Mr Flibble Talks To... Cain and Able
So you're looking to show Red Dwarf across America's PBS stations. You've got 52 episodes - one a week for a full year - including three seasons with hot new effects and wooshy noises. But who's going to talk to the PBS stations and remind them just how good the show is? Julius Cain, that's who...
6 April, 2001
Julius Cain
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

Can you explain the PBS system?

Public television was created in the US as a way for local entities to have a station which reflects, in the public interest, programmes which resonate with local communities. Along the way, a series of organisations were created which eventually became the Public Broadcasting Service. PBS is not a true network in that they own none of the stations and none of the stations owe fealty back to PBS - but they are similar in architecture to NBC and ABC. Public television stations actually help fund the production of programmes for PBS's national programme service, quite unlike the model in commercial television.

Are there advertisements during the shows?

There are no adverts in the middle of the show. One of the things that distinguishes public television in the landscape of American broadcast is that shows are shown in [their entirety] without interruptions... other than pledge breaks which, of course, can go on for minutes at a time. But a normal show will be an intact version as seen elsewhere in the world. There are local underwriting spots that exist around the shows, but it's only between programmes.

The BBC itself is a public broadcaster - does it equate?

There are some similarities there, but the BBC is, beyond being a national broadcaster of great repute, a powerhouse production company in and of itself. Certainly one of the largest distributors of television programmes to other nations in the entire world.

PBS certainly has a fair share of programmes that are transmitted nationally as part of the national programme service, but the PBS brand doesn't exist on an international platform as well as the BBC brand does. [The BBC] is instantly recognisable anywhere in the world. And I think I just safeguarded my job! (Laughs)