G&T Interviews Doug Naylor… Again!

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What, you think we’d show up at a public event with Doug Naylor in attendance and not stick a microphone under his nose? Short but sweet, here’s what the main man himself had to say to John Hoare and guest interviewer Jonsmad about Back to Earth – and The Future Of Red Dwarf – at the Berkeley Square event yesterday…

Are you happy with how the shows have turned out?

I’m… you’re never truly happy because you always see things that you would have done differently. And you always wish there was more time. But just being realistic, from the cards that we were dealt at the time – hardly any time to do it, a fourteen day shoot, and the budget was really tiny, and because we’ve used brand new technology and so many people have done the show for next to no money. In fact, one of the guys – the guy who’s done the skutters, they’re CGI, but they don’t look it – he did that for a signed copy of the script! So when you’ve got that, people out there who are prepared to work their heart out – and you know, everyone worked incredibly long hours, the dubbing guy was starting at 10 in the morning and an early day for him would be quitting at midnight. But he was really enjoying what he was doing. Everyone worked so hard. There’s a chase sequence in there that looks like a night shoot, but it wasn’t, we shot it during the day! And it was kind of a very difficult scenario personally for me, because I had start writing the script much later than I intended to for personal reasons – I started it on November the 17th.

So with that kind of turn around period and with the small budget, we’ve delivered something that I think no-one expected us to deliver. Certainly in terms of production quality.

And in terms of story?

The story… well, I am confident that everyone will despise me on Saturday! I’m really, really confident. And they will be hurling things at the television, and just going “We hate him so much!” But hopefully by Sunday… they won’t!

What about the future of Red Dwarf? Are you looking to make something off the back of this? Or is this a wrap up?

Doug Naylor. Photograph by Venture SouthWe genuinely don’t know. It depends… I mean, as we stand here now, nothing else is commissioned. If it was absolutely the last show, I think it’s a much better way to go out than the end of season eight – which we never intended to go out that way. So it’s a much better “out”.

But… the guys want to do more. We have to see if anyone else wants to do more. You know, it depends. If no-one watches this… well, we need to get good ratings. I’m slightly worried that everyone is just going to watch it on the internet, and so they won’t be able to quantify the actual number of people who have actually watched it! And that is my only worry – if we do then get low ratings, and you think “Well, hang on, this isn’t right, loads of people have seen this, but we can’t quantify it!” And because quite a large percentage of the money is put in depending on DVD sales, then it depends on what the DVDs do, as well.

It’s a really difficult time for making TV shows anyway, because of the “credit crunch” and all those things. And Red Dwarf is particularly hard, because it’s not easy to make cheap shows – even with a show based seemingly on Earth, we can’t just sit in a cafe all day and pass that off as Red Dwarf! And I know people who’ve seen bits already are going “Oh, it looks like a fan film” – you know, there was a thing in the Guardian – and it’s just because they’ve seen it out of context. They haven’t seen that bit and they haven’t seen this bit, so they think we’re just going to be driving around in Carbug going “Ermmm” and having an adventure.

And yet you’re still the first show to be using the Red camera, and on such a small budget!

Yeah, I have had incredible backing, because people were extremely nervous. Even people who had previously worked on the show were writing in going “He’s mad, he doesn’t know what he’s doing, the Red One cameras don’t work in post production, the workflow doesn’t work, it’s too scary, you’ll really fall on your face…” And you know, we haven’t. And it’s worked out really well. But it was still tough for people to trust me, because this is the first show I’ve directed on my own, so there’d be another reason not to go down that route – but I wanted to use really cutting edge technology, and do it in a completely different way to how we’d ever done it. So our vis FX team was based in Sydney, Ukraine, Chicago, Manchester, London… all sending stuff in. And if you’re not used to that, it’s a lot of people to keep track of!

How did you find directing by yourself for the first time?

Oh, loved it. Absolutely loved it. You don’t have to explain so much to everyone, and I’m not saying I didn’t make mistakes, there’s no question I made mistakes, but I wasn’t arriving at the back of a truck and thinking “This plastic crocodile, this is obviously for eye lines. This isn’t actually the plastic crocodile we’re going to be using, obviously. Where’s the real animatronic crocodile?” I didn’t have that. And we were better prepared than we have ever been prepared. And that’s why we are able to have as many vis FX shots as we did.

There are a lot in it, aren’t there?

Well, Mike did 250. And some of them… most of them you hopefully won’t be aware of. It’s things being comped into TVs, where you think “that’s just stuff that’s on the telly”. And then there are more complex things, virtual sets, and other things too. And there’s a foreground miniature in there. Which I was dying to do, using an old technique as well as all the new techniques. And Mike wasn’t involved with that – in fact, he didn’t know we were doing that, he’d left the shoot a couple of days earlier to go back to Australia and start the post. And when he saw that he was just really delighted with the fact that we were using old-school techniques as well as the new.

It’s a complete mix, is it, of old and new?

Yeah. It’s basically every technique I knew, to try and be able to tell the story. Because a lot of the time we don’t have walls! We don’t have walls because we can’t afford walls! Now if you notice that a lot, then it’s big trouble, but if you actually go through it and look, some walls are greenscreen, some are plastic sheets, some are black drapes – but hopefully you won’t notice that because of the way it’s lit and what-have-you.

Doug Naylor, thank you very much, and good luck with the specials!

Thank you, thanks very much indeed. And thanks for all the support!

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38 Responses to G&T Interviews Doug Naylor… Again!

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  1. Nice one. Well done guys. That’s whetted my appetite a bit more…

  2. Oh, I turned up much earlier in that interview than I relaised. Must have been about half way through the first question. Nice work spotting him and getting the interview, just glad i got to hear it in person.

  3. Interesting, excellent interview!

    “The story? well, I am confident that everyone will despise me on Saturday! I?m really, really confident. And they will be hurling things at the television, and just going ?We hate him so much!? But hopefully by Sunday? they won?t”

    For some reason, this makes me panic less about the meta stuff. This is saying to me “Look, you think it’s going to be like this and when you see it, you’ll be pretty sure because all the signs will be… But just WAIT, because it really isn’t what you think it is – do you really think I’m that daft?”

  4. Fantastic interview – you did so well to get it.

    If it was absolutely the last show, I think it?s a much better way to go out than the end of season eight

    If nothing else, this.

  5. BRILLIANT! If just for dougs sake, this really deserves to do well!

  6. I?m slightly worried that everyone is just going to watch it on the internet, and so they won?t be able to quantify the actual number of people who have actually watched it!

    Meh, the things I’d do with a UK telly rating box… or whatever they’re called.

    And because quite a large percentage of the money is put in depending on DVD sales, then it depends on what the DVDs do, as well.

    I’ll definitely buy it, and I’ll even buy it the day it is released, at the full price.

  7. For the recommendations box:

    “You?re never truly happy.”
    — Doug Naylor

  8. As I understand it ratings are determined by the viewing habits of a tiny number of people in the UK. Which sounds incredibly inaccurate, unless I’m missing something.

    Anyway I’ll be watching online because I can’t get Dave on my freeview box – and I bought the box especially to watch BTE!

  9. I really don’t think Doug need worry about how well these shows are gonna do, to be honest. Loads of people I’ve spoken to lately who aren’t “fans” as such have seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the return of Red Dwarf. It’s obviously a very fondly remembered show, and the buzz about these new episodes, press coverage and everything surprised me greatly.

  10. > As I understand it ratings are determined by the viewing habits of a tiny number of people in the UK. Which sounds incredibly inaccurate, unless I?m missing something.

    http://www.barb.co.uk/
    BARB provides in-home TV viewing measurement for the UK
    This is obtained from a panel of 5,100 homes
    These homes return data from around 11,300 viewers

  11. So all we have to do is find out where those 5,100 homes are and hijack their remote controls for the weekend.

  12. G&T Admin

    I can?t get Dave on my freeview box

    Have you tried turning it off and on again?

  13. If that was a serious question, then yeah. And updating my channel list. There are a bunch of channels, which I assume are broadcast from the same place, that I can’t receive.

  14. May need to update the aerial maybe.

    The more I hear and see, the more I think it’s going to have a Despair Squid ending :s

  15. Great scoop people…

    We havn’t seen the show yet, but I want more.

    Fingers crossed for Dave and Everyone else concerned.

  16. Guys if anyone’s Freeview or Sky box is fucked on Friday then this **LINK REMOVED BY G&T STAFF** can be an alternative. Apologies if everyone already knows about that site by the way.

  17. CGI skutter you say?
    You know I heard an exchange between Rimmer and Lister was seen to be too boring and so they added a CGI skutter at last minute…

    (Yes I fucking know that skutter in the re-mastered version was a model and not CGI, I have got the Bodysnatcher set)

  18. But it’s so craply keyed in it LOOKS like it’s CGI.

  19. I am going to put every TV in my house on Dave would that help the ratings?

  20. not even a little by 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001%

  21. Don’t worry, one day they’ll be able to tell what EVERYONE in the country is watching, what they’re thinking at any given moment, cameras in every home etc.

  22. Make sure all the magic chips in your TV sets that beam what you’re watching back to the ratings people are activated by pressing TEXT+MUTE+2+4+7 on your remote first.

  23. >Don?t worry, one day they?ll be able to tell what EVERYONE in the country is watching, what they?re thinking at any given moment, cameras in every home etc.

    Big Brother is watching you.

  24. MOD HAT : Philko87, sorry, but I’ve taken out that link. It may seem hypocritical since I download some TV shows myself (I’ve got Lost going right now), but as a Dwarf fansite, I feel uncomfortable having links posted to places where people can watch the episode after it’s broadcast. If it weren’t for the DVD release, it’d be different – but Doug specifically states in this very interview that potential future episodes of Dwarf may well hinge on the DVD doing well. As such, I don’t feel we can be seen to condone anything that would hamper/interfere with those sales.

  25. Excellent! His caution in the first few sentences made me a little concerned… but everything else in the interview is wonderfully promising.

    As I understand it ratings are determined by the viewing habits of a tiny number of people in the UK. Which sounds incredibly inaccurate, unless I?m missing something.

    The bit from Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe talking about how TV ratings are worked out is worth watching. Starts at about 7.20 in this video:

    And ends in this one:

  26. >His caution in the first few sentences made me a little concerned?

    I was a bit too, but I think this is just a self critical thing that creators do. (Regardless of what form of creativity that is, writing, acting, whatever.)

  27. It’s too raw at the moment for him to say ‘oh it’s brilliant! I’m really pleased…’ etc.

    I’m crossing my fingers for the ratings. I wonder what figure Dave would consider to be a real success. Then they would have to look at the DVD sales. I doubt any decision on future Dwarf will be made until a few weeks after the DVD comes out. Even though there’s obviously a big Red Dwarf DVD buyer/viewership out there, you still never know what could happen.

    Righteo, that’s me done on here until post-BtE pt.1. See you on the other side!!!

  28. You are right about how self critical creators can be, but meeting him in the flesh he was pretty happy and upbeat, he wasnt like a Graham Linehan commentary.

    He was in tone of voice, and disjointed sentances, presenting a list of the hard work of the production people as the reasons why he had to be very pleased, against the odds, with the results of the show, he sounded fairly proud as he summed up that part of the answer.

    Bizzare experience to be witnessing John interview Doug. It was very much like a Red Dwarf DVD documentary, and a website I love to visit had both suddenly jumped out of my PC screen at me after years of enjoying both. Following this, and the berkley event with 3 days of red dwarf meta fiction now could really screw with my mind. I’ll need someone to explain to me what is real and what isnt.

  29. I’m starting to thing ‘Back to Earth’ will get much higher ratings than we previously thought, I mean all this publicity, I can see this getting 2 million viewers atleast for part 1. The ratings will probably drop for part 2 but it is the same for most things.

  30. I think it’s probably fair to say 900,000+ would be really good for any other Dave show, but I think RD should get well over a million, 1.25million at least. 2million might be pushing it – 1.8m maybe.

  31. I’m increasingly optimistic about ratings. The amount of publicity they’ve had over the past few days has been amazing. I can’t think of any other similar show that has had the same sort of attention.

  32. Is there a place online the ratings are announced?

    Where do those Who fans always get the episode ratings from in both early guess and confirmed form?

  33. Friendly people who have access to the BARB website, I expect.

    I mean the BBC never put up their “what movies did well this week” story until Tuesday lunchtime, but I can find it out from the EDI website on Monday morning…

  34. Cool. And is anyone here friendly with friendly people who have access to BARB website I wonder? They probably cant say I guess.

  35. They have reports on TV ratings on The Guardian website at http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/tvratings.

    Will take a couple of days for them to put them up though. Best thing to do is just keep an eye out anywhere where they report on entertainment/media news and hope somewhere reports on it.

  36. G&T Admin

    And there?s a foreground miniature in there. Which I was dying to do, using an old technique as well as all the new techniques. And Mike wasn?t involved with that – in fact, he didn?t know we were doing that, he?d left the shoot a couple of days earlier to go back to Australia and start the post. And when he saw that he was just really delighted with the fact that we were using old-school techniques as well as the new.

    Now we know what that meant! And it was bloody genius!

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