it’s time for me to hang up my steaming moon boots, mumble something about you all being people I met, and say goodbye.

Before we see a digitalised recording of my final moments, there’s going to be a lengthy tribute, interspersed with poetry readings, read by… hang on, “digitalised”? That sounds fairly archaic now, doesn’t it? And if the material is digitalised, why are there analogue tape artefacts when Lister fast-forwards the tape?

You really aren’t going to miss this kind of bullshit from me, are you?

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