❉ As Red Dwarf XI makes it digital debut on UKTV Play today, Ganymede & Titan’s Tanya Jones provides an introduction to Red Dwarf and its fansite…
THE STORY SO FAR…
Dave Lister, a third technician on the JMC (Jupiter Mining Corporation) ship Red Dwarf, is 3 million years from Earth. He’s the only surviving human, sharing the ship with an android, a creature evolved from his pet cat, and a hologram of his hated colleague Arnold Rimmer. He’s battled countless monsters, androids and god-alone-knows, given birth to his own twin sons, survived space mumps, seen his future self reduced to a brain in a jar, and yet was STILL pursued by the Norweb Federation for his final electric bill.
Most British lovers of cult TV will be aware of Red Dwarf, a sci-fi sitcom that began on BBC Two in 1988. Trying to summarise the plot of what must be the longest running sci-fi sitcom in the world is as easy as trying to persuade a murderous simulant that you DIDN’T spill their pint, but it involves a massive nuclear accident on Red Dwarf, a ludicrously long time for Dave Lister in stasis (that, naturally, he experiences as taking no time at all), and a ship computer, Holly, with a somewhat perverse sense of humour.
It’s been tough for Lister to spend the rest of eternity with the man he constantly argued about spanners with, but Rimmer would argue that at least he isn’t dead. Rimmer is. He mentions it once or twice. Rimmer is what he is, which is a coward with a repellant personality, although Lister isn’t always much better.
They wouldn’t have got very far without Kryten, the android they rescued from the stricken Nova 5. Kryten is devoted to whomever he serves, so much so that he continued to serve his former mistresses whilst their corpses rotted to skeletons. But the Nova 5 WAS a marvellously kept tomb. Kryten’s duties have been expanded on occasion from housekeeping to all sorts of technical engineering, depending on the plot, but he’s done very well. Except when he hasn’t.
Neither Lister nor Rimmer really expected to have Cat along for the ride, but he’s here now, along with his perfectly coffered hair, well-placed insults, and flamboyant wardrobe. He IS a cat, after all. He even comes in handy sometimes. Well, very occasionally. Perhaps.
It’s been quite the trip, but 61 episodes and nearly 30 years later, series 11 (XI, officially) is due to premiere on Dave on 22 September, but the same episode will be available on UKTV Play beforehand on 15 September, because this appears to be the brave new world we live in. Almost anything can happen, because it’s space. Space is a right bastard at times.
ABOUT GANYMEDE AND TITAN
We at Ganymede and Titan welcome all new Red Dwarf fans coming on board for Series XI. Naturally, you will feel some trepidation at watching such a long-running series, but feel reassured that we have everything a new starter could need, all in one expansive and endlessly pedantic site. WARNING: we swear a bit, but nothing you couldn’t hear by sticking your head out of the window, especially if there’s two Red Dwarf fans arguing beneath it.
Please find orientation information in the Silver Survey, our fan survey of the past 61 episodes, and our guide to the Red Dwarf universe, including TV specials, Red Dwarf USA, the ‘radio show’, and, erm, the notoriously awful mobisodes.
Prepare yourself for the upcoming series by browsing through our exhaustive coverage of series X, whether that be listening to our episode reactions directly after broadcast on our infamous Dwarfcasts, reading our set reports (which includes Series XII, as the two series were recorded in the same block) and our episode reviews (including selected extra-curricular shows).
We haven’t stopped there, though. Our famous love of examining every aspect of the show in ludicrous detail has resulted in a series of articles on every guest in series X, a Dwarfcast retrospective shortly after the whole series aired, talking points from the series, and a review of the DVD/BluRay release.
Once you’ve done that, why don’t you join us for our LIVE Dwarfcasts after each episode of series XI is shown on Dave, starting on 22 September? We’ll put up a written review after each episode is released ahead of broadcast on UKTV Play, for you wild modern things, but a LIVE Dwarfcast is MUCH more fun. We will be encouraging audience participation via our Twitter account (@ganymedetitan) and our Facebook page.
The place to be for Dwarf fans, of course, is the official fan club-run convention, Dimension Jump. G&T have provided coverage of this event for many years, and are looking forward to the next one, which will be held in Nottingham next year. The fiendishly hard quiz can be prepared for by dipping into our (fairly) extensive set of interviews with the writers, cast, crew and original fan club members, and you can prepare for spirited debates with your fellow fans with our High & Low series, which attempts to tackle the best and worst of the Red Dwarf world, including WRONG OPINIONS and other projects that the cast have been involved in.
But, frankly, I’ve only scratched the surface. Nearly 20 years of pedantry (in total, explained in our About page), has resulted in just about every Dwarf-related topic being covered by the site. This includes, believe it or not, an analysis of edits and ad breaks inserted by Dave, the home for Red Dwarf since 2009’s Back to Earth. We wrote LOADS about Back to Earth, by the way, including a video report from the fan & press launch in Berkeley Square, London and instant reaction podcasts but just click on the tag to see how much material we got out of something that, frankly, was the most exciting thing to happen in Dwarf fandom for years. Little were we to know that the excitement had only just got started.
If that’s still not enough, get a delightful collection of our essays in book form. And, if you still want to get involved after all that, drop by our forum. We don’t bite. Much.
❉ The award-winning sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf returns to Dave for an all-new and exclusive 11th series on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 9pm.
❉ The whole series will also be made available to stream the week before on September 15 on UKTV Play.