Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It's cold outside....

...there's no kind of atmosphere...

Back in 1998, I finally got a chance to wacth a taping of the show that to this day remains MY show - one of the first I got hooked on when I first got my own TV in my room as a kid. I'd taped every episode and baring a couple of days working and one date, I'd seen every episode the first time it was screened. And now I was there watching Dave, Arnold and the crew first hand. On my birthday too!

The Birthday was probably critical in getting me in there. We'd had tickets, but I live in Stoke and had had to work early that day. By the time my ex ad I had got down to Waterloo, met my uncle and aunt on the train to shepperton and got to teh studio, the warm-up man was on and they'd let people without tickets in. The whole trip seemed for nothing, until suddenly they came over and said they had one seat they could sqyueeze one of us into. I refused, but was pushed by the others to take it...and was greeted by a front row seat right by the prison cell set for "Pete". The others, it transpired, were squeezed in later at the back near Ruby Wax and her family. And a great evening was had by all!

Red Dwarf - the spine of my video collection, pride of place in my DVDs alongside Kevin Smith and Jerry Lewis films, favourite T-shirts, dog eeared books..and this week the Boys from the Smegstuff are back!

The cult sit-com, never deemed popular enough to move up from BBC2, has been on the front cover of nearly every TV guide, interviews across the board, a huge ad campaign based around's finally achieving the applause it's deserved after 21 years.

So to "prepare" for it, I'm watching all 52 episodes together. I say watching, but I can pretty much quote most episodes word for word, especially the third series. I was going to try and blog my way through it, my memories and opinions, but I've left it more than a little late to start watching. Doesn't mean I won't try, but it'll be a little more generic. Plus I was already on series 3 before I thought of doing it, so it's hardly real-time reminiscences.


Series one:

I remember seeing the trailer on BBC2 for the first time the week before the show debuted. I'd just got my own TV, and I was of the age where you're really looking to find things to help create your identity - I didn't want to just watch the same TV shows my family did.

It was following on from seeing Back to the Future, Star Trek 4...Sci-fi and comedy being combined was two of my favourite things coming together, so this show caught my eye.

From the first episode I was absolutely hooked. It had the distinctive grey look which marked it out as being a more alternative, almost independant producton through the low budget, the chance it would be a bit edgier. It certainly wasn't going to be Terry and June. And I wasn't alone in thinking that. Viewing figures may have been very "BBC2", but the audience appreciation was apparently the best they'd ever had outside the Jubilee.

Sure, the scripts were maybe a little ropier, few effects, but there was a chemistry and a sense of intelligence with the script - more than in the characters themselves! The story I heard goes that Grant + Naylor actually vetoed repeating the first series in favour of getting the second out quickly, both to capitalise on the audience appreciation and because they were unhappy with the quality.

Shouldn't have been.

Best moments:
3. The creation of the second Rimmer - "You don't seriously think I'd have put Kochanski's disc into Kochanski's box?" - and in Me2, with the ensuing realisation that two are clearly NOT better than one. See also "Gaspatcho soup"

2.Future Echoes - The "Deja Vu" scene between Rimmer and Lister in the drive room is hilarious and so cleverly written, where Chris Barrie does the same scene twice. Plus of course the great "How simple do you want this?" "So ister can understand" ".....oh."

1. A scene I still enounter in converstions to this day. Work conversatons just seem to remind people of it every time someone just doesn't get something...Holly's "Everybody's Dead, Dave" speech from "The End"

More later...

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