Doug interviewed by Starburst, interesting things emerge

As already pointed out by SoundableObject in the comments for Ian’s last Newsround, Starburst have finally published their interview with our Lord Doug Naylor.  If for any reason you’ve not read it yet, then do so IMMEDIATELY and report back here for debriefing.

It’s an excellent interview which covers pretty much all the major points in Red Dwarf‘s history, as well as obviously dedicating a fair chunk to X, starting with how it all got off the ground.  Or, to be more precise, how Woolworths almost fucked the whole thing up:

I wanted to return the show to being about the four guys on Red Dwarf, doing Red Dwarfy things and recreate a mid-season vibe. Dave said “fine,” though they didn’t care too much about the audience one way or the other but then it got complicated because BBC Worldwide were part of the commission and they were co-owned by Woolworths at the time, who then went bust, and it all took way longer than we expected to get the deal signed off.

I am very, very pleased we weren’t aware of this at the time, because it would’ve been absolutely terrifying. Doug does get the ownership details a little skewed, but regardless it’s bizarre to think that a fucked up highstreet chain could indirectly affect whether a new series of Red Dwarf would be signed off and paid for.  Regardless, everything was obviously fine in the end and we now have an official explanation for the long wait between the announcement at DJ in 2009 and everything being official.

We then get a nice summation of how the show was first commissioned and where Rob and Doug’s inspiration came from but, of course, you all know that.  Next, we have the question that will never, ever die: why did Grant Naylor split?

Basically Rob wanted to go off and do his own thing and write on his own. So that’s what he did … We were best friends since we were nine years old, he was my best friend first and my writing partner second but I confess that I thought it was an absolutely nuts idea us splitting up and I told him more than million times.

It wasn’t the first time he’d wanted to go off and write his own things. The first time he wanted to go off was just after the electrician’s strike … I got offered the chance to produce Spitting Image on my own and I said that if he wanted to get together again I’d refuse the offer but if not I’d produce Spitting Image. He wanted to get back together so I turned down their offer.

While a lot of this story has been told before, I find Doug’s choice of words very interesting regarding their situation in 1987.  The use of the phrase “get back together” really does suggest that there was, to all intents and purposes, a proper Grant Naylor split even before the first series was shot, rather than just mild, but not entirely serious, rumblings from Rob Grant about going off on his own.  It’s all mildly terrifying, to be honest.

At this point I’ll skip past the parts where he talks about the possibility of a movie (I absolutely refuse to think about the possibility of this any more – not least because of what we now know about The Beginning), his thoughts on “almost sort of co-directing” and numerous other anecdotes we’re all familiar with and move on to the *really* interesting bit of the interview.  Turns out we’ve got ourselves two ‘lost’ episodes (and apologies to Starburst for quoting this in full but it’s needed, I think):

Will we see Kochanski making a return in this series?

That’s a real difficult one because if I told you that it wouldn’t really be fair!

There were two things really. One is that the whole idea of the series was to get the four guys back on Red Dwarf and have a vibe like those middle series. Also, I knew if this series wasn’t a hit in the way we all want it to be, there’d be no more series. I knew what the stakes were, so there were some battles I wasn’t going to lose. Having the audience back was one of them. Perhaps as a result of that decision we lost two weeks of filming – both our Exterior shoot weeks – to pay for the audience. This meant that two scripts I intended for the series died as we weren’t able to have exterior locations and in a bizarre way that forced us to make Red Dwarf X even more like the early series. We’ve got one exterior in the entire series which is in a forest which was in the back-lot over the wall of K stage in Shepperton. Everything else is studio.

Although there’s a show where we’re in India in 23AD, it’s a massive set, but it’s all interior. Even in series two, we had a quarry but we couldn’t afford a quarry this time – that’s sad isn’t it? So, there were plans to have Kochanski in this series in the last two shows, but those last two shows didn’t happen. That’s not to say that she won’t be in it, but equally it’s not answering your question either!

We speculated way back in our Series X Preview DwarfCast about the lack of a proper location shoot and now it looks like the money spent on getting an audience scuppered those plans.  As Doug hints, I think it’s ended up helping this series to be more set-bound, especially when you consider we also have original music from Howard Goodall, the return of models and the sets themselves looking amazing – all of which avoid this series feeling like it’s been harmed by a tight budget.

The fact that the two ‘lost’ episodes were meant to be 5 and 6 does suggest that Dear Dave and The Beginning are their replacements, which makes perfect sense when you consider the bottle nature of the former and the movie script origins of the latter.  The Beginning is almost expected to be great at this point, but I also imagine Dear Dave will be a popular episode based on the 20 minutes I saw shot.  We’re now in a pleasing situation where economies of scale could mean a bit more money will be available in Series XI for location shoots, in a similar way to how series 2 managed to spread its wings after series 1 laid down the ground work.

What Doug does very well here is sidestep the issue of whether Kochanski will appear in this series.  I refuse to be drawn into argument about whether her inclusion would be a good or a bad thing, because at this point it’s absolutely impossible to tell.  Her appearance in BtE – as short as it was – was very, very well done and we’ve already seen evidence of large scale improvements in the show since series VIII, so who the fuck knows whether Kochanski would be a positive or negative influence on the show now?  What I do know is that Doug will write the episodes he wants to write, and if he thinks the appearance of Kochanski will be good for the show, then she’ll be back in and no amount of arm flailing from fanboys will change that.

So, that will probably be the last bit of major publicity before tomorrow night’s Fan Première of Trojan.  Ian, Danny and I will there so I imagine we’ll report back on Wednesday night to provide the pertinent details.  Then, after that, it’s broadcast.  Sweet, sweet broadcast.  As mentioned previously our Instant Reaction DwarfCasts will be returning (more on those nearer the time) and this time we’ll also be publishing written reviews of each episode a few days after broadcast.  We’re going to bombard you fuckers, and you’re gonna love it.

Just, please, don’t break my server.

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86 Responses to Doug interviewed by Starburst, interesting things emerge

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  1. >The use of the phrase “get back together” really does suggest that there was, to all intents and purposes, a proper Grant Naylor split even before the first series was shot, rather than just mild, but not entirely serious, rumblings from Rob Grant about going off on his own.

    Doug discusses this a little with Ed on one of the BodySnatcher commentaries. I got the impression from that that Doug truly didn’t understand Rob’s reasons and the explanations he gives are really as much as he knows, rather than some sinister conspiracy. It sounds immensely frustrating that Rob was hung up on Spitting Image stuff and declined the chance to work on the Series One scripts until weeks before production remounted.

    Because of this, I feel a little sorry for Doug having to endlessly answer questions about it.

  2. Yes, I found it a good interview. With regards to Kochanski and future series…I don’t think it would be unreasonable ro think that Doug may write a series ending, featuring Kochanski. Let’s face it, the cast aren’t getting younger, and if there are further series after RDX, while a series XI or even XII could happen, poor Robert could be pushing 60 by the time RDXIII rolled round, so a Lister-gets-the-girl grand finale wouldn’t be unreasonable in a year or two.

  3. I love interviews with Doug. He always seems to be happy to discuss any element of the show, always offers up some interesting new bits of info and, best of all, he seems to be honest and able to have a laugh about mistakes he may or may not have made (depending on your point of view) over the years. And after all these years he stills seems to be in love with the world he and Rob created and excited about the possibilities of what can still be done with these 4 characters we all love spending time with.

  4. G&T Admin

    Doug discusses this a little with Ed on one of the BodySnatcher commentaries.

    Ah, yes, that’s where I’ve heard that story before.

    It’s really weird to see how reluctant he was so early on, but then at the time he’d probably be forgiven for thinking the whole thing was going to be a giant waste of time. After that, presumably the popularity of the show carried him along for a bit before the various problems during series 6 occurred and he saw it as a good point to fuck off.

  5. G&T Admin

    I love interviews with Doug. He always seems to be happy to discuss any element of the show, always offers up some interesting new bits of info and, best of all, he seems to be honest and able to have a laugh about mistakes he may or may not have made (depending on your point of view) over the years.

    100% agreed. It also helps that he’s obviously a very, very nice man.

    We’re Smegged‘s going to be amazing.

  6. I’m pretty sure that, at the recording I saw, the largest cheer of the night was reserved for Doug’s entrance on set.

  7. G&T Admin

    I’m pretty sure that, at the recording I saw, the largest cheer of the night was reserved for Doug’s entrance on set.

    Something that’s made all the more impressive when you consider the number of Craig Charles or Chris Barrie fangirls present.

  8. One can’t help wondering why these two Kochanski episodes needed a location shoot in order for them to happen at all. The episodes must be written though, and we can only assume that they would open a potential series XI.

  9. G&T Admin

    My best guess is she’s found a planet or asteroid with a breathable atmosphere and has just been sat there, sulking, waiting for them to find her.

  10. She should walk in having just gone to live in the opposite side of the ship.

  11. That would actually be fucking hilarious.

  12. She should walk in having just gone to live in the opposite side of the ship.

    That would be utterly brilliant.

  13. Not long now until Thursday :)

  14. Not long now until Thursday :)

    I imagine the (hopefully only) 40 minutes between it starting and it being uploaded to the Dave site are going to feel really, really long for me.

  15. Not long now until Thursday :)

    I imagine the (hopefully only) 40 minutes between it starting and it being uploaded to the Dave site are going to feel really, really long for me.

    I imagine trying to find a way to download it in the US is going to feel really, really long for me.

  16. > One can’t help wondering why these two Kochanski episodes needed a location shoot in order for them to happen at all.

    I know I’m almost definitely way off the mark but reading that I couldn’t help thinking about the very end of Last Human.

  17. T minus 48 hours.

  18. Can;’t wait for the premier screening tomorrow. See you guys there =)

    Great interview by Doug. I’m intrigued by the two episodes that were not shot, I wonder if they will be saved for Series 11 or if they’ll never see the light of day like Bodysnatcher or Dad?

  19. Reece’s avi adds gravitas.

  20. G&T Admin

    She should walk in having just gone to live in the opposite side of the ship.

    That would be utterly brilliant.

    I thought it would be funny that she got lost in the bowels of the ship and couldn’t find her way back. Then I remembered she’s a Navigation Officer… :S

  21. Even funnier!

  22. Then I remembered she’s a Navigation Officer… :S

    She’s been searching for cottage cheese with bits of pineapple in for 13 years.

  23. G&T Admin

    She fell into a huge vat of cottage cheese with pineapple chunks in, while she was trying to act out an offside trap.

    She died.

  24. Get out tha vat while ya can!

  25. Just changed my cover photo on Facebook to the boys in Blue Midget and the facial recognition tagging function recognised Kryten, Cat and Rimmer but not Lister. Had to laugh.

  26. Then I remembered she’s a Navigation Officer… :S

    She’s been searching for cottage cheese with bits of pineapple in for 13 years.

    If Lister can’t find an entire planet, I can see why pineapples might be difficult. ;-)

  27. > One can’t help wondering why these two Kochanski episodes needed a location shoot in order for them to happen at all.I know I’m almost definitely way off the mark but reading that I couldn’t help thinking about the very end of Last Human.

    Interesting… I admit to having a little cry at the end of Last Human

  28. I imagine trying to find a way to download it in the US is going to feel really, really long for me.

    Email me at my nick here 67 at gmail and I’ll help you out. It is my duty to pass the torch.

  29. She should walk in having just gone to live in the opposite side of the ship.

    YES. THIS!

  30. I called that the night of Back to Earth Part 3. She’s living elsewhere on the ship, secretly bringing up Lister’s baby. Which is where Kryten went on ‘vacation’.

  31. She’s having a woman’s period.

  32. “Which is where Kryten went on ‘vacation’.”

    That explains the simmering sexual tension between Kryten and Kochanski in Series 7/8. I bloody knew it.

  33. No wonder he was so relaxed and utterly care free when he got back.

  34. Whats the link for the online new dave viewing system thing? Still cant get my tv working.

  35. What time does the showing tonight start? Thanks

  36. OH FUCK IT’s THURSDAY, THE DAY THE NEW SERIES STARTS

    True it’s only just turned midnight here in Australia, so it’s still Wednesday in the UK, but technically it is now the day that Series X starts. :D :D :D

  37. A lot of lucky people are watching it tonight! i dont think i wanna come online again until i have seen it tomorrow lol

  38. Has anyone read that SciFi Now piece I linked to? Maybe I’m just overfamiliar with certain anecdotes, but even the formation of those sentences…I’m sure I’ve heard or read it before, maybe in the smegazine or on the Six of the Best CD. It’s that ‘heads over the car’ bit, and the Craig/sausage/ketchup bit in particular. Anyone else?

  39. Yep it didn’t feel like there was anything new there. Maybe we’re just all used to hearing these same anecdotes… or maybe they just took quotes from the DVDs or somewhere else.

    Edit: Wow they’re in costume and everything! I’m impressed. Poor Bobby.

  40. The empire podcast made me giggle

  41. Yes, I’ve just listened to the Empire podcast – very good indeed, one of the best interviews I’ve heard or read re RDX so far, I think.

  42. Empire Podcast – best thing Empire have posted in years :D

  43. Nice to hear Charles and Barrie together.

  44. Isn’t it amusing that, now BtE is out the way, he’s stopped citing Blade Runner as an inspiration…

  45. T minus 24 hours.

  46. Screening in London must have finished by now!!! Looking forward to hearing the feedback!

  47. I believe they’re onto the Q&A now…

  48. My question would be……

    BRING BACK HOLLY PLAYED BY HATTIE!!

  49. Well, this time tomorrow a large majority of us will be watching Trojan. Ive noticed on Dave between the 9pm showing and 11.20 showing there are a couple of classic episodes on. maybe as a contrast perhaps?

  50. My question would be……

    BRING BACK HOLLY PLAYED BY HATTIE!!

    That isn’t actually a question.

  51. ^
    Now Norman has left why can’t you bring back Hattie as Holly?

    *Better? :D

  52. Sorry sir, you’ve already used your one question.

  53. Sorry sir, you’ve already used your one question.

    …….Permission to POO myself sir?

  54. Sorry sir, you’ve already used your one question.

    …….Permission to POO myself sir?

    Granted. And there will be no more Holly questions. This man has used them all up.

  55. The Norman mentions in that podcast made me laugh very much. :D

  56. Less than 5 Hanaka till the new series

  57. Less than 5 Hanaka till the new series

    5 Hanaka?! That means we only need to wait 28 hours!

  58. Chris really says “you know” a lot. You know?

  59. G&T Admin

    I was quite surprised just how much I loved the finished episode. Obviously I”m not without some minor reservations and of course the atmosphere was heightened, but I don’t remember laughing that hard at an episode of Red Dwarf in a long, long, time and that includes all the recordings.

    There are tonnes of lovely post-production details I could talk about without technically spoiling the episode, but that would be unfair.

  60. Big shout out to the lady who asked Doug where he gets all his ideas from!

    [insert facepalm gif here]

  61. Can’t wait. I’ve even washed my Starbug t-shirt to sit and watch it in. Just over 21 hours to go.

  62. I was quite surprised just how much I loved the finished episode. Obviously I”m not without some minor reservations and of course the atmosphere was heightened, but I don’t remember laughing that hard at an episode of Red Dwarf in a long, long, time and that includes all the recordings.

    There are tonnes of lovely post-production details I could talk about without technically spoiling the episode, but that would be unfair.

    Tell us about the model effects! Come on!

  63. G&T Admin

    Tell us about the model effects! Come on!

    They’re better than I could ever have expected. We knew Red Dwarf itself looked good, but there’s extra stuff in this first episode that is very well done, too. We also saw the trailers for episodes 3 and 6, and the latter contains some utterly stunning model shots. It looks like Bill Pearson has worked miracles.

    The only complaint I have is that they don’t linger on them for as long as they used to, but that’s pretty minor. They had a lot to cram into 30 minutes.

  64. Im looking forward to seeing the new Starbug model :)

  65. I was quite surprised just how much I loved the finished episode. Obviously I”m not without some minor reservations and of course the atmosphere was heightened, but I don’t remember laughing that hard at an episode of Red Dwarf in a long, long, time and that includes all the recordings.

    There are tonnes of lovely post-production details I could talk about without technically spoiling the episode, but that would be unfair.

    so do we have classic dwarf here?

  66. That new mask really makes Kryten look like Freddy Kruger.

  67. There is one model shot in the episode that genuinely GOBSMACKED me. It’s incredible.

    Even better, it’s a mixture of models and CGI. A perfect, lovely, gorgeous mixture.

    And yeah, the stuff from 6 just looks utterly breathtaking.

  68. G&T Admin

    so do we have classic dwarf here?

    I think to say that would mis-represent both series X and the ‘classic’ series. The setting is certainly based on the classic formula, but this series itself is something new. It invokes absolutely everything that’s gone before (some series more strongly than others, granted) but series X is like series X. It’s its own entity, with its own virtues and flaws all of which make it feel unique.

    So, yeah, that’s as clear as mud, then. Hopefully I can get this across more successfully in my review.

  69. There is one model shot in the episode that genuinely GOBSMACKED me. It’s incredible.

    I’m assuming you pulled the same expression as your avatar as this shot appeared?

  70. That new mask really makes Kryten look like Freddy Kruger.

    THAT’S what it reminds me of! Good call. The nose issue never really got fixed, it seems.

    Really excited for the episode. Doing my damndest to not to expect too much…

  71. Big shout out to the lady who asked Doug where he gets all his ideas from!

    [insert facepalm gif here]

    Were you there Pete?

  72. Craig was on Lorraine Kelly this morning. Nothing new or of particular interest apart from it being a chance for me to see Red Dwarf X in HD before the blu ray comes out. They showed the Lister/Kryten/Gambling discussion clip.

    Looking forward to tonight!

  73. “The setting is certainly based on the classic formula, but this series itself is something new. It invokes absolutely everything that’s gone before (some series more strongly than others, granted) but series X is like series X. It’s its own entity, with its own virtues and flaws all of which make it feel unique.”

    I was thinking this last night. There’s been lots of talk since the recordings that Episode X is like series Y or a mix of elements from various series. Ultimately it’s something entirely new. It has a definite classic ‘mid-era’ dwarf setting, but the episode itself didn’t feel as classic to me. All of the performances in Trojan seemed quite physical, with performances towards the extreme end of reactions or to put it another way an awful lot more ham than eggs. However that’s not necessarily a criticism.

    One thing that could easily be clouding my opinion in that regard is that I’ve only seen the performances twice; once in person at the recording, once last night. Both times surrounded by keen fans, both times with the performers a lot larger than they will be on a TV screen. Anyone who went to see the 25th anniversary release of BTTF can attest how much more the physical comedy of Marty and Doc comes through when you’re seeing much larger figures.

    So really can’t wait to tonight, for general public reactions and a chance to see new Dwarf in it’s truest form.

  74. I don’t think anything can actually give you a feeling of watching classic Dwarf though and anyone who thinks they’re going to sit down and watch Trojan tonight and get the same feeling they get watching Legion for the hundredth time is going to be disappointed. Old Red Dwarf is like a comfort blanket. We know it inside out and the feeling we get watching those episodes is from familiarity and them being a part of our lives for god knows how many years. Those episodes are more than just TV shows to us. Watching new Dwarf is never going to give you that feeling.

    I think I’m really going to love Trojan tonight based on the episodes I’ve seen recorded and what I’ve heard but I don’t think it will feel like “classic Dwarf”. This series could very well produce some episodes that sit in the top 30, maybe even top 20 of all time and rank up there with the best of the “classic” period but I don’t think they can ever have that same vibe. However, I don’t see that as being a bad thing.

  75. G&T Admin

    NoFro, hitting the nail on the head, there.

  76. Ask me in 20 years whether Trojan is classic Red Dwarf. I just know it made me genuinely laugh, the positives far outweighed the negatives and I wont feel feel anxious at 8:58pm tonight.

  77. ‘Ed’s a brilliant writer’.

    If I was the interviewer I would say ‘you are WRONG Lisa’.

  78. Lisa Rodgers. I would.

    Not after that twat Ralph Little has been there…….

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