Mr Flibble Talks To... Connecting the Dots
Comedy Connections producer Toby Stevens and director Angus McIntyre join Mr Flibble to chart the making of their Red Dwarf special.
27 August, 2004
Comedy Connections
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

I believe the first series was something of a 'surprise' hit?

TOBY: Maybe the commissioners forgot about us! They're busy people and we were in a Portakabin in a car park 400 miles north of TV Centre, in the rain usually. No-one checked up on us, no-one asked us what we were doing, no-one tried to get involved. We found ourselves in splendid isolation. Much as if we were the last programme in the universe. And that isolation gave us a focus which meant we were very tough on ourselves about answering our own doubts and questions about the approach. So most every choice we made was after a rigorous analysis. That made us feel we were making something rewarding and worthwhile - but you can never tell with television.

We felt pretty glum when we realised that The Sitcom Story (you might remember Dawn French linking together sitcom clips from a big sofa, then a tiny sofa) was not being broadcast when it was first delivered, because we thought there might be a bit of crossover between us and them. They finished work on The Sitcom Story as we started our filming in around October 2002 and TSS still hadn't been transmitted when we delivered our six shows at the end of March 2003. Then, TSS went into the schedules at 10.35 on Monday nights, got trails, a Radio Times front cover and a lot of press coverage and pre-publicity. And to add to our woes we were then scheduled in the exact same slot only two weeks after TSS finished. As a production team we expected our small, delicate-seeming vessel to drown in The Sitcom Story's wake, and I suspect we weren't alone. But when we started going out, we picked up some nice reviews and it became clear that people wanted to see and hear the stories we'd gathered together. So we started to gain ourselves a stealthy, healthy reputation and some solid viewing figures.