Today’s TOS update is an exciting one, featuring as it does both a rare interview with Rob Grant, plus a PDF copy of his Into The Gloop script, giving non-Holly Hop attendees an opportunity to experience the co-creator’s first Dwarfy material since the mid-90s. Now that it’s out there officially, we’ll get to work on a proper review, but in the meantime it’s well worth reading the accompanying interview, as Rob discusses working with Paul Jackson and Ed Bye, tailoring the script for the cast of fans, and – most intriguingly – his desire to do more.

Indeed, it’s one question in particular that’s raised our eyebrows, regarding future Dwarf projects. Rob essentially gives an answer similar to his statement at Holly Hop, but with one additional detail:

There are lots of ideas on the table – a stage show, a movie, a new series, spin-offs. Last week we were told of an approach to do an American version again. We’d love to do any and all of them. We want RD flying out of our buttskis. We want to take the diminutive scarlet one on another trip to the stars. Watch this space.

Lol. Of course, just because there’s been an approach, it doesn’t mean it’ll happen. I’m sure lots of people start conversations about working on Dwarf-related stuff all the time, but we never hear about them. There’s no reason to believe that this has more chance of coming to fruition than if I was to “approach” GNP with an idea to make a Red Dwarf breakfast cereal. But just imagine if this is the ultimate outcome of everything that’s been said over the last few weeks. A new Red Dwarf USA for the 2020s.

Excuse me while I have a humiliating panic attack under the scanner table.

Today was the first day of Holly Hop, and despite the presence of Rob Grant and Paul Jackson, two of the three remaining directors of Grant Naylor Productions, we really didn't expect this week's rather shocking news to be mentioned, especially considering the Fan Club team politely requested of attendees that it wasn't brought up during Q&As throughout the day.

However, it was clear from very early on in their appearance, as they prepared to commentate on White Hole alongside their usual cohort Ed Bye, that the pair wanted to address the topic. So they both did, and then some. Here is an exact, verbatim transcript of what they said, starting with Rob Grant:

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This is probably the most unpleasant news story we've had to cover in the more than eighteen years this site has been going. Not least because it involves linking to the Daily Mail, who today report that Doug Naylor is suing Rob Grant and Grant Naylor Productions, following Doug's removal from the board of the company last year. To save you from clicking onto that shithole, the relevant parts of the article are below, and below that is our initial reaction.

[Doug Naylor] has just initiated a dramatic High Court action against his former co-scriptwriter and one-time best friend, Rob Grant.

The claim also names Grant Naylor Productions, the company which he and Grant established 30 years ago ‘to exploit their services as scriptwriters’.

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It's a genuinely strange feeling for me (as indeed it would be for the rest of the remaining G&T team) to report on Fan Club activity from an outsider's perspective. I'm still not used to finding out what they're up to via official channels, rather than half-listening to their remote team meetings taking place at the other end of the sofa, worrying about what duties I'm going to be volunteered for. But today's announcement is quite a big one, as the sensationalist and yet entirely accurate headline demonstrates.

Via TOS, the Fan Club have unveiled a two-day online convention called Holly Hop, taking place on the most recently cancelled dates for DJXXI, the 6th & 7th February 2021, to tide us over until the proper convention hopefully happens in September next year, deadly pandemic permitting. So, it's a Hop for a skipped Jump, providing "guest Q&As and behind-the-scenes discussions, as well as a few surprises along the way".

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Yes, almost exactly twenty one months after the first series ended, Quanderhorn returns to BBC Radio 4 at 6:30pm today! You can listen via the Radio 4 website, the BBC Sounds app, on an actual radio (DAB, FM and LW) or just catch up afterwards. It’s a weekly six part series, so we’ll use this one discussion thread to cover the whole lot. Oh, and it’s co-written by Rob Grant, produced by Gordon Kennedy and stars Kevin Eldon. You knew that bit, right?

In case you need a reminder, the state of play at the end of the first series is that the Professor’s increasingly unstable time-lock could potentially destroy the whole of reality, our heroes are trapped in the lab which is about to be blown up by Winston Churchill, and Guuuurk’s buttocks are now on backwards, so there’s a lot to resolve before we even get on to unravelling the mystery behind Brian’s memory loss. We’re very much looking forward to it.

As if it wasn't enough that we get Rob Grant and pals commentating on Red Dwarf episodes live every Sunday, more new Rob Grant material is coming our way on the radio, with the second series of Quanderhorn (having apparently dropped the The and the Xperimentations from its title) starting Wednesday 29th April at 6:30pm on BBC Radio 4.

As well as Rob co-writing with his now-established new writing partner Andrew Marshall, he's co-producing the series with fellow Red Dwarf alumnus Gordon Kennedy, with Twentica's The Actor Kevin Eldon returning as resident alien Guuuurk. The first series is currently available on BBC Sounds if you need to catch up, and titles and synopses for the first and second episodes are also online (they tend to be added around a fortnight ahead of broadcast, so the rest will be following soon). Read on for a further blurb covering the whole series, lovingly copied and pasted from the press release.

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G&TV logoA little over a week ago, Rob Grant decided he wanted to do something to cheer up all the Red Dwarf fans who had suddenly found themselves confined to their own personal Bay 47. The idea was to recapture the magic that formed the conclusion to the most recent Dimension Jump, whereby he was joined by Paul Jackson and Ed Bye to do a live commentary on The End. It made sense, therefore, that the reunited trio would do Future Echoes next, and so they took to Zoom last Sunday afternoon, and broadcast their thoughts to around a hundred webinar viewers. As well as sharing their tips for lockdown survival, we were treated to in-depth details about how the complicated show was put together with analogue technology, the story of how Tracey Ullman was partly responsible for the word "smeg" being used in the show, and even surprise cameo appearances from two former Red Dwarf guest stars. And now the whole thing is available on YouTube for everyone to enjoy.

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When TOS updates on any day other than Friday, it’s either extremely good news or extremely bad news. Thankfully, today was the former, with the announcement that the triple act of Rob Grant, Paul Jackson and Ed Bye are broadcasting a live commentary on Future Echoes followed by a Q&A, this Sunday 29th March at 2pm BST. It will take place via Zoom, but places on the call are extremely limited, so fill in the form on the TOS page right this second if you don’t want to miss out.

Anyone who saw the trio give The End this treatment at the last Dimension Jump will be very excited to see them reprise the act, and hope that at least another 34 episodes will follow if this is a success. At a time when content creators from across the world of entertainment are pulling out the stops with innovative ways to provide a glimmer of distraction from the shitty situation we find ourselves in, this is a much welcome venture right now.

G&TV Special: The Strangerers featured image

G&TV logoThe 15th of February is a date forever etched into the history books of both science-fiction and comedy. It's the anniversary of one of Britain's most beloved sitcoms, from a writing lineage that includes Spitting Image and Son of Cliché, and with a cast featuring the likes of Mark Williams, Jack Docherty, Sarah Alexander, Ricky Grover and Morwenna Banks. Yes, Rob Grant's The Strangerers debuted on Tuesday 15th February 2000, twenty years ago today.

Made by Absolutely Productions for Sky One, it was much-hyped as the channel's first foray into original comedy commissioning, but it's fair to say that it didn't quite make the same impact as Rob's previous sci-fi sitcom. It was never released on video or DVD, and has never been repeated since its original broadcast. But luckily, it's all on YouTube (albeit in off-air VHS quality, with the credits cut off and irritatingly in the wrong bastard aspect ratio), so let's all give it an anniversary airing and see if it's worth reappraising.

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Ooh, that sounds a bit rude, doesn’t it! Nevertheless, the time has come to not only hear new comedy material from one of Red Dwarf‘s co-creators, but to hear it in his own voice. Rob Grant and Andrew Marshall have written *and* performed Radio 4’s The Nether Regions, also starring Helen Cripps, Edward Rowett and Holly Morgan, and it airs tonight at 11pm on BBC Radio 4. It will also be available thereafter on BBC Sounds and the programme page, for those too sleepy. This broadcast pilot, which was produced by Hudzen 10, marks a return to sketch comedy from two of its most distinguished exponents, and we’re very much looking forward to it. Do let us know what you reckon.

And if you haven’t already, why not warm up by listening to our interview with the pair of writer-performers?