‘Hardly worth bothering’? Red Dwarf has been subject to more than its fair share of edits, censorships and scheduling problems over the years. This is a fairly comprehensive list of these sorts of things, and this list is all about videos.
1. Prior to the release of Series VII (1999), only the videos of Series II (1992) had the episodes in the correct order. In Byte Two of Series I (1993), Confidence & Paranoia is switched with Waiting for God, so that nobody after the BBC sitcom of the same name would mistakenly buy it (presumably the massive Red Dwarf logo and the drawing of people in space isn’t enough to prevent this from happening). For the rest of the videos, episodes were switched for commercial reasons – so that the title episode would be one of the better shows of the series. Hence, Series III Byte Two (1991) is named Timeslides, Series IV Byte Two (1992) is subtitled Dimension Jump, and Series VI Byte One (1995) opens with Gunmen of the Apocalypse. This is daft, but it’s not as bad as what happened to Series V…
2. The videos of Series V, which were released in 1994, had a totally ludicrous running order. Byte One contained Back to Reality, Demons & Angels and Holoship, and Byte Two had Quarantine, Terrorform and The Inquisitor. It is understandable that they want what they consider the best episodes of the series to be the title episodes of the video, but why aren’t the other episodes in something resembling order? In other videos, episodes were jigged about (See: 5.), but at least Byte One of each had the first three episodes, and Byte Two the second three.
3.The Series V videos may have been in the wrong order in Britain, but thank goodness we didn’t have the same problems that they had in America. In Terrorform, Kryten’s CPU plays a muzak version of Copacabana, but the music could not be cleared for video release, so the section had to be removed. They suffered a similar problem for the Drunk featurette on the Series I DVD, which was omitted due to Chumbawumba’s Tubthumping being difficult to clear in time for release. In the UK, the version of Copacabana used on the first broadcast was a cover by James Last. However, this was replaced with the muzak version for the videos and for each subsequent repeat. It’ll be interesting to see which version is included on the DVD.
4. While we’re on the subject of videos, it might be an idea to discuss the Smeg Ups (1994) and Smeg Outs (1995) tapes. Both of these compilations feature out-takes from scenes which were not included in the final episode, such as Kryten discussing language use in The Inquisitor and Lister being encouraged to drink his own urine in Marooned. Also included were real and actual deleted scenes – the original ending to Series VI, and the original opening to Marooned. Remember, this was many years before the first DVDs came out, and seeing deleted scenes was extremely rare. The Smeg Outs tape claims to contain the full-length unedited version of Tongue Tied, but this is untrue. The sequence is littered with claymation, which was made by a group of young sisters. These sequences were also included in the Tabby Ranks segment of the Tongue Tied video (1993).
5. While the Smeg Outs tape features many bits which were culled from Marooned, the DVD of Series III does not. In this DVD Details update, Andy Ellard reveals that at least one rushes tape for the series is missing, which explains the lack of new Marooned stuff and the omission of Rob Llew’s notorious first day on the show, in which he got electrocuted trying to light a cigar. This is a shame. It’s apparant that the tape(s) went missing at some point between the mid-nineties and 2003.
6. The title sequences to Ouroboros and Duct Soup were re-instated in the Red Dwarf VII Xtended video (1997). The video featured director’s-cut versions of three episodes, the other being Tikka to Ride, as well as Smeg Ups, the full-length Rimmer Munchkin Song and all-new links by Robert Llewellyn as Kryten. As with the Smeg Outs, it was rare at that point for deleted scenes from a TV show to be seen, and for them to be in context within the episode was marvellous. We’ll be doing a full guide to the video at some point, I imagine.
7. Of course, the most notorious example of editing was the Re-Mastered series (1998). For these new versions of existing episodes, the video was treated to allegedly make it resemble film, the model shots were replaced with shite CGI versions, Norman Lovett re-recorded some of his lines, many sections of dialogue were trimmed and lots of silly sound effects were added. We’ll be taking a closer look at this abomination soon, but in the meantime there’s our Re-Hamstered article to have a look at, as well as a detail decomposition of The End Re-Mastered.