Mr Flibble Talks To... Talking Trading
With Red Dwarf trading cards on the way, Mr Flibble gets chatty with Gwyneth Glascodine - Futera's head of development and the only woman to take scissors to the penguin himself...
1 December, 2001
Gwyneth Glascodine
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

Mr Flibble remains scared of Gwyneth because of what was done to him with a pair of scissors. But, professional to the last, and sporting an unnecessarily large bandage, he whispered his first question for Andrew to pass on - albeit from behind the sofa: What kind of things do FUTERA do, for those who don't know?

Futera is the UK's largest publisher of Trading Cards. The brand has been around for over 13 years and launched into the UK market with some of the biggest names in licensed products including Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal Football Club. At one stage we were handling product for over 12 Clubs!

However, the Futera brand is now focused on what it's best known for - its Limited Edition collections with exciting and unique memorabilia 'Chase Cards' to hunt for and collect. Finding really interesting memorabilia to make our 'Chase Cards' with is what gives me - and the Futera staff - the real 'buzz'.

Amongst items used for Futera collections have been game worn jerseys from David Beckham, Michael Owen, Zidane, Pele, Charlie Chaplin's braces, Fred Astaire's dancing shoes, Shaq O'Neil's amazing size 24 match-worn boot, Bette Davis' evening dress, etc.

But all this pales into insignificance compared to what's going to jump out of the Red Dwarf box! I mean, the sheer delight of taking the scissors to Mr. Flibble's bottom in the cause of a unique Futera Chase Card, well...(Laughs)

Mr Flibble winced and adjusted the surgical dressing on his painful posterior. A section was cut from the celebrity bottom to provide a one-off piece of memorabilia for a trading card!

I do just have to add at this point that we are all very, very sorry that we found it necessary to perform a Puppet Vasectomy - probably the first ever in TV History - towards the seriously worthy cause of a Futera Chase Card. But you can take heart in the fact that your posterior will probably end up (pardon the pun!) to be one of the most collectible Chase Cards in Sci-fi history!

How did the Red Dwarf cards come about - did you approach Grant Naylor...?

Red Dwarf is a firm favourite with everyone here, so it was an obvious property for Futera to become involved with. However, both Licensors and Licensees must invest time in ensuring that the subject matter, appropriate distribution, product content and quality are right for both parties. In fact, I would say that the 'Red Dwarf Trading Card Collection' has undoubtedly been the most exciting and tastefully designed release that I have personally had the enjoyment of working with.

My favourite subset is the 'Monsters'. I am totally in love with a pastel, chrome representation of Legion and will pin it on my bedroom wall. Makes an interesting and inspiring change from my husband. (Laughs)

Have you been working closely with Grant Naylor Productions to capture the feel and style of the show?

Absolutely. It's one thing for us, as a publisher, to create brilliant designs. But good visuals, exciting effects and collectible memorabilia don't necessarily reflect the feel of the subject matter. We've been indebted to the input from everyone at Grant Naylor. Apart from them being extremely helpful and genuinely interested in what we are doing, they exude the whole 'ethos' of Red Dwarf which has given us invaluable insight into the series. This helps us not only in terms of design, but it's made working on this project thoroughly enjoyable.

Mr Flibble, mumbling about wanting a nurse - preferably one in pun-suggesting 'fish-net' stockings - wanted to know a bit about the way CARDS 'work' - how people collect them, what chase cards are, etc...

Packets of cards are purchased to collect the basic Main Set. There are 64 cards in the Red Dwarf Main Set. Inside, in addition to the regular cards, you may find and collect the special, rarer 'Chase' Cards. They can be foil coated, gold plated, hologram or even autographed. In fact, our most rare cards are 24 ct Gold plated, and even manufactured in Crystal! Whatever, they stand out in some way from the basic set.

When you buy a pack of cards, it should tell you on the reverse of the packet or box what the odds are of finding a Chase Card. A ratio of 1:3 means that there is one of a particular Chase Card in approximately every third pack. Likewise, 1:1000 means there is one of a particular Chase Card in approximately every one thousand packs. If you find one of these you could have a very valuable card indeed!

With the advent of the 'Internet', trading card collecting has become big business as collectors all over the world are seeking ordinary 'man in the street' card owners to bid for specific numbered cards to complete their collections. I remember that one autographed 'George Best' card we made about 4 years ago sold for over £1,000! It's just a pity that we don't have any ourselves!

Were there specific things you wanted to do with the cards - particularly 'SPECIALS'?

If you're really, really lucky you could find a piece of the famous 'Kryten's mask', the Dibbley family mop-head wig, Rimmer's cherished Morris Dancer Monthly magazine, and real Red Dwarf banknotes! A Psiren has, I believe, lost some skin, but that's nothing because the GELFs have somehow lost their complete masks! All in all, some really interesting stuff! And there's more... but I'm not going to tell you now.

Apart from the elements I've already divulged, detail of the 'Specials' is probably the best kept secret this side of Christmas! Keep checking out - the Main Set checklist, including full descriptions of the specials, will be published just prior to launch. We produce a 'Checklist Card' which lists all the cards to collect in a Set.

Mr Flibble placed corks on the ends of all nearby sharp objects. Has a lot of work gone into the DESIGN and artwork created for the cards?

Aaargh - what a question! Do you know how much I've had to pay Dylan to come into work every day? Not to mention free beers, Chinese take-aways and Red Dwarf banknotes! Seriously, we all tend to work long hours anyway - 11 hour days are normal - but when we get into the 'creative flow', we're very likely to be there at midnight.

At Futera we tend to regard our collections as 'works of art', combining thoughtful design and special effects to convey the feel of the subject matter, but without losing the main focus of each card. I'm really pleased with what we're achieving - the market's just going to be blown away when they see this release....

You've got an exclusive script - the original climax to series VIII...

We've been extremely privileged to have access to this material. Not only does it mean that this collection is genuinely an 'exclusive' for Red Dwarf fans, Futera and the trading card market at large - but for the very first time in Red Dwarf history visual representation of the series can be a tangible, collectible and potentially valuable item to 'have and hold' from this day forward... Aah, something heartwarming, I feel. (Laughs)

Mr Flibble enjoyed talking to Gwyneth, and now that it's over... Mr Flibble is very cross.