Easter Smeggs

After a relatively poor showing for the first two releases, both in terms of content and hiding places, the easter eggs from Series III onwards continued the trend of remarkable improvement, and they are now among the most eagerly anticipated features of the discs. Here’s how to get at ’em.

Series I

Future Echoes Animation
On the main menu of Disc One, go to the ‘Episode Selection’ option and press right. You will now have highlighted the number ‘4691’, which is written on the clipboard. Press enter and you will be magically whisked away to a vending machine, which features a numberical keypad. The number you need is the answer to both of these questions: “How many irradiated haggis were kept on Red Dwarf?” and “What number was written on the fucking clipboard you’ve just seen?” The reward for your detective work is an animation of Rob Grant, Doug Naylor and Ed Bye, sitting in Starbug’s cockpit discussing Future Echoes. This, along with the bonus “commentary” for The End was plundered from the excellent Six Of The Best CD, which will provide a nice easter egg for every series, up to and including VI.

Polaroid Effects Footage
At the start of the ‘Bonus Material’ menu on Disc Two, press right once. You will have highlighted a polaroid on Lister’s bunk, which is the worst hiding place for an easter egg in the history of DVD. Simply press enter to view. The polaroid in question is from the end credits of Future Echoes, and the egg is footage of it developing. In real time. The question on everybody’s lips: “Is this really the most interesting piece of unseen footage they could find?”

Series II

Queeg Animation
Just one egg on the Series II disc, disappointingly. On the main menu of Disc One, press down twice and you’ll have selected the Holly watch. Press select and you’ll, ahem, hop over to the Holly Hop Drive. If you want to view the egg, press ‘Start’. You can work out the rest of the controls for yourself. Rob, Doug and Ed return to the cockpit to have an animated chinwag over Queeg. These features are worth watching purely for the subtle touches of humour in the animation – the odd raised eyebrow here and there can be surprisingly funny.

Series III

Bonus Deleted Scene – Marooned
Remarkably, this one surpasses the ‘Polaroid’ egg in the easy to find stakes. Simply watch Marooned and wait for a few seconds. You’ll be treated to an unused model shot from the episode, which is complete with windy sound effects. And the reason for its inclusion? A sneaky way to get around BBFC classification rules. Full marks.

Bonus Deleted Scene – Polymorph
This is the king of the eggs, thus far. Go to the main ‘Episode Selection’ menu. You’ll note that the Hudzen Theme from The Last Day is playing. Let the animation play through, and it will restart, with the same music and everything. Admire the excellent CGI rendering while it plays through for a second time. After it does so, the music will fade out and be replaced by the party music, also from The Last Day. When this happens, Kevin the Polymorph will come scuttling into view. When Kevin changes to the rabbit, select him, by going to the ‘Main Menu’ option and pressing down. When the question mark appears over his head, press select. You’ll have to be quick, mind, as the Polymorph turns back into Kevin after a few seconds, and scuttles off again. The reward for spending the day pissing about on the menus when you could have been watching the actual DVD itself is an early attempt at the shot of Polymorph sneaking up behind the crew, which is hyper interesting.

Polymorph Animation
Now, change discs. On the main ‘Bonus Material’ menu of Disc Two, prepare yourself by hovering your cursor over either the ‘back’ light, or the cone. Then, when the Polymorph turns into the rabbit (again), press either up or down (depending on where you are) to select the skutter’s board. Again, you have to be quick, as you can only do it when the rabbit is on-screen. When you see the question mark, press enter to see Rob, Doug and Ed, this time in the Officers’ Quarters, talking about Polymorph and that.

Bloody menus, eh? Can’t trust ’em. The original Region 2 release of Series III came complete with a silly problem on the animated bonus materials menu, which meant that most people were unable to use it properly. Fortunately, the Region 1 version included a text-based menu, which is now being used on replacement Region 2 discs. Hurrah! Anyway, to get this egg on the text-based menu, go to the “back” option, press right to highlight the rabbit, and press enter.

Starbug Playset Feature
This is fab. Go to the ‘Models and Covers’ section of the Gallery. You’ll notice that the ninth image here, the first of the Starbug design sketches, will have a little orange border around it. Press up, and low and behold, the picture will be selected. So, press enter and squeal with delight as you see the most original and unusual DVD feature ever – a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a toy. Top notch!

Series IV

“Easter Egg”
Hard to find, but well worth it. This is the only easter egg I’m aware of which is accessed during a transition between menus, and not as a hidden option itself. To access it, go from the main menu on Disc One to the Episode Selection menu. As you travel down the corridor, you’ll see a skutter carrying a video tape. Press enter when you see him. You’ll be shown a wonderful bit of DV footage from the cast commentary sessions, in which the cast hunt for an easter egg. Excellent!

Comic Relief ’91
Coo! On the second page of the chapter menu for DNA, you’ll see a rather conspicuous drawing of a chicken. Go and select the egg it’s just layed, and you’ll be shown some rushes footage (!) of the cast’s contribution to Red Nose Day ’91. Prior to the release, I don’t recall ever hearing of its existance. Who says GNP don’t do their research? Things to look out for include Chris Barrie taking the whole thing for too seriously, and the little ‘H’ on his red nose!

Dimension Jump Animation
What the hell are they going to do for Series VII and VIII? Two ways to get at this bugger, using either the animated or the text menu. For the animated, go and select the curry and wait until the light on the matter paddle turns green. When it does, you can select it, and the big red question mark will appear on the board. Alternatively, go to the “back” option on the text menu, press left to highlight the matter paddle and press enter. Slightly easier.

More in November, folks!

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