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Previously on G&T: Regular reader Flap Jack put us all to shame with his incredibly detailed examination of the changes between hardback, paperback, Omnibus and unabridged audiobook versions of the four Red Dwarf novels. Now he's back to finish the job, with an examination of the abridged audiobooks.

Imagine: it’s 1993, and you’re excitedly rushing home after picking up a copy of the newly released Red Dwarf Series 1 VHS. You heat yourself up a bowl of alphabetti spaghetti, grab a Leopard Lager from the fridge, and start up the tape to watch The End. But part way through, you start to realise something’s wrong. What happened to the subplot about Rimmer’s exam? Wasn’t there a scene where you see Lister with Frankenstein before he gets in trouble with the Captain? What’s going on? You double check the VHS sleeve, and realise to your horror that it doesn’t say “Series I Byte One” but “Series I Abridged”! You try to scream, but discover your mouth is sealed shut. You run to the door, but behind it is just a brick wall. You look back at the alphabetti spaghetti: all ampersands.

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Red Dwarf: The Complete Guide To Almost Everything featured image

Do you remember a time, a few years either side of the turn of the century, when the internet was mostly comprised of auto-playing midi files and non-HD porn? Back then, if you searched Yahoo, or Alta Vista, or Lycos, you could find tonnes of Geocities-hosted web pages for each and every one of your favourite TV shows, which invariably featured the same handful of low-res jpegs, lists of quotes, episode guides and those ubiquitous auto-playing midi files. Then blogging came along, and we all realised that we could just write about our opinions on our favourite shows, rather than trying to provide a comprehensive mine of information, given that new-fangled things like Google and Wikipedia could do that much better.

So things like episode guides disappeared from fansites. Not entirely, but they were no longer an essential component. It was only recently that we realised that G&T had nothing even resembling such a guide - not even a list of episodes anywhere. When we started, in 2002, we launched an ambitious project of producing detailed "capsules" for every episode, but, well, you can see how that went. We got to thinking that it might be fun to try and write an episode guide now, and see where it ended up. As it turns out, it kind of got out of hand...

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