Well, since we’re all in the mood for rebirths, Smegle’s having a little bit of relaunch today. The original version was all well and good but it was guilty of being a tad on the easy side, and so we’ve had our finest minds working hard to firstly work out how to make guessing harder and secondly steal all the mechanics from Wordle so its daily mode will work. We’ve also changed where’s it’s hosted. Please, contain your excitement…

Get your New Smegle here!

It should all be self explanatory. The original version is preserved as ‘Casual Continuous’ mode, but be sure to complete your ‘Difficult Daily’ every day to maintain your streak and share it to Twitter so everyone can not give a fuck about your achievements.

Have fun!

Rob Grant's buttski has finally borne fruit. It was announced this morning via a long-awaited TOS update and a tweet from Big Finish themselves that a deal has been struck for the company famed for their audio revivals of Doctor Who, Torchwood, Blake's 7, The Avengers and more to add Red Dwarf to their stable. They will produce three full-cast audio dramas per month on both CD and download, featuring dynamic sound design, original music and specially commissioned artwork.

Due to the ongoing legal situation currently engulfing the show, the rights to produce original new material featuring the characters of Rimmer, Lister, Cat and Kryten are not available to Big Finish, so instead they'll be focussing on stories from Red Dwarf's expanded universe, building new worlds and concepts based on those in the background of the show itself.

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It's that special time of year again, and what could be more Christmassy than a snooker themed game show hosted by a racist? Yes, it's Big Break, a cracking Saturday night format with a banger of a theme tune (written by Mike Batt and performed by Captain Sensible), memorable catchphrases and engaging gameplay, but unfortunately difficult to enjoy these days if you're not a young 1990s child, blissfully ignorant of the many, many flaws of its presenter. Luckily, the 1994 celebrity special has a little something extra to hold the modern day Red Dwarf fan's interest - Craig "Cinzano Bianco" Charles.

Annoyingly, the YouTube video has embedding disabled, but you can click on this attractive picture of Tweedledee, Tweedledum and Tweedletwat:

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A few weeks ago we put out an experimental crossword to see how it would go down, and we were delighted with the response. 241 people gave it their best shot and 66 of them completed it which, given some of the clues drew some ire, are pretty good numbers. So, we’re back with another quick crossword in a similar style with a UK inspired layout and non-cryptic clues more in the style of the New York Times. Have fun, and don’t forget to let us know your final time and scores as we predict a few more people will be able to complete this one.

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Over the last 18 months of fuckery a lot of people have turned to puzzles to occupy their minds, as evidenced by the high popularity of YouTube channels like Cracking the Cryptic. So, we thought why not have a stab at creating our own Red Dwarf crosswords and pit you all against each other?

My personal preference is for kinder puzzles such as the Guardian Quick and the New York Times crosswords, and so our first attempt at constructing has been very much in their vision. Laid out in the UK style, but with clues more inspired by the NYT, I think what we’ve ended up is something that is quite tough but should also be fair. You can play after the jump and see how you do and let us know your times (although be careful not to spoil any answers).

I should warn you all now that Ian and Danny are more immersed in the murky, scary underworld of the Cryptic Crossword so consider that a warning for the future!

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British geeks of a certain age will have been intrigued by the recent news that the iconic gaming show GamesMaster is to return to our screens later this year. While we ponder the challenges the new series will face of balancing nostalgia for the original and relevance in a market now saturated on Twitch and YouTube, thoughts turn to fond memories of the original. Hosted (in the most part) by Dominik Diamond, and featuring the disembodied head of Red Dwarf A-Z's one-eyed right-wing astronomer Patrick Moore, the show brought us news, reviews, features, cheats and tips, but its most memorable segment was challenges whereby gamers and/or celebrity guests competed for a coveted Golden Joystick. And on one such occasion, very nearly 25 years ago, the celebrity guest was one Danny John-Jules.

His segment begins at 14:01, but let's face it, you might as well watch the full episode:

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As we approach the August Bank Holiday weekend, and therefore the conclusion of this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, let's travel back in time to 31 years ago. It was a time when the festival had more of a reputation for weird and wonderful variety acts than a focus on stand-up comedy, when multi-channel television was in its infancy in this country, and when Norman Lovett still had hair.

These three states of affairs combined to form episode seven of Up Yer Festival, a daily show broadcasting live from the Fringe to an audience of tens on BSB, an early satellite service that was very briefly on air from March to November 1990, when it merged with fellow fledgling broadcaster Sky Television to form the more familiar BSkyB. Produced by Noel Gay Television, at the time the parent company of both Paul Jackson Productions and the newly formed Grant Naylor Productions, the show combined a sample of acts from the festival with specially shot sketches, all linked together by a guest host, including on one occasion, recent Edinburgh migrant Norman Lovett.

It's an obscure show on an obscure channel that aired on an obscure satellite service over thirty years ago, but thanks to the magic of the internet (and also to our good friend Jonsmad for pointing us towards it), the full series is available on YouTube, uploaded by the show's producer Richard Hearsey.

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Along with the Quarantine Commentaries, one of my favourite pieces of lockdown-based entertainment has been No More Jockeys, a joyous and frequently hilarious parlour game from the minds of comedian and novelist Mark Watson, comedian and poet Tim Key, and comedian and psychopath's assistant Alex Horne. I subsequently discovered that the game first appeared as a spin-off from a short-lived BBC Four panel show devised and hosted by the trio, We Need Answers. I further discovered that all sixteen episodes of the parent show are on YouTube, and that the second episode of the first series featured as a contestant none other than Robert Llewellyn.

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One of the many, many good things about Rob Grant, Paul Jackson and Ed Bye's regular Sunday afternoon quarantine commentaries is that their meandering conversations about comedy and their careers can sometimes dredge up intriguing lesser-known projects from the past. When Arthur Smith was a guest on the Backwards commentary, he mentioned one of his old Edinburgh shows, Arthur Smith Sings Andy Williams, which also featured fellow Backwards guest and perennial fifth Dwarfer Tony Hawks.

A truncated TV version was produced by Granada in 1993, which commenter Stilianidiadidatees suggested would make a good candidate for G&TV. Don't say we never give you anything. It's on YouTube, and it's pretty great.

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Prompted by a question from listener Si Bromley, our most recent edition of Waffle Men, as featured on the DwarfCast commentary for Samsara, included a discussion on the not-fondly-remembered Chris Barrie sitcom A Prince Among Men. Having grown tired of playing comedy prats like Arnold Rimmer and Gordon Brittas, Chris teamed up with The Brittas Empire producer and director Mike Stephens to bring us Gary Prince, a comedy prat who differed from his previous comedy prats by lacking any charm, depth or originality.

Gary was a retired footballer turned entrepreneur, and also a self-centered egotist, who spent his time annoying his German wife Lisel, belittling his loyal staff, insulting his closest friends and making terrible business decisions. The show ran for two series on BBC One, the first one and a half of which were shown in prime time during the week, before the last few episodes were quietly relegated to Sunday afternoons. It was not very good. See for yourself, here's the first episode:

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