Red Dwarf VI – tape 1592

Here’s the sixth series of Red Dwarf. The crew have lost the Red Dwarf, which I contend is the beginning of a duff streak. In Psirens, Lister wakes up after 200 years of hypersleep.

Craig Charles and Robert Llewellyn

The crew are tempted by telepathic brain sucking monsters. Which gives the show an excuse to have another Claire Grogan cameo as Kochanski.

Claire Grogan

Lister can’t resist one of the Psirens, and it’s not a pretty sight.

Lister and a Psiren

And when Kryten meets it, it looks like his creator, played by Jenny Agutter.

Jenny Agutter

Also appearing in a brief cameo, Anita Dobson.

Anita Dobson

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 7th October 1993 – 21:00

The next episode is Legion. The crew of Starbug find an old military research centre.

Space Station

The only inhabitant is Legion. He gives Rimmer a hard light body, meaning he can fell and touch things. Useful.

Legion

But he doesn’t want the crew to leave because he’s a gestalt entity created from all the crew’s minds.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 14th October 1993 – 21:00

Next is Gunmen of the Apocalypse. The ship is pursued by rogue simulants, who don’t like humans. But the crew manage to defeat them. Nice model work here.

Simulant Ship

Kryten is onfected with a virus so the rest of the crew have to go into his consciousness using the augmented reality system, and it appears that Kryten must have been originally designed in Westworld.

Cowboy Kryten

They have to help Kryten defeat the four horsemen of the apocalypse and create a dove program to clear the virus.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 21st October 1993 – 21:00

Before the next episode, there’s the end of Top Gear with Clarkson driving a Ferrari to the strains of Meat Loaf.

Then there’s a trailer for two programmes about Margaret Thatcher’s fall from power. And a trailer for Inside Victor Lewis Smith.

Next it’s Emohawk: Polymorph II. The crew need to negotiate with some Gelf for equipment to repair Starbug. But what the Gelf want is for Lister to marry the chief’s daughter.

Gelf

When Lister skips out on the wedding night, the chief sends his Emohawk after them to feed on their emotions. It takes away the cat’s cool, leading to a return appearance from Duane Dibbley.

Duane Dibbley

And to complete the set, it removes Rimmer’s bitterness and negativity, becoming Ace Rimmer again.

Ace Rimmer

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 28th October 1993 – 21:00

Next it’s Rimmerworld. After trying to raid a simulant ship, Rimmer goes through a wormhole and lands on a planet, and because of time dilation, 600 years pass for him, but only a few days pass for the rest of the crew before they arrive at the planet.

In the intervening years, Rimmer plays with cloning. It’s not a pretty sight.

Female Rimmer

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 4th November 1993 – 21:00

The next episode here is Out of Time. The crew discover that Lister is a droid. Except his isn’t. The ship is travelling through unreality bubbles.

Unreality Bubble

They acquire a time machine, and come across themselves from the future. Here’s Rimmer.

Old Rimmer

The Cat

Old Cat

Kryten

Old Kryten

And Lister.

Lister's Brain

The series also ends on a cliffhanger. Which is nice.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 11th November 1993 – 21:00

Here’s all the continuity that I’ve got for these episodes.

After this last episode, there’s a strange extra programme. I think it must be a dub from another tape, for some reason. I genuinely have no idea where it came from.

It’s a long infomercial for Acorn computers masquerading as a friendly guide to the world of home computers.

It’s presented by John Leslie, formerly of Blue Peter, formerly going out with Catherine Zeta Jones.

John Leslie

It’s staged as an elimination, deciding which computers are best at different tasks, but obviously, the Acorn computer comes top. John gives us the handy mnemonic you should use to remember what’s what when buying a home computer: TAME SPROGS.

Tame Sprogs

Here’s what these all mean:

  • T: Thirty Two Bit Risc – if your computer hasn’t got it, don’t buy it. Talk about stacking the deck. The ARM was about the only 32bit RISC system available at the time.
  • A: Affordable
  • M: Multimedia
  • E: Education
  • S: Software
  • P: Personal Productivity
  • R: Reliability
  • O: Office Applications
  • G: Games
  • S: Service and Support

This must rank alongside SPLINK as the most useless mnemonic ever devised.

They dump Nintendo, Sega, Amiga and Atari pretty quickly because they didn’t have decent software for office applications. They have to put together a page with a picture and some text. “I’ll just have to pop off and get the film developed” says John, because this really was a time before digital photography.

I’m pleased to see that, for the Desktop Publishing challenge, they are using Impression on the Acorn machine. That’s a program I worked on when working for Computer Concepts, and I’m still very proud of it, and what it could do.

Impression

It’s their insistence that educational software is vitally important that really swings it for the Acorn. Because it was sold into so many schools there really was tons of educational software written specifically for the UK curriculum, so in this heavily weighted comparison, it beat the PC and Mac.

Here’s the whole thing, courtesy of the Centre for Computing History.

After this, recording switches to a special 3D edition of Top of the Pops. For a very short time, the BBC was pushing this strange 3D gimmick that never really worked. They gave away glasses on the Radio Times, and several programmes, including Tomorrow’s World and Children in Need, featured special 3D sections.

3D Top of the Pops

This episode features M People with Don’t Look Any Further, U2 and Stay (Far away So Close), Bjork, live from France with Big Time Sensuality.

Bjork

Oh dear God, here’s Mr Blobby. That was this year’s Christmas Number One, you know. Here’s Jeremy Clarkson in the video.

Jeremy Clarkson

And is that really Marcella Detroit?

Marcella Detroit

Carol Vorderman is also added to the hall of infamy.

Carol Vorderman

After that bilge, East 17 with It’s Alright sounds like a masterpiece. It isn’t, obviously, but in comparison…

There’s some random ‘3D’ for Snoop Doggy Dogg, the Bee Gees, and a re-release for the Village People.

Take That, performing Take That Babe, appear to be dressed as extras from an AmDram production of Fiddler on the Roof.

Take That

But all is forgiven, because still at number one (for the seventh week) is Meat Loaf and I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That). Which is genuinely one of my favourite songs, as I love the work of Jim Steinman. And that’s coincidentally, is the second appearance of Meat Loaf on this one tape. I hope he’s doing well.

This chart is from 28th November 1993, so I’m assuming that this episode has a BBC Genome of BBC One – 2nd December 1993 – 19:00

After this, there’s a trailer for the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party). There the tape ends.

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4 comments

  1. Red Dwarf VI may represent a very slight drop in quality in comparison with the incandescent fifth season, but it’s all still really solid, and the action scenes are exceptional. I remember being slightly peeved at the series’ premise – Red Dwarf has been ‘lost’ – but the strength of the scripts overcame all other deficiencies; there really isn’t a weak episode here. The rot really set in with season VII, which began with that deus ex machina explanation of the cliffhanger at the end of Out Of Time, and went downhill from there. The second half of that series is dreadful, and the following series is unwatchable. (One half of the Grant Naylor writing duo left during series VII.)

    The autumn of 1993 marked the beginning of a two-year period that was pretty amazing for comedy. Red Dwarf I was repeated for the first time since its transmission in the late 1980s in January 1994; The Day Today was broadcast, and Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge in the autumn of that year, as well as Paris, Alexei Sayle’s unsuccessful sitcom, but which is well worth a watch (there was a copy on Youtube the last time I looked). BBC2 started repeating Monty Python’s Flying Circus in July 1994 IIRC. And in early 1995 the last series of Bottom was screened – and the first series of Father Ted!

    Coogan’s Run also aired in 1995, and there was also a really peculiar comedy called The Ghostbusters of East Finchley that screened on BBC2 some time that year. If you come across that one, don’t keep it to yourself. It was thoroughly engrossing, and the internet has almost nothing to say about it.

    1. Huzzah! The entire series of The Ghostbusters of East Finchley is on Youtube! It’s been there for seven months. The hundreds of hours I waste yearly looking up clips of old TV programmes is clearly insufficient…

  2. That was a brilliant period of comedy, which happily coincided with me getting my own video recorded, which I absolutely hammered recording every comedy show on telly. I think just like people around in the early seventies are the Python Generation, and totally influenced by them, those like me who were around in the early nineties are the Day Today Generation. It was certainly the most amazing series I’d ever seen, and I can’t imagine ever liking any comedy show as much.

    I would also include The Fast Show in 1994’s greatest hits. The last series of Bottom wasn’t very good, though, I don’t think, though I remember being amazed when I opened the Radio Times in January 1995 and it was in there, I didn’t even know they were making it.

    Interesting to see that 3D Pops, as you say it was part of Children in Need with various programmes including 3D segments. It was a practice they repeated two years with scratch and sniff, not that Pops contributed to that one. It was a really ropey period for Top of the Pops, that, though, the papers pretty much reported it was about to be axed and certainly it was totally unfashionable, and it almost certainly would have been axed had Ric Blaxill not taken over as producer in early 1994 and revamped it. In fact, the ratings didn’t improve all that much, but it became a million times more credible and it got a stay of execution. For the time being, at least.

    1. I agree totally. I often thought of the Iannucci/Morris/Coogan/Front/ Scheider/Marber/Mackichan crowd as the 90s equivalent of the MPFC troupe. I often think they were not recognised as such because it was hard to pigeonhole what they were doing, as peculiar as that sounds. Reeves and Mortimer (yet *another* great comedy act to emerge around the same time) suffered from the same issue. I recall Q Magazine once referring to them as exponents of ‘Northern surrealism’, but the label never caught on.

      The Fast Show took a little while to come up to speed, I felt, but by the second season it had really hit its stride. Watching it now, it is hard not to be struck by how traditional it is in tone, when at the time it seemed almost revolutionary. For all of its progressive values, there is a surprising amount of gender stereotyping and even occasional instances of racism. It is also almost entirely apolitical. In this I suppose it conforms quite well to Britpop and that weird period in the mid-90s when Major’s government was a broken reed, but it didn’t matter because Blair was going to put everything right. (That really worked out.)

      That last series of Bottom is a little forced, but there are a couple of gems in it, including the classic ‘ferris wheel’ episode – as good a two-hander as anything by Galton and Simpson IMHO – and ‘Dough’, in which Eddie forges his own money.

      Plus repeats of Blackadder, The Young Ones, Reggie Perrin… *Nostalgia attack*

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