Or: I don’t.
Something did occur to me today, though. We all know of a certain kind of sitcom episode – One Foot In The Grave‘s The Trial, where Victor mopes around the house waiting for an entire half-hour, or Porridge‘s A Night In, consisting almost entirely of Fletch and Godber in their cell. In other words: those delicious one or two handers, often in real time. And it’s no coincidence that the two episodes I mention above are considered to be some of the best of each series. See also: Marooned.
So: why didn’t they do one for VIII? Just Lister and Rimmer, in their cell?
It would have solved some of the series’ money problems, for a start; maybe not enough to allow Earth to have been recorded, but it would have helped out a lot. Perhaps more importantly though, it seems that one of the intentions for VIII was to go back to basics – to do bunkroom scenes again, and get to the heart of Lister and Rimmer’s characters. That’s exactly what this kind of episode could have done. And the setup for the series – prison – practically begs for this kind of episode to be made.
I suppose in the end, there would be the danger of the episode being seen as a complete rip-off of A Night In – or, indeed, Marooned. But the episode wouldn’t have had the same character beats as the former; and the situation is completely different to the latter. It could have been really, really fantastic, as these episodes often tend to be.
It seems a bit of a missed opportunity, really.