Following the recent revelation that The Naylors’ new sitcom would be co-produced by Baby Cow, many of us were pondering whether this had any implications for the future of Grant Naylor Productions and/or Red Dwarf. It seems like it might, as even the most cursory of Google searches – for “baby cow red dwarf” – reveals some pretty interesting results.
It would appear that a new limited company has been registered under the name “Baby Cow Productions (Red Dwarf) Limited”. Information is scarce, but it would appear that the directors of this company are Mr Jonathan Jeffrey Merrell (Baby Cow’s finance director), Mr Peter James Carroll (the real name of comedian Henry Normal, CEO of Baby Cow) and Mr Stephen John Coogan. Incidentally, Baby Cow’s website also reveals that Kerry Waddell, production manager of Red Dwarf IV and V, is now Head of Production at Baby Cow.
What the hell does this mean, then? All the clues seem to point to the conclusion that Baby Cow are producing Red Dwarf XI. It’s not uncommon for larger independent production companies to set up subdivisions to deal with individual projects, and that’s certainly what this looks like. But what of Grant Naylor Productions? Have they been folded in to this new company, or will they continue to exist independently? Why aren’t Doug Naylor or Charles Armitage listed as directors of the new division?
The best case scenario that I can see from all this is the possibility that GNP have drafted in the big boys to look after the boring side of production (budgets, schedules, financing and suchlike), leaving Doug free to look after the creative side. That would explain why nobody from GNP is in the upper echelons of this new company, and would be a very welcome move indeed; it’s evident from We’re Smegged that Doug had a huge amount on his plate during the production of Red Dwarf X, and our armchair analysis often leads us to wonder if better results could be achieved by letting him concentrate on what he’s brilliant at.
Having said all that, it’s still way too early to draw any firm conclusions, so all of this is mere speculation at best. I’d guess that things will be clarified if and when we get an official announcement about Red Dwarf XI being commissioned, but as it’s already been nine months since Doug hinted at Dimension Jump XVII that news was forthcoming, we haven’t the foggiest idea of when that’ll be.