Red Dwarf X title sequence analysis

EXPLOSIONS

With each new series comes a new and exciting title sequence. From Series III onwards, we’ve been treated to a fast-cut montage of model shots, funny faces, explosions and intriguing teases, and Series X is no exception. Now that we’ve got the final sequence at our disposal, with five full episodes remaining unseen, let’s take a little look at each of the twenty-three individual shots, analyse and annotate them where possible, and speculate wildly about the rest…

The first shot we see is of Blue Midget speeding away from Red Dwarf. Obviously, this could be from any episode between Fathers & Suns and The Beginning. We just don’t know.

We’ve then got a beautiful shot of Red Dwarf’s name plate, with a nice lens flare going across the screen. We see this shot at the very start of part two of Trojan. It seems like the type of shot that may be recycled and repeated a few times throughout the series – a generic establishing shot, and a very handsome one to boot.

The first glimpse of our actors comes with a shot of all four of them dancing around, while Lister air guitars, in front of a vending machine advertising CRISPS. They seem to be celebrating something; from Lister’s spacesuit and the yellow truck in the background, we know that this is from Fathers & Suns, as we saw both of these in the trailer. So perhaps they’re celebrating having defeated Pree, or having saved Lister after he’s flushed into space?

Next we’ve got the shot of Rimmer smashing up his exam results in Trojan. This shot also features the first of the unfathomably-controversial actor name credits. Some people seem to really despise these, but I can’t really see why they’re stirring up such strong feelings. I mean, I like them, but I don’t adore them, simply because they’re not that important. What is odd, though, is that Chris’s is the only name that appears on two shots that actually feature him. All the others either have model shots or a different character on screen for one of the two shots bearing their name.

Here we have another shot of a celebration – Kryten, Rimmer and Cat hugging and jumping up and down excitedly, whilst dressed in their c. 23 AD Indian garb. This is pretty obviously from Lemons, and if you require further proof, simply look at the bottom left corner. Maybe they’re celebrating finally being able to find a lemon to power their improvised battery?

Another shot from Trojan, this time it’s the shot of the Trojan drive room being shaken about and plunged into darkness by Rimmer pissing about with the inanimate quantum rod.

More disarray, this time from an as-yet-unknown episode. Some kind of explosion or hull breach has just taken place, judging by the various bit of paper and carrier bags being blown about. The shot features Rimmer and Lister and… who’s that in the middle?

Now this is beautiful. A breathtaking model shot of a couple of small ships attacking a section of Red Dwarf. Big explosions everywhere, missiles being fired and great movement from the wee circle-y ships. Bill Pearson, take a bow son.

Next up, illustrating Craig Charles, a brief snippet of his main phone rant from the climax of Trojan.

And another Trojan shot, of the Cat smugly wheeling away in celebration after informing Rimmer that the moose was in the road, not driving the car.

This is followed by a shot we know from the trailer, of Lister causing an explosion in the drive room by spilling chilli sauce from his kebab onto the console. We still don’t know what episode this is from – in fact, I’ve seen it recorded and I can’t even remember which one it’s from!

Next, another model shot, this time of Blue Midget heading towards a little blue-green planetoid. Blue, green and planetoidy.

And Danny’s main illustrative shot is an extremely brief glimpse of him doing something very rapid and disconcerting. Is he about to sneeze? No idea.

MORE EXPLOSIONS. A different design of craft to the ones seen earlier, but firing the same sort of missiles, this time at a couple of asteroids. Clearly from the same episode as the earlier clip, and probably safe to assume that it’s The Beginning, based on all the comments we’ve heard about this episode being the most effects-heavy. Could one or more of these craft be the ‘annihilator’ that Bill Pearson mentioned to us prior to Trojan‘s premiere?

Next, a glimpse of Lister being squished and pushed around by a couple of trucks; similar shots are seen in the Fathers & Suns trailer, culminating with Lister declaring he’s being “truck-napped”, and then flushed in to space W.O.O.

Certainly one of the most intriguing teases. A shot of a very hairy pair of legs, being transformed into human, female-looking ones. This doesn’t tally with any of the episode synopses we’ve seen, so it’s very hard to gauge any information about this. But the three main questions it poses are: 1) what manner of beast, natural or man-made, has the hairy legs? 2) Who’s the leggy woman? 3) Why are our Dwarfers transforming one to the other?

Then, there’s more of Danny dancing about, showing off. Lovely stuff. Again, no idea what episode this is.

Robert is illustrated with a clip of him pissing about with some plastic tubing. We’ve seen a snatch of this before in a trailer, I seem to recall, although the specifics elude me at this stage. He does good faces, though.

Next, Lister, on a video monitor, taking a shot of something brown and boozey. We see a similar shot of Lister-on-a-monitor during the Fathers & Suns trailer, so presumably this is from the same scene.

Yet another shot from Trojan, this time showing Rimmer’s main resentment attack.

And then a shot of the crew beaming down onto a bit of woodland outside Shepperton. We know that there was only one bit of ‘location’ shooting for the entire series, so it’s safe to presume that this is from Lemons.

The penultimate shot is of Lister leaping onto the car-shaped sofa in the sleeping quarters, with Kryten pottering about behind him, with what looks like a glass bottle of something or other. You can see the framed photo of Lister on the central table; we previously saw this in a publicity shot from Fathers & Suns. Either this clip is from the same episode, or that picture becomes a permanent fixture at some point in the series.

We’ve then got one final model shot, of Blue Midget flying away from a MASSIVE EXPLOSION, before whizzing past the camera just as the Red Dwarf X logo turns up.

I love the way the main Red Dwarf logo animates on to the screen, although I’m not sure sure about the ‘X’ flying on to join it. I think it would be improved without the clanking sound effect – it’s gilding the lily slightly, but it’s not a major problem.

Overall, this title sequence certainly does not disappoint. I was a little underwhelmed when I first saw it at the Trojan premiere, but that could well be down to the fact that the sound was dipped for the first few seconds, and it knocked me out of the zone. But after more than a dozen viewings in the last few days, I can see that it works beautifully. The balance of shots used is perhaps a little heavy on effects shots, but hey – if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Another thing you notice from watching it as a whole is that there’s not nearly as much variety in locations as we see in previous title sequences – we’ve got just one exterior shot, one bit of Lemons and two bits on the Trojan hull, but the rest is entirely split between the two main rooms and a few corridors on the ship. Not surprising, given that we’re not expecting X to be as expansive as previous series, and it’s only something you really notice when you’ve seen the sequence multiple times.

The main things you take away from the sequence are: lots of explosions, a slight sense of claustrophobia, and a lot of funny faces. That’s Red Dwarf X in a nutshell, and on that basis, the title sequence is a massive success.

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52 Responses to Red Dwarf X title sequence analysis

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  1. Fun fact. In this shot:

    … I’m standing on the corridor just to the left of shot, just behind (or possibly just in front of, I forget which) where the guys are standing.

  2. The episode title txt ‘trojan’ reminded me of the title text style in IV and V big colourful writing. i liked that.

  3. Seb: show off. :P

    I like the clanking effect that comes with the X, and have done since that first trailer. But yes. Nice work, Symes. Now that piece I write on the opening montages of RDIII on will look shite (if I ever actually expand on my notes and write the fucking thing).

  4. Great work Ian, how you find the time writing and saving the universe while we sleep.

    Again for me the pace of the opening titles is allot quicker, having to cram so much in the time slot. But it doesn’t feel too bad to watch.

    The chilli spilling seems to be forced, I’m not trying to act as though it’s an accident but oops I’ve split it. Not sure about that.

    There doesn’t seem to be allot of stars in space, the backdrop looks too black, some of the models don’t seem to be lit, but this could be all because it’s moving so fast.

    Overall great titles. I just love the swoop shot of the firing models on the hull of Red Dwarf, bit Star Wars trench battle, but awesome!

  5. I’m standing on the corridor just to the left of shot

    If you’d been standing just in front of the camera, then I imagine you’d have some explaining to do.

  6. Fun fact. In this shot:

    … I’m standing on the corridor just to the left of shot, just behind (or possibly just in front of, I forget which) where the guys are standing.

    In which case, do the legs belong to the individual playing this role, or did even these legs need a body double?

  7. Have a feeling each episode will have different clips as Richard Naylor tweeted I recall something along the lines of “just editing episode’s 3 credits” a few months back….

    Could be wrong but that would explain why the credits are so meh. Have to say V’s are my favourite – so slick and perfect.

  8. G&T Admin

    Credits = the list of names at the end. No way the title sequence will change.

  9. Credits = the list of names at the end. No way the title sequence will change.

    I guess we will find out on Thursday!

  10. Yes, a changing title sequence is fairly unlikely. I mean, if it *were* to change, why *those* particular clips for episode one?

  11. Yeh your probably right. Another night of pooing myself awaits.

  12. I’m guessing that’s not the Dwarf blowing up at the end of the titles (why put so much effort into the modified model then do that?). Whatever, it’s got to be the most impressive explosion ever seen on the show.

  13. Fun fact. In this shot:

    … I’m standing on the corridor just to the left of shot, just behind (or possibly just in front of, I forget which) where the guys are standing.

    Could this be Lister’s Gelf bride changing form, by chance? (Not asking you, Seb, I know you can’t answer. Just speculation.)

  14. That first shot of the actors dancing looks very much like a Smeg-up to me, or something done after the take at least. It doesn’t really look like a character thing. They used a Smeg-up shot in the title sequence of ‘Back to Earth’, so it’s possible :) Though happy to be proved wrong :)

  15. Can we not establish which episode each clip is from by looking at Cat’s outfits?

    Pink / Purple with fluffy neck – Trojan
    Yellowish multicoloured jacket with fluffy blue collar – Fathers and Suns
    purpleish multicoloured jacket without fluffy blur collar – Lemons
    Dark green with white shirt – Entangled (Which means the fluffy legs are from this episode)
    Purple sparkly – Dear Dave*
    Bright pink – The Beginning*

    **The bright pink one and the sparkly purple ones are either from Dear Dave or The Beginning.. place your bets!
    Judging by the amount of shaking going on when Cats seen wearing the bright pink one I’d say it’s safe to assume that ones from The Beginning…

  16. Kebab and legs are from entangled. Dissaray, explosion or hull breach is from the beginning.

    Legs i think probably were a double.

  17. I want the rest of the series so badly!

    I also hope they get to do more location work for series XI (if it happens…*prays*). The standing sets are amazing but you can’t beat those pumping station gantries, and whatnot, for really opening up the scale of the show. Make it so!

  18. Can we not establish which episode each clip is from by looking at Cat’s outfits?

    Pink / Purple with fluffy neck – Trojan
    Yellowish multicoloured jacket with fluffy blue collar – Fathers and Suns
    purpleish multicoloured jacket without fluffy blur collar – Lemons
    Dark green with white shirt – Entangled (Which means the fluffy legs are from this episode)
    Purple sparkly – Dear Dave*
    Bright pink – The Beginning*
    **The bright pink one and the sparkly purple ones are either from Dear Dave or The Beginning.. place your bets!
    Judging by the amount of shaking going on when Cats seen wearing the bright pink one I’d say it’s safe to assume that ones from The Beginning…

    Good deduction! Also not in the opening titles, but I think the “Old West gambler’s suit” (as I call it, the one with the bolo-type tie) in anything is from “Dear Dave” since it’s the one with the poker game and losing Rimmer in the trailer – I’m guessing, since Cat’s kind of like a debutante and doesn’t seem to wear the same fancy thing twice, LOL.

  19. Equally good deduction, Annie. :) That suit definitely deserves a reprise, though. It’s tied with his Riviera Kid attire for my all-time favorite Cat outfit.

  20. Equally good deduction, Annie. :) That suit definitely deserves a reprise, though. It’s tied with his Riviera Kid attire for my all-time favorite Cat outfit.

    Oh, it looks very good on him without being too fiddly. It suits an older Cat quite well.

  21. Good deduction! Also not in the opening titles, but I think the “Old West gambler’s suit” (as I call it, the one with the bolo-type tie) in anything is from “Dear Dave” since it’s the one with the poker game and losing Rimmer in the trailer – I’m guessing, since Cat’s kind of like a debutante and doesn’t seem to wear the same fancy thing twice, LOL.

    But Cat is wearing this suit in the clip from Entagled, where he and Kryten are stuck talking in unison. (Which is also the episode where they loose Rimmer in a poker game.) Although I do prefer your description of it to my ‘Dark Green with white shirt’!

  22. You know the shot of the ships attacking Red Dwarf. Could the Red Dwarf part of that shot be a rescan of the motion control flyby they shot for Re-mastered? I know they couldn’t use that as an end title sequence because it had no stars in it, but theres no reason they couldn’t use the beginning bit for this shot. The original Red Dwarf fly-bys are missing, but the re-mastered ones may not be.

  23. Because the original was shot in lesser quality, and the remastered versions couldn’t improve this much, the difference would be quite visible. From what I’ve heard it’s all new material.

  24. Good deduction! Also not in the opening titles, but I think the “Old West gambler’s suit” (as I call it, the one with the bolo-type tie) in anything is from “Dear Dave” since it’s the one with the poker game and losing Rimmer in the trailer – I’m guessing, since Cat’s kind of like a debutante and doesn’t seem to wear the same fancy thing twice, LOL.

    But Cat is wearing this suit in the clip from Entagled, where he and Kryten are stuck talking in unison. (Which is also the episode where they loose Rimmer in a poker game.) Although I do prefer your description of it to my ‘Dark Green with white shirt’!

    I probably have gotten the episode title wrong, not having seen any tapings – the poker one is all I know for sure. The one with the exploding codpiece! LOL

  25. The cast deserve their names in the titles!

    I’m really pleased we got both titles and credits in full. I was a little worried when Doug was tweeting about dropping one or the other. It just wouldn’t feel complete without the full theme ending the episode.

  26. G&T Admin

    Regarding the close up in that model shot from Ep.6, it could well be this…

    Excellent! They’ve also hotlinked a grab of the Trojan from here, too. It seems Steve Howarth is the one to give the required praise to for that model.

  27. I probably have gotten the episode title wrong, not having seen any tapings – the poker one is all I know for sure. The one with the […]! LOL

    Errr, Anniescribe, you might want to edit that SPOILER, because *as far as I know*, that particular detail from the episode has not been publicly revealed yet. Or am I wrong?
    Ah, screw it, it’s not like there’s long to wait until everyone sees it, is there?

  28. Errr, Anniescribe, you might want to edit that SPOILER, because *as far as I know*, that particular detail from the episode has not been publicly revealed yet. Or am I wrong?

    You’re wrong.

  29. There’s also a picture of it on Dave’s version of the episode guide.

  30. Oh, OK! Ignore me then! :>/
    As you were…

  31. I probably have gotten the episode title wrong, not having seen any tapings – the poker one is all I know for sure. The one with the […]! LOL

    Errr, Anniescribe, you might want to edit that SPOILER, because *as far as I know*, that particular detail from the episode has not been publicly revealed yet. Or am I wrong?
    Ah, screw it, it’s not like there’s long to wait until everyone sees it, is there?

    It’s in the trailer that’s been airing on Dave for close to a month, so I figured it was fair game … ? I haven’t seen any tapings.

  32. > There’s also a picture of it on Dave’s version of the episode guide.

    Both this pic and the one from The Beginning are totally new to me!

    *sigh* I really wish I could unlearn what I have learned about the remaining episodes.

  33. My only issue with the cast credits in the opening is that they seem to have been placed in willy-nilly, in contrast to Back to Earth where they worked beautifully with each actor’s name laid exclusively over shots of their respective characters. With the background image changing during the on-screen text I felt they didn’t really sink in. It all felt a bit busy.

  34. > There’s also a picture of it on Dave’s version of the episode guide.

    Both this pic and the one from The Beginning are totally new to me!
    *sigh* I really wish I could unlearn what I have learned about the remaining episodes.

    This is the sort of thing where it’s one of the few times in my life I’m fortunate to be a little dim – you could give me everything but the last five minutes of the story and I would still be totally surprised by half or more of what goes on in it when I actually watch it the first time. :-/

  35. My only issue with the cast credits in the opening is that they seem to have been placed in willy-nilly, in contrast to Back to Earth where they worked beautifully with each actor’s name laid exclusively over shots of their respective characters. With the background image changing during the on-screen text I felt they didn’t really sink in. It all felt a bit busy.

    Yeah that was pretty much my reaction to it. With the BtE titles, the clips were very much based around the actors and their credits, but in this one they’ve clearly tried a Series 3-8 title sequence and tried to adapt the credits to it. Busy is probably the best way to describe it. Still a great title sequence though :)

  36. >Robert is illustrated with a clip of him pissing about with some plastic tubing. We’ve seen a snatch of this before in a trailer, I seem to recall, although the specifics elude me at this stage. He does good faces, though.

    In the clip where he’s drying the spoon? Does this mean that the plastic tubing is coming out of his arse?

  37. > Does this mean that the plastic tubing is coming out of his arse?

    Yes. Also, I have it on good authority that he poos down it, thus solidifying(…) all those opinions of the puerile, lads humour that litters the show.

  38. I keep hearing interviewers and reviewers referring to this series as Red Dwarf Ex. It’s like saying Red Dwarf Vee Aye Aye Aye.

  39. Strangely I find myself calling it ‘Ex’ too. I mean, I call every other series by it’s number, so I don’t know why I’m calling it that.

  40. I think I’ve been calling it Red Dwarf Ten, although I have also been calling it Are Dee Ex . I think the ‘X’ just shouts “look! I’m a big capital X!” and proves too much.

  41. I’ve been saying Ten, but friends have been calling it Ecks.

  42. *snort* VIII is 10! Do you know nothing?

  43. G&T Admin

    There’ll be time for explanations later, and hopefully, some RDX.

  44. I’ve been saying Ten, but friends have been calling it Ecks.

    And a hot ecks.

  45. Fantastic X! Stupendous X!

  46. This series is never Ecks. Maybe Ecks-hole.

  47. That’s why in our society we only believe in ecks. Constant, guilt-free ecks.

  48. I prefer the old I + II titles, with the Holly intro.

  49. I prefer the old I + II titles, with the Holly intro.

    They are unlikey to come back for a few reasons, namely because it;s unlikely we’ll ever see Norman of Red Dwarf again and secondly they are longer and cut into the episodes run time

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