Red Dwarf X: Bluray/DVD Review

dvd-featured

IT. IS. HERE. Less than a fortnight after the final episode of Red Dwarf X aired, the DVD and Bluray have been released into the loving embrace of fans throughout the UK – just in time for Christmas. Despite the tight turnaround, nearly three hours of extras accompany the release, most notably the epic behind-the-scenes documentary We’re Smegged. Having set a precedent for incredibly comprehensive, entertaining and value-packed releases for the earlier series, will this latest offering stack up?

The short answer is: yes. The longer answer requires an unhealthy level of detail, chronicling every aspect of the release in far too much depth. Get comfy.

The Packaging

The main cover image is… functional. It’s the familiar publicity shot that was plastered on the walls of railway stations up and down the country for months, and while it’s presented neatly and efficiently here, I’m simply not keen on this image. There’s far too much of a filter on the cast, with Kryten and Cat in particular looking far worse than they actually do in the series. On the back, we’ve got the standard episode list and series synopsis, along with a handful of screengrabs (three on the DVD, two on the Bluray) and the extras listed in a boxout that also expands briefly on the content. This works very well – only having three individual special features, rather than the dozen or so on previous releases, is used to its maximum potential.

This version of cover art is by far at its best on the steelbook edition sold exclusively throughout HMV. The full height and width of the box is used, with a shiny finish to the material complementing the artwork beautifully. The Bluray doesn’t look great, however – I can’t stand the big blue borders that dominate Bluray releases, and the reduced surface area means that the logo on the front and the text on the back is compressed in a way that makes it look busy and cluttered.

The alternative cover art – sadly only available on the standard DVD – is far superior. While the bunkroom background on the front cover isn’t quite as effective as the iconic ships that grace Series I-III, it’s possibly better than the previous set-based ones used for Series IV and  The Bodysnatcher Collection. Having Jesus on the side is a little strange considering that I-VIII all contain ‘main’ characters, but they were limited to either picking a guest or repeating one of the regulars, and Jesus is certainly the guest character that’s most central to his particular episode. The only problem with this is that Back To Earth wasn’t given the same treatment, so the spines don’t look quite as good on the shelf as they could do.

And yes – there’s a sticker. White on red: “brand new with over 2 hours of exclusive extras”. It’s even got its own little serial code – “STICK059”. Lovely stuff.

The discs themselves are printed with a version of the cover art, and they look smashing. They’re labelled “Disc One Episodes 1-6” and “Disc Two Extras”, but it’s a shame that the artwork doesn’t vary between the two in the same way that the majority of former releases do. Save for the format logo, the discs are of identical design across DVD and Bluray. But enough of this jibber jabber, let’s stick the bloody things in the machine.

The Menus

The main menu on disc one comprises of a CGI recreation of the drive room, with a massive kebab in the foreground and snippets of the All Droid Shopping Network playing on the screens in the background. These interruptions are a tad annoying, but then I’m never a fan of noisy menus, and the visuals look great. Clicking on episodes takes you on a walk through the corridors – past a box of paperwork precariously placed near the airlock – to a bank of six vending machines, each representing a different episode. The vending machines talk to you too, with dialogue used from the nympho/stalker one in Dear Dave, and thankfully not Taiwan Tony.

Each episode sub-menu takes you to a close-up of the vending machines, and presents eight chapter points for your selection. There’s an irritating and unnecessary electrical noise from the vending machine every now and then, but it looks lovely. Perhaps it’s best to just keep the menus muted as you’re navigating through them. My favourite chapter titles are probably ‘The Last Lunch’ and ‘Finger-Licking Machine’, but I’m not too sure about ‘Pain in the Asteroid’. Additionally, the Bluray provides quick menus during episode playback, allowing you to jump to any chapter of any episode. This is beautifully done, and is a very exciting – although largely useless – development. The same functionality is used on Disc Two, but without the chapter skipping element.

And speaking of Disc Two, the main menu is a recreation of the bunk room, which is fairly unspectacular, but packed with elements from the show including a big pile of bog roll, some lemons, an empty guitar case, Lister’s jar of whiskey (which bubbles unnecessarily noisily), some flat pack furniture and noodle boxes. The only bit of animation is a push in to the sofas for the deleted scenes menu – this gives you the option to play all or select a specific episode. No chapter menu for We’re Smegged surprisingly, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to plunge straight into it rather than faffing around with extra button pushes.

The Episodes

Well, you already know whether you like the episodes or not. Personally, I’d summarise them as GOOD, MOSTLY GREAT, GREAT, MOSTLY GOOD, A BIT RUBBISH, GREAT, in that order. As for how they’re presented here, they look perfectly acceptable on the DVD, and every bit as good as the initial HD broadcast on Bluray, possibly even better.

The shows are presented seamlessly, with no gap where the ad break was previously situated. It’s a stylistic choice that I don’t necessarily agree with – in theory, the pace of a sit-com episode is inherently linked with the placement of the ad break, and I usually prefer a set of break bumpers and a moment of black on my DVDs, to simulate the pause that was provided on initial broadcast. While the bolting together here is done extremely well, I do miss the moment of reflection, and the pacing is consequently a little off for a few episodes. On the other hand, Lemons really benefits from the initial meeting with Jesus being restored to one big scene, and the continuous model sequence in Entangled offers the best of both worlds, as it provides a seamless and natural moment of respite.

It’s a strange experience to get a new Red Dwarf DVD where the main feature is still so new and fresh. With the possible exception of Back To Earth, I’ve never been so compelled to dive in to the first disc and watch through the episodes so soon after getting my hands on the goods. But make no mistake, there’s no way you should delay inserting Disc Two for a nanosecond longer than necessary. The reason?

We’re Smegged


Well, where to start, other than simply saying “wow”. It’s the tried and tested format of discussing the series as a whole – with particular focus on the audience, set design, scheduling, costumes, and the camera setup – before taking each episode in turn, with a whole section on the model effects throw in. The result is a solid two hours that uses the massive running time to its advantage, whilst maintaining a smooth pace that never allows the experience to feel like a slog. It’s funny, insightful, shocking and extraordinarily candid.

The stall is set out with an early soundbite from Doug stating that “it was a very difficult ride”. No shit. The sheer number of near-catastrophes catalogued is mindblowing. From the very start, Doug was up against it from having six weeks fewer than initially scheduled to write the scripts. Things never really improved – the location shoot for Lemons was nearly scuppered by dropped frames and the wrong script being issued, the entire ending of Entangled had to be thrown out because of monkey business, Dear Dave was still being filmed when the cast were interviewed for the documentary, there were quality control issues in Trojan, and – most shockingly of all – they completely lost ALL the rushes at one point. It’s astonishing that the series was made at all.

The most illuminating segment is the one on the model shoots, with Doug wearily running through all of the thousands of problems faced, and footage of the frankly inadequate initial attempts. Seriously, those asteroids are abysmal. But the documentary throws into focus the fact that as great as the final effects are, they still could have been a whole lot better. Model DOP Deane Thrussell reveals that the whole thing was done using trial and error, and that he approached the job simply by reading up on what had been done for the likes of Blade Runner and Star Wars. When the models supplied by Bill Pearson are so good, it really needed a specialist model director assigned to the filming, rather than being improvised by people without nearly as much experience. I fear for Peter Tyler’s telly, as he’ll definitely be throwing things at the screen if he watches this.

Elsewhere in the documentary, we kind of get the impression that Doug had plenty of internal battles to fight as well as the later problems that came from outside the production. There are a lot of instances where clips of Doug and Charles Armitage are juxtaposed to suggest conflict between them, on subjects as wide-ranging as the use of the audience, the concept of religion being explored in the show, the approach to the miniatures shoot and the necessity to build new sets for The Beginning. It’s also apparent that there was a separate interview session with Doug recorded long after production had wrapped, which is used to clarify and contextualise statements made in the main sessions. We might be reading too much into this, but Doug is wearing a Fahrenheit 451 t-shirt in these shots – a coded message about censorship and revisionism?

It’s shocking and fascinating to have been given such a warts-and-all account of the series this soon after the production. It’s one thing to discuss Norm leaving or Juliet May’s direction a decade later, but for a documentary of this nature to come out while Red Dwarf is still a ongoing concern is surprising and refreshing. Richard Naylor tweeted recently that there was a danger that the documentary wasn’t going to make it on to the DVD at one point, and quite frankly, you can see why.

Despite so much of its running time being taken up by the discussion of monumental cock-ups, We’re Smegged doesn’t lack the joy, the humour and the fun of the previous documentaries. It’s particularly brilliant at capturing the atmosphere of the recording nights, with footage of the warm up, the cast greeting the crowd, and – best of all – shots of the cast waiting in the wings, pacing nervously and looking scared to death. There’s fascinating glimpses of readthroughs, rehearsals, make-up tests and pre-records; the fact that the behind-the-scenes camera was there throughout the entire process lifts We’re Smegged head and shoulders above all the other feature-length documentaries.

We also get tons of interviews with all the key guest cast, along with various producers, many of the camera team, Howard Burden, set designer Micheal Ralph (a cross between Rolf Harris and Ringo Starr), Andrew Ellard and many more. The key to its entertainment value, however, comes from just how much of the cast we get to see – not just in interview form, but in candid glimpses of how they interact with each other on set, or even in corridors around Shepperton Studios. It’s always funny to see Danny soliloquising to Nathan Cubitt’s camera, or everyone taking the piss out of Craig’s swagger, or – most joyously of all – finally getting to see the traditional ceremony of Danny peeling off Robert’s nose after the final shot of the series is wrapped.

There are so many stand-out moments that it would be fruitless to try and mention them all, but here are a few of my particular favourites: shots of Doug directing smoke machines with a wave of his hand, Geordie Jesus talking about shitting himself, a flu-addled Doug Naylor standing next to Tom Price and somehow not being able to see him, Dominator actor Gary Cady being unsure as to whether he was shooting a comedy, and – best of all – a rather eccentric props maker talking about the trucks in Fathers & Suns as if they were beautiful women.

I could go on and on and on. I can’t state emphatically enough that We’re Smegged is categorically the best documentary feature on any Red Dwarf DVD, and I dare say that there’s nothing on any other British TV DVD that comes anywhere close. Our hats are well and truly off to Nathan Cubitt and Andrew Ellard for this two hour masterpiece that’s a testament to the hard work, dedication, eye for detail and narrative know-how that they’ve ploughed in to this job; qualities that shine through each and every brilliant sequence.

Deleted Scenes (with commentary)


We’re treated to an ample portion of deleted scenes, and their nature reflects the fraught atmosphere of the writing and the production; there’s whole plot threads that have been dropped, things that were removed so that episodes could be restructured via pick-ups, and scenes that had to be retaken in their entirety at a later date. The result is a collection of scenes where the main entertainment comes from their interestingness rather than their inherent comedy value; where vast swathes have been lopped out – such as the Rimmer dyslexia plot, extra appearances of Lister’s call centre troubles, and further ‘Jesus’/’Yes?’ business – there’s no denying that it was the correct decision to excise them from the final episode.

That said, there’s a fair few laughs to be had, and for me the comedic highlights all come from Dear Dave – surprising, given that it’s my least favourite episode. It’s mostly individual moments that made me laugh, namely the shot of Cat on the photocopier, the line about sperm swimming into a womb and forgetting why they’re there, and Rimmer’s Subbuteo-related finger gymnastics. The most satisfying full scene has got to be the full take of the drive room scene from The Beginning, acted out largely by a bespectacled Robert reading from his script. The unused model shot of the fly-by over the top of the ship is a must-see too – it’s absolutely rubbish, and the entire thing is on the wonk.

There’s a problem with the way the scenes are presented, though – they lack the little explanatory captions that accompanied the deleted scenes on the earlier releases. This makes for a confusing and unsatisfactory initial viewing – the lack of context makes you distracted from the meat of the scene by the need to figure out what exactly it is you’re watching, and why this version of the scene is being shown to you. The commentary from Doug does provide a lot of this context, but watching with the commentary on isn’t something that’s usually done as your first experience of a feature. Perhaps the best way to view them is with this page from TOS open, but not having these summaries as captions on the DVD is a glaring omission.

The commentary itself is informative, entertaining and amusing, although Doug does sound like a very tired man throughout. It’s interesting to hear him talk through his decision process on certain scenes, as well as musing on such topics as the Shepperton Studios canteen.

Smeg Ups


Now, this is superb. Obviously, any collection of Red Dwarf cock-ups is going to be funny, but this feature has been put together superbly well. They’d have been forgiven for just combing through the rushes and plonking any fluffs down willy-nilly on a timeline, but rather than a plain chronological run through, these clips have been expertly ordered for maximum entertainment value. Similar types of fluff have been lumped together, each actor has their own little segment of ineptitude, and the whole thing is dotted liberally with bits of buggering about in front of the audience.

And it’s very, very funny. My favourites are where we see the cast joke around after a series of fluffs, particularly Craig’s riffs on sending yourself a Valentine’s card, and how he’s written a novel in the time it’s taken Chris to deliver his lines. There’s also some impeccable swearing – the likes of ‘bollocks’ and ‘shit’ have been allowed through unbeeped, and there’s a fantastic example of the latter from Simon Treves as Lecturer Rimmer. The fact that they’ve bothered to comp him in to the hololamp setup is another example of the care that’s gone in to this compilation, which makes it the most satisfying collection of out-takes from one particular series that we’ve ever seen.

One more thing – there’s an out-take in here from a scene that’s not in any of the final episodes, nor the deleted scenes. It’s from Dear Dave, where Rimmer says “she was too stuck up to wear the other pair of le-” before fouling up. If memory serves me correctly, this exchange concerns the parking ticket that Rimmer received, and his excuse for why it was issued. It was too long ago for me to remember anything within that scene that would have made them choose to omit it from the DVD, so perhaps it’s been left off accidentally. Either way, it’s a real curiosity.

What’s Not There

This is one section that I never thought I’d ever include on a Red Dwarf DVD, and it seems churlish to spend a couple of paragraphs complaining about a lack of content when there’s so much brilliant stuff on the discs. And it’s true that the majestic beast that is We’re Smegged renders some potential extras unnecessary; there’s no need for a separate feature on the model shots, or the costumes, or the sets, because they’re all covered so comprehensively and brilliantly elsewhere.

However, there’s a big glaring gap on the contents list where the commentary tracks should be. Ten years ago, the cast commentaries were the headline feature on the Series I and II DVDs, and they’ve always been a hotly anticipated feature. It’s disappointing, yet completely understandable, that they’re not present here – it was a very tight turnaround between the episodes being finished and the DVD being compiled, and Craig and Danny were in Weatherfield and Guadeloupe respectively. It’s more of a shame that we don’t have a Doug commentary, however; he was superb on Back To Earth, and there’s so much for him to say here. He’s so busy recounting production woes in We’re Smegged and contextualising on the deleted scenes that in-depth analysis of the stories and the characterisation is the one thing the overall package is lacking.

We’ve been spoilt rotten by previous Red Dwarf releases; there’s so many things that we categorise as being “standard” features, which would never be seen on 90% of comedy DVDs in a million years. Even with this in mind, there’s no ignoring the fact that a few simple additions would have vastly improved this release. Isolated music cues, for instance – Howard Goodall did some terrific work on this series, and there’s no acknowledgement of this at all. Raw visual effects footage would have been fantastic for many reasons – we only see brief snatches of them in the episodes and I’d love to see the results of the disastrous of the first model shoot. Trailers? Continuity? Photo galleries? All of these things have been dug out of dusty archives for past DVDs, and they’d have been incredibly easy to come across for a contemporaneous release. A booklet would have been lovely too. Sigh.

Despite all of this, there’s no denying that this is an outstanding product. We’re Smegged is easily worth the cover price alone, and there’s plenty more value added by the deleted scenes and – in particular – the smeg ups. Plus, you know – six brand new episodes of Red Dwarf, presented in their definitive form on the Bluray version. No matter what you think of this extraordinarily divisive series, the quality and the size of the main bonus feature means that everyone with even a passing interest in Red Dwarf would be advised to get their hands on a copy.

The curious beast that is Red Dwarf X is more than just the six final episodes. Only when you know the full story of its troubled production do you fully understand why certain things turned out the way they did. It doesn’t absolve any faults in the series – if something doesn’t sit well with you within an episode, it’s probably never going to – but it does make you look at the imperfections in a different way. More so than ever, this series of Red Dwarf seems to belong on DVD/Bluray, and the joy of watching We’re Smegged for the first time is equal to that of watching a brand new episode. Without these shiny discs, you’re missing out on the full Red Dwarf X experience. It’s the vital final component in ensuring you’ve taken in a full new series of your favourite show – an opportunity that we haven’t had for far too long, and may never have again.

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74 Responses to Red Dwarf X: Bluray/DVD Review

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  1. Pretty much my thoughts, too. Those SmegUps are very funny indeed. And it’s a shame we haven’t got this, this and this, but then, we have got so much, and been spoilt in the past.

    So, yeah. Well done, Symes, you can stay.

  2. G&T Admin

    I will say this. I genuinely rate Michael Ralph. He has this Bibby-like genius about how to fix problems and work with tight constraints. I hope he sticks around if there’s another series… but he really sounds like Rolf Harris…

    and oh great, There’s my face again…

  3. You may actually be onto something with that Farenheit 451 observation. I found it so jarring to see Doug in a t-shirt but maybe there was indeed a reason he was wearing one. And yes the only real problem with We’re Smegged is that it is so focussed on the production of the episodes that there is little actual comment on the finished product, though this is obviously to do with when the documentary was shot as much as anything.

    I think the most depressing thing about the series is that Doug seemed to start off with some great ideas that just became so hugely compromised by budget/time restraints. In the latest Dave podcast when he mentions that there was supposed to be a monster on the Trojan that wouldn’t have made itself apparent until a few episodes later, hence the ship’s name. That would have been a really nice bit of work!

    Oh and I personally hate when ad bumpers are left on DVDs.

  4. I really wish that sperm line hadn’t been cut. It’s one of the best things Doug’s written in the last 15 years. I can totally understand his commentary remark about wanting to re-use it at some point.

  5. Well, after watching We’re Smegged, I can at least understand why Entangled and Dear Dave are so bad as the revelation that around 50% of these episodes were thrown together at the last minute was no surprise whatsoever.

    Watching parts of the documentary were like reading The Writer’s Tale with the irritation felt when RTD procrastinates instead of writing Doctor Who episodes. I just don’t get why Doug was convinced to not write episodes (or at the very least structure stories) until a production schedule was confirmed.

    I don’t see why six episodes weren’t written prior to pre-production, frankly. The “excuse” given is that the 4 actors may prove to be unavailable for the shoot. FINE – shelve it until they do become available but at least write and polish the damn things.

    It’s odd because the documentary showcases “Doug The Producer’ as very single-minded…but “Doug The Writer” as far too swayed by interference (*cough* Charles Armitage) . And why the fuck are they scouting locations before scripts have been written?!

    A great documentary though. But, as I say, facepalm- annoying at some points.

  6. “This place is an absolute shit-hole.”

    I plumped for the DVD in the end due to price, reversible cover, Tesco not having the Blu Ray.

    Yesterday I shaved my pubes and now it feels like I have a colony of fire ants in my undercrackers.

    That last bit isn’t technically related to this specific release, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

  7. So someone on Twitter complained about the lack of a commentary and asked about the possibility of an MP3/downloadable one. Doug says he reckons one will happen. Maybe if he’s lucky he might meet you guys and be able to get you to say “This is a DougCast” for the stings.

    Also I agree about the lack of contextualisation of the deleted scenes. I did find myself a bit lost for most of them, wondering where/how they were supposed to fit in.

  8. Hogey the Roguey’s brother was deleted from The Beginning for reasons of time and space.

  9. G&T Admin

    RIDLEY WINS.

    Damn right. I had to tweet that one it was so good.

  10. G&T Admin

    Watching Michael Ralph take you through the sets and explain the detail makes you appreciate them much more, espeically given the myriad of problems they were having day in day out.

    Makes me kinda sad that we never really got the chance to have Mel do the same with his sets :(

  11. Hopefully mine will be delivered Tomorrow. Sounds really good though.

    Next time there is audience recordings Im sitting next to Danny. :-)

  12. G&T Admin

    I’ve spotted something interesting. 1:17:22 on the Doc we see a cameraman (presuming it’s Nathan Edit: it WAS Nathan) moving round the Blue Midget miniature, anyone else spot the Skutter behind it?

    Hidden Skutter

  13. I had resolved to buy more digital copies of stuff when available and stop buying physical DVDs, but now YOU MADE ME DO IT. Good job Symes, I hope you’re happy.

  14. And a skutter mentioned in deleted dialouge from the subutteo scene. I like that fact.

    Brilliant documentary.

  15. Red Dwarf X. Lets mock.christians They only practice across half the modern world. Sod What some chinese think, They are only the new superpower. Screw womens opinions on promiscuious slurs, They only amount to half the population. But for gods sake dont make fun of dyslexics dem mite spell badd revuws on der internit.

  16. The best thing Remastered ever achieved = impact on Red Dwarf X model shoot. Discuss.

  17. Totally agree with Sebs sperm comment.

  18. Or ‘cumment’.

  19. Sod What some chinese think, They are only the new superpower.

    Has anyone seen any comments on the whispers thread by any Taiwanese or Chinese anywhere..?

    A shame Taiwan Tony didn’t get addressed by Mr. Naylor on the DVD as the other controversial elements were but maybe he thinks the context of the episode is enough. *shrug*

  20. > Or ‘cumment’.

    One for the Woofminster Bank there ;)

    > A shame Taiwan Tony didn’t get addressed by Mr. Naylor on the DVD

    Some things are best left alone…..

  21. It just struck me that series x Kryten looks a bit like Len Goodman.

    Felt I had to tell someone.

  22. Darcey Bussell is fit.

    Still does not have X Blu-ray…plays more late night San Andreas…learn how to drive, foo’!!!!

  23. Thank You BBCWW I can not watch the RDX DVD because the world is ending on 12/21/2012

    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

  24. >The vending machines talk to you too, with dialogue used from the nympho/stalker one in Dear Dave,

    Incredibly nitpicky twat award to me. Yes, and Machine three uses the voice of rebbecca blackstones vending machine from fathers and suns.

  25. Subtitle on 1st Taiwan tony Line. has (Parody “Asian” Accent)

  26. Doug Naylor
    @DougRDNaylor
    @pecospete_666 Get a copy of Red Dwarf X from UK, then buy an All Region DVD player for 50 bucks from Amazon. Plenty of time be4 12/21/2012!
    10:42 AM – 21 Nov 12
    Good advice

  27. Doug Naylor

    @DougRDNaylor
    @pecospete_666 Get a copy of Red Dwarf X from UK, then buy an All Region DVD player for 50 bucks from Amazon. Plenty of time be4 12/21/2012!
    10:42 AM – 21 Nov 12
    Good advice

    I found my region-free player used in a shop for $15. Tragic. :-D

  28. Or you could check online and find a cheap DVD player which has a code to turn it region 0 (loads of websites online have extensive lists of codes to turn DVD players into any region) and then buy that DVD player and turn it region 0 using the simple code.

    Or you could wear a pink dress.

    Whichever floats your boat.

  29. Or, y’know, try patience and wait 7 weeks.

    The World Ending on 12/21/2012 !

  30. Don’t worry Pesco, that’s 10 months away yet.

  31. The world doesn’t end for another five billion years. Doctor Who said so.

    So yeah, I think you can afford to wait another two months.

  32. Do not touch Willy. Hm, good advice!

  33. I really wish that sperm line hadn’t been cut. It’s one of the best things Doug’s written in the last 15 years. I can totally understand his commentary remark about wanting to re-use it at some point.

    Not just the line, the entire scene would have been one of the high points of Dear Dave. I loved the way that Rimmer was almost a back-handed cheerleader to Lister in that scene. It was great, kind of baffled it was cut in favour of some other nonsense such as the Subbuteo warm up which delivered no pay off at all. Obviously it is a high standard to aspire to, but the deleted scene had echoes of (a lesser) Marooned about it; just Rimmer/Lister dialogue. In fact, it’s pretty implicit that the whole episode was originally going to be based entirely around the bunk room. What a shame it was rethought.

    To be fair, on disc 2 the lack of options did feel a little jarring compared to past releases, but in all honesty over series I-IX the documentary, smeg ups and deleted scenes are the only extra features with any major rewatch value to me, so I’m not especially concerned about anything else being missing.

    But on disc 1, the lack of cast commentaries really stands out. They have always been a highlight of each series – in fact, being so familiar with the episodes, my first viewing of the DVDs would often be with the cast bantering away in the background, and it gave each set an added dimension. It’s the biggest shame of this release that they aren’t in there.

  34. > Not just the line, the entire scene would have been one of the high points of Dear Dave.

    Yeah, the whole scene is probably the best Rimmer/Lister dialogue exchange in the whole series, with Chris being on fire! It definitely recaptures the classic bunkroom moments, which I’m sure was the general aim.

    Now that I’ve FINALLY got the bloody Blu-ray, and watched We’re Smegged, the whole RDX experience now feels complete. Yeah, there’s no cast commentary, but We’re Smegged makes up for everything that’s ‘missing’ from the set. The crazy thing is, I know I could easily watch an even longer version, particularly with more cast insights, and Doug, Ellard and Richard, I’m sure would have so much more to say about the series. I think it’s safe to say this has been the most interesting production in the show’s history. It’s also aged Doug by about ten years(!) so let’s hope a potential XI goes a little more smoothly…:D

  35. Just watched We’re Smegged – it’s a triumph. The DVD, and indeed the entire series, was made for me by this line, uttered totally in character:

    “This place is a total shithole.”

    I laughed like a drain. A DRAIN, I TELL YOU.

  36. Great review. :)

    I’m puzzled, though – I was in the audience for “Trojan” and could have sworn I remembered a scene (or part of one) in the bunkroom after Rimmer fails to convince the medi-bot that he’s dyslexic. It ran something like this:

    Rimmer – I just wasn’t stupid enough.

    Lister – Don’t sell yourself short. I’m sure you were really stupid.

    R – Hmmm. I could have been stupider.

    There’s no sign of it in the Deleted Scenes or the Smeg Ups though.

  37. I don’t know if it’s heresy to suggest this, but does anyone ever get the impression from the DVD special features that GNP are a bit… well… naff? Obviously Red Dwarf is a fiendishly difficult show to make and I would not underestimate that, but there does seem to be a long and storied history of behind the scenes cock ups on RD since GNP took sole control. As Chris Barrie alludes to in the VII documentary, problems with “getting the show shot”.

    Stuff like the massive budget under-spend on IV (“Want a curry? Have five curries”), the director firing and re-shooting on V, the bungled model shoot on VII, the bungled model shoot on X, budgetary balls ups on VIII (and so multi-part shows), *losing the rushes* on X, etc etc etc.

    Maybe Doug just takes a lot of bad advice?

  38. I expect that deleted scene was kept off of the DVD because it strays a bit too far into potentially offensive areas.

    I agree that behind the scenes does seem chaotic at GNP but seeing as the shows ended up as good as they are I’m glad everyone’s still on board.

    I really missed Ed Bye on the new DVD though. He definitely provided the best laughs on the VII, VIII and Bodysnatcher DVDs.

  39. I don’t know if it’s heresy to suggest this, but does anyone ever get the impression from the DVD special features that GNP are a bit… well… naff? Obviously Red Dwarf is a fiendishly difficult show to make and I would not underestimate that, but there does seem to be a long and storied history of behind the scenes cock ups on RD since GNP took sole control. As Chris Barrie alludes to in the VII documentary, problems with “getting the show shot”.

    Stuff like the massive budget under-spend on IV (“Want a curry? Have five curries”), the director firing and re-shooting on V, the bungled model shoot on VII, the bungled model shoot on X, budgetary balls ups on VIII (and so multi-part shows), *losing the rushes* on X, etc etc etc.
    Maybe Doug just takes a lot of bad advice?

    I wonder how many cockups there are on other shows normally that we just don’t hear about, actually.

  40. G&T Admin

    I think that’s the key – everyone makes mistakes, it’s just that not everyone is so honest about it. God knows I’ve seen worse productions in my time.

  41. Hard to think of more complex show than Red Dwarf. It’s sci-fi, favours models over CGI and it’s also a sitcom with a studio audience.

    >Maybe Doug just takes a lot of bad advice?

    Well, yes. Such as writing a movie script to suit a budget, rather than sorting out a budget to suit a script. Or holding back on writing anything until everyone’s confirmed availability and then having to write whole chunks of episodes in a single weekend.

  42. >Such as writing a movie script to suit a budget, rather than sorting out a budget to suit a script.

    I think that’s a bit unfair. From the sound of things, he wrote a script, attempted to get a budget for it, and then had companies saying “Well we can’t give you x, but we can give you y.” So he wrote a new version that was tailored to that.

    Given the number of shysters in the movie industry, it’s hardly surprising that he spent a lot of time chasing his own tail and trying to please people who ultimately weren’t ever going to come through. I’m not sure he can really be criticised for that.

  43. RDX was a massive, massive achievement. The craziest thing (apart from almost losing the entireity of the rushes…) was the moment where Doug was faced with the question of ‘do the series, or don’t’ and it could seriously have gone either way…

    Every single person who made the series possible, I salute you.

  44. G&T Admin

    Although it wasn’t possible to get the model shoots (successful or otherwise) onto the discs, one of the shots I was happy we got to see was the flyover intended for the closing credits. I’m really glad they tried to do it, but i’m really glad it wasn’t used.

  45. A shame Taiwan Tony didn’t get addressed by Mr. Naylor on the DVD as the other controversial elements were but maybe he thinks the context of the episode is enough. *shrug*

    For the love of BOD get over it. Don’t know why Doug needed to address the slag comment either…..

    Anyway knowing what X went through it gives me so much hope for XI! Maybe it will be what II was to I…..

  46. Yeah Ridley, get over your curiosity. You’re an embarrassment.

  47. Yeah Ridley, get over your curiosity. You’re an embarrassment.

    Remember, curiosity killed the slag!

  48. A shame Taiwan Tony didn’t get addressed by Mr. Naylor on the DVD as the other controversial elements were but maybe he thinks the context of the episode is enough. *shrug*

    For the love of BOD get over it. Don’t know why Doug needed to address the slag comment either…..
    Anyway knowing what X went through it gives me so much hope for XI! Maybe it will be what II was to I…..

    Wasn’t that documentary filmed before the episode aired? Which would mean HE chose to talk about “slag,” not that he was pressured into it by viewers.

  49. Wasn’t that documentary filmed before the episode aired? Which would mean HE chose to talk about “slag,” not that he was pressured into it by viewers.

    Yes I know he did, I was merely questioning why he had to justify it.
    It got a big laugh…..job done.

  50. > Don’t know why Doug needed to address the slag comment either…..

    I’m relieved to see that Doug himself knows ‘slag’ is definitely out of character for Lister. I reckon the only way of getting out of using it, or a similar word, would have been to rewrite the whole scene (or episode ;P), but there simply wasn’t time. I don’t think we knew, until ‘We’re Smegged’, exactly how little time Doug had to piece together ‘Dear Dave’ and ‘The Beginning’. I can forgive ‘slag’ due to this.

  51. >Yes I know he did, I was merely questioning why he had to justify it.It got a big laugh…..job done.

    As did the Blue Midget dance. It was still shit.

    >I can forgive ‘slag’ due to this.

    I’d forgive if it hadn’t been two years since BTE and 12 years since the last full series.

  52. >Yes I know he did, I was merely questioning why he had to justify it.It got a big laugh…..job done.

    As did the Blue Midget dance. It was still shit.

    That wasn’t filmed in front of a studio audience so Doug couldn’t test the waters as it were. The slag line was a great punchline to an underated episode of X. Very sad those deleted scenes for the episode had to go….

  53. ‘Dear Dave’ will always be the one that had the potential to be an out-and-out classic episode, rather than that lashed-together Meccano mess. The crazy thing is, Doug would never have planned on its ‘bottle’ nature if production had gone to plan, so who knows whether we would have enjoyed the originally devised episode more or less than what we got.

    ‘Entangled’ is the other one that’ll irk me from now till oblivion. If it wasn’t for the last 7 minutes or so, it would EASILY have been my favourite Dwarf since 1993.

    While it can’t be stressed enough what an amazing rescue job Doug did on the 2nd half of the series, it was definitely a tough task for him as the lone writer AND director. When the shit hit the fan in the past he had Ed Bye to take some of the pressure, and also, obviously, Rob. I would really like to see a director come onboard for XI (if it happens) if only so Doug can focus on the writing, saving himself from an early grave in the process! Maybe he could direct half of the series?

  54. Well check out performingmonkey, summing up my thoughts there rather neatly.

    Having watched all the series I think again Entangled and Dear Dave are probably the worst, with the others all being pretty much being on a par with each other. All with different pros, all with different cons. My opinion of course. Entangled is actually great up until those last 7 minutes which really let it down and, despite the great last line, I’m left thinking of the not so good Prof. E stuff and that completely-lacking-in-tension climatic scene at the end of the episode rather than all the good stuff before it. Lemons gets away with the not-so-good stuff because, in my opinion, it’s all in the first five minutes so after 25 minutes of great stuff I’ve forgotten about the bad stuff. Trojan and Fathers & Suns have the not-so-good stuff in small doses throughout so as soon as I’m annoyed at them they’re pretty much over, plus the good bits are really good. The Beginning has nothing bad but I don’t think it’s as funny as some of the other episodes, though it’s far from laugh free.

  55. It’s a rare situation where someone being both sole writer and director is the best solution. Ordinarily, a director provides a different interpretation of the writers work, filtered through a set of eyes that didn’t create the work in the first place and so is better placed to see where an audience may not follow the intention of the author.

    When XI rolls around (and based on the quality and reception of X I’m fully expecting it to) I’d like to see someone else direct episodes other than Doug, with him remaining sole writer. Not because of any failing on his part, but because as I said it is rare that anyone both writing and directing works well. Well apart from Joss Whedon. That would work, episodes written by Doug, directed by Joss. Suspect he might be a little busy though. ;)

  56. Considering Doug was on the verge of directing a RD movie (though Ed Bye was onboard, in the early stages, if I remember) it’s natural that he would want to take the reins for the series. He’s done a (mostly) great job too. I do think Trojan had a few teething problems on that front, but then ‘Father’s & Suns’ and ‘Lemons’ were a big step up, with the rest of the series as solid as it could be.

  57. >

    I think that’s a bit unfair. From the sound of things, he wrote a script, attempted to get a budget for it, and then had companies saying “Well we can’t give you x, but we can give you y.” So he wrote a new version that was tailored to that.
    Given the number of shysters in the movie industry, it’s hardly surprising that he spent a lot of time chasing his own tail and trying to please people who ultimately weren’t ever going to come through. I’m not sure he can really be criticised for that.

    Didn’t Doug at one of the conventions announce that someone had offered him £6m to make the movie but he didn’t think that was enough to make it the way HE wanted to??? Sorry if I’m getting that wrong but I don’t entirely believe his reasoning for why the movie didn’t happen.

  58. I’ve spotted something interesting. 1:17:22 on the Doc we see a cameraman (presuming it’s Nathan Edit: it WAS Nathan) moving round the Blue Midget miniature, anyone else spot the Skutter behind it?

    Regarding that, is it possible that the Skutter model was constructed for one of the two unused episodes this series?

    Also, hi everyone, I’m new here.

  59. G&T Admin

    Regarding that, is it possible that the Skutter model was constructed for one of the two unused episodes this series?
    Also, hi everyone, I’m new here.

    Welcome to G&T!

    While I couldn’t possibly say that the Skutters wouldn’t have been considered for X in the early stages. I could say with some confidence that the skutters you saw there wouldn’t have been built for X or indeed those specific episodes. They cost a lot of money to build and maintain, and given all the other production nightmares he had to deal with, I dont’ reckon they will have been first on his list, if at all. That said, I would like to see them again if they decide to make a XI, because they’re great. In fact, I think they should use both of them, in case one of them doesn’t work :p

    I can only guess as to why they were there, maybe they asked the Model Unit to just bring all the Dwarf stuff they can get their hands on to consider for the series.

  60. Also, hi everyone, I’m new here.

    Hey, Lexo. Welcome to G&T. You don’t have to be mad to post here, though we’d prefer it if you weren’t. Bad experience lately.

  61. While I couldn’t possibly say that the Skutters wouldn’t have been considered for X in the early stages. I could say with some confidence that the skutters you saw there wouldn’t have been built for X or indeed those specific episodes. They cost a lot of money to build and maintain, and given all the other production nightmares he had to deal with, I dont’ reckon they will have been first on his list, if at all. That said, I would like to see them again if they decide to make a XI, because they’re great. In fact, I think they should use both of them, in case one of them doesn’t work :p
    I can only guess as to why they were there, maybe they asked the Model Unit to just bring all the Dwarf stuff they can get their hands on to consider for the series.

    My understanding is that the control unit for the Skutter no longer exists, so unless a new (and quite expensive) one is made the Skutter is little more than a standing prop.

  62. I can only guess as to why they were there, maybe they asked the Model Unit to just bring all the Dwarf stuff they can get their hands on to consider for the series.
    My understanding is that the control unit for the Skutter no longer exists, so unless a new (and quite expensive) one is made the Skutter is little more than a standing prop.

    Bitta invisible string and a midget and they’re sorted.

  63. Hogey the Roguey’s brother was deleted from The Beginning for reasons of time and space.

    ah so Doug keeled my brother

  64. So, the DVD (and presumably BD) came out in Australia two days ago. I’ve noticed the description of the disc art is different. Here in Region 4, it’s basically a neat little white disc:

    Also I took a photo of the Region 4 sleeve compared to previous series:

    It looks alright there, but when I put it on the other side of BTE, both X and VIII look almost identical. I shouldn’t complain, I’m just glad we got the reversible cover.

  65. G&T Admin

    Ooh, those discs are pretty smart.

  66. I also like the fact you can see the other cover art on the inside. I kinda wish we had that.

  67. >”Micheal Ralph (a cross between Rolf Harris and Ringo Starr)”

    Hindsight’s such a wonderful thing.

    Seriously though, just watched this again and Ralph is one of my favourite documentary contributors ever. He’s lively, enthusiastic and so proud of his achievements. Brilliant production designers can create fabulous stuff out of nothing, and Ralph does an admirable job.

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