Thanks to top blues-funk-rock outfit VentureSouth, a selection of Back To Earth clips (as seen on BBC Breakfast this morning) are now on Youtube. In the intervening time, the entire interview has shown up on the BBC website. But dear God, don’t click these links, or read this article, or look at the comments, if you want to remain spoiler-free.
There are three clips in total, as the Dave publicity machine creaks under the weight of the forthcoming clusterfuck. The first clip starts with Lister, Cat and Kryten in a diving bell, being lowered into a massive water tank. Rimmer is co-ordinating things from the surface, but is more interested in reading his magazine. The crew get attacked by the leviathan, but Rimmer is listening to music, blissfully unaware.
This is funnier than it sounds written down, I assure you. Chris Barrie’s face is excellent as ever, and Kryten’s whispered line about “it might think we’re a rock” is most amusing. I just love the feel of this clip – mixing sci-fi action with silly yet in-character jokes, with a very Series V style vibe. I most strongly approve. Oh, and the leviathan looks lovely – snatched glimpses of great movement.
Clip two. Kryten – covered in leviathan ink – states that “it’s gone, possibly to another dimension”. We’re assuming the “it” is the leviathan here, but we could be wrong. Then there’s an “incoming” something or other, and the crew move into a conveniently neat formation. Ah, it’s Katerina! I’m calling it now – Katerina isn’t Red Dwarf’s science officer, she’s a hallucination, or a shape-shifter, or figments of Mr Lister’s imagination made solid by some weird space ray. Something like that anyway.
Final clip. Lister comes in with some sort of gadget for Katerina to use. She tells him to prepare to go home. He then plonks his beer down on his space bike with an amusingly ludicrous amount of gravitas, before Katerina informs Rimmer that he has 24 hours to get his affairs in order before he is offlined and his data files erased. Oooh, what a bitch.
From the tiny amount we’ve seen of Rimmer vs Katerina, the relationship is striking similar notes to Rimmer vs Kochanski in Last Human. This is a very good thing, particular as Chris’s performance matches the images in my head when I read that book exactly. And giving Rimmer a foe like this is a great move for character development purposes – his switching off seems vital to the mission, but obviously terrible for him, and that conflict of interests is a classic Rimmer situation.
Seeing all the elements together like this is allaying a lot of my fears about this special. I’m still trying to remain cautiously apprehensive, but with two days, nine hours and thirty minutes to go, I’m not sure I could possibly be more excited…
ADDITIONAL: OK, the full interview is online now. And fuck me, there’s news. Danny confirms that the crew have to seek out the writers and the actors, and that they find an actor called Craig Charles on Coronation Street. So all that speculation that Coronation Street is a real place in these specials is out the window, then.
He also mentions that the purpose of tracking down those responsible for their creation is to “give us a favourable ending”. All this meta stuff is starting to take shape, and indeed starting to make more sense. In a way it’s a shame that this shape wasn’t allowed to play out to us over the weekend, but if we will go around chasing titbits of news for months on end, what do we expect?
Robert makes an interesting trying-not-to-give-too-much-away revelation – that “there is an ending”, but that the door is clearly open for more stuff. This is excellent – the last thing we needed was another bastard cliffhanger. It seems that this is either going to be a satisfying end point for the Red Dwarf story, or the start of many beautiful things to come. I don’t know which, but it’s gonna be a lot of fun finding out…