Lovely stuff. Not my words, the words of Shakin’ Stevens. But also my words.
Yes, Andrew Ellard’s done his thing over at TOS and given us a nicely comprehensive article about the making of Back to Earth. And even if you’ve already pored over every nugget of info the various doccos and commentaries on the DVDs have to offer, there are still a few important points that jump out…
I won’t go through and comment on the article bit-by-bit (you can discover everything for yourself), but the following really are worthy of comment :
The idea to shove [Katerina] into oncoming traffic came from associate producer Andrew Ellard
Andrew hates women, everyone!
During this period, towards the end of 2008, Norman – who had been given dates to pencil in his diary in case his involvement could be worked out – insisted on a definite yes or no answer, was he in or not? As it stood, the Holly character wasn’t in the script and so the answer had to be ‘no’. Had the comedian held on, Holly might have made it back after all – while there was no room for Mac in the end, Chloë did make a top-secret return in the final shooting script, creating a gob-smacking finale.
Right. So Doug already told this story on the DVD commentary, but now we’ve got it down on [electronic] PAPER. Please feel free to copy-and-paste this passage EVERY TIME you see (a) Norman moaning about not being in it, or (b) someone moaning about Norman not being in it.
Richard O’Callaghan, a friend of the production since he appeared at the Red Dwarf movie readthrough where he played a nutty rogue droid
Something else that was tantalisingly hinted at in Doug’s commentary. HOAGIE THE ROGUEY. Oh God, can’t someone just “leak” the script already?
Initial hopes of shooting Back to Earth with a studio audience were kiboshed early on. The practical issues were insurmountable: multi-camera shooting with a scanner truck was way out of the budget’s reach. And that’s before you factor in the expenses created by shooting for an audience rather than on a schedule that’s cheapest for the production. When you can’t afford to even double-up on costumes, a storyline that involves covering the cast in purple gloop becomes a logistical nightmare! And there wouldn’t have been any opportunity to recycle sets in front of the audience, forcing huge sections to be pre-recorded.
Okay? Can we stop the debate now? The practical reasons have been laid out again and again. It’s not like it was for aesthetic reasons, it’s not as if the production team actually thought it would be better witho…
Still, the script was already one that leant itself to a more filmic production method – lots of location work, several virtual sets, and an emotional content that warranted a more hushed shooting atmosphere – and there was no denying that shooting without an audience would help keep the twists of the story a secret.
You get the idea, anyway. Lots of interesting stuff, and absolutely well worth a read this fine Friday afternoon. It’s just a shame that the official site still hasn’t seen fit to pass any kind of comment on all these “potential new series under negotation” rumours…
At time of writing, the episodes are still bringing in high numbers for Dave on their umpteenth repeat. No wonder talks were underway even before the broadcast for a possible full series of the show!