Red Dwarf X: The Beginning Review

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If you were to put together a wishlist for elements you want in a Red Dwarf episode, it would feature a credible threat, character issues bubbling away in the background, an interesting narrative, memorable guest performances, fantastic model work, and, preferably, something that draws from and expands on the mythology of one of the central characters. These elements have been present in throughout Red Dwarf X, though not all at the same time, and with varying degrees of success. Could The Beginning bring everything together to give us the conclusion that this series and – potentially – Red Dwarf as a whole deserves? The answer is… pretty much, yeah.

First broadcast: 8th November 2012, 9:00pm, Dave

Written by: Doug Naylor

Directed by: Doug Naylor

Main Cast:
Chris Barrie (Rimmer)
Craig Charles (Lister)
Danny John-Jules (Cat)
Robert Llewellyn (Kryten)

Guest Cast:
Richard O’Callaghan (Hogey the Roguey)
Gary Cady (Dominator Zlurth)
Alex Hardy (Chancellor Wednesday)
Colin Hoult (Chancellor Thursday)
Simon Treves (Lecturer Rimmer)
Taylor James (Big Simulant Advisor)
Philip Labey (Young Rimmer)
Joanne Gale (Wendy)

Synopsis:
Hiding in an Asteroid, surrounded by a Simulant Death Ship and a fleet of Annihilators, the Dwarfers begin to wonder whether this is the beginning of the end. Only one man can save them. Unfortunately, that man is Arnold J Rimmer.

Set Report | Discussion Thread | Dwarfcast

From the very second that a beautiful effects sequence reveals that we’re at Io Polytechnic roughly three million years in the past, we know that this will be a significant episode. A glimpse of someone’s past always indicates that something important is going to happen to them over the next thirty minutes, regardless of whether the episode is good (Dimension Jump) or bad (Ouroboros). It was a strange choice to deck everyone out in 1940s/1950s gear – from the audience’s point of view, if you equate life on board Red Dwarf as analogous to the present day, someone of Rimmer’s age should be of university age in a time period equivalent to the 1980s – but it works superbly, giving the scenes an other-worldly feel, and emphasising that from Rimmer’s point of view, this was a hell of a long time ago.

But it’s the casting that makes this sequence as successful as it is. Rimmer’s ‘Dad’ is perhaps the most significant “off-screen” character in the history of the show (Better Than Life doesn’t count), and the performance and writing had to live up to the picture that we’ve built up in our heads. It was always possible that Rimmer had been exaggerating his father’s cruelness, but we see it in full force here, with Lecturer Rimmer being deliberately and needlessly spiteful to his son/pupil. Simon Treeves puts in a performance that sits well with both John Abineri’s prior portrayal, and the version of the character that’s existed in my head for the last twenty years.

The real star, however, is the brilliant Phillip Labey as Young Rimmer. Putting together a believable alternate version of an iconic character is a tough job, so much harder than just copying the established actor’s mannerisms. Labey pulls it off with a performance that transcends imitation to become so true to the character that you emphasise with him in an instant; the fact that it’s not Chris Barrie could have been a distraction, but it just isn’t. So many aspects of Rimmer’s character are there – the resentment, the smugness, the eagerness to please – and it’s the writing that allows Labey to provide a hugely multifaceted performance in barely a few minutes of screentime. The hand-raising experiment is a fantastic way of demonstrating that everything we assumed about Rimmer’s relationship with his father is true, and it’s also very funny.

Back in the present, we’re finally introduced to Hogey the Roguey. It’s a character that feels vaguely familiar to the portions of the audience who watch DVD documentaries, and we soon learn that he’s very familiar for the crew – they even have a special Hogey Alert icon on their monitors. I love this concept – the idea that Red Dwarf has an annoying neighbour character, turning up every now and then and doing nothing more than piss people off, like Jim in Friday Night Dinner or some of the Balowski Family in The Young Ones. Not only is it a funny idea – particularly Kryten’s low-key interaction with Hogey, which comes before the audience are aware that he’s not a credible threat – it also shows us just how jaded the crew have become in the (at least) nine years they’ve spent rattling around on their own.

Hogey’s appearance ties in with some of the newly established themes particular to this series. One of these is that the Dwarfers are living in a more populated universe than they have done previously – they’ve always met the odd nutter here and there, but elements like Trojan‘s call centre and Dear Dave‘s dealings with the JMC make it clear that our crew are no longer isolated within their universe, and a bloke coming round for the occasional ping-pong tournament is a further indication that the status quo is very different now.

Another theme of this series seems to be guest stars with exaggerated accents – mostly vending machines and assumed deities prior to this point. The Inigo Montoya-inspired performance here is definitely on the broader end of the spectrum, but crucially, it’s funny. It’s a little creepy and disconcerting to have him on board in the first place, and the silly voice here works in the same way it does with some of the darker characters in The League of Gentlemen – to neutralise Hogey’s threat and to reassure the audience back in to the realm of laughter. It’s far from subtle, but it’s entertaining.

Unlike most other RDX episodes, these opening scenes are relevant to the theme and mood of the episode, and help to get the main plot started. Hogey inadvertently leads the simulants to the Dwarfers, having stolen something from them. A couple of significant elements are set up in a not-very-elegant way – Lister swiping Hogey’s gun and Rimmer picking up the hololamp are clunky in a way that betrays the lack of time that Doug had to polish his script or the direction for the final two episodes of the series. Incidentally, there’s no way we’ve seen the last of that map…

Soon after this, we’re treated to another rarity in the Red Dwarf oeuvre – scenes with none of our regular characters present. The first simulant scene is superb, combining the creepiness of the Dominator character with the comedy of Chancellor Wednesday’s gross-out slapstick. Gary Cady is particularly impressive, and gets a huge laugh from his delivery of the “formal letter of apology” line. The concept of the initial skit isn’t staggeringly original, but it’s well executed and is perhaps the comedic highlight of the episode. The later simulant scene is not quite as successful, as it takes too long for each joke to play out, but again Cady is a highlight with his delivery of “kill him”.

Meanwhile, the Dwarfers have escaped to Blue Midget via some impressive model work, the likes of which are scattered throughout the episode. It’s undoubtedly Bill Pearson’s finest work on the series, and it lifts the pace and quality of the show substantially. It’s worth remembering that – aside from a couple of new sets – this is every bit as much of a bottle episode as Dear Dave, but it doesn’t feel like it. It was a wise decision for Bill and his team to spend so much time and effort on The Beginning (time and effort in comparison to the rest of the series at least; they still had nowhere near as many resources as they would have hoped for). Not only was this work necessary for the story, it also separates the episode from the rest of the series and is the chief component in giving us a suitably ramped-up finale.

While most of the scenes are equally ramped-up, there’s a rather saggy bit in the middle of the episode which drags the pacing of the plot down a fair bit. At a point where the crew are in mortal danger and frantically escaping, they park up and pause for a big long chat. Hiding in the asteroids makes sense in terms of the story, but the structure of the episode suffers as a result, especially as the earlier scene of Rimmer explaining the significance of the hololamp has sown the seed that we’ll be seeing some serious character progression for Rimmer, and this ain’t it.

We’re about half way through the review now, but make sure you keep reading past the scene and smeg counts.

It’s around this point that we get the controversial nod towards the Series VIII resolution. It’s very funny, and it’s the perfect indication that it simply does not matter how that tedious affair concluded, and nor does it matter which version of Rimmer it is – the show is doing a lot of new things, and it benefits nobody to dwell on the long-since-boring mysteries of the past. However, it does pull you out of the episode, and the knowing laughter it gets from the audience is jarring. It’s a reminder that we’re watching a revival of an old show, which (aside from certain jokes being similar to things that have come before) hasn’t – and shouldn’t – happen in this brand new series. Series X is its own thing, and regardless of whether you like it or not, it’s earned its place in the pantheon of Red Dwarf.

Fortunately, this is just a blip, and the scene ends with Rimmer being given the responsibility of formulating a plan, which snaps us right back in to the action. The battleplan timetable is a fantastic slice of pure Rimmer, as is the subsequent chat with Kryten. The forks/pencil sharpener gag has less impact than it would have done without being trailed relentlessly, but that’s not the fault of the material. Kryten ominously leaving Hogey’s gun behind is a tad obvious, though – you can pretty much come up with the battleplan yourself at this point, way before Rimmer does.

The following scene provides a rare opportunity for a Rimmer/Cat interaction, and it’s always good to see unusual pairings of characters. Danny is very funny here; for some reason the addition of the word ‘game’ makes his mutterings inherently amusing. We also see The Cat being incredibly insightful, which could be seen as peculiar, but makes perfect sense to me. The Cat was learning and developing at an incredible rate from the early days, until his peak of usefulness when he becomes Starbug’s most skilled pilot. He’s had less to do since then, and his character has regressed to more small-‘c’-cat-like in the years since Series VIII. But he’s always had a keen grasp on the characters of his ship-mates, and he knew as far back as Better Than Life that the way to piss Rimmer off is to remind him that his father hates him. He’s been sitting back and observing these stupid humans going about their stupid lives, and his catty instincts have lead him to speak out at a moment where his intervention could help him to survive.

With the answer to his deep-rooted psychological problems spelled out to him by the stupidest person on the ship, it’s time for Rimmer to become a man, and rebel against his father by playing the holo-message. The set-up feels dramatic and significant, although you are distracted by just how convenient that holo-lamp-shaped plinth in the middle of Blue Midget’s cockpit is. But Chris is great here; it’s his best performance of the series. In the other Rimmer-centric episode, Trojan, he spent half the episode putting on an act for the benefit of Howard, and Mark Dexter’s performance was so good that it overshadowed his own. Not a bit of it here – Chris is centre-stage, so much so that Lister barely gets a look in.

Simon Treeves returns as Mr Rimmer with the rather significant news that he’s not actually Rimmer’s dad. It’s very well delivered, and shocking for characters and audience alike. It gives Rimmer the impetus to improve, but how does it affect us? I’m going to go into this in far more detail over the coming weeks, but fundamentally, it shouldn’t change the way we view Rimmer’s previous adventures. As far as he was concerned, it was his dad that died in Better Than Life, and our empathy isn’t affected by us knowing more than he does. Plus, regardless of the genetics, this moustachioed lunatic still brought Rimmer up, complete with stretching racks and schoolroom humiliation.

As for the newly enlightened Rimmer, he deduces that he’ll have already made his biological father proud, by virtue of not being a stinky working class type. The politics of this are dodgy to say the least, but it’s a perfect fit for the snobbish, status-obsessed Rimmer. He decides to step up to the plate, and we get a huge laugh from the jump cut from Rimmer preparing to explain his plan to “it’s crap”. We also get a great call-back to the opening scene, with Rimmer subconsciously raising his hand in order to fit in, and finally realising that he shouldn’t do that. It’s powerful stuff, and it ensures that the opening scene wasn’t just an isolated sketch – its importance to both the audience and the character is made clear.

Also, Rimmer is properly brilliant at being rousing, and we’re totally with him when he decides he’s going to kick bottom. My favourite aspect of Out of Time‘s iconic final minutes was Rimmer seeing an opportunity to be a hero; to snap out of his normal neuroses for the greater good. It doesn’t quite hit those heights here, but the audience are totally on Rimmer’s side at this point.

The denouement of the episode’s drama is fantastic for so many reasons, not least the use of model shots as gags, when the Death Ship and Annihilators are revealed surrounding Blue Midget. When we see the radar shot of the ships at perfect cardinal points, the memory of Kryten handing over Hogey’s gun makes the solution pretty damn obvious, but that’s not the point – it’s the joy of getting there that matters. The Geneva Convention stuff is great – really well played by all parties, and another perfect slice of everything that Rimmer personifies. There’s a small chance that people would think that this bureaucracy was his plan, which makes the revelation that Rimmer was in control of the situation the whole time even more delicious.

It really is all about Rimmer, and again it’s Chris at his best. His bravado in calling the simulant “miladdo” in the knowledge that he’s perfectly safe was reminiscent of his interactions with Hudzen 10, in a good way. But the thing that separates the call-backs from the steps-forward is one line which demonstrates the love and care for the characters that Doug shares with the hardcore fans: “sometimes you live, die and then live again”. It’s a very simple thing, but it’s Rimmer’s equivalent of Lister’s “I’m cool, I don’t take any smeg” self-assessment at Back To Earth‘s conclusion.

Rimmer has achieved so much more in death than he did in life. Taking effective command of a ship, finding love with Nirvanah Crane, becoming an officer on the Enlightenment (albeit through cheating), losing his physical presence and the joy of gaining it again, and now resolving some of his family issues. The audience has been with him on this journey, and it’s why we love him so much. Sometimes you live, die and then live again. One line that says everything about how the character perceives themselves, combined with hope for the future. Enough to make even the most hardened and cynical fan nod sagely and say “yep, he’s got a handle on him there”.

And speaking of fans, not since Duane Dibbley whooped his way into Emohawk have we had such a “this is for you guys” moment as the repetition of “the slime’s coming home”. If you can look past Seb Patrick’s pathetically weak cheer immediately afterwards, there’s more significance than the simple nod to the past. It’s an obvious point, but Earth has long since stopped being ‘home’ for this crew. Losing Red Dwarf forced them to change their mission objective, and while we don’t know everything that’s happened since they found themselves back on the mothership, it seems that they’ve pretty much given up on trying to improve their environment. Being cooped up in Starbug, then being cooped up in prison, has made the big red hunk of metal take on huge sentimental value for the guys, and with their shopping channels, on board JMC computer and pesky rogue droid neighbour, what else do they need?

So, what does this all mean? Why The Beginning? This could well be the end for Red Dwarf, which would make the references to The End make perfect sense. But if it’s not, then it’s the beginning of a new era for Rimmer, freed from the father-shaped monkey that’s been on his back for his entire life, death and life again. He’ll still manage to cock everything up, but as with the revelations about Howard at the start of the series, it’s a significant development in a character that has constantly evolved for twenty five years.

Red Dwarf X as a whole will hopefully also be the beginning of a new era for Red Dwarf. It doesn’t feel like one last hurrah for a dormant franchise, it’s simply a new series that happened to come thirteen years after the last one. Sometimes a series can live, die and then live again. It’s been far from perfect, and The Beginning doesn’t quite feel like a billion piece jigsaw slotting into place, as it doesn’t exonerate the problems that we’ve seen throughout. But what it does give us is a solid, confident final episode, which certainly holds its own against the 24 other post-1993 episodes, and even compares favourably to the original 36.

With a combination of excellent guest stars, pinpoint characterisation, fantastic visual effects and very funny sequences, The Beginning is the series finale that we deserve – one which gives hope for the future, but that leaves us with a satisfying and pleasing moment of closure if The Beginning ends up being the end.

TINY TEASER: We’re Fucked – the line “we’re smegged” was delivered like this on the night. They must have picked up the bowlderised version later. If it turns up uncensored on the DVD, we’ll be very impressed.
ACTUAL SCENE COUNT: 53 (Total so far: 174)
ACTUAL SMEG COUNT: 4 (Total so far: 17)

Oh yeah, that little post-credits stinger was pretty funny, but these things tend to be a lot better when they’re not built up so much. I was hoping for something more dramatic, but it was all worth it for the tribute to Peter Wragg. How fitting that it came at the end of an episode where the model effects did such justice to the great man’s spirit and style.

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105 Responses to Red Dwarf X: The Beginning Review

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  1. Another good review, there. You know, you should keep doing this, you could make something of it.

  2. >Oh yeah, that little post-credits stinger was pretty funny, but these things tend to be a lot better when they’re not built up so much

    Amen. The number of people people advising us to stick around for the end credits (which I’m pretty sure most fans would do anyway) made me think we were in line for some game-changing cliffhanger.

  3. Great review Ian, but quick question…

    >Hogey the Roguey. It’s a character that feels vaguely familiar to the portions of the audience who watch DVD documentaries

    Was this a Back to Earth thing? I don’t remember hearing about him before but other folks seemed to recognize the concept.

  4. There’s storyboards of him from the movie, aren’t there?

  5. ^^^ Give Pete a cookie.

    Excellent review Mr Symes, can’t disagree with any of that.

    Likewise I’d also like to see the “We’re Fucked!” I saw at the recording at least on the extras.

  6. I don’t expect anyone to agree with me about what i’m about to say and i may be completely the odd one out but having grown up watching this show and enjoy everything from 1 to 6 and some of 7 i do think that series X was incredibly underwhelming and being fans we all want to like what we see to the point we will watch it again and again to see if we change our minds, but i’d be surprised if this series didn’t end up like series 8 in a few years to come and thats from what i can remember back in early 2000’s series 8 was quite high on fans top 10 list but since its dropped quite alot in alot of fans minds.

    i mean i still look back at episodes like back to reality, dimension jump,gunman ect ect and think they were incredibly well written episodes but when i look at these new 6 episodes they seem have alot of flat pointless stuff and missed opportunities that actally many fans have came up with that are better then what doug has come up with which is abit worrying

    so whats happened to the quality of story telling? does doug need someone to write with or is he just trying to hard to be clever that he is writing himself into a corner?

    Don’t get me wrong i don’t want the show to end and yeah series X has had some funny moments and some great stuff but do i personally want it to continue as a shadow of the best that came before it… i Don’t know =/

    like is said i don’t expect anyone to agree so don’t get angry =)

  7. The biggest problem I have with this episode is the revelation about Rimmer’s father. It’s just too easy… I would have preferred it if Rimmer could battle and defeat his demons here without the use of that cheap cop-out. Also, it was all lessened somewhat by Howard’s appearance in ‘Trojan’ complete with a simliar twist. In fact, that was begging to be mentioned here in ‘The Beginning’.

  8. Great review Ian, but quick question…

    >Hogey the Roguey. It’s a character that feels vaguely familiar to the portions of the audience who watch DVD documentaries
    Was this a Back to Earth thing? I don’t remember hearing about him before but other folks seemed to recognize the concept.

    From what I have gathered, he was a character from the movie. Can somebody tell me where I can get ahold of this elusive script?

  9. The number of people people advising us to stick around for the end credits (which I’m pretty sure most fans would do anyway) made me think we were in line for some game-changing cliffhanger.

    I just wanted to make sure people didn’t miss the Wraggy tribute. SO SUE ME. *sniff*

  10. Can somebody tell me where I can get ahold of this elusive script?

    You’ll be lucky.

  11. I would agree that a lot of fans have been a *little* over-enthusiastic about Series X. I think this will fade in a couple of years when a bit of perspective is gained – but not to the extent of VIII…because it is genuinely a lot better than that.

    Aside from Entangled and Dear Dave. Which were shite.

  12. Great review, Ian. Really liked the lighting changes in this ep – particularly the Drive Room during the Red Alert scenes. Not to mention, hearing the ‘classic’ klaxon again. Ah, beloved continuity, how I missed thee…

    Plus, was really impressed at how well the sparseness of the Simulant set worked, compared to the recording. My pointless fan theory is that the slightly-incongruous candles that line the stage are in fact holographic – as if, being humanoid, the Simulants like the *idea* of candlelight, but not by using anything man-made – only artificial. Nice touch. Fun seeing Alex again. He and I acted together in something a while back.

    O’Callaghan was a real treat. At the recording, I remember thinking – shit, because I haven’t seen episodes 2-5, I’ve clearly missed the introduction of Hoagie and spoiled the surprise, but thankfully it played out well. His intro could possibly have been slightly clearer, but weirdly, I knew exactly who the character was almost as soon as he appeared. No idea how or why, but I just knew. If I recall, confirmation didn’t come until the warm up introduced Richard after his first scene was over.

    Also, is it just me, or did this episode seem to run VERY quickly? Thanks to good pacing, I’m sure. All bodes well for the inevitable XI. Or stage show. Or movie.

  13. Have to confess to being slightly underwhelmed with the Simulant’s ship set-dressing – the only big misstep for the sets in Series X. We caught a glimpse of this at the Dear Dave recording and I assumed it was for a dinner party with the black curtains looking particularly “budget”.

  14. I would agree that a lot of fans have been a *little* over-enthusiastic about Series X. I think this will fade in a couple of years when a bit of perspective is gained – but not to the extent of VIII…because it is genuinely a lot better than that. Aside from Entangled and Dear Dave. Which were shite.

    Entangled and Dear Dave were excellent. Im not being over enthusiastic about them. I just like stuff you dont like. I agree more general opinion on the series could fade, and I agree I dont think it will fade to the extent of VIII because sections of fandom that agree with statements about Dear Dave being shite are annoyed at the poor quality of the jokes/humour to them, and of the plotting or structure of the episodes including gravitas and concept. With a small amount of character quibbles.

    Where as with VIII they had those probelms, coupled with their hatred of broader perfromances, split up two parters, elaborate set peice, more major character quibbles. and massive change to the set up of an entire series arch that added locational changes and regular characters, which then couldnt fully make its mind up about wether to be a new trapped enivronment or a starship troopers and ended up a bit of both. And I think a lot of people (like myself) enjoyed VIII when it airred as a fun enough sitcom in space, thrilled to see the boys back on the big ship, looking so great, and with a proper audience feel, where later educated by finding an online presence who had articulated and intelligent arguments as to why the episodes were inferior in the show legacy. That came some time afer. In 2012 that criticism has been instant. Some times even during the ad break!

  15. >Have to confess to being slightly underwhelmed with the Simulant’s ship set-dressing

    I liked the minimalist look myself. ‘Budget’? Definitely. But in any event, I can’t image Simulants being ostentatious in their choices of decor, either. I like that they have virtually no artistic expression whatsoever. Just a table and some dim lights. Ironically enough, for my taste, the low budget seems to tie in with those particular characters’ authoritarian outlook fairly well.

    Saying that, I also like the set in Gunmen – what appears to be a two-man bridge capable of maintaining an entire juggernaut. Because Sims are artificial, they probably don’t require comfortable surroundings, so to speak. Plus, with size being a premium in outer space, a good deal of the ship’s internal capacity is probably taken up with ammunition..!

  16. Have to confess to being slightly underwhelmed with the Simulant’s ship set-dressing – the only big misstep for the sets in Series X. We caught a glimpse of this at the Dear Dave recording and I assumed it was for a dinner party with the black curtains looking particularly “budget”.

    Even worse having to look at it during the recording. It just felt like the Creators bedroom only even less detailed. I guess with the candles, They were going for cheap lighting effect way of differentiating on no budget. But to enjoy that on the night with out seeing ships from the outisde, was pretty near impossible for me. Might even be responsible for me not fully embracing those characters, though performance if perhaps part of it too, cant quite work out why I dont fully take to them in the show.

  17. Great review Ian, but quick question…>Hogey the Roguey. It’s a character that feels vaguely familiar to the portions of the audience who watch DVD documentariesWas this a Back to Earth thing? I don’t remember hearing about him before but other folks seemed to recognize the concept.

    From memory, I could be wrong, it’s the Doug Commentary on Back to Earth DVD that mentions Richard
    O’ Calahanohanorahanhansolohanhan’s performance as Hogey in read throughs for the movie with the cast, and his great work on that role, that lead to Doug casting him in Back to Earth as the creator.

  18. > although you are distracted by just how convenient that holo-lamp-shaped plinth in the middle of Blue Midget’s cockpit is.

    Totally! I thought it was going to slot into place like a key in a lock and then decend into the ground activating a giant bolder that would come out the back wall.

    Brillaint review. Spot on and a great summing up of the series.

  19. Great review, Ian. Really liked the lighting changes in this ep – particularly the Drive Room during the Red Alert scenes. Not to mention, hearing the ‘classic’ klaxon again. Ah, beloved continuity, how I missed thee…

    Plus, was really impressed at how well the sparseness of the Simulant set worked, compared to the recording. My pointless fan theory is that the slightly-incongruous candles that line the stage are in fact holographic – as if, being humanoid, the Simulants like the *idea* of candlelight, but not by using anything man-made – only artificial. Nice touch. Fun seeing Alex again. He and I acted together in something a while back.
    O’Callaghan was a real treat. At the recording, I remember thinking – shit, because I haven’t seen episodes 2-5, I’ve clearly missed the introduction of Hoagie and spoiled the surprise, but thankfully it played out well. His intro could possibly have been slightly clearer, but weirdly, I knew exactly who the character was almost as soon as he appeared. No idea how or why, but I just knew. If I recall, confirmation didn’t come until the warm up introduced Richard after his first scene was over.
    Also, is it just me, or did this episode seem to run VERY quickly? Thanks to good pacing, I’m sure. All bodes well for the inevitable XI. Or stage show. Or movie.

    It does feel like it runs fast. Unlike Entangled, which I don’t like nearly as much and kind of drags on for me, at least.

    Good review. I’m glad somebody else noticed how the holo-lamp fit on the Midget pedestal, too, I was amused by it for some reason. In relation to that, I do like that when initially asked in the bunk room about the lamp, Rimmer waves off the question instead of waxing on about it – Rimmer 20-some years ago would have done just that. It’s a tiny little thing, but it’s growth.

    With respect to Rimmer thinking the gardener would be proud of him, I maintain young Rimmer knew the guy and spent time with him while he worked outdoors – it’s not uncommon for children to want to spend time around people adults might not want to (like servants or elderly relatives – I got on with my great-grandma better and spent more time with her than my mom or grandma did), and Rimmer remembered his real name. It may suggest he saw the guy as a friend, as a little boy, and maybe knew this Dennis had respect for astros or whatever. It’s one possibility. Rimmer doesn’t seem put out that he’s now working-class on par with Lister, so I don’t think it’s snobbery, as much.

  20. Speaking of That Prop/continuity, as it has long-since been established that the Javanese camphor-wood chest in Marooned is the “only” thing of value that Rimmer’s ‘father’ ever left him, maybe they could’ve done away with the cumbersome holo lamp prop entirely and have Rimmer find a computer slug/holo recording hidden inside what remains of the trunk itself.

    As in, by doing so, Lecturer Rimmer was actually trying to tell him something – it’s not the chest that counts, but what’s inside…

  21. i still look back at episodes like back to reality, dimension jump,gunman ect ect and think they were incredibly well written episodes

    I think you’ll find a lot of people to agree with you dax. The originality, top of their game writing and execution of episodes like those three are hard to match. Which episodes dont you like so much of the first 36 Grant/Naylor written episodes? Are there any you felt this series got anywhere near or better than? I can understand your underwhelmedededness, if you are comparing 2012 solo doug dave dwarf to grant naylor award winning 90’s fan favourite episodes, totally. Plus the consolidated love of those shows for many many years.

  22. Speaking of That Prop/continuity, as it has long-since been established that the Javanese camphor-wood chest in Marooned is the “only” thing of value that Rimmer’s ‘father’ ever left him, maybe they could’ve done away with the cumbersome holo lamp prop entirely and have Rimmer find a computer slug/holo recording hidden inside what remains of the trunk itself.As in, by doing so, Lecturer Rimmer was actually trying to tell him something – it’s not the chest that counts, but what’s inside…

    I would have enjoyed that. Could have even been exposed by him repairing it after lister guitar cutting etc. I think you can always think that that is what happened and a the lamp is just housing the hologramme message file.

  23. With respect to Rimmer thinking the gardener would be proud of him, I maintain young Rimmer knew the guy and spent time with him while he worked outdoors – it’s not uncommon for children to want to spend time around people adults might not want to (like servants or elderly relatives – I got on with my great-grandma better and spent more time with her than my mom or grandma did), and Rimmer remembered his real name.

    The thought that Dungo untied Bonehead after playing with Frank and Howard is quite nice, actually.

  24. i still look back at episodes like back to reality, dimension jump,gunman ect ect and think they were incredibly well written episodes

    I think you’ll find a lot of people to agree with you dax. The originality, top of their game writing and execution of episodes like those three are hard to match. Which episodes dont you like so much of the first 36 Grant/Naylor written episodes? Are there any you felt this series got anywhere near or better than? I can understand your underwhelmedededness, if you are comparing 2012 solo doug dave dwarf to grant naylor award winning 90′s fan favourite episodes, totally. Plus the consolidated love of those shows for many many years.

    if i had to name some episodes of series 1-6 that i thought were weak i suppose as many would say meltdown and balance of power and for me personally maybe the last day

    but i think 1-6 and some of 7 had a charm thats kinda missing from series X, maybe after years of watching 1-6 i’m abit more critical of new red dwarf possibly but i have tried to see series X in its own light with its own charm and even though there is some great stuff it still seems very half baked and like doug really could have done better

    it will never be as bad as series 8 in my books but still if this is dougs best effort… hmm

    but again my personal opinion =)

  25. >I would have enjoyed that. Could have even been exposed by him repairing it after lister guitar cutting etc. I think you can always think that that is what happened and a the lamp is just housing the hologramme message file.

    …Okay, why not. THIS is now what I choose to believe actually happened! :D

  26. Is it me mis-remembering or was there a bit more Hogey the Roguey dialogue during the recording? I know there were a few takes so I could be getting confused…

  27. >Entangled and Dear Dave were excellent.

    As adjectives go, “excellent” is pretty strong. What would you rate these episodes out of 10?

  28. Entangled and Dear Dave felt like the sort of thing that goes on between episodes in series that we’re not meant to see. Like imagine if each series of Doctor Who had him fumbling about in the TARDIS with moderately amusing things happening for 2 episodes a series? That’s what those 2 dwarf episodes felt like, like someone had left the camera rolling between the proper adventures.

  29. >Entangled and Dear Dave were excellent.As adjectives go, “excellent” is pretty strong. What would you rate these episodes out of 10?

    I rated them 8 and 6 in a previous post.

  30. Is it me mis-remembering or was there a bit more Hogey the Roguey dialogue during the recording? I know there were a few takes so I could be getting confused…

    I dont remember any, but im not a great memory. I’m struggling to remember if the end with the hands up was added from reshoots. I think it ended similar but less call back, with the father voice stuff added. The stuff with the cup was added. I think the wibbly cat line stuff and falling through floors, and the opening shot of rimmer we didnt see on the night. But I think I spent pretty much the entire time unware that the blue midget set was another ship. I think cus it was sitting next to the corridor and bunk room, I assumed it was a different looking drive room during the recording night, cus no ships were shown to us. So my memories of the recording night are rather rubbish. I remember entangled better.

  31. >we’re finally introduced to Hogey the Roguey. It’s a character that feels vaguely familiar to the portions of the audience who >watch DVD documentaries

    Also DJXV attendees.

  32. I don’t think it was anything significant but I’m sure there were few more “battle across time and space” exchanges.

  33. I just wanted to make sure people didn’t miss the Wraggy tribute. SO SUE ME. *sniff*

    I don’t recall you getting all fussy over the Jo Bennett tribute at the end of ‘Trojan’…

  34. Cause this is something really worth arguing about srmcd1…

  35. Yeah. You’re right. Never mind.

  36. >I rated them 8 and 6 in a previous post.

    6/10 is “excellent”?

  37. >I don’t recall you getting all fussy over the Jo Bennett tribute at the end of ‘Trojan’…

    People were far more likely to watch to the end of the credits of the first episode of the series – especially given the already-discussed likelihood of there being a trailer immediately afterwards. There was no next episode to be trailed after The Beginning, and people had seen the credits up to five times already – hence, fans might have switched off early.

    Quite aside from all of that, mind, I find your implication hugely insulting.

  38. G&T Admin

    The point may have been made more effective if srmcd1 had remembered the name of the person who died.

  39. The actor’s name is Simon TREVES, isn’t it?

  40. Can somebody tell me where I can get ahold of this elusive script?

    You’ll be lucky.

    I’ve been asking around for months, either no one has it or they’re unwilling to admit they have it. If you find it, there’s a free book in it for you.. =)

  41. G&T Admin

    I don’t recall you getting all fussy over the Jo Bennett tribute at the end of ‘Trojan’…

    Her name was Jo Howard, and your name is Colossal Bellend.

  42. either no one has it or they’re unwilling to admit they have it.

    Nobody has it. It’s the holy grail of Dwarf fandom. If anybody even remotely connected to G&T had ever seen it, it would be all over the site.

    I haven’t seen it. I think I have to put in at least five years’ GNP service before I even get to see the title page.

    (Incidentally, “it” is a bit of a misnomer. There are a LOT of different versions. But it’s unlikely that any will be made public any time soon.)

  43. >It’s around this point that we get the controversial nod towards the Series VIII resolution. It’s very funny, and it’s the perfect indication that it simply does not matter how that tedious affair concluded, and nor does it matter which version of Rimmer it is – the show is doing a lot of new things, and it benefits nobody to dwell on the long-since-boring mysteries of the past. However, it does pull you out of the episode, and the knowing laughter it gets from the audience is jarring.

    I *loved* that bit. I’ve felt many things when watching Red Dwarf over the years, but this was new – it felt completely different to the way we’re sometimes jarred by a poorly written or executed line, or continuity error. For me, the recognition and glee that Doug has just taken the piss out of millions of fans (including me) trumps the need to be engrossed in the unfolding of the plot in that moment. And when the shock subsides I can dive right back into it.

  44. FUCKING IMAGE SIZING! Cappsy – teach me how to use The Internets, please.

  45. G&T Admin

    Well, there was this guy called Tim Berners-Lee…

  46. > The denouement of the episode’s drama is fantastic for so many reasons, not least the use of model shots as gags, when the Death Ship and Annihilators are revealed surrounding Blue Midget.

    I think I am doomed, for the rest of my life, to switch to a Scottish brogue whenever I say or read the word “annihilators.” Too bad it’s such an uncommon word.

  47. Damn Bill Pearson and his incredible accent.

  48. i absolutely loved this episode, with the possible of the camp Simulants but still, best episode of the series easily.

    I’m trying to remember, at the end when Rimmer announces himself to the Sims, he says “This is second technician Arnold Rimmer of the mining ship Red Dwarf” is this this first time he has ever correctly stated his rank when meeting someone new, i.e. he doesn’t overstate it such as acting first officer or some such. If it is, nice touch to that it shows Rimmer has accepted who he is and is proud in himself of the achievement he doesn’t need to make out he is someone he isn’t

  49. FUCKING IMAGE SIZING! Cappsy – teach me how to use The Internets, please.

    You tease. :(

  50. I was never actually too keen on the idea of a Red Dwarf movie, simply because it could never live up to expectations.

    I’m currently listening to the audiobook of Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers for the first time (having read all the novels countless times) and it’s exactly how I imagine the perfect Red Dwarf movie.

  51. The unabridged Infinity audiobook as read by Chris Barrie = the true Red Dwarf masterpiece.

  52. The unabridged Infinity audiobook as read by Chris Barrie = the true Red Dwarf masterpiece.

    Yes. Unabridged Better Than Life is pretty close, too. I wish he’d read all four …

  53. I never felt the need for a movie either though, at the time they were trying to make it, I would have rather had one then nothing at all. My opinion has always been that reading the books is like having Red Dwarf on a big budget anyway and the visuals we have in the show (specifically the sets and the characters) makes imagining the visuals of the full Red Dwarf universe even easier when reading the book. 10 years ago, when they were trying to make the film, getting across that sense of scale would have been very hard on such a small budget. Nowadays it would certainly be a lot easier.

    I really need to read the books again. Might audiobook it this time. Where are the unabridged versions available? Are they the standard release now?

  54. G&T Admin

    Now we’ve got a Young Rimmer cast. I would love a ‘Mimas’ episode of Dwarf which depicts Infinity at least in part. We just need to find someone who can play a convincing young Lister..

  55. How old’s Emile Charles these days?

  56. How old’s Emile Charles these days?

    Now call me crazy and irrational, but I believe there IS a Charles floating around right now who’s in his oh, maybe mid-20s … who sort of resembles Craig … who could that be? ;-)

  57. How old’s Emile Charles these days?

    Now call me crazy and irrational, but I believe there IS a Charles floating around right now who’s in his oh, maybe mid-20s … who sort of resembles Craig … who could that be? ;-)

    I can think of a John-Jules who is in his late teens…

  58. I know that Audible have the first two novels unabridged to download for a reasonable price. I still have the cassettes of Last Human and Backwards but they’re both abridged. If Chris Barrie could get around to recording them that would be eeeexcellent.

  59. I know that Audible have the first two novels unabridged to download for a reasonable price.

    Thanks!

  60. G&T Admin

    I bought Infinity Unabridged for about £3 from Audible, whoch I thought was lovely…
    I need to get hold of BTL as well now!

  61. So who would agree with me that The Beginning was the closest to a classic episode we’ve had since Gunman?

  62. Not me, but that’s because you’re forgetting Out of Time, you massive fool.

  63. So who would agree with me that The Beginning was the closest to a classic episode we’ve had since Gunman?

    You clearly haven’t seen ‘Pete: Part 2’.

  64. Not me, but that’s because you’re forgetting Out of Time, you massive fool.

    I don’t consider Out Of Time to be a classic episode. I always felt the first 3 episodes of VI were top drawer, the peak of the show perhaps – then there was the come down.

    But hey I guess I’m a massive fool for not having the same opinion as you……

  65. You clearly haven’t seen ‘Pete: Part 2′.

    I wish I could un-see it to be honest.

  66. I think Trojan is the first classic since series VI. Fathers and Suns, Lemons and The Beginning are potential classics of the future for me.

  67. I watched Trojan about a dozen times in that first week, but not seen it since. Looking forward to watching all six in ‘edited for shiny disc’ form, hopefully at the weekend.

    But yes, Trojan did have a bit of a classic feel about it, although I suspect that was just because it was new.

    *rereads last sentence*

    That makes no sense. Fuck it, can’t be arsed to change it. I know what I mean.

  68. Yeh Trojan had that classic vibe and I also think The Beginning did as well. Both by far my favourites of the series. But the other episodes like Fathers and Suns had classic moments – like the whole Lister talking to his dad sequence. Sadly I can’t think of anything classic in Entangled, probably because I found it pretty shitty….

  69. >You clearly haven’t seen ‘Pete: Part 2′.

    Though some call it a pile of poo. ;)

  70. >You clearly haven’t seen ‘Pete: Part 2′.

    Though some call it a pile of poo. ;)

    Pile of poo number 2

    Pile of poo shart 2

    Pile of doo………I’ll get my coat!

    * Can I borrow someone elses, I haven’t got a coat :(

  71. That fan-edit of Fathers and Suns that removes the iffy bits makes it an absolute classic.

  72. That fan-edit of Fathers and Suns that removes the iffy bits makes it an absolute classic.

    Yeh the medi bot kinda sucked – it gave me a flash back of VIII!

  73. >>You clearly haven’t seen ‘Pete: Part 2′.

    >Though some call it a pile of poo. ;)

    Then Phil said, “You dick!
    You’ve hijacked my limerick!”
    …Only ’cause it’s superb through and through.

  74. That fan-edit of Fathers and Suns that removes the iffy bits makes it an absolute classic.

    Yes, smrcd1 did a great job on this. His (her?) music vids are worth a watch, too.

  75. That fan-edit of Fathers and Suns that removes the iffy bits makes it an absolute classic.

    Yes, smrcd1 did a great job on this. His (her?) music vids are worth a watch, too.

    Have you got a link please?

  76. smrcd1 did a great job reediting Only The Good. After The Beginning my mate went to watch the alternate end to series 8 as it appeared on the VIII DVD. I said no, watch this instead.

    He ignored me. The point remains.

  77. Dave’s YouTube channel has uploaded interviews from various guest stars.

    Just in case no one has pointed it out.

  78. And they’ve called it the DwarfCast, the bastards.

  79. What a bunch of cunts.

  80. I knew you should’ve brought the rights to that name!

  81. I enjoyed it. The VII references where good and bad at the sane time.

    series X has been okay, Entangled was definitely the best episode. We shall see how things develop from here,,,

  82. >The VII references where good and bad at the sane time.

    What’s big and small at the same time?

  83. > What’s big and small at the same time?

    A ‘Stay Puft Marshmallow Man’ toy.

    * Speaking of which ‘Ghostbusters: The Video Game’ was awesome…..the real Ghostbusters 3!

  84. > What’s big and small at the same time?

    A ‘Stay Puft Marshmallow Man’ toy.

    *pops to bathroom*

  85. Very good. Old Stay Puft needs a wash!

    *By his right foot….is that a pube?

  86. If it is, it ain’t one of mine – my parents’ bathroom, not mine. My Mr StayPuft, though, over 25 years old… *sigh*

  87. > If it is, it ain’t one of mine – my parents’ bathroom, not mine.

    Why isn’t it grey then? ;)

  88. Well, I have two younger brothers who live at home, if it’s of that much interest to you…

  89. > Well, I have two younger brothers who live at home, if it’s of that much interest to you…

    Let’s call this convo quits I think.

    So RDX more the bollocks than simply bollocks right?

  90. >Let’s call this convo quits I think.

    You know things have escalated when it’s CackThosePants saying this.

  91. > What’s big and small at the same time?

    A ‘Stay Puft Marshmallow Man’ toy.
    *pops to bathroom*

    I have one of those dolls too!

  92. > What’s big and small at the same time?
    A ‘Stay Puft Marshmallow Man’ toy.
    *pops to bathroom*

    I have one of those dolls too!

    Me too, in the loft somewhere I think.

    You would almost think it was from a movie or something!

  93. G&T Admin

    I genuinely used to think that Stay-Puft was a proper brand of Marshmallows, that Americans knew about, like the Pillsbury dough boy and that they got a massive endorsement to fund the film through that company…

  94. (We had an old black-and-white tv and crappy reception, so I always thought his hat said, “STAY PUFY.” Which makes just as much sense as “STAY PUFT.”

    Speaking of spelling: I always thought the correct spelling was “space corps,” but on Rimmer’s book it’s spelled “space corp.” Just an oversight?

  95. You know things have escalated when it’s CackThosePants saying this.

    …..Or it’s just that I had several bad experiences with pubic hair when I was younger :(

  96. Remember when Lister left his pubes on the soap? Gold.

  97. Remember when Lister left his pubes on the soap? Gold.

    I’m still trying to forget.

  98. I missed an ‘I.’

    Shame on me.

  99. Speaking of spelling: I always thought the correct spelling was “space corps,” but on Rimmer’s book it’s spelled “space corp.” Just an oversight?

    Yeah, that annoyed me when I saw it.

  100. >..Or it’s just that I had several bad experiences with pubic hair when I was younger :(

    Or that, obviously.

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