Survey: The Series XI Dilemma

It can not have escaped your attention that UKTV plans to premiere each episode of the forthcoming Red Dwarf XI on their on-demand service, UKTV Play, one week ahead of their television broadcast on Dave. This puts us in a somewhat tricky situation in terms of our coverage. We had planned on doing pretty much exactly what we did last time – an “instant reaction” DwarfCast almost immediately after each episode, broadcast live on the internet, with a tidier version in the usual feeds the following day, followed by a written review over the weekend.

This isn’t so straightforward when not everyone’s going to be watching at the same time. This move has made it a hell of a lot harder to be part of a communal shared experience, but we’re determined to make it work. That’s where you come in. We’d like to know more about how you’re intending to consume this series, and your preferences for how we go about things. To that end, here are a series of polls; the results of which we’ll take on board, but won’t be legally binding or anything. Annoyingly, we’d like to request that those of you from outside the UK abstain from taking part in this vote; it’s the people who have a choice as to how they watch the series that will be most affected by our decisions.

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Fool’s Gold

UK Gold pre-launch caption As we ramp up inevitably towards September, there’s probably some news we should be reporting. Like, for instance, this early screening at Edinburgh of the first episode of XI on the 24th August. (With a strict embargo on spoilers, and it ruining the first watch of the show as a shared experience, it’s not really worth it for us even if we could wheedle ourselves in.) Or as noticed in our forums, it seems the DVD for XI has a provisional release date of the 8th November in Region 1. (We deliberately haven’t reported on Craig Charles’s foot injury, because nobody needs a tedious stream of Thanks for the Memory quotes.)

Anyway, we don’t care about all that. What interests us is the repeats of Series III, which started on Gold last night. Which is perhaps a bit of an odd thing in itself. If UKTV are trying to cement Dwarf as a Dave show, how does it make sense to start a repeat run on Gold? If it confuses hardcore fans, however dumb we are, surely it’s also confusing to the more casual viewer? I can’t help but feel this repeat run would be far better suited to just being on Dave.

Still, Dave, Gold, whatever – a repeat of Series III on a UKTV channel means only one thing: the never-ending game of Marooned Remastered. We previously reported on this last year – with the inevitable disappointment – but we’ve been talking about it for years. (Bonus points to anyone who can be arsed going through G&T’s archives and finding out when we first talked about it.)

Well, Marooned has its latest repeat showing tonight at 11:30pm, and whilst it’s possible that the correct version of the episode may be shown, past experience shows that this is exceedingly unlikely. Which means more wailing from us, more gnashing of teeth, more abusing our genitals in dismay, and PRECISELY NOTHING CHANGING.

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That’s gotta be Comedy Bloopers!

At 11:45pm on Christmas Day, BBC One showed the brilliantly-named programme Comedy Bloopers. I do hope you all enjoyed the BBC’s other offerings over Christmas: Sci-Fi Drama, Period Drama, and Some People Dancing.

As G&T is on reduced power over Christmas, I think I’ll just toss out the cliche that it was undemanding fun, perfect for the end of a drunken evening, without really being that original or brilliantly put together. (Compare it with early It’ll Be Alright On The Night episodes for how you really make this kind of show into something special, but I digress.) One thing that was pleasing about it however, is that it included a wide range of comedy, across different decades, rather than just concentrating on old or modern stuff. It’s fun to see a Two Ronnies clip right next to Citizen Khan – or indeed, an Inbetweeners clip right next to Red Dwarf VI.

Oh yeah, clips of Red Dwarf. And what would a G&T article be without a pointless list of them?

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UKTV Edits Part #2742921

Yes, yes. I know. You’re really fucking bored of this topic now. But when UKTV do something right, it’s only fair that it gets the same coverage as when they screw it up. And they’ve very much managed to do something right.

When I covered Dave’s Red Dwarf Weekends repeat run back in 2012, my main objection was that the episodes were only being shown pre-watershed, and hence edited to buggery. When I covered Dave’s repeat run earlier in the year, they were showing the edited pre-watershed versions post-watershed, which is even worse.

Gold’s current repeat run? So far: edited versions pre-watershed, and unedited versions post-watershed. Meaning that last night, viewers were treated to this:

Cat and Lister sticking their fingers up. STILL VERY NAUGHTY.

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The Man Who Was Nearly a Beatle (Updated: 23/06/15)

Consider, please, the following famous quote:

“Ringo isn’t the best drummer in the world. He isn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.”

Let’s cut to the chase here. I think there’s a good chance the above was written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. I have no proof. There is no great statement at the end of this article revealing all. This is all just musings… and possibly a first step in finding out for sure.

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History of a Joke

Cliché, Episode 2
(TX: 23rd March 1981, Radio 4)

Out of tune bleeps and bloops, like Wendy Carlos on an off-day.

PRESENTER: The final cadences of the last symphony of the Spanish composer Don Dimitri, who died early this morning at the age of 86. Cliché now pays its own special tribute to Don Dimitri – one of the true musical innovators of this century. Don Dimitri’s life was characterised by his refusal to accept the conventions and mores of the society in which he lived. In 1926, he went to the Sorbonne to study music. Rapidly, it became apparent he could not reconcile his own ideas with those of the establishment, and after three hours at the university, he left to set up his own school of musical thought. Professor Blakehust takes up the story.

BLAKEHURST: Don Dimitri’s biggest contribution to musical theory was the decative. Instead of the conventional eight note scale the octave, he initiated the ten note scale – the decative. He invented two new notes: H and J. Instead of ‘doh, ray, me, fah, soh, lah, ti, doh’, the decative would run ‘doh, ray, me, fah, soh, woh, boh, lah, ti, doh’. And in reverse: ‘doh, ti, lah, boh, woh, soh, fah, me, ray, doh’.

PRESENTER: And he wrote all his symphonies using this scale?

BLAKEHURST: Indeed. And the instruments in his orchestra had to be adapted accordingly. Pianos were fitted with extra black keys; flutes now came in four sections instead of three; and accordions were scrapped, as the decative made them far too long for human beings to play. Trombones ceased to be a musical instrument, and now became a lethal weapon. And the lengthening of bassoons and saxophones extended the mouthpiece into the region of the lower intestine. Incidentally, in Don Dimitri’s orchestra, women were banned from playing the cello.

PRESENTER: What other significant changes were inspired by the decative?

BLAKEHURST: Time signatures were changed. Instead of 3/4 time it was now 0.75 time. 7/8 time became 0.875 time, and common time – or 4/4 time – was now simply… 1. Don Dimitri’s quartets comprised of five players, and his triangles had two sides – neither of them connected.

PRESENTER: And now, the last note of the last chord of the last cadence is written. At the grand old age of 86, Don Dimitri passed away this morning. Never one to do things in a conventional way, he died in a manner he would probably have appreciated – trying to suck a kazoo instead of blowing it. He inhaled the kazoo, it became lodged in his throat, and he died to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy. We leave you now with the strains of what is universally acknowledged as his masterwork: quintet for seven instruments in H minor. The only work he ever wrote in 0.333 recurring time, a time signature which never actually allows you to reach the end of the first bar. Hence it’s popular title: Dom Dimiti’s Unfinished Symph. Goodnight.

A warped version of I Do Like To be Beside the Seaside plays, with accompanying bleeps and bloops.

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The $64,000 Question

CGVapR6WcAEODEO “When I kiss a girl she knows she’s been kissed, you know. I leave a note.”

Currently running on Gold, Wednesdays at 9pm is Bob Monkhouse: Million Joke Man – a series looking at Bob Monkhouse’s life and career. It’s a lovely programme, though for a show which celebrates Bob’s incredible archive, zooming and cropping that archive to 16:9 so the picture quality goes to absolute shit is a bizarre way of showing respect for it. And whilst the second half of the first episode settled down somewhat, the first half was full of entirely pointless talking heads. Just what is Ricky Grover actually doing there? And get your greasy mitts off Bob’s joke books.

As part of promotion for the series, Mail Online ran this article, which I’m linking to out of a sense of obligation, but please feel free not to give them any more hits. And here’s where we get to the relevance of G&T to all this – Tom Worsley pointed us towards a very interesting image from that article from one of those famed joke books. Here’s a transcript:

There are many things men are hard put to explain: “How were the pyramids built?”…”What is that panty girdle doing on the back seat of your car?” “The Bermuda Triangle… why is it that so many writers have mysteriously made so much money from this small stretch of ocean? Was God an astronaut – and if so, did he have a crewcut? (SON OF CLICHÉ)

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@RedDwarfHQ (Updated: 22/05/15)

Two weeks ago, Doug Naylor stood on stage at Dimension Jump and announced two new series of Red Dwarf.

This caused a certain amount of excitement.

Two weeks on, the official Red Dwarf Twitter account – verified and everything – has yet to update with the news. In fact its last update was back in November 2012, shortly after Red Dwarf X finished.

This does not warrant a huge article. I merely want to point out something which is rapidly becoming one of the stupidest things I have ever seen on social media. I mean, maybe not quite as bad as this yet, but they’re getting there.

Go ahead, @RedDwarfHQ. Continue making the franchise look absolutely fucking ridiculous. You fucking dick.

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Because the ident computer says they do

I recently discovered a very interesting blog called VHiStory. This chap, Jim Lynn, has got an archive of around 3000 video tapes in his garage, and he’s currently in the process of digitising and cataloguing each one, blogging his discoveries in precise detail as he goes. I quickly lost the best part of two days reading every single post, but that’s not important right now. In amongst the archives, I spotted that Jim had taped the original broadcasts of Red Dwarf series one, around 26 years ago. I immediately got in touch to point out that if he happened to have captured the original idents and continuity announcements, he may have inadvertently struck nerd gold.

Skip ahead a day or so, and Jim has only gone and put the buggers on Youtube.

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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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