Observation Dome

Caitlin Moran: Idiot

Oh dear.

Hyperdrive (Wednesday, BBC Two, 10pm) poses the question: if you were a scriptwriter, would you want to write “the new Red Dwarf?” On the one hand, the writers of the original Red Dwarf — Doug Naylor and Rob Grant — have become rich beyond their wildest dreams; primarily from the “Let’s Get the Smeg Out of Here” T-shirt millions. Also, in the event of their wealthy, sybaritic lifestyles catching up with them, they could easily commandeer the healthy internal organs of an untouched virgin acolyte from virtually any IT department in Britain. To write the new Red Dwarf would be to live as a god. On the other hand, you would be the writer of the new Red Dwarf.

Thankfully, Hyperdrive — rogues and slobs aboard an unimportant spaceship, adrift in the sitcom universe — circumnavigates this problem by being much better than Red Dwarf. It turns out that this is a fairly easy thing to do: don’t employ Chris Barrie or Craig Charles, write a very funny script, give a role to Kevin Eldon, don’t call the project Red Dwarf, and refrain from using the word “smeg”.

Do the words "sneery" and "bollocks" spring to mind?


In fact, I'm trying to work out whether she could have a more ridiculously inaccurate stereotype of a Dwarf fan if you tried. Erm, just look at Dimension Jump - hardly anyone fits her description at all.

But hey, for all those that do, let's bash virginial puter people, eh? Such a worthwhile target! She comes across as a pathetic playground bully.

By John Hoare [TypeKey Profile Page] on 12-01-06 @ 00:30

Wow. At least her name easily converts to Moron.

By Ghostie on 12-01-06 @ 00:33

Yeah, well, just look at her Life On Mars summary :

Simms looks brilliant, and the whole series is something you will be wanting to invest your time in for the next 12 weeks

His name is Simm, not Simms, and if you want to invest your time in it for 12 weeks you can do, love, but the rest of us will just be watching it for the eight weeks it's actually on...

Stupid woman. In an ideal world, there would be no newspaper TV reviewers at all save for Charlie Brooker. I was a bit worried that he seemed to have stopped doing Screen Burn, but there's still new stuff from him on the Grauniad site, including a review of the year in which he states quite accurately that "Best Overall Show of the Year was clearly, obviously and undeniably Doctor Bloody Brilliant Who." But yes, I digress. TV critics = idiots. Except for Charlie Brooker. And even he can be an idiot when he decides to try and write a sitcom.

By Seb Patrick [TypeKey Profile Page] on 12-01-06 @ 01:16

> It turns out that this is a fairly easy thing to do: don’t employ Chris Barrie or Craig Charles, write a very funny script, give a role to Kevin Eldon, don’t call the project Red Dwarf, and refrain from using the word “smeg”.

I don't think a passage has infuriated me this much for a long time. Normally I'd just take that with a pinch of salt but for some reason I'm really fucked off.

By performingmonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] on 12-01-06 @ 02:47

Indeed. Clue: reductionism does not good journalism make.

I mean, there isn't a single coherently argued thing in the piece. It's just pure shit journalism.

By John Hoare [TypeKey Profile Page] on 12-01-06 @ 02:55

Oh for fuck sake.

So her review (such as it is) of a new sit-com is merely to slag off one that ended years ago.

She has simply seized an opportunity to register her opinion on Dwarf rather than the show she's presumably meant to be reviewing.

By Karl on 12-01-06 @ 08:30

Of course, by complaining here it's just preaching to the converted. The smart move would be for people to write to the periodical in question - pointing out how tedious this kind of Dwarf-rantery is to more than a few people who, well, already know.

I know I talk a lot about how Series VII & VIII fans are reduced to silence by the louder 'main' Dwarf fan voice. The same happens to Dwarf fans in the SF/comedy community - "Shut up. How can you like that? It's just getting laughs from the word 'smeg'." And so that group loses its voice - SFX's editorial style alone indicates that.

Instead of being ghettoised, those of us who happen to like Red Dwarf should be making as point of being heard. Instead of scuttling off to hide among our own small community, word should be spread that, hey, the show's popular, the show's good, and we're getting a little sick of uninformted criticism...

By Andrew on 12-01-06 @ 10:05

I'm still not convinced that people who love VII and VIII don't have a voice. I see loads of comments on the net who love them. But I don't think we'll agree on this one.

(I do think it'd be nice to have a fansite run by people who love both series though, as a kind of balance - the best I can do is publish any articles we get sent in supporting the series. We've published the one we've had sent in to G&T, and I've requested them loads of times - and not just in arguments, in case that one gets brought up again.)

Agreed about the general point about speaking outside our community, though. The problem is that it's very difficult not to come across over-sensitive to outsiders...

By John Hoare [TypeKey Profile Page] on 12-01-06 @ 11:40

Who is this woman, and who does she work for?

By Si on 12-01-06 @ 13:21

I've just sent this to the letters page of The Times:

Dear Sir,

I am writing to complain about Caitlin Moran's television highlights
column, published 7th January 2006. In the section on the new sci-fi
comedy series 'Hyperdrive', Ms Moran chooses to spend most of her time
criticising 'Red Dwarf', a programme that finished six years ago. I
appreciate that opinion on that show is mixed, and that I, as a 'Red
Dwarf' fan, am biased, but I fail to see the point of writing all that
sneery nonsense about an old show, and then only actually writing
ELEVEN WORDS about the programme that is supposedly being reviewed.

This shows a complete lack of journalistic integrity. I don't have a
problem with the fact that she doesn't like 'Red Dwarf'; it's the
childish digs at the show's writers and fans that I find offensive.
They're also inaccurate: there never was a t-shirt with the slogan
"let's get the smeg out of here", and of all the 'Red Dwarf' fans I've
met, very few fit the stereotype of "an untouched virgin acolyte from
virtually any IT department in Britain". Ms Moran should come to the
next 'Red Dwarf' convention, and see what a diverse, friendly and
interesting mix of people follow the show.

Besides which, if this stereotype was even remotely true, what gives
Caitlin Moran the right to look down on such people? How is a bad
journalist any better than someone who's really good at computing? And
to anyone with an ounce of maturity, there's no shame in being a
virgin. But Caitlin Moran should be ashamed of this sneery, bullying,
naive and remarkably stupid diatribe.


Ian Symes.


I doubt it'll get published, but I'll let you all know if I recieve a reply from anyone.

By Ian Symes on 12-01-06 @ 13:32

I bloody love you, Symes.

By Andrew on 12-01-06 @ 13:50

Steady now.

By Ian Symes on 12-01-06 @ 14:04

I'm actually quite proud of myself for not doing the "Caitlin Moron" joke.

By Ian Symes on 12-01-06 @ 14:48


By John Hoare [TypeKey Profile Page] on 12-01-06 @ 14:49

I'd really like to see her review on this when it starts :)


"The high-rise towers of Renham Industries are full of go-getters, success stories, and winners... apart from in the basement. While their beautiful colleagues work upstairs in fantastic surroundings, the I.T. department - Jen, Roy and Moss - lurk below ground, scorned by their co-workers as geeky losers."

By Daff on 12-01-06 @ 15:18

One of them's called 'Moss'? HAHAHAHAHA!

By Ian Symes on 12-01-06 @ 15:24

Ian: You, sir, are a bloody gem.

from (nearly)27-year old smeggy virgin, si. xx

By Si on 12-01-06 @ 15:31

Red Dwarf finished *seven* years ago.

By Si on 12-01-06 @ 15:36

Ah, bollocks, so it did. Curse you, New Years Day.

By Ian Symes on 12-01-06 @ 15:43

The last episode was screened on the 5th of April 1999. That's not seven years yet...

I think I'd be more bothered about this if she actually put across a decent opinion. The first episode of Hyperspace was unqualified cack, thus showcasing her other comments as the ramblings of a daffy bint.

By Pete Martin on 12-01-06 @ 15:58

I am not a bint!

By Daff on 12-01-06 @ 16:02

Also, there is no way that anyone with a full set of marbles could ever think Chris Barrie is crap. He even put in a good performance in the likes of A Prince Among Men and Motoring Wheel Nuts, despite the material being terrible.

By Ian Symes on 12-01-06 @ 16:12

I was utterly brimming over with fury when I read that, but reading Symes' letter calmed me somewhat. That stupid fuck will hopefully get plenty more like it and I'll write off one tonight.

By Cappsy on 12-01-06 @ 16:41

Moran is the nigger of the world.

By Phil Reed on 12-01-06 @ 16:46

Dylan Moran, however, is excellent.

By Ian Symes on 12-01-06 @ 17:07

Similar words of that effect were in this week's TV Times too. To me it's like saying, "We have Craig David, well that Michael Jackson's a bit crap, innee?"

By Joey on 12-01-06 @ 19:59

Well, I'm not in today's Times...

By Ian Symes on 13-01-06 @ 13:53

I'd prefer it if the editor just gave it a read and decided her talents were better utilised elsewhere.

By Pete Martin on 13-01-06 @ 15:32

> Moran is the nigger of the world.

*frowns* Um... am I missing something here?

By antipodean on 14-01-06 @ 12:50

Lennon reference, I thought.

By Ian Symes on 14-01-06 @ 13:44


'The good thing about sci-fi, for the terrestrial Tristrams who produce it, is that it attracts unarguably the least discriminating, most tunnel-visioned yet loyal audience of any oeuvre in any medium — and that includes Wagnerphiles, although Wagner could probably be seen as science fiction. People who read sci-fi read little else. Star Wars fans are a weird closed society, bearable only to each other. And there are still people writing me letters begging me to use my influence to bring back Blake’s 7; or could I possibly beam them up episode 57 of Red Dwarf to complete their set? So I expect Hyperdrive will attract a collection of smelly flotsam fantasists who will permanently orbit it. It’s a shame it doesn’t seem to be prepared to be about more than just science fiction. The original Star Trek, after all, was the best critique of late-20th-century American foreign policy ever broadcast on TV.'

There were only 52 episodes of Red Dwarf! You bastard!

Also, some stuff on the same theme as Moran...

(BTW, I only buy The Sunday Times for all the mags an d supplements you get. I do not buy The Times).

By Rad on 16-01-06 @ 14:08

Yeah, cos we never watch fucking anything else, do we?

I mean, I quite like a bit of sci-fi, and I'm a massive Who fan. But I'm not a Red Dwarf fan because I'm a sci-fi fan - I'm a Red Dwarf fan because I'm a TV comedy fan. Which is something completely different.

But then, I guess that's a whole fresh debate. Point is, telly reviewers (again, Chuck Brooker aside) are DAMN FULE.

By Seb Patrick [TypeKey Profile Page] on 16-01-06 @ 17:32

It's not just TV reviewers. The fact is that so many people are obessed with SF fan stereotypes. Which is just odd, frankly.

By John Hoare [TypeKey Profile Page] on 16-01-06 @ 17:58

Actually, the best review I read ever was of the new Doctor Who - "It's back, and this time, it's not just for nerds!"

Erm... go back and check the viewing figures of the original series and try again.

By John Hoare [TypeKey Profile Page] on 16-01-06 @ 17:59

Being totally honest here.

I only watched the first series of who because I knew Ian would want to watch it when he visits, and I know how annying it is when someones sat at the side of you asking you to explain whats gone on up to that point in the story. That said I thought it was bloody fantastic and I don't know many people who caught even one episode who don't think the same way.

If a reviewer can't be objective and write specifially what thier supposed to be reviewing, then, in my eyes, thier review is not worth the paper its written on.

By Spid on 17-01-06 @ 00:32

Erm... go back and check the viewing figures of the original series and try again.

Or indeed go back and check the manner with which it won that "Nation's Favourite Drama" award thingy a few years back.

By Seb on 18-01-06 @ 11:45

A casual glimpse at the top movies at the box office over the years shows SF's popularity - who thinks it's 'just the nerds' going to see these things? Terminators, Star Wars, Aliens - and if you expand to the fantasy and comic book genres...well, Lord of The Rings, King Kong, Spider-Man, Batman...

No genre does better. Not drama, not comedy. Maybe the action picture, I guess. Which is why they get so cross-bred with SF so often. It's not making dosh from some over-keen hardcore, that's the general piublic's cash.

Why is wanting to see every episode of a West Wing DVD box set, or having a full collection of Dickens on the shelf and memorised, a sign of some culural superiority, but seeing all of Buffy or Dwarf an indication of irredemable nerdishness, deserving scorn, supposed slurs against the sex life ('virgins') and social failings ('never go out, live in their mum's basement')?

John also made the point very well elsewhere: being a music 'nerd' isn't a problem, it's apparently 'cool'. So what is it about this one genre?


By Andrew on 19-01-06 @ 00:37

The stupid thing is about this isn't just that it's inaccurate. There *is* a (small) group of people who fit the stereotype perfectly.

Now, they're really the kind of people who deserve sneering at, aren't they?

As I said: Playground bullies, the lot of them.

By John Hoare [TypeKey Profile Page] on 19-01-06 @ 17:04

The really sad thing about this article (apart from the fact that it is totally and irredeemably wrong) is that this woman is trying to be a part of a truly tiny, cliquish, pathetic little group of people - the entertainment critic, who mystically believe that their opinions actually count for something to the vast majority of ordinary people.

If ever there was a truly stereotypical bunch, it's the world of 'professional' critics, who never create anything worthwhile of their own and will almost never strike out and go against the 'prevailing wisdom' of others in their line of work, even if they actually enjoy a show that their peers queue up to attack.

That is what I call a bunch of sorry losers....

By I'malumberjack on 21-01-06 @ 14:25

Did anything ever come of that letter?

By si on 21-02-06 @ 13:50

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