I originally watched Red Dwarf from the day it started in 1988. I missed the odd episode here and there over the next few years as I was only young and had lots of stuff going on in my life. Mainly being a kid and doing homework for school, ha ha.
I would say I’ve been a fan of Red Dwarf since about 1997. There have been moments, where I could not live without even going one day without watching at least one episode. There have been times that I’ve been so fed up with Red Dwarf that I wanted to bin my whole collection and find a different pastime. I think that most fans of this television series, and possibly others, go though the same feelings – I do know a number of people at least – so I’m not on my own
So this is how this web site began,
In 1997 I started to learn HTML (The language of the Web) and decided to write a section of my personal home page about Red Dwarf. Only having episodes I’d taped from television (mostly from the 1994 re-run), the information I had was limited to the shows content and what I could remember. I scoured the Internet (at the time on a 486 PC running Windows 3.11, using a shared modem which was really slow) for as much Red Dwarf information I could find, to put on my own Red Dwarf section. At the time there were not many sites out there, and to be honest they weren’t very good. Most of the better web sites were an add-on to newsgroups. The Red Dwarf section on my personal home page grew larger as I redesigned it over and over whilst practicing different web design techniques.
In December 1998 I decided that I had enough Red Dwarf information gathered to create web site solely for that subject. So over the Christmas break (I was at University), I worked really hard hand-coding each page to make my very own Red Dwarf web site. I hosted the site with GeoCities and I was quite happy with the results. Over time I found faults with my design, and there were things I didn’t like about it too, so I decided to totally redesign the site. Over the summer of 1999 I worked my socks off on a new design. I had only tried one WYSIWYG editor at the time and that was Microsoft’s FrontPage 98. I only used it once as it was an absolutely terrible tool. So, back to hand-coding the web site I went. To do the design how I wanted meant using one of the most difficult to understand HTML techniques – Frames. I hand-coded over 30 framesets for the site. This was a lot of work, but my love of Red Dwarf kept me going, sometimes very late into the night.
I launched the site in August 1999 hosting it on the web space and using the web address I got with my ISP, then got a free V3 URL domain name to disguise it (http://come.to/total_reddwarf). This was brilliant, my own Red Dwarf site and there wasn’t another – that I knew of – which was as good as it.
I soon found a one or two other Red Dwarf web sites popping up online. Some were brilliant, some not so good. The original, I think – fan created site at redddwarf.co.uk went offline soon after and was replaced with a nice flash cartoon featuring Doug Naylor stating that the web site was going to have an overhaul. The site came to us about 5 months later and was brilliant. The Officers Club part of the site which features the Webboard and Chat Room came a few months later and was my first proper contact with other Red Dwarf fans. The message board grew with hundreds of people registering with the site. I began to make friends on in the Chat room like bbJohn, DannyJohnJulesLover aka Kate (who is now my best friend), Larry (who I nick named “Loopy Larry” hmm? That kinda stuck), KarenNC from North Carolina. I met her at DJ:IX, she’s lovely, Simon Turner and Beth Turner (No, not of Pirates of the Caribbean). These two met on the Webboard after Vicky and I got together. We knew something was going on the moment they met Anyway I could go on about the history of the Webboard and the hundreds of friends I’ve made all day, but this is about my Red Dwarf life, so back to me. I met my first proper girlfriend on the Webboard. I picked a name out at random from the members registered on the Webboard, emailed her, we became friends, decided to meet up (this was one of the best experiences of my life). We started to go out with each other – and the rest is history. We were together for over 3 years, and we had some great times even though we had a long-distance relationship. In the end we grew apart and I finished the relationship, but as far as I know she’s happy in her life
Anyway, whilst I was with Vicky we shared 2 Dimension Jumps togethger DJ:IX and DJX. The latter of these you can see highlights if you buy Red Dwarf Series III on DVD and watch Hattie’s DJ Diary on Disc 2. I feature as part of this *smug mode*. I appeared practically naked when I entered the DJ Fancy Dress Competition as ‘Potato Virus Rimmer’ wearing nothing but a pink thong and a skullcap made from tissue & cling film (See here) *shame overload, I I I I, sorry*.
With no new series of Red Dwarf, The Red Dwarf Movie taking so long and me having a job; Red Dwarf was put on the back burner in my life. Although I still liked Red Dwarf my life started to go in a different direction. I got too busy to update my site as often and TOTAL RED DWARF didn’t change much and to this day, still hasn’t. Because I had a job and money coming in, it only seemed right that I keep my Red Dwarf Collection going (see my TRD site). It’s getting a rather large collection now, but nowhere near as James Bull’s (The TORDFC Chairman). So anyway I attended Dimension Jump XI and entered the Fancy Dress again as Legion this time (see below), but drat I didn’t win There were some good entries. Bloody Simon Smith has a lot to answer for haha! True, his costume ideas were inspired, but mine did cost me a small fortune!!
In late 2005 after DJ:XII I was asked if I would be a member of the team over at The Official Red Dwarf Fan Club. Of course I said “Yes”. As a team member I’ve contributed towards two fan club magazines, BTL 51 and BTL 52 (BTL is an acronym for Better Than Life, the Red Dwarf episode the magazine is named after). The clubs web site address ‘reddwarffanclub.com‘ originally was registered by me in 2001 and I have designed, developed and have maintained the fan club web site until I left the Fan Club Team at the end of 2007, although I only officially became a member of the team in 2005. There is a Dimension Jump mini-site to advertise the almost annual fan club convention. I registered this web site address in 2007 and had designed it to advertise the convention. I also looked after the fan club’s email system and message boards to a certain degree, although these were then fairly autonomous.
N.B. All TORDFC web site and systems are now looked after by the current team.
One of the best things about being a member of the fan club team is Dimension Jump. I’ve attended 5 DJs but as a member of the TORDFC team I had to work at DJ13 and DJ14. You don’t realise how much work goes in to organising one of these things until your part of it. I spent most of the weekend running around like a madman (nothing new there then). Many shopping trips and taxiing was done too.
So that’s were we’re up to. I’m well known on the reddwarf.co.uk Webboard, I’m kinda now known world wide as I’m on the Red Dwarf Series III DVD
I ended my time with The Official Red Dwarf Fan Club team at the end of December in 2007. Time and family commitments took their toll and I decided to bow out.
More recently I’ve found a company on Twitter called Diabloskinz who makes skins and cases for gadgets like mobile phones, laptops, tablets and the like so I contacted him because I liked his products. I was a bit gutted that they didn’t make Red Dwarf skins or cases. I had a plan: put them in touch with Grant Naylor Productions I’ve done this and there are now Red Dwarf X skins and cases available.