At 9pm in the evening to be precise. I know exactly where I was, I was sitting in my bedroom with an old wood panelled television that my brother and I shared on a rota basis, waiting for the opening credits to roll on a new sci fi TV series on BBC2. I was 13 years old and that night I saw the first episode of Red Dwarf. Hardly a huge landmark occasion or anything but I remember it vividly.
I loved Red Dwarf, my love of comedy perfectly merged with my love of sci fi (I was a big Dr Who fan back then) into half hour episodes of genius. As the only member of our house that could work the timer on the VCR, I was sorted and soon had the first couple of series on tape.
Years later it took a firm hand from my now wife then girlfriend to rid me of my Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, Duane Dibbley, Duke of Dork and SmegHead tee shirts. I am eternally grateful to her for doing this as part of the boyfriend project.
Of course liked most BBC sitcoms, with the exception of Blackadder, Red Dwarf outstayed its welcome, especially after the writing team of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor split up, and the last few series weren’t much cop at all but for the first 4 or 5, it was truly great. Now it’s back, for series number 10, on Dave, one of the digital channels. I missed it last night but am going to pick it up on repeat over the weekend. For old times sake more than anything.
It does make we wonder though. Are my kids going to have any landmark memories of their favourite TV programmes? At the age of 5 and a half, the boy has watched a lot of telly but only the smallest part of it has actually been live broadcast. This is something I’ve blogged about before but I’d not really considered the social element. When Red Dwarf first aired, the playground talk the next morning was full of it, people delivering their favourite lines, arguing about the theme tune and so on. With such a fragmented audience, watching so many different things on so many channels, has this sort of playground chat all but died out?
If it has it’s a shame, because it really enthused me as a lad and helped bring me out of my shell.