The G&T Review of the Year 2023 featured image
Screenshot from the Red Dwarf episode Better Than Life

Screenshot from the Red Dwarf episode Back in the Red: Part I

At the start of Red Dwarf's 35th anniversary year, things had never seemed grimmer for the health of the franchise. The protracted legal kerfuffle between the show's creators was dragging on into its third calendar year, with no indication whatsoever that it would end any time soon, and any possibility of new material dwindling with each passing day. But as 2023 comes to an end, despite there still being no solid news in terms of actual production, there has been so, so much to give us hope that Red Dwarf shall live again.

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Thumbnail Wars featured image

Here at Ganymede & Titan, we're never afraid to tackle the big issues surrounding Red Dwarf. Over the last twenty years we've dealt with accusations of racism, homophobia and sexism within the show, gone through the trauma of seeing our beloved co-creators waging war through the courts, and hosted endless debates about which of Series VII and VIII was the shittest. This week, almost the entirety of Red Dwarf was published on BBC iPlayer, including all but three episodes of the Dave era. It's all still available on UKTV Play of course, meaning Mummy Beeb and Daddy Dave have joint custody of all their kids and step-kids. And so there's now a new question to settle. A question that will tax our collective IQs to their very limits. Which platform has the best thumbnails?

Let's go through series by series, awarding points to each streaming service based on which image we prefer for each episode. The iPlayer thumbnails are on the left and can be distinguished by the black background, while UKTV Play is on the right against blue. (If you're on mobile, you'll probably want to tap to expand.) While we're here, we might as well also cover any oddities or discrepancies in the metadata. Honestly, this is going to be pretty niche. Strap in.

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Yesterday, Doug Naylor updated his Twitter to say that an announcement was coming, and sure enough, at one minute past midnight, the BBC published a press release to say that all twelve series of Red Dwarf, plus The Promised Land, are coming to BBC iPlayer. This is great news for the show, with the exposure that comes from having your boxset front and centre on one of the UK's biggest streaming platforms, free to access and free from ads. And it's really significant that the Dave era is included too; it's not entirely unprecedented, and not surprising given the links between UKTV and the BBC, but it's a rare treat to see shows that originated on other channels appearing on iPlayer.

However, now that the episodes have turned up, there's a problem.

Updated with a quote from the BBC below

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