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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G&TV Halloween Special featured image

This month's G&TV contains scenes which are unsuitable for younger viewers and people of a nervous disposition. You have been warned.

Well, it doesn't really, but then neither does Polymorph, so it's fair game. Anyway, when we noticed that the latest edition of this feature would coincide roughly with a notable date in the calendar, we decided to run with the theme. The Red Dwarf cast and crew haven't had a great deal of crossover with the horror genre over the years, other than a couple of notable and obvious exceptions, which we'll come to. We couldn't find much in terms of full-length programmes that are not commercially available (and so therefore we feel comfortable linking to off-air recordings of them on YouTube), which is the usual remit for G&TV. So instead, we present a thrilling compendium of terror, with four short clips relating to each of our main cast members, which fit the theme with varying degrees of contrivance.

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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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