The Future of Red Dwarf?

I’m wary of posting this, really, as it’s ludicrously speculative. But I just can’t resist it – especially as we’ve had hints that there might be something interesting coming up…

Charles Armitage is someone we haven’t really talked about much on G&T – mainly because, well, there’s been no reason to. But his name pops up occasionally on Dwarf-related things, and that’s because he’s Chairman of Grant Naylor Productions. He’s also, for that matter, the agent of Chris Barrie and Doug Naylor.

And what has he got to say about Red Dwarf on his website?

“Grant Naylor continues to exploit the International Emmy and Comedy Award winning Red Dwarf, now sold in all major overseas territories. Currently in discussions to produce the first Red Dwarf Movie. In 2008 Red Dwarf will celebrate its 20th anniversary with DVD, Book, Merchandise and Mobisodes alongside TV and Online Specials.”

Now, the Movie stuff is nothing new; we’ve heard that “discussions” have been taking place for years (and see our Doug Naylor Interview for the latest on that). And for that matter, a lot of what’s mentioned there could possibly be explained by what’s already happened this year. Mobisodes we know about. New merchandise has been released this year. Books could be the audiobooks, at a pinch. And online specials could just relate to TOS, or the YouTube clips. That’s not to say that that’s the explanation for everything given there, of course – maybe we HAVE got some delicious goodies to come in those areas – but they could at least be explained away.

But: DVD? It might just refer to the R4 releases, but it would seem odd to single out just the R4 release for special mention, when they’ve already been released in R2. And the big one: TV SPECIALS? Don’t forget that this is the site of the Chairman of Grant Naylor Productions, not just a rumour made up by the proverbial spotty git in their bedroom (i.e. me).

Who knows what’s going to happen, of course. The entire list may just have just been ideas for what might happen in this anniversary year, and stuff like TV specials might never come off. Or just possibly, we might be in for a treat. It’s important to note that since 2002, we’ve known at this point in the year not only that something major was happening, but often lots of details about it – and yes, unlike some fans, I count DVDs as major news. We’ve had nothing as major so far this year, the much-welcomed re-release of the audiobooks aside. (And perhaps the Mobisodes, which as an ongoing Dwarf production, should feel like major news… but kinda doesn’t.) It’s just possible this might be our big news of the year… or it might just be a big pile of nonsense based on one paragraph of abandoned plans and/or marketing hype. Who knows?

(As an aside, it’s perhaps only fair to point out how amazing it is that there really HAS been something major happening each year since 2002, when we’ve not had a new series since 1999. And it’s also only fair enough to say that the Dwarf fan community all too often sits on its arse and WAITS for something good to come their way, rather than actually getting involved – something we’re not exactly immune to either. But that’s a whole other discussion…)

Anyway, it’ll be… “interesting” to see what happens. We’ll keep you posted if we find anything else – and you may start speculating… NOW:

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45 Responses to The Future of Red Dwarf?

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  1. G&T Admin

    TV specials aside, I’m definitely most interested in what books we could be getting. I’d love for more book Universe stuff as t has the potential to seamlessly continue the franchise. there’s so much potential in a Naylor or Grant novel and, to be honest, I want ONE FROM EACH OF THEM. Maybe a book about the ‘movie’ will be on the cards, too?

  2. Well at least theres a bit of hope still there.

  3. There’s always hope. Unless you’re a BBC1 scheduler, then there isn’t.

  4. Remember, even ‘hope’ looks like ‘nope’ if you lop the top off of the ‘h’.

  5. G&T Admin

    When’s the movie coming out? My life has literally been put on hold.

  6. If Rob Grant is writing a book then it will be available in 2015, I should imagine.

  7. If I’d have started holding my breath when the movie was first mentioned, I would have been dead a long, long time ago.

  8. >If I?d have started holding my breath when the movie was first mentioned, I would have been dead a long, long time ago.

    Yes, but you wouldn’t be able to call yourself a Twu Fan of Teh Dward, either. I, myself, like any real Dwarfer, hold my breath constantly, with only brief respites to check the Official Site for news of the Movie’s development.*

    *I wish I had some female analogue to the Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy, so you’d know exactly what kind of voice I was aiming for with that statement.

  9. >I wish I had some female analogue to the Simpsons? Comic Book Guy

    Pretty sure I know of one.

    I met her at a Halloween party at some bar a few years back. I was Shaun of the Dead, and she was in some Victorian period costume, or something, and speaking in some irritating affected accent.

    She was blonde, though, which does more for me than it strictly should, so we exchanged numbers and went out again the following weekend…only when we went out again she was still wearing the damn costume.

    That…pretty much put a stop to things for me.

  10. Was there not talk at one time that Rob and/or Doug were under contract for one more book?

    I’d like to think there was a possibilty of more books and that would certainly be a wonderful way forward. I’d love to see an ultimate guide book to all things Dwarf, the Dwarf encyclopedia perhaps.

    I’m wondering if the ‘TV SPECIALS’ mentioned above were nothing more than the rather poor ‘Red Dwarf weekend’ on whatever channel it was! In fact, apart from the’book’ it could be argued that everything has just about been covered…

    For me, the mobisodes are a non-starter and the audiobooks would only appeal if available in proper CD format rather than DIY download.

    I strongly feel there’s a slant towards Dwarf being thought of now in the past tense and this was very much evident Friday night.
    Qustions have evolved from ‘are they going to make another series or movie’ to ‘why didn’t they make another series or movie’ for example. I also know two people who thought the Fan Club had ceased to be altogether and the same two people had not heard of Bodysnatcher despite owning all the other DVD’s.

    Having said that, I dont think it would take too much to re-boot peoples interest
    but IMO that something would have to be altogether new.

  11. I’d say that’s mainly due to the skepticism some people have towards Amazon.com

  12. G&T Admin

    True enough – they’ve got form in this area. But I’d say that the listing of *both* of them rather than just one – and the previous mentions on TOS about a possible CD release – tip it into the likely category.

  13. I think ‘likely’ is too strong a word.

    This is the one ‘possible’ mooted release I would buy and a mention on Amazon does make it look that much closer but thay really do tend to jump the gun so it’s a case of fingers crossed as far as I’m concerned.

    The other thing that concerns me is the general lack of Dwarf rumours of late, I’ve seen nothing, not a tad. Even mention of the new mag and next years DJ seem to have dried up.

    If that’s how it looks to regular on-line users, TOS readers and Fan Club members combined, how does it look to those in the real world.

  14. >Even mention of the new mag

    Oh yeah! Forgot about that. Is that dead?

  15. G&T Admin

    The other thing that concerns me is the general lack of Dwarf rumours of late, I?ve seen nothing, not a tad. Even mention of the new mag and next years DJ seem to have dried up.

    If that?s how it looks to regular on-line users, TOS readers and Fan Club members combined, how does it look to those in the real world.

    Agreed. Every year since… well, 1988! – there’s been plenty of Dwarf activity. As I said above, this is the first year where there *hasn’t* been anything *really* exciting. I’m really hoping I’ve stumbled across something that will be our big news of the year. Maybe not, though!

    Still, I do despair of fandom at times. Bodysnatcher never really got the recognition it deserved from the fanbase, I don’t think. (It did on the people who comment here, mind you, including yourself!) It’s one of the best DVDs I own, and I just don’t think it’s been recognised enough. Dwarf fandom has been winding down over the last few years, despite the excellent DVD releases we’ve been getting. That infuriates me, as until this year, there *has* been stuff to talk about.

    It’s difficult for me not to think that Dwarf fandom as a whole is ungrateful, lazy, or both. When there isn’t activity… perhaps we should be trying to *make* some activity. And to be fair, G&T is as guilty of not doing that sometimes as anyone else. But maybe it’s just down to the lack of new blood as much as anything – people do get tired of a franchise, whatever is happening, and you need new people with new enthusiasm to keep things going.

    I would have thought the DVDs should have done that… and considering how well they’ve sold, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more of a crossover of that huge audience into Dwarf fandom. But at this point, I’m resigned to the fact that only a new series, special, or Movie (and I’d welcome any three of them, obviously!) will do that. I still don’t fully understand it, though.

  16. I get the impression that the general feeling outside of a smallish on-line community is that the movie failed to happen and that the DVD’s were the end of it.
    That’s not to say people dont want more, it’s just that they’ve moved on to other interests.
    It’s a mixture of things really, the lack of any ‘big’ news on TOS, the release of products with ‘limited’ appeal and the total lack of any Fan Club activity.

    I’m convinced that people think that it’s all come to a standstill.

    At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much work and effort is going on in the background if there’s nothing to show for it or at least promise of, you’re not going to attract new blood or keep the regulars on board.

    Whilst I’m sure James and the team are working on the club, on the outside it all seems more than a little dead. Perhaps everything is on hold for something big but the lack of any news or updates isn’t good for anyone.

    Just to confirm, I’m not suggesting anyone is resting on their laurels and not doing anything, my points are all about peoples perception of what’s going on..
    or not.

  17. Hmm well worries aside it is good news, and for once it seems to be reliable as well… but we’ll have to see.

    I have no doubt that at the very least we’ll get another book sooner or later, though.

  18. G&T Admin

    > I have no doubt that at the very least we?ll get another book sooner or later, though.

    The great thing about books as they could go on indefinitely. Actors can get old and writers can fall out of favour with TV channels, but Red Dwarf could easily live on through novels from Doug or Rob forever. If they had the inclination to do so, that is.

  19. At this stage I think I’d prefer a film adaptation of IWCD with a new cast giving us a fresh look at the characters. Save for Robert and Norm/Hattie, I think everyone has aged out of their roles now. Danny John-Jules is, I think, no longer capable of giving the cat-like performance he was at the start of the show. Chris Barrie seems to have aged rather a lot practically overnight. Craig isn’t looking fresh either.

    I’d love to see Doug’s proposed film appear in some form – maybe he could adapt it as a novel and refresh his end of the novel continuity (Last Human ended in rather a closed-book fashion, whereas Backwards’ ending gives Rob the opportunity to easily keep his branch of the novel continuity going if he so desires). But I can’t see it happening as a feature. From what I’ve heard from the people I work with, that seems to be the only direction a possible feature film could go in.

  20. G&T Admin

    As far as I’m concerned, any story that involves the rebooting of the universe actually makes the need to use the original actors even greater. Why on Earth is age a problem when you’re starting from scratch? Why would you want to see some other actor’s take on the character, when the original actors are now in a position to try out a different take on them? The same actors playing slightly different versions of their characters (re-written to take into account age and what not) is a *far* more interesting prospect.

  21. I’m not really sure how feasible it would be for the original actors to reprise their rolls now. Craig has, I believe, just signed a new 3 year deal with Corrie so, although he obviously can take other jobs on, whether he would have the time to reprise his roll as Lister I don’t know. It would depend on how time consuming it would be I guess.

    As far as the possible decline in interest in Dwarf, I think it’s understandable. As other people have said, it will probably take something new to really get people interested again. Hopefully the project which Doug said he hoped would be announced early this year will be announced soon.

  22. G&T Admin

    I?m not really sure how feasible it would be for the original actors to reprise their rolls now. Craig has, I believe, just signed a new 3 year deal with Corrie so, although he obviously can take other jobs on, whether he would have the time to reprise his roll as Lister I don?t know. It would depend on how time consuming it would be I guess.

    So, you’re saying it’s not feasible for the cast to reprise their roles because you believe one of them may have just signed a contract for Corrie? It’s hardly an insurmountable problem is it? And, considering Doug has given the impression he’s recast over his dead body and every single member of the cast really want to red Dwarf again, I don’t think there’ll be a problem on that front.

  23. I just think that Doug should either be open to the idea of recasting, or put the idea of a movie to bed. Obviously I’m not saying we should go for the “Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson” version of the film – I’d be far more interested in seeing unknowns take on the roles – but even if he did recast that doesn’t mean that Rob, Chris, Craig and Danny wouldn’t be able to do a potential Series IX or a one-off special like we all hope they do. After all, Doug has left us with an unresolved cliffhanger, hasn’t he?

  24. G&T Admin

    I just don’t trust the recasting process. If Doug needs to recast to get it made then it tells you that a) the studios want the recasting b) the studio will want to PICk the new cast c) the new cast will most certainly not be unknowns, but rather well known names and d) at best we’ll end up with a disappointing experience like the Hitchikers Movie with poor character work from well known actors.

    The appeal of a Dwarf movie is seeing THAT cast on the big screens. The audaciousness of it is one of the main attractions of the idea for me.

  25. Regular soap cast hardly ever do other TV projects unless they’re taking a long break. If they were going to make anything Dwarf-wise they would have to wait for Craig to be free. I suppose an hour special or something would be easier to accomodate.

    Here’s the big question – would you rather they did a single episode special or just left it alone completely? I doubt the special would be able to wrap up the series in any way seeing as it’s been so long. Whatever, the BBC aren’t gonna do it so it’s highly unlikely to happen. An animation would be a fantastic thing if THAT were to materialize.

  26. Audrey Roberts was allowed out of The Street for the bizarre 90s Perrin sequel series & Frazer Hines made it back into Doctor Who twice, whilst both were on contract for ITV.

    It’s do-able.

  27. That was when there were two & three episodes a week, rather than five/six, yes?

  28. I can’t see it happening. I’m sorry. I think we have to start looking at Red Dwarf the same way people look at something like H2G2, and start opening up to the possibility of recasting. So far as I’m concerned it’s really the only way the film is ever going to get made at this point at all.

  29. The main problem with recasting is that the actors are so intertwined with the characters they helped develop over a long period. If it were my choice, I’d finish the Dwarf saga with the return to Earth with the original actors (3 million years from earth, getting back when they only look 25 years older is pretty quick :P)then set something in the same universe, but started from scratch. That way you would still have the interest from the dwarf fans but a completely fresh product to bring to the table as well.

  30. >That was when there were two & three episodes a week, rather than five/six, yes?

    Fair point. I don’t know.

  31. >I think we have to start looking at Red Dwarf the same way people look at something like H2G2, and start opening up to the possibility of recasting.

    It absolutely pains me that this is becoming my attitude more and more as well. If w got another series, by all means, original cast. Keep it going.

    But for a reboot of any kind? I’m afraid I’d be open to new actors. For what it’s worth, it took me a long time to get on that train.

  32. It took me a very long time to come around to the idea as well, Phil. And I’m of the same mind as you – if Series IX or a special gets made, stick with the original cast.

  33. Or a parallel story set in the same universe. You could then have occasional guest appearances by the original crew who could have spent decades continuity wise wandering the spaceways and thus perfectly allowably look older.

    Books or audio adventures continuing the original series get around the problem anyway of course, but the above option could work very well. It just so happens I have a concept that would work wonderfully to hand, but I’ll wait for them to call me…

  34. G&T Admin

    You could then have occasional guest appearances by the original crew who could have spent decades continuity wise wandering the spaceways and thus perfectly allowably look older.

    Even Rimmer and Holly?

  35. We have seen an “older” Rimmer hologram (Out of Time), despite 300 years of not aging in another episode (Rimmerworld). And Holly… Well, you could actually do a computer generated version of Norman Lovett’s fizzog nowadays.

  36. Has the XXth anniversary big thing happened yet?

  37. G&T Admin

    Has the XXth anniversary big thing happened yet?

    Nothing has been announced. Andrew hinted at some BIG NEWS a while back, as mentioned in the article, but that’s not appeared yet…

  38. >Has the XXth anniversary big thing happened yet?

    The most recent mobisode! Duh!!!

  39. > So, you?re saying it?s not feasible for the cast to reprise their roles because you believe one of them may have just signed a contract for Corrie? It?s hardly an insurmountable problem is it? And, considering Doug has given the impression he?s recast over his dead body and every single member of the cast really want to red Dwarf again, I don?t think there?ll be a problem on that front.

    What I was saying was that it would depend on how time consuming it was.

    With regards to a movie, Craig obviously couldn’t work on both at the same time so that, along with Doug’s comments about it hitting a wall, would seem to kill that.

    Another mooted possibility was the stage show idea and again I guess it would be tough to fit in a tour and rehearsals with the soap.

    A one off special or an animation would seem more feasible though.

  40. The stage show was never going to happen. Never. Not with the original cast anyway.

  41. As someone who doesn’t watch Corrie I could be wrong, but doesn’t Charles play a secondary character in the show anyway?

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