Classic TV: Red Dwarf VII

The sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf hit a peak with its new format from the third season onwards. That season saw the series action move from its former base on the mining ship Red Dwarf itself to the smaller shuttle craft Starbug. It retained the three main characters of Rimmer (Chris Barrie), Lister (Craig Charles) and the Cat (Danny John-Jules), but replaced Norman Lovett as the ship’s computer Holly with Hattie Hayridge in the same role, and introduced a significant new crew member in the android Kryten (Robert Llewellyn). While Holly disappeared after Red Dwarf V in 1992, the rest of the cast was unchanged until the seventh season in 1997. Read More …

Classic TV: Red Dwarf VI

The sixth season of sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf appeared in October 1993 as Red Dwarf VI. A new director was brought in for this series, Andy de Emmony, and this would be the last BBC series based around the established foursome of Rimmer (Chris Barrie), Lister (Craig Charles), Cat (Danny John-Jules) and Kryten (Robert Llewellyn), before a fifth character joined the ship’s crew in series 7. Read more …

Classic TV: Red Dwarf V

The fifth series of the sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf was first broadcast on BBC2 in February 1992. Rimmer (Chris Barrie), Lister (Craig Charles), Cat (Danny John-Jules), Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) and the ship’s computer Holly (Hattie Hayridge) all returned for this season and there were no significant changes to the series format. 

Red Dwarf V begins with a story showing Rimmer in an unusually sympathetic light. In “Holoship”, Rimmer is disgusted by the plot of a romantic film, unable to accept the premise that someone would give up their deepest desires in life because of their love for someone they will never even see again. Read more …

Classic TV: Red Dwarf IV (1991)

Seasons 4-6 of the sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf saw the series at its peak, having firmly found its feet with the new line up of Rimmer (Chris Barrie), Lister (Craig Charles), Cat (Danny John-Jules), the android Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) and the female version of the ship’s computer Holly (Hattie Hayridge). Read more …

Classic TV: Red Dwarf III

Despite its unusual premise, the first two series of the BBC sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf were ratings successes. The second season built incrementally on the success of the first, developing its characters, strengthening its writing and exploring some of the possibilities of its setting. 

But the series’ peak years began with the arrival of the new-look Red Dwarf III in 1989, Red Dwarf’s first season to be a numbered sequel. At the time, it must have come as a shock to its regular audience. The titles were different, the theme music was different, the sets were different, the look was different and even the characters were different. Read more …

Red Dwarf: The Early Years (Series I & II)

The adventures of a man, a cat and a hologram (and later on an android), Red Dwarf is one of the world’s longest-running sitcoms and the world’s second longest-running sci-fi series, after the BBC’s venerable Doctor Who. It’s also a series with a strong cult following and a legion of fans who have stuck with it through its many ups and downs over the decades. Although based on a small cast of (usually) four characters, the show has undergone many changes and much evolution – a lot of it positive, although not all of it – since it was first broadcast in 1988. Read more …

Quiz (2020): The Game Show, the Cough and the Criminal Trial

Quiz tells the story of one of the more unlikely scandals of early 21st Century Britain. It’s a story of a phenomenally successful TV game show, a million pound prize, a court case, and a lot of coughing.

Quiz 2020 ITV

In the 1990s and early 2000s British television became good at creating reality TV formats that sold around the world. Before the likes of Pop Idol and The X Factor came the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Part of Millionaire‘s appeal is summed up by that title. Its top prize was a then unprecedented £1 million. Or, as Dr. Evil might say, One Million Pounds.

Unlike later reality TV shows, the programme’s contestants weren’t filtered by how photogenic they were or what heart-rending backstory they could produce. Almost anyone could phone the production company’s hotline, answer a few questions, and theoretically have the chance of going on to compete for the million.  Read more …

Classic TV: Regan (1974)

The crime series The Sweeney first burst onto British TV screens in 1975 and presented viewers with an irresistible mix of character drama and cops ‘n’ robbers action, leavened with blokey banter and pithy dialogue. It starred John Thaw as Jack Regan, a Detective Inspector with the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad, a specialised team dealing with bank jobs and armed robberies. The title of the series was taken from “Sweeney Todd”, a rhyming slang nickname for the Flying Squad.

John Thaw in Regan 1974

Jack Regan was a tough, old school copper, grappling with the changing world of police work in the 1970s. He was assisted by his loyal Detective Sergeant, George Carter, played by Dennis Waterman. But The Sweeney didn’t mark Jack Regan and George Carter’s first screen appearance. They had been seem first in the previous year’s TV film ReganRead more …

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