You all know the feeling. You finally decide to act like an adult and get that breakdown cover and then you go months and months without any cause to use it. Well, thankfully Starbug’s finally carked it again after eight months of smooth running and so the AA are back to get it back on the SPACE ROAD and give us all another little tranche of Dwarf to enjoy.
Most of Ian’s excellent breakdown of Stellar Rescue could be copied and pasted here without changing much, and that’s not particularly surprising. This was shot at the same time as the first advert and it follows pretty much the same structure, but it’s still really fun to have new(ish) Red Dwarf gags while we wait for the Special later in the Spring.
Well, we certainly weren’t expecting this to happen today. We only caught wind of the possibility of Red Dwarf collaborating with The AA last Thursday, when a giant Starbug was pictured with an AA van near the Angel of the North, with resultant undeclared promotional pieces reported in the local press. When Danny John-Jules reassured us that “all will be revealed” on the 1st July, we were expecting a tweet or a press release. Not for a minute-long chunk of full unadulterated brand new Red Dwarf to turn up unannounced at ten o’clock in the morning. This is what all those hints about the cast getting back together have been leading to. It’s not Series XIII – though that’s not to say that work isn’t also taking place on that – it’s Rimmer, Lister, Cat, Kryten and Starbug appearing in a television advert for The AA.
The idea of my favourite show doing an advert might have filled me with dread and disgust at one time, with that Bill Hicks quote about “being off the artistic roll call” ringing in my ears. But the world has changed since then, and there are lot of things working in favour of this particular ad. It’s all original material, not just exploiting old clips and tainting them by association. It looks and feels like the current show, not some nostalgia trip trying to recapture past glories. And of all the brands they could have associated themselves with – betting companies, loan sharks, shady foreign exchange business – there’s not much fault to find with The AA. As it happens, there’s no need to worry. This advert is so well-made and so charming that it’s impossible not to be wooed.