G&TV Special: Whatever You Want (13/05/2000) featured image

Way back at the turn of the century, three Red Dwarf fans competed for not one but two money-can't-buy prizes. Whatever You Want was a Saturday night entertainment show, hosted by Gaby Roslin for four series between 1997 and 2000, and inexplicably not featuring Status Quo as the theme tune. It was part of a lineage of similar programmes, preceded by Jim'll Fix It and followed by Tonight's The Night with John Barrowman - Roslin definitely the most wholesome of those presenters - that strove to make ordinary people's dreams come true through the magic of television. While there were smaller items throughout each show, the main focus was a game show element that pitted enthusiasts with a shared interest against each other for the biggest prize of the night. And on 13th May 2000, it was Red Dwarf's turn.

The three superfans chosen to compete were called Vicky, Rob and Jane, the latter of whom later became the Chair of The Official Red Dwarf Fan Club. And the prizes were very special indeed. Firstly, a custom-built Starbug, made for the show by the legendary Bill Pearson, overseen by the equally legendary Jim Francis, both of whom had recently worked on Series VIII. Not only that, the lucky winner would also spend a full week on set, and have their name in the credits, of Red Dwarf: The Movie. This sets an ongoing world record for the longest delay between winning and receiving a competition prize.

After airing over 23 years ago, the programme was never repeated or included on any commercial releases. As it was a few years too early for catch-up services or social media, it never resurfaced online, and has been pretty much considered lost media. But guess what? Gaby Roslin's not the only one who can make Red Dwarf fans' dreams come true...

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As discussed in our recent Channel Hopping article, there was a brief period in early 1997 when Craig Charles had three different programmes on air, across three different channels, every Friday night. I'd assume we're all familiar with BBC2's Red Dwarf VII, while Channel 4's Captain Butler is still inexplicably available in full on demand. But what of the other, much more obscure offering, late night ITV's Funky Bunker? Usually starting so late at night it would conclude in the early hours of the following morning, it was a chat show/variety show hybrid in the short-lived genre of post-pub television, ie disposal entertainment, designed to be consumed exclusively whilst drunkenly picking through a kebab, to fill the silence and distract from the growing sense of existential dread.

But was it any good? Well, here's a random full episode on YouTube (no way of knowing the date, for some reason I can't find any comprehensive episode guides online), so let's see what the show's got to offer. Brace yourself.

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We must admit, all our efforts are currently focused on preparing for our epic 35th anniversary spectacular, details of which will be revealed when the Coral Canvass closes on 1st February. (Have you voted yet? Go and vote!) So it's time to dust off an old favourite strand in order to ensure there's at least one update in January. What do you mean it's been nearly a year since the last G&TV? Can't be, it says here it's a regular look at Red Dwarf related archival treats. Ahem.

Anyway, this "month's" curiosity is a programme that I've only recently become aware of, but would no doubt have been one of my all time favourites had it aired ten or fifteen years earlier. Running for just thirteen episodes in 2007, Chute! was a CBBC show set in a rubbish tip at Television Centre, in which presenter Ross Lee is trapped with only thousands of discarded video tapes for company. Although despite Ross being apparently unable to escape, he's frequently joined by other characters and personalities from the CBBC stable, including on one occasion Lenny Bicknall from MI High, as played by one Daniel Jonathan-Julians.

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G&TV: Red Dwarf on Mastermind featured image

Name? Ganymede & Titan.

Occupation? Tedious Red Dwarf fansite.

And your specialist subject? Occasions on which Red Dwarf has been a specialist subject on the long-running BBC quiz show Mastermind.

Jason Smegley (admin of the only decent Red Dwarf Facebook group, and of the well-worth-following On This Day in Red Dwarf Twitter account) recently uploaded a lovely couple of videos to YouTube, of the two most recent times that questions about our favourite show have been directed towards someone in a big black chair. They in turn reminded us of two previous times Red Dwarf featured as a specialist subject, so with a sense of approaching menace, let's run through them all in chronological order...

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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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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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G&TV Special: Holly on Tomorrow's World featured image

The latest edition of our now officially sporadic archive telly feature is something truly special for once: a rare in-character appearance by one of the boys from the Dwarf on a different programme, unseen for over twenty years.

On Wednesday 3rd March 1999 (the day before the seminal Back In The Red (Part Three) first aired), Norman Lovett popped up as Holly on Tomorrow's World, the BBC's flagship technology programme that ran from 1965 to 2003, to discuss AI with host Philippa Forrester. He was there to launch their Turing Test experiment, to see if chatbots could convincingly pass as human. He returned two weeks later for the show's annual Megalab live event, briefly cameoing in character before appearing as himself to take part in the test, alongside Sir Terry Pratchett and Jaye Griffiths from off of Bugs.

Never repeated, and not included on the Series VIII DVD for whatever reason, this has been one of the rarest and most elusive pieces of Red Dwarf ephemera - it was even mentioned in a forum thread about unattainable Dwarf-related media as recently as two weeks ago. But now, just over 22 years later, here are the relevant moments from both episodes.

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G&TV: Craig Charles on All Star Squares (1999) featured image

Welcome to Season 2 of G&TV, our monthly trawl through the world's television archives for any interesting Red Dwarf-related nuggets. Following our accidental break, we return with an exciting adventure in internet archaeology.

Thanks to his ubiquity on our screens at certain points during the 90s, a large number of the videos we come across involve Craig Charles popping up in unexpected places, either as the host of a one-off programme, or a guest on an established show. This month, we bring you the latter, but in an unexpected twist, it's the short-lived Australian version of a much-travelled format.

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