Tag Archives: Red Dwarf

Classic Clips – Red Dwarf and Twin Peaks (Happy Birthday (again) Leanne!)

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Happy New Year from the Choob – and a very Happy Birthday to exiled friend of the Choob, Leanne!

It’s only natural for one to reflect – usually the day after one’s birthday, with a hangover – on another year gone by and the relentless march of time. Just remember, as a wise man once said (well, two wise men, if you count me repeating it), “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage!”

Mind you, given that Leanne is working far, far, far away from her beloved Scotland, in Bermuda, I’m not sure what that implies…

Ahem. Anyway, hope you have a great day/night with your tropical island chums and maybe sip a sherry or two. I know you were home over Christmas but hurry back for another visit soon because we miss you (nothing at all to do with the Bermuda rum cake you bring, nope, no siree, not at all, I took a straw poll and missing you got, ooh, several more votes that the rum cake…).

By way of a birthday present to you from me, here are a few classic clips I think you’ll like. Happy birthday, with love from the Choob!

First up, since you had Cat singing Tongue Tied last year, here’s Rimmer’s Munchkin Song – in fact, the whole Rimmer Experience tour – from the fifth episode of Red Dwarf season 7:

But wait! There’s more. Here is the (very slightly) extended version of the song, introduced by Kryten:

Now, moving on to the awesome Twin Peaks, don’t forget to check out these brilliant Albert scenes and Agent Cooper’s Tibetan crimefighting, which I’ve already spotlighted. But just for you, here’s another couple of great scenes from this awesome show.

First of all, the extended opening credits from the pilot episode – with Angelo Badalamenti‘s beautiful, haunting theme tune, of course – plus the opening scenes of the show that made such an impact on us all back in 1990:

And here’s the legendary, backwards-filmed, Cooper’s dream scene from episode two:

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The Persuasionists – When “Fan” Websites Go Bad

Viewers in the UK may have noticed a new sitcom called The Persuasionists on BBC2 this week. Or, then again, maybe not, since there was a suspicious lack of promotion for the show.

There IS, however, a website/blog for the show, which claims to be an “unofficial fan site”. However, it looks to me like it’s been set up by someone with a close connection to the show. The website is the main reason for this post but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The premise looked promising – a comedy set in an ad agency, created and written by a former ad man and starring some familiar British comedy faces.

There’s Adam Buxton, of Adam and Joe fame. There’s TV presenter Iain Lee, in his first acting role. Lee is best remembered as co-presenter, with Daisy Donovan, of Channel 4’s love-it-or-loathe-it late-night satirical news comedy The 11 O’Clock Show (which also launched the careers of Sacha Baron Cohen and Ricky Gervais). For the record, I liked the first few seasons of the show.

The Persuasionists also stars Simon Farnaby and Daisy Haggard, whose names are not so familiar but their faces are. Haggard was in Green Wing, Man Stroke Woman and Psychoville and guest-starred in an episode of Ashes To Ashes. Farnaby has been in The Mighty Boosh and Jam & Jerusalem.

Unfortunately, all the promise proved to be false. The first episode was dire. In fact was quite possibly the worst TV comedy I have ever seen.

A little internet research revealed that the series started life as 2007 pilot episode on BBC3 called The Scum Also Rises, starring Red Dwarf‘s Chris Barrie. Wisely, he bailed. In fact, the only survivors from the pilot appear to be Buxton and Haggard.

I confess, I never saw The Scum Also Rises but what reviews I can find were scathing, so quite how this show was given a full series beggars belief. And, why it was allowed to continue filming AND THEN given a prime-time spot on BBC2 when it must have been obvious what a steaming pile of poo it was?

In the first place, the acting is mostly poor, though to be fair to the cast, I think Robert de Niro would have difficulty turning in a good performance with a script and characterisation this bad.

Ah, the script. The show was created and written by first-time screenwriter Jonathan Thake. There is not an ounce of originality in it.

In fact, it is perhaps telling that Thake was an ad man because ad men often “borrow” from other pop-culture sources to get their message across.

The Persuasionists lifts everything – from situations to jokes to entire characters – from many that have gone before. It’s as if Thake figured that just as he can lift characters and jokes from his favourite comedies to make a 30 second advert, he could use the same tactic to assemble a six-episode, 30-minute BBC2 sitcom. It has been largely pieced together from facsimiles of the work of others – unfortunately, without any of the wit of the pillaged sources.

For example, Farnaby’s character is a cross between Harry Enfield‘s Stavros and Steve Coogan‘s Tony Ferrino. And guest star Lee Ross‘s character in the first episode was suspiciously similar to Enfield’s Self Righteous Brothers (“Oi! Edmonds! NO!”).

If it was funny, the lack of originality could be overlooked. But I’m not exaggerating when I say that I never smiled once, much less laughed.

The Persuasionists was not just UNfunny, it was ANTI-funny. It sucked 30 minutes of humour out of the world. If you stuck it in the large hadron collider and fired it at the speed of light towards The Office or Peep Show or The Thick Of It or, y’know, ANY comedy that IS generally considered funny, the universe would disappear into a black hole.

The Choob doesn’t usually do reviews because I started this blog to share and discuss stuff that I like, not debate what is good and what isn’t – but in this case, I wanted to make clear everyone realises just how bad this show was before directing you towards the aforementioned website, www.thepersuasionists.com.

It’s a fan blog where someone has added a few posts about the recording and screening dates of the show. Of course, the thing about blogs is that they invite comments from visitors – and boy, has The Persuasionists attracted some corkers.

[EDIT: The comments on the official BBC comedy blog are just as brutal. There was a slightly better reception from a few people at The British Comedy Guide Forum.]

To say that the comments are infinitely more entertaining than the show is an understatement. If, like me, you feel you wasted 30 minutes of your life watching the show, you owe it to yourself to at least read the uniformly brutal opinions of similarly outraged viewers.

Click here to see them all on the original site but just in case it is taken down, here are a few highlights.

Particularly noteworthy are posts 23 and 24 (both of which make the excellent  point that The Persuasionists is disturbingly reminiscent of When The Whistle Blows, the deliberately crass, offensive and cringeworthy show-within-a-show in season two of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant‘s Extras – except that The Persuasionists forgot the irony) and 17.


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It’s Classic Clip Extra: Red Dwarf – Tongue Tied (Happy Birthday, Leanne!)

The Choob is always happy to take requests, especially for special occasions.

And today’s a very special day for the my friend, fellow journalist and professional Taggart fan, Leanne McGrath – it’s her 30th birthday!

She’s working far away from home at the moment and while I’m sure all her new friends in Bermuda will make sure she has a day – and night – to remember (at least until the cocktails kick in), this special Choob post should help remind her that her friends back home in Scotland are thinking of her, too.

Leanne asked me to post her favourite scene from the brilliant Red Dwarf, so without any further ado, here is the Cat (Danny John-Jules) performing his smash hit (it reached number 17 in the UK charts) Tongue Tied.

This is the full, uncut version of the scene that appeared in Parallel Universethe sixth and final episode of season two (which first aired in the UK back in October 1988 – so Leanne would have been eight years old!), and which is about a minute-and-a-half longer than the broadcast version:

But wait! Since it’s Leanne’s birthday, there’s more! If you thought THAT was an extended version, wait ’til you see THIS!

This is a special 30 minute video that accompanied the 1993 release of the song as a single and which does for Tongue Tied what the Thriller music video did for, er, Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Sort of. With cheesy acting. And none of the cool special effects.

It features two remixes of the song, complete with two new videos and guest appearances from Red Dwarfers Craig Charles (Lister), Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Norman Lovett (Holly), Robert Llewellyn (Kryten), Hattie Hayridge (Hilly/Holly) and even Charles Augins (who played Queeg in the fifth episode of season two and choreographed the dance routine in episode six). Oh, and Duane Dibley.

Plus Elvis (played by Clayton Mark, who also appeared as The King in the season four (1991) Red Dwarf episode Meltdown), Judge Dredd (yes, the 2000AD comic-book character) and the late Judge Dread (the reggae singer) and more! There’s also a making-of documentary at the end.


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It’s Classic Clip Friday: Red Dwarf – Wilma Flintstone Or Betty Rubble?

I’ve waxed lyrical before about the brilliance of sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf (and how it took me a while to appreciate it).

From the days when the show was in its prime and at its creative and comedic peak, here is what might well be my favourite scene from the entire run (possibly because it was the opening scene of the episode that got me hooked on the show, after I had written it off as rubbish two seasons earlier).

From the first episode of season three, Backwards, it’s the scene where Lister and Cat (Craig Charles and Danny John-Jules) discuss the sexual allure of Wilma Flintstone. It’s followed by Rimmer (Chris Barrie) teaching Kryten (Robert Llewllyn) how to drive… er, pilot Starbug

(For the record, the Choob prefers Betty Rubble…)


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Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day – Red Dwarf

I remember very clearly when Red Dwarf started – because I hated it.

I was in second year at university and had just been introduced to the internet and, after the first episode, I remember arguing with a number of people on various USENET newsgroups about the show’s complete lack of humour and artistic merit. I avoided the show after that.

But then, a couple of years later, for some reason, I happened to catch the first episode of season three and could not believe the leap in quality. So, mea culpa, I got it wrong. I still think season one is a little weak in places but seasons two through five were outstanding.

Here is the the low-key, somewhat haunting opening title sequence that was used during seasons one and two:

From season three on, coinciding with a boost in the show’s production values in general, a more upbeat, action-packed title sequence was used, which had a rock music-style, faster-tempo version of the theme tune accompanying clips of scenes from the current season.

Here is the season three version:

This was season four’s, which I think is the best of the lot:

And here is season five, the last truly great season of the show, as the quality started to slide from season six on:

And finally, here are the closing credits, which include the lyrics to the Red Dwarf theme and which remained fairly constant throughout the show’s eight-season run:

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TV Newsround: Seinfeld Returns; Skeet Returns; Red Dwarf Returns; The Wire Arrives; Jensen Departs; And More…

THE four main stars of Seinfeld will be reunited on screen in a scripted show for the first time since the sitcom ended (11 years ago) in the upcoming seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards will appear in a multi-episode story arc of the HBO show, which was, of course, created by and stars Seinfeld’s co-creator Larry David (and on whom the Seinfeld character George Costanza was based).

The first three actors have all previously appeared individually as themselves on Curb Your Enthusiasm but it will be Richards’ first time on the show, and his first TV role since the row over his use of racial slurs while confronting a heckler during a stand-up comedy gig in 2006.

Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s seventh season is currently filming and will air later in the year.

WHILE Jericho fans take some comfort in the recent announcement of the story continuing in comic-book form, and while they await news on the proposed movie follow-up moving forward, there’s good news for fans of the show’s star, Skeet Ulrich.

He’s headed back to TV drama, after landing the lead role in the CBS pilot Back.

He’ll play a man who suddenly turns up at his home, eight years after being reported missing in the aftermath of the September 11 attack on New York.

Mark Pellington will direct from a script written by CSI: Miami’s Dean Widenmann.

DETAILS of the plot for the three-part Red Dwarf reunion (below), due to be broadcast on UK cable channel Dave at Easter, are up on the channel’s website now. Click here to see them.

OUTSTANDING police drama The Wire is finally heading for terrestrial TV in the UK. BBC2 have announced they will air all 60 episodes, spread over five seasons, on a nightly schedule, starting in the Spring.

The acclaimed HBO-produced drama – created and mostly written by David Simon, a former newspaper crime reporter in Baltimore – investigates the drug trade and corruption that is rife in the city, as seen through the eyes of various groups, including the police, the dealers and their underlings, politicians, trade union leaders and, in the final season, the newspaper industry.

ACTRESS Rebecca Romijn, best known as the shape-shifting mutant Mystique (right) in the X-Men movies, has grabbed the lead role in ABC’s Eastwick pilot. You might say she got the role out of the blue… Ahem. Sorry. 

Romijn, who also recently appeared in Ulgly Betty, will play Roxie in the drama, based on the John Updike novel The Witches Of Eastwick and the 1987 movie of the same name

TALKING of Ugly Betty, Scottish actress Ashley Jensen will bow out of the show at the end of the current season. She’s joined the cast of CBS comedy pilot Accidentally On Purpose, which stars Jenna Elfman as a movie critic who discovers she is pregnant after a fling with a younger man.

ACCORDING to Entertainment Weekly, long-running CBS  procedural dramas Without A Trace and Cold Case are facing the axe.

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