Thank you to Pecospete666 for drawing our attention to this fantastic interview with Doug over in the dark, buttery recesses of our Forums. The main bits of new information are fairly obvious, but let’s go through the whole thing with a fuck-toothed comb, shall we?
A black curtain divides the area. Pulling it back reveals a large spaceship. Stencilled on the hull is its name: Red Dwarf.
THIS IS A LIE. Unless they’ve managed to keep a 1:1 scale Red Dwarf model very quiet indeed.
“We’re going back to classic Red Dwarf,” says Naylor of what to expect of the new series, while keeping the details a closely guarded secret.
“It’s the boys back on the ship, having adventures like in series three, four and five.
Everyone who went to one of the recordings reported back that it reminded them of a specific early series, and it’s nice to have it in writing that this is what they were going for.
Most of the ideas are fresh but for the last episode I borrow things from the very early drafts of the film and explain what happened after the conclusion of series eight.
NOW THEN. I didn’t see this particular episode recorded, so I’ve no idea exactly what elements of the movie script crept through. One would assume that it’s the homo sapienoids idea, given that that’s pretty much all we know about the film. But it’s possible that there was some extra bit of plot detail that wasn’t publicly released at the time. What does this mean for the future of the movie? We’d all assumed that it would never happen, but as recently as the Series VIII DVD, Doug was adamant that the story would be told at some point. Is this what he meant? If the script has been cannibalised, does that mean the movie is, finally, officially dead?
As for explaining what happened after Series VIII, Doug hinted at the last Dimension Jump that he might return to that cliffhanger at some point, but not as a matter of urgency. I guess the last episode of the series is about as un-urgent as you can get! I’ll be very interested to see if this is a big part of the episode, or (as seems more likely), something that will be tossed off with a few lines of dialogue.
“That final episode also features a spectacular dogfight. Well, spectacular for Red Dwarf.”
This will be possibly the biggest test of the “troubled” miniatures shoot. Fly-bys and beauty shots are all well and good, but action sequences are a whole new beast. Will it be as good as the Bodyswap chase sequence, which was done an entire 21 years earlier?
A tightening of the budget during pre-production meant that two weeks of OB shooting had to be dropped, leading to an extensive reworking of scripts. Naylor says it was a happy accident.
“There was some ‘excitement’ after we realised we had to lose the OB filming as there were scripts littered with situations that we had to abandon,” he recalls.
This is new information, unless I’m very much mistaken. We speculated before the recordings about how much OB there would be, and it seems like there’s not a lot. We’ve seen from one of the behind-the-scenes videos that there was one little shoot in a bit of woodland, but now I think about it, of the four episodes I’ve seen (Trojan, Fathers and Suns, Entangled and Dear Dave) there’s no external footage whatsoever. Not unusual for Red Dwarf, but a stark contrast from Back To Earth.
“Bizarrely, the result is an early type of Red Dwarf series where we are based on just a few sets. We didn’t plan it but restrictions can make you more creative.
“We also discovered that filming in the freezing winter caused a drop-frame problem so we were glad to get back indoors.
Interesting! I’ve never experienced that before, but then I’ve never shot on anything approaching the standards of the Red Epic. They should have stuck with a Z1 or something.
“You should never have left Brittas,” quips Charles, referring to Barrie’s popular 1990s series The Brittas Empire, in which he played the manager of a leisure centre.
“I’ve tried to do my bit for the leisure industry on a wide scale,” Barrie responds dryly.
“Brittas did for leisure centres what Hi-Di-Hi did for holiday camps,” says John-Jules in a glittering waistcoat.
“To be compared to Hi-Di-Hi is a career peak,” says Barrie.
BANTER. But the type of banter that directly plugs into John Hoare’s brain.
Of the new series, Charles says: “We’ve stopped being an action adventure series and gone back to being more of a sitcom. Back To Earth looked fantastic and was very clever but it wasn’t as funny as it could have been, choosing to be more of an emotional journey. We’re now back to being four clowns in a room, each trying to be funnier than the next man.
Again, this approach was clearly evident at the audience recordings, and should hopefully persuade the tedious casual fans who say “yeah, but that Easter special was shit” whenever I mention Red Dwarf in real life to give the new series a go.
“We’re still 3 million years into deep space, looking for a way home and really hot curry. But now it’s a bit more like Grumpy Old Men.”
Similar comments from Craig have been a source of perturbation before now. But from what I’ve seen, the ‘grumpy old men’ thing pretty much entirely refers to how they look, rather than the style of humour that Doug has written. They’re not pretending they’re still in their 20s, but there are no jokes about how Lister needs a zimmerframe to take a space walk, or some shit.
There’s not much to be said about the whole live audience section, other than that it all sounds lovely. There’s a debate to be had about what constitutes a “traditional sitcom” and whether it’s really ever gone away, given the likes of The IT Crowd and Miranda, but I can’t be bothered to go into it.
Hopefully this is the first of many big press pieces about the show that we can look forward to in the coming weeks. The article gives a release date of “October 2012”, which means we have somewhere between 39 and 70 days to wait…