There’s the end of Gardening From Scratch at the start of this tape, followed by trailers for Geoff Hamiltons Paradise Gardens and Skeleton Coast. Then a trailer for Space: Above and Beyond.
Then, “A real rave from the grave, a triumphant new series of Red Dwarf”. It’s the first episode of series VII, resolving the cliffhanger of season VI where the Starbug was destroyed by a future version of themselves. this naturally created a paradox because the time drive on the original Starbug was destroyed as well, meaning the future Starbug would never exist. It’s the time travel equivalent of pointing, shouting “look over there’ and running very fast.
The first episode is Tikka to Ride. The ship’s store of curry and poppadums has been destroyed, so Lister tricks the team into using the timedrive to go back and replenish their stores.
Hilariously, though, we then cut to Deeley Plaza in Dallas, at the time of President Kennedy’s assassination, the events of which are, here, filmed entirely in medium close-up for
budgetary artistic reasons.
There’s some slapstick involving Lee Harvey Oswald, and the show ends up with the crew having to find a way to assassinate Kennedy themselves to fix a bad timeline. Their solution is interesting, at least, but I don’t think the pathos it was meant to evoke really works in such a broad comic show. But full marks for at least trying.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 17 January 1997 21.00
Before the next episode, more from Gardening From Scratch, and a ‘You make the BBC what it is’ trail from Reeves and Mortimer.
Then, another episode of Red Dwarf. I suspect the team had a huge amount of fun doing the opening, in which Ace Rimmer fights a nazi crocodile in mid-air, rescues a princess, then takes off on a flying motorcycle.
This episode is called Stoke Me a Clipper. After the opening, Lister goes into an AR simulation featuring King Arthur, played by Brian Cox.
And Sarah Alexander plays Guinevere.
Ace Rimmer jumps to ‘our’ dimension, much to our Rimmer’s disgust, but he reveals to Rimmer that he’s dying, and that our Rimmer has to take his place as the new Ace.
It’s another strangely melancholic episode, and was the show’s send-off for Chris Barrie, who wouldn’t be returning to the show, for this season at least. Well, I assume so…
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 24 January 1997 21.00
Before the next episode there’s a trailer for an Orson Welles marathon, with Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons and TX: Orson Welles.
There’s also a trailer for Space: Above and Beyond.
Then, the next episode is Ouroborus, starting with the discovery of a baby boy in a box in a pub back in 2155.
Then there’s a time rift, in which we see a different version of the start of Red Dwarf – complete with a surprise Chris Barrie. And we’re introduced to the alternate dimension Kochanski, who no longer looks like Claire Grogan and now looks like Chloe Annett off of Crime Traveller.
And Lister’s childhood is explained by a temporal paradox and a little bit of hand waving. Once again, the show ends on a slightly low key note.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 31 January 1997 21.00
Yet more Gardening From Scratch before the next episode and a trailer for Trouble at the Top about Live TV.
The next episode is Duct Soup. Kochanski and Lister are having trouble sleeping. it leads to some soul searching and soul baring as they are trapped in a corridor.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 7 February 1997 21.00
Another burst of Gardening From Scratch before the next episode, plus trailers for Hero of the People and Space: Above and Beyond.
Then, Blue, in which Lister begins to realise that he misses Rimmer, and features Chris Barrie for the last time (this series, anyway). Kochanski is starting to get very annoying, her character seemingly defined solely by being annoyed at being there. And this happens.
50 Shades of Smeg.
it also features The Rimmer Experience, a theme park ride celebrating Rimmer’s (rather exaggerated) life.
And the unforgettable Rimmer song.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 14 February 1997 21.00
In a change to the usual, it’s Gardener’s World before the next episode, including this chap.
His name is Bob Flowerdew. He is an organic gardener. And he lives in Dickleburgh.
There’s a trailer for Modern Times, and for Michael Mann’s LA Takedown.
Then, more from Red Dwarf with Beyond a Joke, co-written by Kryten himself, Robert Llewellyn. It guest stars Don Henderson as a simulant.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 21 February 1997 21.00
More from Titchmarsh &co in another bit of Gardener’s World before the next episode, and trailers for Performance (west end plays) and The Simpsons.
The next episode is Epideme. Lister gets infected by an intelligent virus and has to negotiate for his life. There’s some quite nasty moments, including Lister getting snogged by a zombie. But at least is explains why Lister lost his arm, the ramifications of which continue in the next episode, which we’ve already looked at.
BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 28 February 1997 21.00
And for people who like that sort of thing, here’s all the BBC2 continuity announcements for the show.
After this there’s a trailer for JFK.
Then, the start of Two Fat Ladies Comedy Cook-In a selection of clips from comedy shows dealing with food.
It’s nice to see some of the clips, but I don’t like the programme’s tendency to cut up several sketches and cut between them, as it rather undercuts any rhythm the original might have achieved.
And the Two Fat Ladies are genuinely awful people.
The tape ends during this show. BBC Two England, 28 February 1997 21.30