Xtended Revisited: Back in the Red

xr-bitr-featured

Welcome to the thrilling climax of Xtended Revisited – for which we turn our eyes away from material first released on a scruffy VHS in 1997 as per our first three parts, and instead turn to a nice shiny DVD release from 2006. And what we have here is a rather different proposition.

The story behind-the-scenes of Back in the Red is oft-told: planned originally as a one hour special to open the series, due to timing and budgetary reasons it ended up being split into a three-part episode. Doug was never happy with the result, and when the VIII DVD came along, as well as the broadcast episodes being included, the opportunity was taken to create a brand new edit – combining all the episodes into a single part, and adding some dialogue scenes which were cut from the broadcast version for reasons of time. And thus Back in the Red Xtended was born.

All of which means that unlike previous articles, the differences here aren’t just added material – some parts see footage removed, and some parts are just irritatingly “different”. Material which has been added is presented like this, and material which has been removed is like this. This is then followed as ever by some technical notes, and my opinion on the changes – meaning my opinions are neatly siloed off if you want to want to merely read about what’s different without having my repetitious whinging about VIII RAMMED DOWN YOUR THROAT.

Change: Opening

00:37 – 00:52

This should be quite simple. As the Xtended version is all three parts edited together, the episode title caption just changes from ‘Back in the Red Part One’ to just ‘Back in the Red’…

Notes: …except oddly, this isn’t the only change. In the process of re-editing the opening, there are actually quite a few – accidental? – differences in the Xtended version:

1) The mix through from the Red Dwarf logo to the prison establisher is faster.

2) An entirely different take of the prisoner establisher is used in the Xtended version, which is generally lighter, has a different outer wall, and shows far more of the outer wall stretching downwards:

Back in the Red Part One

Prison establisher used in Back in the Red Xtended

Back in the Red Xtended


3) The ‘Created by’ credit is recreated over the establisher, so it has slightly different spacing.

4) The slow mix through from the establisher to Lister lying on his bunk is removed – instead, it’s a straight cut.

5) Obviously, the ‘Part One’ is actually removed from the episode caption. But if you look closely, the nice sexed quotes used in the broadcast version are replaced with unsexed quotes for Xtended, and the drop shadow is removed less pronounced.

Episode title for Back in the Red Part One

Back in the Red Part One

Episode title for Back in the Red Xtended

Back in the Red Xtended


Why there are all these changes is slightly baffling. Perhaps the entire sequence was rebuilt from scratch, as they would have needed a clean version of the Lister bunkroom shot to overlay the new episode title on. Regardless of what caused it, using a different version of the establishing shot is a real curiosity.

Opinion: It’s not like any of these changes are really noticeable when just watching the Xtended version by itself, of course, but the broadcast version wins out here. The transitions are smoother, with the straight cut to Lister in the Xtended version feeling quite jarring in comparison. The version of the establishing shot used in the broadcast version also looks better – to be honest, the version in Xtended looks like an early render. In particular, the wall at the bottom fades away far more appropriately in the broadcast version – in Xtended, the base of the wall looks slightly odd when the shot starts tilting up, making the movement feel rather mechanical.

Moreover, whilst it’s maybe a tiny thing, the use of unsexed quotes for the episode title is one of my little bugbears. The lack of shadow less pronounced drop shadow behind the text on the Xtended version compared to broadcast doesn’t help, either. Lots of minor things then, but the broadcast version feels much more polished.

I’ve just read back the last two paragraphs, and am seriously wondering about the life choices which lead me to write them.

Addition: Fun ways of dying

08:22 – 08:51

Holly ranting on A short Holly section added from Starbug’s flight through Red Dwarf’s vent system:

KOCHANSKI: There may be a way through this if we take a detour. Past Epsilon 14 and take a right at the hydro unit. We’ll save about two minutes.
KRYTEN: What do you say, sir? I don’t understand a woman who’s hurtling towards thirty and still has a teddy bear called Boo Boo, but when it comes to navigation there’s none finer.
LISTER: What’s your view, Hol?
HOLLY: Straight up your nose when you lean in like that.
LISTER: What do you think we should do?
HOLLY: Well, in the most recent survey of people’s favourite ways of dying, being squashed to death came in at a disappointing 94th. Mainly because it doesn’t involve sex or booze, and mourners tend to snigger when they see your remains in the coffin.
LISTER: So what’s your point?
HOLLY: My point is: don’t get squashed to death. ‘Cause if you do, you’re missing out big time on all the really fun ways of dying.

LISTER: Epsilon 14.

Starbug blasts off down the vent.

Opinion: Our first addition… and not a section of dialogue that especially grabs me, I have to say. In fact, all it really does for me is dull the impact of the “Straight up your nose when you lean in like that” gag.

Would it be a bit of a stretch to suggest that in a Doug Naylor universe mourners would snigger when they see your squashed remains in a coffin, but in a Rob Grant universe they would recoil in disgust? Quite possibly, so I leave that discussion as an exercise for the reader.

Addition: After crash

10:33 – 10:58

Kochanski on the floor after Starbug has crashed Some additional dialogue once Starbug has crashed, and before the escape:

CAT: According to the desk we’ve lost all engines. Hey, didn’t I read somewhere that can serious affect your ability to fly?

Starbug’s mid-section falls off as the cockpit goes screeching through the landing bay.

KRYTEN: Now we’ve lost the mid-section and the kitchen. I’m sorry everyone, but we may have to have sandwiches for lunch.

Starbug flies through some crates and gets hurled across the landing bay…. coming to rest.

Kochanski is on the floor. Lister crouches beside her.

LISTER: There is a pulse. But maybe I should give her the kiss of life just to be on the safe side.
KRYTEN: Isn’t the kiss of life for drowning, sir?
LISTER: (mimics) “Isn’t the kiss of life for drowning, sir?” You little nitpicker.
KOCHAKSKI: (waking) Is everyone OK?
LISTER: Well, I’m not. I’m really frustrated.

Kryten spots Cat, and hurries over to him.

KRYTEN: The Cat sir, come quickly. He looks terrible.
CAT: Your eyes need a major service, bud.
LISTER: Look, let’s get him out of here before the whole thing goes up.

Kryten grabs Cat, the crew escape, running, explosion, you know the drill.

Opinion: Oh good, another chance for Lister to act a bit rapey. No thank you. If you’re going to go down that road, you might as well have Lister furiously wanking himself off over Kochanski’s face before she wakes up, and Kryten tutting at the resulting semen stain he now has to clean up.

Removal: Part One/Part Two

28:19

Model shot with recap text over it To stich together Parts One and Two, the following changes are made – which results in the removal of three minutes of material exactly:

1) The “TO BE CONTINUED…” caption is removed.
2) The end credits of Part One are removed.
3) The opening credits of Part Two are removed.
4) The entire recap at the start of Part Two is removed, as follows:

Model shot. Red Dwarf in space. Caption:

THE MINING SHIP RED DWARF –
RECONSTRUCTED TOGETHER WITH
ITS ORIGINAL CREW, BY AN ARMY
OF MICROSCOPIC ROBOTS

REASON – SMEG KNOWS

INT. Captain’s Office.

Hollister doing a piece to camera.

HOLLISTER: This is the daily report of Captain F. Hollister of the mining ship Red Dwarf. Several of my crew are presently being tried for crimes against the Space Corps.

INT. Sleeping Quarters (Flashback)

LISTER: Look, this is gonna sound nuts, but the whole crew died, including you. And you’ve all been resurrected by these microscopic little robots.

Cut to: Lister pacing the sleeping quarters.

LISTER: I’ve got to track down these nanos, to corroborate our story. Otherwise, who’s going to believe our defence? Only meths drinkers and the corn circle society. I need your help, man.

INT. Anteroom (Flashback)

LISTER: I’ve seen the crew’s files, medical records, sessions with the therapist, the works. I can make you look like a genius. You can get promoted in the field, man, you won’t have to take exams… just help me escape.
RIMMER: I have my principles, Lister. You think you can buy me with promises of power and glory? You really think- OK, I’ll do it. But you’ll have to prove it to me first.
LISTER: You’re on.
RIMMER: Get me promoted.
LISTER: You’ll find the confidential files in Starbug’s cockpit. There’s a senile version of Holly loaded into this watch. He’ll lead you to it.

INT. Starbug wreckage (Flashback)

RIMMER searches the wreckage and finds a disc.

RIMMER: Yes!

Opinion: All this kind of stuff is pretty much the entire point of Back in the Red Xtended of course, and makes for a far more pleasurable and cohesive viewing experience. Let’s not underestimate the joy in the removal of such things like the “REASON – SMEG KNOWS” caption, mind. (Isn’t Red Dwarf VIII’s sudden use of an LED-style font really fucking weird, by the way?)

If there’s a criticism, it’s that Rimmer’s line “The world loves a rapist… sorry, bastard, I meant to say bastard, I am not a rapist” doesn’t work quite as well in the Xtended version compared to its placement at the end of Part One – like the line or not, but it feels like the end of an episode. Moreover, the transition to the next scene in the Xtended version doesn’t work brilliantly – a rather awkward fade of the audience laughter over the transition shot. To be fair, I’m more inclined to cut some slack technically to Back in the Red Xtended compared to VII Xtended; instead of a few months, we’re talking about a gap of seven years between the original production and the creation of the Xtended version. That was inevitably going to create some problems on a tight budget.

Change: Present-day Bunkroom scene

28:19 – 31:37

Following on from the previous sequence, of course, but this is such a big change that it deserves a section all to itself. At this point, the present-day bunkroom sequence which opens Part Three is cut and pasted to a point equivalent to the start of Part Two.

Notes: Again, plenty of other small changes here, both intentional and seemingly unintentional:

1) Much like the opening shot of Xtended, the prison establisher used here is different to the one used in the broadcast version of Part Three – to my eyes, a seemingly earlier version. A clean version would have to have been sourced here, to remove the now extraneous Created by credit. The mix through to the bunkroom scene is also slightly faster.

Establishing shot before bunkroom scene, from Part Three

Back in the Red Part Three

Establishing shot before bunkroom scene, from Xtended

Back in the Red Xtended


2) Episode title and “Written by” credits removed. In their place, a “Two Days Later” caption is added; no such caption is present in the original version.

Bunkroom scene, from Part Three

Back in the Red Part Three

Bunkroom scene, from Xtended

Back in the Red Xtended


3) The end of the bunkroom scene is three seconds shorter in the Xtended version, cutting short Lister’s shot after “I think the blindfold’s supposed to be for me”.

4) Bookending the sequence, the “TWO DAYS EARLIER” caption has been removed from the Xtended version, perhaps on the assumption the “Two Days Later” caption which was added did the same job, and it would be obvious we were going back to the earlier point.

5) Finally, we cut to the Rimmer salute scene as seen at the start of Part Two, with the Created by/Written by credits removed, and things proceed as normal.

Opinion: A tricky one, this – and for my money, by far the most interesting change made to the Xtended version. This entire sequence was only written to pad out Part Three; in the context of the Xtended version, the scene is essentially pointless. Not only is there no plot-relevant information, but suddenly flashing forward again is slightly weird even with the episodic version. With the Xtended version, it feels even more awkward.

Maybe the bold move would have been: cut it entirely. After all, the scene survives in the episodic version – maybe for the sake of the narrative, the decision could have been made to delete it entirely for the Xtended as being redundant. But that’s a tricky one to swallow, as some of the gags are pretty good. (I have a soft spot for the ENGAGED blindfold.) Moreover, calling the episode an “Xtended” version and then removing an entire scene would perhaps be questionable. Certainly, it works better here than it would have done in its original placing – flashing forward again at that point would have been even weirder.

It’s a tricky issue… and no one solution is 100% satisfactory. It’s worth remembering that whilst the initial inspiration for producing Back in the Red Xtended was to fix some of the problems with splitting the episode into three parts, it is still very much its own beast rather than an attempt to recreate the original planned one hour episode.

Addition: Hearing scene

38:56 – 40:46

Kochanski and Lister at the hearing Lots of additional dialogue from the crew’s hearing scene, including a whole new first half:

INT. Hearing Room

The crew at a desk.

CAT: Why did the nanos land us in this mess? That’s what I want to know.
KRYTEN: They must have contracted some form of virus. Hence all the mistakes.
CAT: Mistakes?
LISTER: Yeah, lots of weird background errors. Like the shape of the ship’s different. Even my quarters aren’t the same. I’ve even got clean socks in me sock drawer. It’s just so unrealistic.
KRYTEN: Spooky.
CAT: So what happens now?
LISTER: The Board of Enquiry will say if we’re fit to stand trial.
CAT: In a trial all you got to do is sit there. How fit do you have to be?
KOCHANSKI: I don’t want to sound wet or anything…
CAT: Look out, moisture alert.
KOCHANSKI: And just because I’ve got a cuddly dinosaur nightie-holder and matching pencil case doesn’t mean to say I’m not hard, OK? Because I am hard. In fact I could have joined the Space Marines if the rules had been different about taking moisturiser on manoeuvres. So although I’m hard, and that, I think, is pretty well established, erm, despite all that hardness… the thought of going to jail… is like… Oh God…

LISTER comforts KOCHANSKI, because that’s what women like when they’re upset.

LISTER: It’s gonna be OK.
KOCHANSKI: No, it’s not going to be OK. It’s going to be polyester sheets and carbolic soap and lousy school-dinners-type cooking. And I bet you anything they only have German wine.
KRYTEN: In prison ma’am, I don’t think they have any wine at all.
KOCHANSKI: No wine at all? Isn’t that against the Geneva Convention? Oh my God, I’m not gonna cope. I’m gonna be like that Scots bloke in that prisoner of war film who just goes all screwy and just bolts for the perimeter fence and starts climbing it and then RAT-A-TAT-TAT, RAT-A-TAT-TAT, TAT-A-TAT-TAT…
CAT: He started tap dancing? Boy, he really must have gone screwy.
KOCHANSKI: They shot him.
CAT: All because he did a tap dance? That’s inhuman!

GUARD: Be upstanding.

Our CREW stand.

LISTER: Just relax. Rimmer’s gonna help us escape. This enquiry’s a piece of cake, we’re just going through the motions.

HOLLISTER: All right, sit down. Let’s get this enquiry underway.

They sit down.

HOLLISTER: You have refused defence assistance, is that right?

CAT indicates to the rest of the CREW that they huddle together.

CAT: OK, this is what we do. I’ve watched a lot of TV shows and we all huddle together like this and whisper for a while before we answer. It looks like we know what we’re doing.

The CREW turn to HOLLISTER.

CAT: We intend to defend ourselves.

They huddle again.

CAT: You see how good that looked?

HOLLISTER: We’ve evaluated all the psychological reports, and it’s the finding of this enquiry that you all are fit to stand trial. Except maybe him [indicates Kryten], but we’re going with it anyway.

Kryten looks upset, because that’s what women do when they’re upset.

HOLLISTER: Are you familiar with the mind scan?

CAT indicates the CREW to huddle again.

CAT: Keep huddling, keep huddling. This is looking so damn good, it’s untrue. Just one thing. Can anyone remember the question we’re supposed to be huddling?

KRYTEN: I believe it was “Are you familiar with the mind scan?”, sir.

CAT: Nice one, bud. One last thing – and only the best lawyers know this trick. The next time he talks, I’ll make a note, slide it across to you guys, and you all look really, really impressed. Morale-wise, it slays them.

LISTER: We are familiar with the mind scan, sir.

HOLLISTER: You are aware that it pictorially enhances the cognitive process, making your innermost thoughts available for recording and viewing to a board of enquiry?

KOCHANSKI: Yes sir.

CAT theatrically slides a piece of paper across the desk to KOCHANSKI and LISTER. They look impressed. HOLLISTER is perturbed. He immediately starts consulting with his colleagues.

HOLLISTER: You understand that it will involve the administration of psychotropic drugs? That is, drugs which affect your mental state, making this process possible? If you accept, say “aye”.

The CREW confer as usual.

CREW: Aye!

HOLLISTER: Please sign the consent forms and seal them into the envelopes provided. We reconvene at 10am tomorrow.

CAT: I was hoping to get a manicure and a leg wax tomorrow. How about Thursday?

HOLLISTER: Tomorrow.

CAT: OK. But if there’s a round where we have to give evidence in swimsuits, I’m outta here.

The crew lick and seal their envelopes.

Notes: Amusingly enough, the sound of Cat sliding the paper across the desk is still clearly audible in the broadcast version as it cuts to Hollister. But nobody ever knew what it was until the release of the Red Dwarf VIII DVD. ANOTHER OF LIFE’S MYSTERIES SOLVED.

Opinion: The centrepiece addition to the episode… and look, I’ll admit it gives it an entirely different feel. This isn’t just a few extraneous lines added here and there – this is a real meaty addition. Sadly, the additional material doesn’t really do much for me. For something which you would hope might expand Kochanski’s character, her being the only member of the crew who starts crying brings up all kind of uncomfortable questions about how Red Dwarf deals with female characters. Again.

Having said all of that, I do enjoy Cat sliding the paper across the desk… and Hollister’s worried reaction and subsequent conference.

Oddly enough, the extra dialogue here suggests that the change in the shape of the ship is due to the nanobots making mistakes… however, Part One suggests the nanobots rebuilt the ship in line with JMC’s “original design plans”. True, those two ideas don’t directly contradict themselves, but they fit together slightly uncomfortably for me. However, I quite like the fact that the line “Even my quarters aren’t the same” answers my repeated whinge that the recreation of the Series 1 bunkroom doesn’t quite look enough like the original!

Removal: Part Two/Part Three

59:44

The Captain making a log Again, to stick together Parts Two and Three, the following changes are made:

1) The “TO BE CONTINUED…” caption is removed.
2) The end credits of Part Two are removed.
3) The opening credits of Part Three are removed.
4) The opening bunkroom scene from Part Three has been moved (see above).
5) Model shot with “2 DAYS EARLIER” caption has been removed.
6) The entire recap at the start of Part Three is removed, as follows:

INT. Captain’s Office.

Hollister doing a piece to camera.

HOLLISTER: This is the diary of Captain F. Hollister of the mining ship Red Dwarf. Several of my crew are presently being tried for crimes against the Space Corps.

INT. Hearing Room (Flashback)

HOLLISTER: Are you familiar with the mind scan?

LISTER: We are familiar with the mind scan, sir.

HOLLISTER: You understand that it will involve the administration of psychotropic drugs: that is, drugs that affect your mental state, making this process possible? If you accept, say aye.

KRYTEN/CAT/KOCHANSKI/LISTER: Aye.

HOLLISTER: Please sign the consent forms and seal them into the envelopes provided. We reconvene at 10am tomorrow.

They lick the envelopes.

INT. Captain’s Office

HOLLISTER: To test the veracity of their defence, unknown to them I’ve had them placed in artificial reality where their-

INT. AR Chamber (Flashback)

LISTER, KRYTEN, KOCHANSKI, CAT present

HOLLISTER: (VO) -actions can be observed.

INT. Corridor (Flashback)

KRYTEN, CAT, KOCHANSKI, and LISTER do that whole Reservoir Dogs nonsense.

INT. Captain’s Dining Quarters (Flashback)

HOLLISTER: Right now, they believe they’re escaping, but we just want to observe what
they do.

RIMMER: So, that means, that if anyone happens to mention any… special agreements… that they’ve entered into… Could you excuse me? I think I… left the iron on…

INT. Captain’s Office

HOLLISTER: Rimmer, one of the least able of my crew…

INT. Captain’s Office (Flashback)

RIMMER does that whole lengthy salute nonsense.

INT. Captain’s Office

HOLLISTER: …has started acting very suspiciously, being incredibly insightful, and efficient.

INT. Captain’s Office (Flashback)

RIMMER hands over a folder containing his Drive Plate recommendations.

INT. Captain’s Office

HOLLISTER: I suspect he may have access to the crew’s confidential files. We also believe he may be in possession of a virus, which makes him incredibly attractive to the opposite sex. This is obviously a remarkable serum, and as a responsible senior officer of the Space Corps, it’s imperative I gain possession of this solution and use some myself.

INT. Galley (Flashback)

CMO: Oh my God – you are sexy! So very, very sexy!

INT. Captain’s Office

HOLLISTER: Yesterday he was observed injecting his groin with anaesthetic…

INT. Medical Office (Flashback)

HOLLISTER: (VO) …something we believe he did to regain some self-control.

Rimmer injects his groin.

INT. Corridor (Flashback)

RIMMER walks awkwardly down the corridor.

RIMMER: Hi.

FEMALE CREW MEMBERS: Hi…

INT. Captain’s Office

HOLLISTER: I also suspect someone, possibly Lister, has given Rimmer access to the crew’s confidential files, and he’s using this information to blackmail his way up the chain of command. It’s sickening, it’s unforgivable, but it’s a technique that can work. I should know: I used the same method myself to become Captain. If the crew discover I’m really just Dennis the Doughnut Boy, I’m finished. I will continue to observe Lister’s actions in AR and expect my suspicions to be confirmed. Report ends.

Opinion: Here’s a fact about Part Three of Back in the Red: by the time you take into account the opening titles, opening bunkroom scene set in the present day, and the Captain’s recap, the episode is a full seven minutes into the episode. To put that into context: seven minutes into Back to Reality Starbug had crashed and we were already into the crew’s hallucination; seven minutes into Emohawk the crew were fighting for their lives, and seven minutes into D.N.A. Lister had already turned into a chicken. Even seven minutes into the rather languidly-paced Backwards, we were deep into the Backwards Earth shenanigans.

Given that, the most important thing Back in the Red Xtended can do is get rid of the excessive padding which was required to split the programme into three episodes for broadcast. It gets even better, though: whilst the climax to Part One arguably suffers from being forced into continuous form, the ending to Part Two was the nonsense Little Green Bag/Dibbley skutters – which even people who like Back in the Red admit isn’t a fitting end to the episode. Putting it into continuous form here means the scene is given the gravity it finally deserves: i.e. not much.

Finally, the removal of the recap gets rid of the most contentious line from Hollister: that he’s really just Dennis the Doughnut Boy. I’d give you my opinion on it, but I’m fairly certain I can spin a whole article out of the subject at some point. And really, what other website could promise you that?

It’s perhaps odd that the single most important thing Back in the Red Xtended does is to join together Parts Two and Three. But that doesn’t stop it being true. It fixes the most obvious example of the bodge in splitting Back in the Red into three episodes. Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s the biggest reason for the Xtended cut to exist.

Addition: Theory of Relativity

01:15:13 – 01:15:52

Holly looking puzzled As the crew are making their second “escape” from AR:

CAT: Einstein. Wasn’t he the dude who discovered America?
RIMMER: Einstein discovered the theory of relativity.
CAT: Where did he discover it? Was it fossilised and stuff?
RIMMER: The theory of relativity is… what is the theory of relativity?
LISTER: Yeah, what is it, Hol?
HOLLY: Bit busy at the moment, Dave.
LISTER: Just tell us what it is in sort of simple layman’s terms.
HOLLY: It’s a theory.
LISTER: Yeah, but what is it?
HOLLY: Oh, you want it more complicated than that, do you?
LISTER: What does it mean?
HOLLY: It’s the theory of relativity. You know, it’s the theory you only tell your relatives.
KOCHANSKI: E=MC². But… what does it mean, though?
HOLLY: E is energy. Energy equals MC². That’s M times C timesed by another C.
KOCHANSKI: What’s MC, though?
HOLLY: What?
LISTER: What is it? MC?
HOLLY: MC? Well, MC is obviously Master of Ceremonies.
LISTER: Energy equals master of ceremonies squared?
HOLLY: He was very overrated Einstein. That’s why he left quantum physics and went into the lookalike business.

RIMMER: It’s so sad. Holly’s supposed to have an IQ of 6000. Now I doubt he could even spell IQ.
HOLLY: If I’m so stupid, if I’m computer senile, explain this then.
CAT: Explain what?
HOLLY: You can’t, can you?

Opinion: The last of the dialogue extensions. To be honest, if you’d asked me which parts of Back in the Red I’d like to see extended, Holly’s “Theory of Relativity” gag wouldn’t be top of my list. No thank you.

Perhaps a more interesting discussion: do we really buy that Kochanski wouldn’t know what E=MC² meant?

Change: New End Credits

01:20:51 – 01:21:50

A brand new set of end credits for Xtended, in the style of the old ones, to include cast and crew credits from all three episodes.

Notes: Oh, you think I couldn’t get any notes about this, did you? WELL THEN, how about the fact that Mac McDonald’s character is given as “Captain Hollister” in the Xtended version, but just plain old “Captain” in the episodic versions? Or how the Xtended version renders his name as “MAC MCDONALD”, but the original version give it as “MAC McDONALD”, with a lowercase C? Or how about the fact that Xtended gives Simon Burchell’s job as “Post-Production Co-ordinator” with a dash, but the episodic version uses “Post Production Co-ordinator” without the dash? Or that the Xtended version says Helen Norman is “General Manager GNP Ltd”, but the original episodes simply list her as “General Manager GNP”?

AND LOOK! JUST LOOK AT THIS!

Endboard, from Part Three

Back in the Red Part Three

Endboard, from Xtended

Back in the Red Xtended


IT’S A DIFFERENT COPYRIGHT ON THE XTENDED! JUST LOOK AT IT! FUCKING HELL!

I’ve had a difficult last couple of months, I admit.

Conclusion

When it comes to whether this Xtended version was worth putting together for the DVD, the answer is obvious: yes, of course. For the Series VII Xtended versions, there really wasn’t any problems to fix, regardless of how much the production team might have missed certain exchanges. The production history of Back in the Red – originally intended to be an hour long special, then split into three episodes for budget reasons – means that the broadcast version betrays a whole heap of problems. This Xtended version eliminates some, and disguises others. Whilst it will never be anywhere close to my favourite episode of Red Dwarf for many reasons, it’s absolutely the best way to view these episodes – and that makes it a success.

How well the extra material works is a different matter. There’s the occasional issue with the grading of the extra stuff not quite matching with the surrounding material , but I can forgive that – this was made seven years after the original on a DVD budget. Having said that, there’s very little of the extra material which I think was really worth including. Still, that’s not really the major selling point. Even after this additional material is taken into account, the Xtended version of Back in the Red still runs a full 3’22” shorter than the broadcast version. The removal of the bizarre situation where you’re seven minutes into Part Three before the story restarts is pretty much worth the price of admission in itself.

And that’s your lot. At this point we’re just delaying the inevitable. Hold back the tears: that’s it for Xtended Revisited. A project started in 2007, and finished with very little grace in 2015. But for anyone thinking I may have forgotten about the extended audio version of Bodysnatcher… stay tuned. I have something rather interesting in mind for that one.

A cliffhanger ending, then. No doubt my next article will be in ten years time and entirely ignore the above.

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40 Responses to Xtended Revisited: Back in the Red

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  1. There actually is a dropshadow behind the “Back in the Red” title, but it’s much less pronounced – the “distance” setting is likely lower than what was used for the broadcast version.

    Go on, have a closer look.

  2. G&T Admin

    What do you know, you’re right.

    I enjoy that G&T has commenters which are actually pickier than this article, of all things.

  3. I also noticed it says ‘combing’ instead of ‘combining’.
    Sorry to take up your valuable time. Sorry. Sorry. Thank you. Sorry. Bye. Sorry.

  4. G&T Admin

    I also noticed it says ‘combing’ instead of ‘combining’.
    Sorry to take up your valuable time. Sorry. Sorry. Thank you. Sorry. Bye. Sorry.

    LIES IT NEVER SAID THAT DEFINITELY

  5. The climax? but what about the audio version of… Oh wait youve already predicted this conversation and written a bit at the end about that being a future different thing and now i no longer need to have this conversation and can nitpick something else.

    I would have put chen and selbys extra dialouge in the extended if i could.

  6. and then RAT-A-TAT-TAT, RAT-A-TAT-TAT, TAT-A-TAT-TAT…
    CAT: He started tap dancing?

    I laughed again just reading it.

    Was not a fan of VIII sidelining Kochanski and the Cat.

  7. and then RAT-A-TAT-TAT, RAT-A-TAT-TAT, TAT-A-TAT-TAT…

    CAT: He started tap dancing?
    I laughed again just reading it.

    Stolen ALF joke!

  8. Remember ALF? He’s back. In the red form.

  9. Holy fuck. Someone had the good grace to cut out that Kochanski bulshit…and someone put it *back* in:

    >(Isn’t Red Dwarf VIII’s sudden use of an LED-style font really fucking weird, by the way?)

    Also, ugly as sin and like the show has been captioned by a nine year old let loose on an Amstrad.

    I recall getting about half-way through BTE Part 3 on first watch, and getting rather impatient that the crew were still alive. Surely they were going to kill them off at the end of this story? They couldn’t really be hanging around for…the…whole…of…the…series …. ah…. shit.

  10. The font choices in VIII are a perfect example of how little care is given to the show, and how it seems like a cartoon in comparison to the other series. Not only the LED font as mentioned above, but the ‘dated sci-fi’ font that Chris Barrie points out on the commentary on everything, which is totally unrealistic. I’m glad they just brought everything back to Green Mountain 3 for X.

    Kochanski not knowing what E=MC² means is a perfect example of VIII being a series of one-liners that disregard who’s actually saying them. I knew what it meant when I first watched the show at the age of 15.

  11. >Would it be a bit of a stretch to suggest that in a Doug Naylor universe mourners would snigger when they see your squashed remains in a coffin, but in a Rob Grant universe they would recoil in disgust? Quite possibly, so I leave that discussion as an exercise for the reader.

    I’d like to hear more about this please. Has Rob Grant shown his true colours* when it comes to mourning the dead?

    Oh and this: “I’ve just read back the last two paragraphs, and am seriously wondering about the life choices which lead me to write them” was smashing.

    *Black?

  12. G&T Admin

    I nominate this article for best featured image ever.

  13. Superb article! I guess BITR Xtended cuts out some of the stupidity, but also adds a good deal more. This fits, though, because everyone being exaggeratedly foolish seems to be a running theme for Series VIII:

    – Captain Hollister admits he’s Dennis the Doughnut Boy on camera and needs to go through a drawn-out trial process just to confirm an incredibly obvious truth.
    – Kochanski doesn’t know what “E = MC^2” means.
    – Kryten manages to find the dumbest and most vague way of explaining to a psychologist that 3 million years have passed.
    – Red Dwarf’s management is not only so regressive that it defines gender based on the presence or absence of a penis, but even applies this backwards logic to a robot.

    I’d say that it’s fundamentally wrong to make every character stupid, and that you need not-so-stupid characters as contrast for it to be funny, but Vic and Bob and many others have proved that a whole cast of fools can work. So maybe it’s just that these were established characters being Flanderized that irks me, or maybe it’s through lack of care and effort – but whatever the reason, the show just isn’t fun like this.

    Also, I’m pleased with the inclusion of the bit about the nanobots making mistakes, but a bit disappointed Xtended didn’t also clarify whether Red Dwarf was or wasn’t being retconned into a prison ship. How else do you explain there being such a large number of prisoners? Did the JMC really hire someone who calls himself “Kill Crazy”?

    Also, still no mention of the original Kochanski, and whether or not she was resurrected along with the rest of the crew. Shame, they could have got a whole episode out of that – “Me^2 2”.

  14. The original Kochanski bled to death once a month.

  15. The original Kochanski bled to death once a month.

    Better explanation: Kochanski was playing an epic game of hide and seek when the radiation leak occurred. When the crew came back to life, nobody looked for her hiding place because the parallel Kochanski had turned up. She stubbornly refused to concede the game and so died of dehydration in a storage cupboard.

  16. She hid in Lister’s clean sock drawer and died of old age.

    Curiously, there was a rubber ball next to her…

  17. G&T Admin

    >Would it be a bit of a stretch to suggest that in a Doug Naylor universe mourners would snigger when they see your squashed remains in a coffin, but in a Rob Grant universe they would recoil in disgust? Quite possibly, so I leave that discussion as an exercise for the reader.

    I’d like to hear more about this please. Has Rob Grant shown his true colours* when it comes to mourning the dead?

    To be honest, just a vague feeling that Doug has a more slapstick approach to violence than Rob. But thinking about it, stuff like the disembowelling scene in The Beginning may well prove I’m talking out my botty.

  18. >just a vague feeling that Doug has a more slapstick approach to violence than Rob.

    I’d agree with that. I thought the disembowelling scene in The Beginning was REALLY high on the slapstick scale.
    To compare, an evisceration scene occurs in PSIRENS (of which Rob Grant was co-writer). The humour wasn’t in the death or the act (both off camera) but in the plopping kidney and lack of pen. It was in the characters’ reaction to the violence. In that episode the writers aren’t telling us that intestinal damage is hilarious per se, but how it is viewed by the boys. All of which are solemn and one of whom faints.
    So, for me, your botty remains lucid and cogent.

  19. Brilliant article and the banner picture is inspired.

    I remember the excitement seeing series VIII for the first time. I do admire how the show is doing something totally different while still echoing past glories.

    The execution is disappointing though. For every joke that lands there are two or three real clunkers.

    So the frustration of being a Dwarf fan in 1999 was that our favourite show just kept under performing and failing to live up to former glories.

  20. Oh, buh. Yeah, I did the first one. Not happy with it. It’s been superseded by my new edit that condensed the entirety of Series VIII into a little over seventy minutes. That will be superseded at a later date, as I’m convinced the entire series can be reduced to an hour.

  21. I mean, they’re both nicely done editing-wise. The alternate take of the BITR2 Rimmer-Hollister office scene was an interesting choice. It’s still VIII, though.

    I wonder if there’s a way to:
    a) Reduce BITR into a shorter normal-length one-parter and/or
    b) Take only the salvageable/coherent parts of VIII and try to reduce the whole thing to 1-3 normal-length episodes and somehow have it be actually decent.

  22. VIII carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

  23. G&T Admin

    I’ve reduced Series VIII to a sentence :

    No.

    I’ve reduced it to a sound.

    Wuuuargh.

  24. > I’ve reduced Series VIII to a sentence : No.

    Fair enough.

  25. Oh, buh. Yeah, I did the first one. Not happy with it. It’s been superseded by my new edit that condensed the entirety of Series VIII into a little over seventy minutes. That will be superseded at a later date, as I’m convinced the entire series can be reduced to an hour.

    Where can I find this? Would be very interested to see it.

  26. When BITR was broadcast on ABC the part where Frank asks “has he got the measles”? repeats for some reason. I videoed the episodes as they aired so until the DVDs came out, that was the version I had. I still have that tape kicking around somewhere.

  27. Finished the hour long edit. Came out at about one minute over the hour. Still, I think it’s very difficult to retcon all the rotten bits with video editing, and we all have different opinions about what went wrong with VIII – we can agree that it sucks, we just can’t determine unanimously just what it is that sucks. Much like the government being unable to confidently define what counts as “untasteful” entertainment. You just know it when you see it.

  28. G&T Admin

    Considering doing my own edit of VII to go alongside this VIII one.

    It’ll just be a blank E-180 cassette.

  29. G&T Admin

    I’d agree with that. I thought the disembowelling scene in The Beginning was REALLY high on the slapstick scale.
    To compare, an evisceration scene occurs in PSIRENS (of which Rob Grant was co-writer). The humour wasn’t in the death or the act (both off camera) but in the plopping kidney and lack of pen. It was in the characters’ reaction to the violence. In that episode the writers aren’t telling us that intestinal damage is hilarious per se, but how it is viewed by the boys. All of which are solemn and one of whom faints.
    So, for me, your botty remains lucid and cogent.

    Though – and I’m aware I’m now disagreeing with you for agreeing with me – I’d argue what was funny about the scene in The Beginning was the reaction of the simulants.

    It wasn’t especially the long string of intestines that was funny, but the acute embarrassment of the simulant those intestines belonged to. “Oh that bit looks important” was funny, not the important-looking organ itself.

  30. Yes, I’m usually put off by comedy intestines, the reaction to such things being better than the props themselves. Makes me think of Sean Pertwee’s “sausages!” in Dog Soldiers.

  31. Well it’s funny you mention that, sir, because that’s the bit I didn’t like. I thought it displayed an example of Doug’s predilection for over-explaining a joke. As well as committing the mortal sin (for me) of camping it all up and heightening the silliness. I’m all for realistic giblets. And I PROMISE I’m not disagreeing for the sake of it. I’m sorry.

  32. I do believe a 60 minute edit of the entirety of VII is possible.

  33. Finished the hour long edit. Came out at about one minute over the hour.

    Would love to see this. Are you going to be making it available online anywhere? Planning to do a Series I – X rewatch, but don’t think I can stomach the whole of RDVIII. I have a certain affection for VII but totally understand why many despise it, an hour long edit of that might be interesting though.

  34. I could provide a link to download it. YouTube and Dailymotion refused to host it, the bastards. It’d be an .mp4 file.

    re: Series VII in an hour – challenge accepted.

  35. I could provide a link to download it.

    Yes please.

    re: Series VII in an hour – challenge accepted.

    Great.

  36. I was just wondering if anything like this exists for the Back to Earth Director’s Cut? (I know that’s all stuff removed and no additions (unless you include the different credits), but I’d still quite like to see it.)

  37. I think a BTE Director’s Cut article documenting the changes sounds good too.

  38. G&T Admin

    Yeah, we have got one of those planned at some point, although who will write it is up for debate I think!

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