Mr Flibble Talks To... The Sidekick Speaks
Giving in to the literally ones of people who requested it, Mr Flibble has relented and turned his hex vision spotlight onto Andrew Ellard - co-ordinator of and quite literally the penguin's right hand man.
22 June, 2001
Andrew Ellard
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

How did you get involved with

It's weird. I feel like I've been practising for the job since I was about 16. I remember scribbling Mr Flibble pictures over a mock exam paper back in 1992! Doing my G.C.S.E.'s and reading the Smegazine rather than the textbooks - that explains a lot, actually. (Laughs) Yeah, after ruining my education, the least Red Dwarf could do was give me a job!

At university I wrote a lot of scripts - some not too bad, and some ghastly sci-fi stuff that doesn't deserve to see the light of day - and learned tons. They always tell you to write two scripts and throw them away, it gets all the bad stuff out quickly. I haven't thrown them away, but they have been staked through the heart and buried. The rest I shopped around a little, trying to make some headway as a scriptwriter.

Meanwhile, I was sending letters and articles - and pictures, God help us - to the fan club's magazine, BTL. Things like Dave Lister on Rikki Lake where he talks about how hard it is being his own father; or Film 3,000,096 which reviewed Red Dwarf movies as if they'd been made by James Cameron, Paul Verhoeven, Oliver Stone and John Landis. Actually, that one's pretty timely now. Maybe I should dig it out - the club are bound to have it in their back issues.

Somewhere along the line I was asked to be one of the contestants on the Universe Challenge quiz - fans versus cast. But I ended up as just a sub, so I didn't make it on. [I] got to hang around the set, though - I have Polaroids taken by Helen Norman at GNP of me on the set with Mr Flibble, who was the cast's mascot!

Then, just as I was finishing my Masters [degree], the Red Dwarf Fan Club got in touch to see if I'd be interested in edit&ing BTL. I jumped at it, of course. We updated the mag a bit, set up a regular interview section, managed to brighten things up; and the new team have gone even further. BTL looks great now... now I've bloody left! (Laughs)

The club runs independently, and it's voluntary. I'd been doing it since college finished, and - a bit of teaching aside - hadn't got myself a job. Well, something I was doing must have got me some attention at Grant Naylor - they asked to have a meeting with me about the club, and when I went down Doug offered me the job on the new website! I moved to the area, handed BTL over and got stuck in.

Mr Flibble said that was the longest, most dull and boring life story he'd ever read - and he's read Kevin Keegan's 'Football, It's a Funny Old Game'. Then he realised that Andrew had been haunted by the Flibble ghost for a long time...

That's right - it's so bizarre. Drawing on that exam paper, pictured with him at the tenth anniversary. My sister even gave me a fake one as a present once. So yeah - chased by the penguin. But he's okay to work with - I keep him locked in a drawer between interviews.