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Red Dwarf A-Z

First published 24th July 2003.

Not to be confused with the hollowed-out book in which Rimmer kept his diary, this alphabet-based compilation originally featured in Red Dwarf Night, and was subsequently released on the Series VII Byte Three video and the Series II DVD. In this document, we go through each letter, detailing the clips and interviews used, and give our opinions thereof.

A - Arnold Judas Rimmer

To illustrate Rimmer's character, we are shown a clip from Legion, in which he surrenders totally and without condition. No interviews with Chris Barrie, or anything like that. Still, it is a funny clip, which does portray the cowardly aspect of Rimmer's character well.

B - Beginnings

Paul Jackson tells us of how he warned Rob and Doug against writing a sci-fi sit-com, as nobody buys sci-fi sit-coms. We are then shown a wholly unrelated clip from Kryten - the dogs' milk joke. Yes, it's funny, but it does seem to be in the wrong category - it implies that the scene comes from the beginning of Series I, rather than Series II. In fact, there are no clips from Series I used at all in the A-Z, which is a shame - especially considering all the Series VII ones.

C - Cult

This category was originally going to be about Garry Bushell, but there was a spelling mistake in the final edit. DYSWIDT? Anyway, this section is about whether or not Red Dwarf has a cult following, and Chris Barrie and Robert Llewellyn give their views on this. As Robert says, the show used to be a cult, but then got popular. Professor Stephen Hawking then pipes up to say that Red Dwarf doesn't take itself too seriously, nor try to be politically correct. It's good to see the world's most intelligent living man displaying his love for the show, but does he have to bring pointless PC-bashing into it? To illustrate the show being non-PC, we are shown the underpants scene from Polymorph - well, it was only a matter of time.

D - Dave Lister

Rather than interviewing, say, Craig Charles about the part of Lister, we instead get Garry Bushell's view on the character. Garry Bushell is this: a beard with an idiot hanging off it. Rather than highlighting the slow-burning and realistic growth and development of the character, (how he changed from being a total slob to a mature and responsible individual), Garry chooses to talk about beer and curry. He is the type of person who creates myths about the content of the show, which are believed to be true by stupid, lazy people who never attempt to challenge their prejudices. The two clips used, Lister getting ready in Kryten and talking about condom fishing in Dimension Jump, don't feature curry or lager, which further illustrates the fact that Garry Bushell is the biggest cunt in Christendom.

E - Exterminate

GNP acquired the rights to use the Daleks, so felt they might as well stick them in somewhere. Consequently, we get this sketch, penned by Paul Alexander. In the credits, Rupert Bates is credited as 'Dalek Voices', but in the Series VIII Scriptbook, Doug mentions that Ed Bye provided one of the voices. Strange. Two Daleks are discussing how they have never watched Red Dwarf, and that all entertainment was created by Daleks. One Dalek then reveals that he thinks that the light-bulb gag from Legion was funny, so the other one exterminates him. This sketch splits us at G&T straight down the middle - John quite likes it (nice explosion), but Ian hates it (crap jokes).

F - Fans

Or, more specifically, a very small section of fans, with the editorial implication that they are representative of everyone else. It starts with a group of Louise Redknapp's pals wishing Red Da-warf a happy tenth anniversary. I wonder if any of them have ever seen the show? Then there's footage of the fancy dress competition from Dimension Jump '97. I don't think that footage of Richard 'High H' Allen doing a spot of Morris Dancing was the highlight of the weekend, frankly. There is then exciting footage of a huge autograph queue in Seattle, and Chloe Annett talking about how she once got recognised in a video shop. Bless her. The following clip makes me insanely jealous - it's Dave, a.k.a. Mr. Merchandise, proudly displaying his collection. Bastard. A brief clip of Kryten saying 'quite extraordinary' in Quarantine provides a nice little segue into a clip of Chris Barrie being taunted with a nit-pick. What they don't show is Chris's excellent reply, in which he explains that he pre-programmed the motorbike while it was still in the shed, before asking, with a suitable amount of sarcasm, if that answered the question.

G- Grant & Naylor

Note the 'and', there. Rob and Doug had very much split up when this was made. Garry 'Cunt' Bushell explains that Red Dwarf is no longer a sit-com, as it contains action and drama. Thanks for that. Garry seems to forget that the 'sit' in sit-com stands for situation, and action or drama sequences are just part of that situation. There then follows the 'virginity' sequence from Marooned, which is indeed a great example of Grant Naylor genius.

H - Holly

Terry Pratchett really has enjoyed both incarnations of Holly. An episode with a lot of Holly in it always seems to work for him. Both Hollys are featured - with Lister being blown up, and Norman's punchline, from Queeg, and Hattie having her IQ altered in White Hole. This, incidentally, is Hattie's only contribution in Red Dwarf Night - a clip of her crossing her eyes, which somehow represents nineteen episodes of work. But then, that's another article.

I - I've tried to fit in...

What the fuck? Kochanski crying in Duct Soup? Does this really deserve its own entry? Is it better than the double Rimmer scene from Future Echoes? Is it even remotely as funny as Mr. Flibble? Does it even compare to the battle scene in Meltdown?

J - Jozxyqk

An entry all about the off-topic forum of BTLi. Oh, wait - it's that bit from Body Swap, isn't it?

K - Kryten

James O'Brien, who we are informed is a journalist, says, quite rightly, that Kryten is excellent. He even goes as far as to accuse ST:TNG of ripping the character off to create Data. Unfortunately, this takes it a bit too far - Data first appeared in Encounter at Farpoint, the first episode of ST:TNG, which was broadcast on September 28th 1987. This is almost an entire year before Kryten's first appearance, on September 6th 1988. Meanwhile, Patrick Stewart calls his libel lawyer. A clip from the opening of Camille is shown, albiet with a slight edit, presumably to keep the scene nice and short. Lister's line about Kryten breaking his programming cuts off after 'if it's the last thing I do', and Kryten's subsequent line doesn't start until 'those are the human qualities I admire the most'.

L - Lawyers

In which Patrick Stewart reads from his script. Quite why he chose to use an autocue for his talking-head contribution is beyond us - it's either been written for him, or he suffers from terrible amnesia. In the largest heap of shit ever broadcast on British television, Patrick tells of how he once mistook Red Dwarf for a rip-off of ST:TNG, and that he believes Red Dwarf to be a parody of the series he worked on for seven years. This is simply wrong - Red Dwarf is a sci-fi and a comedy in equal measure. A comedy can cross genres without parodying one of them. Compare an episode of Red Dwarf with Spaceballs, you'll see what we mean. And, I wonder if Patrick's lawyer would like to compare The Game, Clues and Dates with Better Than Life, Thanks for the Memory and Camille? The Riviera Kid shooting down the 'Existence' sign in Gunmen of the Apocalypse is used to display the show's "wild" humour. Yee-haw.

M - My Favourite Show

James O'Brien, who has excellent opinions, but is a bit ropey when it comes to facts, picks Backwards, citing it as original and memorable. This is true, and the clip of the bar-room tidy is great. Noel Edmonds and Mr. Blobby aren't so advanced as to nominate a favourite episode, but look - he fell over! LOL! Next, Professor Stephen Hawking and Terry Pratchett both make an excellent choice - Back to Reality, the clip shown is of Starbug crashing and the crew emerging from the game. Finally, Andrew Dawson, who is allegedly an 'international' mime artist, falls over as well! Amazing! From this, we can ascertain that he likes Polymorph, in which Lister falls over too.

N - Novels

Tony Lacey, of Penguin Books, is completely and utterley correct in his assertion that the novels sell well because they're excellently-written, fully fleshed-out, three-dimensional and independant pieces of work. A banner informs us that two million novels had thus far been sold.

O - 007

That doesn't start with an 'o', but never mind. This is the Ace Rimmer Dash James Bond Esque sequence, which stands out in Chris Barrie's mind. And yes, it is brilliant. Here, we see Ace escaping from the plane and sky-surfing on the crocodile.

P - Professionalism

Norman Lovett's sole contribution to the evening - an anecdote about how his football once got confiscated, so he sulked until he got it back. It would be interesting to know who the bossy woman in question was, but judging by the small number of women who had much clout in the first two series, we can make an educated guess. Perhaps the bossiness came as a result of having to wear a big hat and stand in the background a lot...

Q - Question - The Ultimate One

Question - how can we get the Flinstones exchange from Backwards into the compilation? And this is the answer.

R - Remastered

Aww, good old Re-Mastered. The three clips shown here are: the utterly tedious Time Hole sequence from Backwards, Blue Midget walking about in Thanks for the Memory and the bafflingly pointless air-vent sequence from the beginning of Polymorph. We've been ranting about Re-Mastered from the moment it was previewed on the day before Red Dwarf Night, so just read this article.

S - Smeghead

Chris Barrie tells quite an amusing story about how he can never stand on a railway platform without someone calling him a 'smeghead'. Personally, we'd prefer to call him a 'gimboid', but what can you do? This is followed by a young Seattle lad asking Craig and Robert what 'smeg' means, to which they scuttle off in mock embarrasment.

T- The Cat

Two clips for this one - the "let's get out of here before they bring him back" gag from Holoship, and the transformation into Duane Dibbley in Emohawk - Polymorph II. Every time we see that clip, we can't help but feel angry at the sycophantic squealing when Danny pops his head up. Bah.

U - USA - Dallas

This isn't about Red Dwarf USA, obviously. Our new best friend James O'Brien says that the scripts are always very daring, and the writers never show any fear. This is untrue, of course - the Series III opener Dad and a large chunk of the Archie segment of Series VIII were abandoned in order to prevent offending people. However, it is the case for Tikka to Ride, which has a fantastic plot, despite the paradoxical ending, which we see here.

V - Vee are not amused

Stoke Me A Clipper's Kai Mauler and Stephen Grothgar return to complain about Red Dwarf being a 'dumm komedie', in which crocodiles get dropped on members of the Third Reich. The clip in question is shown, followed by the actors getting the crocodile dropped on them again, in a wholly unpredictable punchline.

W - What is a Red Dwarf?

Astrologer Patrick Moore explains what exactly a red dwarf is, during which he shrinks and shrinks until he becomes invisible. Really rather sad. More sad, however, is the rather dodgy edit, just before Patrick starts to shrink. He suddenly jolts to a point much further away from the camera, which isn't very good.

X - X-Rated

Craig Charles's piss-poor Dildonics joke, also featured in The Log and Craig's Sickbag video. Given that the A-Z has turned up on two different releases that both have '12' certificates, the joke isn't actually x-rated, really. Instead of this joke, they could have shown some uncensored out-takes. Or, better still, footage of Chloe Annett's foaming twat.

Y-Fronts (Unidentified Crawling Object)

Although you wouldn't guess it from the title, this is the Taranshula bit of Terrorform. We see Kryten releasing the hand, then cut to it entering Lister's boxers, thus omitting the lengthy pieces of dialogue in between. The clip finishes after The Cat types 'You haven't SEEN it!!'. Incidentally, we don't object to the trimming of these clips. This, after all, is a clip show, and people don't require joke-free dialogue that moves the plot along, or explains a character's motives and such-like.

Z - Zat's all folks!

Again with the German phonetic spelling! The finalé of the show is the Rimmersong from Blue, over which the credits are scrolled. There is a final, brief post-credits sequence - Ed Bye (off-camera) asks Paul Jackson why it took so long for the show to get made, to which the reply is that writing a sci-fi sit-com is a bloody stupid thing to do. This is an excellent ending, although the preceeding Rimmersong doesn't really work out of context, which is a common complaint about the use of Red Dwarf clips.