G&TV: Covington Cross

Any self-respecting Red Dwarf fan has a few standard facts at their disposal. The first recording dates for Series 1 were cancelled due to an electrician’s strike. Robert Llewellyn was electrocuted on his first day at work. Meltdown was put back in the episode order due to worries about the Gulf War.

Slotting in among these standard set of facts is that the village scenes in Emohawk – Polymorph II were shot on an abandoned set for a series called Covington Cross. And that’s… kinda it. That is The Fact, done, ticked, off we go.

I don’t think that’s good enough. Let’s take a proper look.

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Red Dwarf: Series I-VIII Bluray Review

Oh boy, where to begin? This is comfortably the largest Red Dwarf release ever, containing not only 71.2% of all episodes ever (or Series I-VIII, as most people refer to it), but all the extras from the original DVD range, including The Bodysnatcher Collection. Not only that, the episodes have been restored, upscaled to a high-definition resolution, and given what’s been officially referred to as an “extensive” colour grade. It’s a release that was rumoured for a very long time before it was finally announced, and one that’s only now arriving some three and a half months later than the original release date.

Our attitude towards the release during that time has ranged from ambivalence to open hostility, but now that it’s finally here, is it indeed the ultimate collection of Red Dwarf – the definitive version of the episodes, packaged with all the extras you’d ever need – that it has the potential to be?

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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.

The G&T Christmas Message 2018

It’s 3pm on the 25th December, and that can only mean one thing – the whole family gathering around for that old Christmas tradition of reading the Ganymede & Titan round-up of what’s happened in the world of Red Dwarf over the preceding twelve months. While 2018 was certainly a special year for the show in terms of its numerical significance, it was also the first year in four where no brand new episodes were either recorded, transmitted or both. As such, a quieter year for us, and so we’re eschewing the month-by-month format to instead give an overview of the big news and events that occurred, and a festive selection box of some of our own least shit features that we posted when there were no big news and events to keep us occupied.

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G&TV: Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast with James O’Brien

Our final monthly trip into the television archives this year is somewhat of an unusual one, in that it’s not something that’s very deep in the archives, and it isn’t strictly speaking television. Nevertheless, given that the Red Dwarf connection is so niche, and the specific subject matter so esoteric, we’d probably have chosen to highlight it even if it wasn’t us that was sort-of responsible for it happening in the first place. Let us explain.

Whenever we see journalist and broadcaster James O’Brien, which has happened increasingly often in the last few years since he’s become the foremost non-racist phone-in host on British radio and found social media fame for his polite but ruthless take-downs of the Brexiteers who ring him up, the first thing we think of is his appearance in the Red Dwarf A-Z back in 1998. Specifically, his assertion that Data from Star Trek wouldn’t have existed without Kryten, the chronological impossibility of which we’ve been talking about since at least 2003. So when we saw that James was an upcoming guest on the excellent RHLSTP (rhlstp!), we sent host Richard Herring a request. Then we forgot all about it, and then the episode came out, and it’s safe to say our request was noted.

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Set to Rights: The Captain’s Office

Hello everyone. When we last met, I guided you through a history of three wall sections used in Red Dwarf in 1988. This went down disturbingly well. You fucking weirdos.

With this in mind, let’s continue our in-depth examination of Red Dwarf‘s sets in its first couple of series with one of their most famous oddities: the disappearing and reappearing Captain’s Office. This article was intended to be a more general look at the Drive Room set, but believe it or not I have found enough to say about this single topic to make a full standalone piece. We’re not dumbing down our material. It’s always been this stupid.

As before, we need to take this one in recording order, rather than broadcast order.

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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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G&TV: Noel’s House Party (12/03/94)

With Noel Edmonds currently commanding his biggest TV audience since his mid-90s heyday on the superb current series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!, now seems an appropriate time to revisit the Saturday night behemoth that was Noel’s House Party. Any Brits aged around 30 and over will need no introduction, but for everyone else: this was a hugely popular live entertainment show, featuring pranks, gunge, celebrity guests, competitions, and a huge amount of involvement by the general public. It’s perhaps most notorious for introducing the world to spoof kids’ TV character Mr Blobby, a hugely divisive figure who was absolutely ubiquitous for a few years, spawning videos, books, a single that reached the coveted Christmas number one spot in 1993, and even an ill-fated theme park.

There’s nothing quite like it on British TV these days, although Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway comes closest. Indeed, fans of that show may recognise a fair number of familiar formats in House Party‘s various regular features. Those segments were, of course, framed with live studio sections, with Noel hosting his various guests in the Great Hall of fictional village Crinkley Bottom. Popular television stars of the time would pop by throughout the show for a scripted comedy chat. For example, Chris Barrie, portraying his most famous character at the time – Gordon Brittas.

You can see a selection of clips here, courtesy of Chris Barrie Fans, but why not treat yourself to a full episode of the show, in which Brittas makes cameos at various points throughout:

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Script Extracts: A Glimpse of a Shadow

Well, in the absence of any Series XIII news, and with no Bluray until the new year, we’re scrabbling for crumbs. We’ll take whatever morsels of intrigue are thrown our way, but when our friend and loyal G&Ter Jonathan “Jonsmad” Young recently got in touch to draw our attention to The Prop Gallery, we didn’t realise how intriguing these particular morsels would turn out to be.

It’s one of those places that sells props, costumes and other film and TV memorabilia, often at somewhat eye-watering prices. In the past, such items have included Red Dwarf scripts, and a quick search reveals that twelve have been sold in total. They’re all long gone now, but the listings remain online. As well as providing details of their condition and provenance – many have come from the personal collection of the late, great Peter Wragg – what we’re really interested in are those tantalising images of sample pages.

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G&TV: Spitting Image – Bumbledown

As previously established on numerous occasions, this year marks the thirtieth anniversary of 1988. It was a very busy time for so many of our favourite comedy talents, and shortly after the conclusion of the second series of Red Dwarf, Spitting Image preceded its forthcoming fifth series with a 45-minute special, broadcast on 29th October 1988, thirty years ago to this very day.

Of course, Rob and Doug had long since departed to create some sci-fi sitcom thing, but Chris Barrie was very much at the forefront of Bumbledown – The Life and Times of Ronald Reagan, marking and undoubtedly celebrating the end of the incumbent President’s second term – the election to find his replacement took place the following week. Let’s transport ourselves back to the halcyon days when nobody thought that the US could ever elect a worse President than this unintelligent, right-wing, lying celebrity.

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