he bread-obsessed interviewer chats to the rich Lister's butler, Gilbert.

Name: Gilbert St John McAdam Ostrog Gilbert St John McAdam Ostrog
Occupation: TButler to David Lister, the tension sheet billionaire
Qualifications: Butler training school, followed by three years clearing up after royal corgis. Still preferable to clearing up after Mr Lister
Distinguishing Marks: Moustache. Slicked-back hair and ponytail. Yes, it is cool again.
Lister's Notes: Top geezer, Gilbert. Doesn't even complain when I need him to get me socks off - after a while they tend to stick...

Gilbert - would you like some toast?

Not particularly, but if you'd like, I can have chef whip some up.

Oh... no, once it's cooked, it's kinda out of my jurisdiction.

Very well.

Tell me how you got the job working for Dave Lister.

As you know, Mr Lister was the inventor of the tension sheet - that fabulous invention which lowers stress levels while providing a convenient way of packing up parcels.

Sounds like you're not that impressed with his creation.

IThe way Mr Lister tells it, he got the idea from - and I'm quoting here - "Some bloke down the pub." I'm amazed it required even that much effort. It's plastic bubble wrap painted red, that's all. A house-trained gibbon could have conceived it. And Mr Lister is barely even that. I've never known a man miss the bowl so often...

Erm... could we get back to the job? Your job, I mean. The butlering.

Certainly. I was at a butler convention in Swindon - a great weekend, some of the silver service skills on display would melt your browning knob - and word had come through that the 'rich Scouse git' was looking for staff. Of course, we'd all rather have taken a bath with the winner of Mr Flatulence 2212.

Gilbert Ostrog

I thought that was Lister. So if you didn't want the gig, how come you ended up at Lister's mansion?

Well, I lost the butler's sack race and the salad fork challenge. Etiquette demands that I take the worst job on offer. And also that I grow an idiotic ponytail as a sign of my failure.

That mansion, by the way, was an abomination. The gravel in the drive came from Buckingham Palace - he had the palace ground down just to line his drive! The place was moved brick-by-brick from half a mile down the road to get away from the neighbours.

He named it Xanadu - after Legend of Xanadu, the 1968 single by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. I mean, for goodness sake. It's a massive, historic name, with a great cinematic legacy!

You mean because it was the name of Citizen Kane's mansion?

No, the 1980's film with Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly! What a classic!

Hmm. So, how did you find working for Lister?

Have you ever had major root canal dental surgery?

I once had Kryten work on my language circuits with a soldering iron - I think I can relate.

Gilbert Ostrog

It's like that, but without the redeeming feature of a qualified expert at the controls. Working for Lister has all the pleasurable qualities of getting your buttocks wedged in a jet engine exhaust at the moment of ignition.

The cooking tongs I can live with. I mean, the man has more money than the American government could comfortably spend on arms in a ten year period, but he won't pay for a decent pair of small scissors. He makes us keep newspapers in the bathrooms -

Surely reading on the loo isn't uncommon...

No, he has us do it in case he runs out of toilet paper. We have cupboards of toilet paper! Great, spanning acres of it! Enough to cater for ten universities-worth of drunken prom-night papering. But no, no, no - spare newspaper, that's the ticket. And who do you think has to clean the newsprint off his backside that evening?

He certainly has his own way of doing things...

His lady friend gave him a water pistol as a gift. Now, every time he wants to get my attention, he doesn't call my name, or ring a bell, he squirts me in the eye from across the room. I'm the only butler in the union who has to wring his clothes dry at the end of each day.

He also had a large statue erected in the courtyard...

Gilbert Ostrog

That's right. A 40-foot, towering stone monument of himself, stark naked, and urinating into a pool. What an impressive piece of witty commentary. I mean, the greatest humorists of all time - from Oscar Wilde to George Bernard Shaw, from Charlie Chaplin to The Krankies - every one of them must have spun in their graves knowing that a new intellect of such wit and subtlety was making his mark for future generations.

Is there anything you like about working for Lister?

The days off.

You did actually meet Arnold Rimmer, didn't you? The hologram from Lister's alternative future. What did you make of him?

Ah, you mean the lunatic who broke into Mr Lister's home and began ranting about his life on board one of those ghastly space freighters. What was it? Red Giant? Red Disease? Red Haemorrhoid?

Red Dwarf.

Yes. Frankly, the gentleman didn't make much sense. He had rather mad, staring eyes, and nostrils the exact shape of the dual gateways into Mr Lister's stables.

Gilbert Ostrog

Lister keeps horses?

No, greyhounds. But the house came with stables, so we keep them there anyway. Somehow he hasn't quite figured out why they keep escaping. I've yet to suggest that the gates with wide bars might have something to do with it.

I was worried that I might have to spend long hours hunting the grounds for the animals, but in that respect Mr Lister is quite generous. Rather than waste the time, he just buys more greyhounds. Four hundred and seventy eight he's purchased so far. The local pet store thinks he must be eating them.

Is he?

Certainly not! Well, okay, once - he had it curried. But he never did that again. Said it had the faintest flavour of dog food, which brought back a deja-vu-like memory he couldn't quite place, but left him feeling quite unpleasant.

Gilbert Ostrog

Finally, you mentioned Lady Sabrina Mulholland-Jjones earlier - what do you make of that relationship?

Not much, considering I'm secretly knocking-off the lady behind his back. Linen cupboards, potting sheds, even once on the huge store of lavatory paper we have. We've done it in the back seat of every one of his 28 vintage cars - that was quite an afternoon. Teach him to squirt me with a water pistol.

Thank you, Gilbert. One final question - would you like some toast?