After eleven years, seven months and eight days, we bid adieu to Andrew...
4 November, 2011
All good things must come to an end. The lifespan of a Series 4000. Lister and Kochanski's relationship. Androids. But even by those earth-shattering standards, this one's a biggie.
Falling agonisingly short of getting his "Twelve Years Long Service" medal, Andrew Ellard – who should be known to most of you as the editor and writer of reddwarf.co.uk, alongside various other roles including putting together DVD content, associate producing Back to Earth and reading out messages from Doug Naylor at conventions – is riding off into the sunset in favour of an increasingly stellar career as a TV writer and script editor.
And in a break from our traditional format, we thought it only right and proper to give the floor over to Andrew to say his farewells for himself. So without further ado:
I joined Grant Naylor Productions in 2000, fresh out of university and fairly bewildered.
Doug Naylor - you've heard of him - sat opposite me in a Shepperton Studios conference room. "We're looking for someone to run the relaunched website. Write news, articles, interviews, that sort of thing."
I was a fan. Runner-up prize, Arnold Rimmer (Series II) costume, Dimension Jump 1993. So naturally I assumed this was something they were offering me to do for fun. For free.
"That'd be amazing," I said, "but I really need to find a paying job right now. I'm just out of uni and –"
Then Helen Norman, GNP's general manager and the woman I'd end up occasionally calling 'mum' by mistake, piped up. "Um...Doug's offering you a job." Doug nodded, "Yes, this would be an actual job."
How does running a website for a show I love count as work?
After a gazillion site updates, and a set of DVD documentaries and bonus material in which I take huge pride, I left in 2008 to focus on writing and script editing. Only it was the kind of leaving that didn't really take – I carried on updating the website freelance, and came back for Red Dwarf: Back to Earth in 2009.
I left again, of course, when production on the series and its DVD were completed. Except I never could quite give up this website. Not quite.
In the intervening times I've got scripts of my own into development, become script editor both for Doug and for the legendary Graham Linehan (The IT Crowd, the forthcoming Ladykillers stage production), worked on a host of other shows - watch for Cardinal Burns and Midnight Beast on E4 next year - and become Paul Jackson's go-to script consultant. Yes, that Paul Jackson. Oh, and I recorded a radio sitcom pilot with Chris Barrie and Hattie Hayridge, who I knew from... somewhere.
All that started with this website.
In truth, it's just that I'm too busy. If I weren't, I'd still be churning out 'Red Dwarf DVDs Launch in Guatemala' copy into my 70s.
So while I'll be on board for Red Dwarf X as script editor, whatever words appear on reddwarf.co.uk from now on won't be mine. Having penned more or less every line, every update, for eleven years, I'm finally leaving. Really this time. No backsies.
GNP will continue to keep the site alive, now under the careful management of Seb Patrick - hand-picked for the job in a proper sword-in-the-stone kind of way - and with a new series on the way it's a great time to bring some new energy to proceedings. I hope I won't even recognise the place this time next year.
Thanks to Doug, for that first opportunity... and for every opportunity that followed. Thanks to Helen, for all the support and being, categorically, the best colleague anyone will ever have. Thanks to Andy Neale for eleven years of coding and corrections. And thanks to Charles Armitage, for lending me money for a bicycle. (True story.)
Away I go. Fresh out of the Red Dwarf website... and still fairly bewildered.