This is absolutely true: this morning (I’m on a night-shift), I had a dream. A dream that Rob Grant and Doug Naylor came round to my house, sat down on my sofa, and started writing new Red Dwarf.
Interestingness abounds. First up is the revelation that this is the script that Peter Ridsdale-Scott was so impressed by that he commissioned the series – I’d always assumed that it was The End. I should have guessed that this wasn’t the case from the line “Tomorrow I’m gonna see if I can’t have sex with something” – but I had just assumed that was in an early draft of the script, or something; somewhere between the pilot as published in the Omnibus, and the final version. Also interesting is that the script was started in 1983. We always hear about how the pilot was written then – but I’d always assumed that the later five episodes were written far later , once the series was actually commissioned.
As for the sample section of script given – it’s brilliant. “‘Awful’ is when you’re fumbling with your date in the back of your car and you discover she’s got testicles” might be an old joke (although it was less old back in 1983), but it’s still hilarious. If that sample script is representative of the quality of the rest of the show, then – reused elsewhere or not – we’re in for a treat on a pure entertainment level, as well as it being fascinating as an unmade script in its own right. “People who say they’re not afraid of death: they’re never the ones who’ve actually done it.”
The first we ever heard about Bodysnatcher was in Priomoridal Soup, of course, in Rob Grant’s introduction:
“The strike hadn’t been all bad for the show. There had been a valuable opportunity to see the cast in action, and to watch the bulk of the shows at least to rehearsal stage. The consensus was that the second show was the worst of the bunch. The story involved Rimmer trying to cope with his death by going insane, and trying to construct a new body for himself by stealing bits of Lister while he was asleep. We decided to replace it… Me2 was the replacement.”
Back in mine and Ian’s old article The Lost Episodes, we said:
“This sounds very intriguing, and also completely impossible to shoot; God knows how they were planning to do it. It also sounds about the darkest episode of Red Dwarf ever; Rimmer going mad was an idea later used in Quarantine, but there it was due to an outside force – the holo virus. Going mad from an inability to cope with your own death sounds frankly scary; and a great idea for an episode.”
It turns out of course, that the episode is even darker than it first sounded – because this DVD Details article reveals that it involves Lister about to commit suicide! It sounds so un-Dwarfian – and it’ll be incredibly interesting to see how the script works. The flash-forward is also atypical for Dwarf as well – it’s only used once elsewhere, in Back in the Red.
I’ll admit, however, that the fact it’s had a dialogue polish gave me cause for concern; there’s the essential dichotomy here between wanting things as they were originally, and getting a chance to improve things. The Doctor Who releases have a similar problem – I’d rather have them cleaned up slightly, but essentially as broadcast – but then, scroll down here, and place your mouse over the image of Davison. Which would you prefer to watch? In the end, the fact that they had to rewrite the end of the script anyway because it’s gone missing, means that I don’t mind they gave the dialogue a bit of a polish.
But to be honest, even if it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t mind. Because: not only is this unseen Grant-Naylor-scripted Dwarf, but the fact that they worked together to finish it off – via email, according to the Webboard – gives me a special fanboy thrill. The thought of them working together recently on the script just brings out a huge grin over my face. As indeed, does the thought of the upcoming Remastered release. It’s just getting better and better – the way it’s going, it might turn out to be my favourite Dwarf release of all.
Who would have thought, when me and Ian wrote that Lost Episodes article, that we would ever see two of those episodes brought to life?