Remastered: The Interviews

Ross. Tyler. Bowman. Lovett. Cornes. Montague. Pomphrey. Barrie. Bye. McDonald. Veale. Agnew. DiStefano. Wybourn. Whippey. Partridge? Find out tonight.

So, TOS reports on interview sessions two and three out of the four planned for Red Dwarf: Remastered, which took place on the 11-12th this month. Why does it delight me that I know this information? Those of you who haven’t read the article should do so now; I’m not rewriting it. Suffice to say that I’m rather looking forward to Pete Tyler “remarkable insights into the Series I model effects”, and I’m sure Ed Bye and Mac McDonald will send me into my usual fits of hysterics. “Don’t be ashamed to talk about your problem, Andrew…”

But there are two interviewees that I’m especially excited about. First is lighting director John Pomphrey; one of the team who has always been strangely missing up until now on the DVD extras. His lighting is one of my favourite things visually in Dwarf; even in those early series, some of the corridor and lighting gantry shots are beautifully lit. You can read our interview with him here. Hey, remember when we did proper research and stuff?

Second is set designer for those first two series, Paul Montague. I’ve mentioned before that I’d love to hear from him – he seemed to have completely fallen off the radar, so I’m hugely excited to hear what he’s got to say. I’ve always felt he gets an incredibly bad rap when it comes to his set designs; whilst it would be a brave man indeed who said they preferred his stuff to Mel Bibby’s (although there is at least one of you), I don’t think his stuff is nearly as bad as a lot of people make out. I’m especially fond of his corridors. Oo-er.

In essence, then: fucking brilliant. One more recording session to go – bearing in mind that Rob Grant, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Hattie Hayridge and John Lenahan have already been done, and Doug Naylor is confirmed for the last session – who else are we likely to see? COME ON! BET BET BET BET BET BET BET!

Also – it was Dona DiStefano that Norm calls “a bossy young lady” in the A-Z, because she took away his ball? Cor. Who needs Heat magazine, eh?

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41 Responses to Remastered: The Interviews

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  1. Can you believe that bloke fit into the Kryten costume?

  2. Well, it was a different Kryten costume back then, for what it’s worth mentioning–basically a shiny plastic tuxedo, as far as I can tell.

  3. Tony Hawks would be good, although unlikely as he wasn’t really in it much.

    I suppose Craig Ferguson’s probably out of the question as well.

    Clare Grogan, perhaps? Mark Williams? Can’t think of any other majorly important cast members at the moment, although Robert Bathurst would be interesting.

  4. G&T Admin

    Ross. Tyler. Bowman. Lovett. Cornes. Montague. Pomphrey. Barrie. Bye. McDonald. Veale. Agnew. DiStefano. Wybourn. Whippey. Partridge? Find out tonight.

    God, I love you, John. I love you so much.

  5. >God, I love you, John. I love you so much.

    Yeah, that was excellent. My favorite GT opening yet.

    Also: THE INTERVIEWS ARE GOING TO BE AMAZING.

    Good job on this set, GNP.

  6. > Tony Hawks would be good, although unlikely as he wasn?t really in it much.
    >
    > I suppose Craig Ferguson?s probably out of the question as well.
    >
    > Clare Grogan, perhaps? Mark Williams? Can?t think of any other majorly important cast members at the moment, although Robert Bathurst would be interesting.

    Tony Hawks may appear from archive – he covered the early series, I think, in his II/IV interview. Craig Ferguson wasn’t around/interested, ditto Robert Bathurst and Mark Williams. Clare Grogan was out of the country and too, too costly.

    Basically, if we ain’t got ’em this time, it’s not down to lack of trying…

  7. >I suppose Craig Ferguson?s probably out of the question as well.

    Even if he was interested, it would be a bit tricky unless an interview could be done in the U.S. or using satellite. When he isn’t recording his T.V. talk show in L.A. he’s pretty much always doing stand up gigs and other events mostly in North America these days. I really don’t imagine GNP having the budget for flying him over to the UK?

  8. >Clare Grogan was out of the country and too, too costly.

    What exactly makes her too, too costly? I’m not disputing Andrew’s claim, I just wonder what she’s done that’s jacked her price so high.

  9. I should imagine that Charles Augins might make an appearance, but how about Suzanne Bertish and Angela Bruce as the alternative Rimmer and Lister or the likes of Rupert Bates, Robert McCully (the original hologram?) or Tony Slattery?

    Some of these are a bit obscure perhaps, but the attention to detail in this set is already looking to be phenominal.

    Oh and Andrew, a personal thank you for bringing in Paul Montague – I loved the grey sets and I am not (completely) ashamed to say it!

  10. Excellent. I’m particularly looking forward to Norman’s comments, and Paul Montague reflecting on how everyone slags off his sets when they were actually good.

    By the way, is anyone listening to the Charles’s 6Music show? ‘It’s time to delve into your trunk of funk!’

  11. > I just wonder what she?s done that?s jacked her price so high.

    In fact, Clare was genuinely unavailable anyway. So ‘costly’ is a relative thing – to interview her another time would have meant remounting for an extra filming day. Which we REALLY can’t do.

    But, as a general rule of thumb with this kinda stuff, it’s just the way things go. We have X, agent wants Y. And Y tends to be based on several factors – making it worth the artist’s while travelling and hanging around, how keen the artist might be, and much they believe they’re needed.

    As an example, say we wanted to shoot a generic sitcom tomorrow with a rotund American in it. Mac McDonald would be great for the part – but he wouldn’t be vital and we could get someone else. So his agent can’t aim to high. On the other hand, if we made a post-VIII Dwarf special featuring Hollister heavily, the agent’s in a much stronger position.

  12. Hmmm, any paragraph with the words Clare and remounting in it gets my attention..

    It’s a great pity that she couldn’t be included somewhere..
    I’ve gone to great lenghts to say that I prefered Chloe’s Kochanski overall but I think this was largely due to the time she was in it, her (then) appearance and above all, the writing of her part. Perversely perhaps, I find her far more attractive now that then, and she was also lovely as a fresh faced teenager in ‘Gregorys Girl’ prior to her ‘pop’ and ‘Dwarf’ days. Either side of that era, I think she would have looked and acted like the type of person that a bloke would make the centre of his lifes ambition, but clearly, that’s just my opinion…

    In an ideal world I would have liked to have seen at some stage a ‘Ladies of Dwarf’ documentary and I dont mean this from a pervy angle. There’s no doubt, the Gals along the way have played their part in Dwarf lore. Not that I’m saying I’m not delighted with the line up so far of course.

  13. Incidentally, of all the line up, perhaps Norman is the one I’m least looking forward to. It’s not that I’m not a fan, he’s great, it’s just that sometimes I get the impression he feels he should have been the big star of it all or at worst, had a much bigger profile.
    Take people like Lee Cornes, Mac McDonald, Graham McTavish etc, whenever you see them discussing it, there’s always a wave of enthusiasm as if they’re delighted to be a part of it however small. The techno guys show the same spark, Mike Tucker being a prime example and look how well he’s done.
    I always get that feeling with Norm that he feels as if he’s done everyone a favour by being there, but that’s probabaly just my perception…

  14. > I always get that feeling with Norm that he feels as if he?s done everyone a favour by being there, but that?s probabaly just my perception?

    You see that’s why I like his comments! Sometimes I get sick of all the backslapping that goes on in DVD interviews (not necessarily with Dwarf, just interviews in general) and Norm is sometimes like the anti-backslapper (that sounds like a character from a Two Ronnies sketch, like the Phantom Raspberry-blower…aaanyway). I’d love it if someone on Doctor Who Confidential or one of the commentaries just started ripping into what was onscreen or recalling inappropriate anecdotes.

  15. G&T Admin

    Craig annoys me on the All Change docco, about the sets.

    “A lot of people are very nostalgic and misty-eyed about (puts on irritating patronising voice) “Oh, the first couple of series of Red Dwarf, they were my favourites…” – it was never supposed to be like that, it was never supposed to be Prisoner Cell Block H in space, you know what I mean? it wasn’t supposed to be bang a door and see the set move.”

    Personally speaking:

    a) There may be some people who are nostalgic and misty-eyed about the sets on 1 and 2 – but I’m not. I saw the first six series all at once. So any of my opinions on the sets doesn’t come from nostalgia. I do find it slightly insulting that he lumps everyone together, and implies people don’t know their own mind. (And yeah, I admit I’ve done that in the past too. I try not to these days, though.)

    b) Whether something was *supposed* to be like that doesn’t matter, in the final analysis of how successful something is. What matters is what it *ended* up like. Yeah, I’m sure the sets weren’t what a lot of people on the production team wanted – but I’m not going to let that affect my judgement of them.

    c) THE SET DOESN’T BLOODY MOVE! Lazy, lazy, lazy reference. There *aren’t* any bloody wobbly sets in Red Dwarf! There’s one major one in Blackadder II, but nobody bangs on about that, do they?

    When I look at Series 1 and 2, yes, there’s some stuff there that’s a bit rubbish (the first series’ Drive Room consoles are *awful* – it’s Fisher Price’s My First Drive Room) – but for the rest of it, I think they’re perfectly good sitcom sets, which work pretty well – and some of them are great (as I’ve said, I love the various corridors). When I’m watching the show, I’m not sitting there being amazed at how bad the bunkroom set is; I think it’s fine – and importantly, completely *believable*. I never even really thought that people might not like the first two series’ sets until I got the internet and talked to other fans. I think they work especially well at creating a coherent visual look for the series.

    This is a 1988 BBC sitcom we’re talking about here, not Alien – my brain automatically adjusts to expect the kind of sets you get. The fact that Mel Bibby actually *managed* Alien for Red Dwarf III onwards is neither here nor there. Mel Bibby definitely took things to the next level – and I’m very glad he did – but I think the transition is from “fine” to “fantastic”, rather than “awful” to “fantastic”.

    Whilst we’re on the subject of Mel Bibby, though, next time you’re watching Filthy, Rich & Catflap (which he did the sets for), take a look at the background detail of some of the sets – especially the main living room set. It’s *marvellous*. The detail is incredible.

  16. >c) THE SET DOESN?T BLOODY MOVE! Lazy, lazy, lazy reference. There *aren?t* any bloody wobbly sets in Red Dwarf! There?s one major one in Blackadder II, but nobody bangs on about that, do they?

    Of course not, but see, that’s ‘cos you’re busy focusing on the excellent dialogue and characters–like you do in Red Dwarf, incidentally. (By the way, which Blackadder II episode are we talking about here?) It’s nice if the sets are wonderful, but the writers and performers make or break it.

  17. G&T Admin

    (By the way, which Blackadder II episode are we talking about here?)

    The first episode, Bells – the one with Flasheart in. (“It’s me!”) He takes Percy’s head and rams it against the door – and the *entire* wall breaks away and wobbles like fuck.

  18. > Ross. Tyler. Bowman. Lovett. Cornes. Montague. Pomphrey. Barrie. Bye. McDonald. Veale. Agnew. DiStefano. Wybourn. Whippey. Partridge?

    Di Stefano on the bench. What was the manager thinking?

  19. >The first episode, Bells – the one with Flasheart in. (?It?s me!?) He takes Percy?s head and rams it against the door – and the *entire* wall breaks away and wobbles like fuck.

    Ooh! I’ll look for that. I don’t think I’d of noticed unless it was pointed out.

  20. To be fair, several people have said it, the sets apparently DID wobble – they were portable flats, only put up for a couple of days at the end of the production week, of course they did. It’s just that Ed/Paul/Doug/Rob/whoever was smart enough, as a rule, not to direct anyone to do anything that might cause them to move during a scene. Bunks aside, the actual interaction with walls – falling into them, hitting them – is minimal. Which is back to that whole ‘production perspective’ thing.

  21. G&T Admin

    That’s fair enough… but that’s sitcom sets for you.?I’m sure The IT Crowd sets wobble if you push them in the wrong place, but nobody complains about that. What matters is what’s on-screen. And presumably, the Red Dwarf III sets had the same problem, as they were only put up for a couple of days too – but he doesn’t complain about them wobbling.

    For the ultimate deconstruction of sitcom sets, of course, you have to watch the last episode of FR&C

  22. Fair point. But it’s the same old thing – you can’t expect the cast and crews deconstruction to be based on watching the show. It’s a ‘making of’, and the perspective is bound to be from the production side. And ‘how it was supposed to be’ IS a relevant detail.

    I do think it’s fair to say that the ‘fan’ perspective differs from the ‘public’ one. How many times have we seen newbies come online talking about how they liked Dwarf ‘when it looked cheap’ with ‘wobbly models’ and ‘carboard sets’? Is if that WERE the point and/or charm of the show.

  23. G&T Admin

    And ?how it was supposed to be? IS a relevant detail.

    I nearly mentioned this before, but didn’t – because, yeah, how it was meant to be *is* a relevant detail. Absolutely. It’s important, and and interesting.

    I just *don’t* think it’s a good answer to those people who like those sets. Because when you’re talking about the simple matter of whether you like something or not, how it was *intended* to be isn’t as relevant. It’s interesting as an insight into the production – but it doesn’t work as a justification for not liking the sets.

    I do think it?s fair to say that the ?fan? perspective differs from the ?public? one. How many times have we seen newbies come online talking about how they liked Dwarf ?when it looked cheap? with ?wobbly models? and ?carboard sets?? Is if that WERE the point and/or charm of the show.

    I’ve resigned myself to never understanding this!

    But yeah, I take the point – I suppose he’s answering a certain type of person, not the hardcore fan – his comment isn’t really aimed at me, and generalisations are always going to happen.

  24. I like the I-II sets more than the III-V sets. That is all.

  25. I’m glad you mentioned the smashing of the set at the end of Filthy, Rich & Catflap, it really is one of the greatest moments of anything ever (IMO).

    > I?m sure The IT Crowd sets wobble if you push them in the wrong place

    There IS an incident of the set-wobbling variety in the Red Door episode. It’s when Moss is wiping the window.

  26. G&T Admin

    I like the I-II sets more than the III-V sets. That is all.

    I think I spy a Dwarfcast discussion…

    ?m glad you mentioned the smashing of the set at the end of Filthy, Rich & Catflap, it really is one of the greatest moments of anything ever (IMO).

    I completely agree. It’s fucking fantastic.

    Actually, if anyone wants to know my tastes in comedy, I’d point them towards FR&C. It’s got pretty much *everything* I adore about comedy in it. Right down to the character names Jumbo Whiffy and Eggy Guff.

  27. The only thing that’s ever annoyed me about a Dwarf set is how you can see the shadows of the bars on the backdrop of the VIII cell set. I used to look at that and be sure that I was seeing it wrong, that it wasn’t a mistake, but SURELY it is. Am I right or just being a ‘fucking idiot’ as usual?

  28. Parade of recently excavated cocks.

  29. >Actually, if anyone wants to know my tastes in comedy, I?d point them towards FR&C.

    Interesting thought. I wonder what I’d point people toward as one program that’d be indicative of my tastes. As unpopular as it might make me around here, I’d probably end up saying The Office.

  30. G&T Admin

    The strange thing is about the whole grey issue in Series 1 is that I don’t even mind the cigarette packs and beer cans being grey. From a design perspective, it’s not what I would have done – it’s just too boring. And I absolutely adore stuff like the Lepoard Lager cans from IV onwards – it’s such a beautiful design, and definitely appropriate for those later series.

    But actually, it *works*. I like the idea of the lowest people on the ship having to have ship-issue cigs and beer. It feels very realistic to me – and I think it suits the mood of the show at that point too. I’ve never thought that the whole loneliness thing was the whole point of the show – but that doesn’t stop me enjoying the pervading feeling of slight desperation in those early series.

  31. > As unpopular as it might make me around here, I?d probably end up saying The Office.

    There’s nothing wrong with liking an intelligent, funny, brilliant stroke of genius. I know SOME people dislike it but that’s fair enough, it’s different, not strictly a sitcom, and I reckon Gervais has a bit of the Marmite factor going for him, but there’s no denying it will be remembered forever as a classic.

    I’d say Ted, Partridge and, of course, Dwarf kind of pin down my comedy tastes. Seinfeld also. The best comedy comes from when you REALLY need to know the characters to appreciate it. That’s why VIII is way way worse because it’s almost like it could be any characters, not the ones we’ve enjoyed for ten years. I find gag-based comedy to be much worse than character comedy. As much as I love all of Dwarf I much prefer the character stuff that comes from the first few series’ (particularly all of 2 and then choice episodes like Marooned, DJ, Meltdown etc) than the sketch-like changing the bulb-like jokes from later on. Not that I don’t still laugh at those moments, but they’re not as fulfilling, if you know what I mean.

  32. >There?s nothing wrong with liking an intelligent, funny, brilliant stroke of genius.

    You are correct, unfortunately The Office (UK version) is none of these things.

    >I know SOME people dislike it but that?s fair enough, it?s different, not strictly a sitcom,

    In that it is purely “sit” (you may add a h in there if you wish) and contains no “com”.
    But SOME people must like that.

    >Gervais has a bit of the Marmite factor going for him, but there?s no denying it will be remembered forever as a classic.

    Or another word beginning with C, oh wait you said “it” not “he”… my mistake there.

  33. No comment on the Office or Gervais…

    I guess Reggie Perrin,Father Ted,Brittas and Blackadder apart from Dwarf, comedy with strong characters that you *grow* attached to…
    Shows I look back on with fondness (there’s many)…

  34. Granted I DID predict it’d make me unpopular…

  35. The office is great, it’s just a differant style of commedy. I like Gervais anyway, i was looking at one of his flannimals books and they are great.
    Theres something about a flannimal that, when it is giving birth, both mother and baby explode. Some flanimals try to avoid it by not becomming pregnent but this doesn’t work because they have already exploded when they were born.
    It’s pure randomness and I love it. Thats why I love the ‘no it’s a chicken’ joke from The End.

  36. > You are correct, unfortunately The Office (UK version) is none of these things.

    *Flame*

  37. That is the most staggering list of interviewees ever for a Red Dwarf DVD release. Rob Grant, David Ross, John Pomphrey and Paul Montague have always been top of my list. Plus I thought Mike Agnew was great value in All Change, so I’m looking forward to that too.

    This is going to be amazing.

  38. >> You are correct, unfortunately The Office (UK version) is none of these things.

    >*Flame*

    *pours a bucket of water over Lorek82*

    No open flames in an enclosed thread, do you know nothing?

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