Anyone want an example of the kind of fan mail G&T receives?
— Flibster (@Flibster) June 18, 2015
@mumoss have you seen McIntyre's funeral scene on Netflix? What the fuck have they done to it?
— Curtis Threadgold (@CurtThreadgold) June 20, 2015
George Macintyre's funeral song in Red Dwarf is completely different on Netflix. Is this common knowledge @ganymedetitan?
— Ashley Day (@jellyscare) June 30, 2015
Started watching Red Dwarf on Netflix for the first time, and "See you later, Alligator" is replaced with "Here we go"!?! (@mumoss)
— Jayenkai (@Jayenkai) July 12, 2015
This issue did actually come up on our forums a couple of years ago – but we assumed this was just some bizarre music rights issue for Netflix in the US. Sadly, the change is now present on the version which reappeared on UK Netflix in June.
Let’s take a butchers, shall we?
I think the best you can say about that change is that it’s hard to ruin the “inappropriate music at a funeral” joke entirely.
Music rights are a weird, complicated beast at the best of times, and I don’t pretend that I understand the issue fully – but this has to be up there as one of the weirdest I’ve seen. When all has been fine for the original UK broadcast, all UK repeat broadcasts, UK VHS releases, and then UK DVD releases, for a change to suddenly come into place at this point in the episode’s life is really, really odd. (It’s also worth pointing out that the subtitles still say “(SEE YOU LATER, ALLIGATOR PLAYS)”. You would have thought that whoever mandated the change in music would have remembered that the subtitles also needed changing, but WHATEVER.)
It’s also a bit of a shame that this has happened with the Netflix copy, as some programmes are actually better served on streaming services like Netflix than DVD when it comes to music rights. Take Skins, Series 3 Episode 4: during the scene where Emily and Naomi kiss, the original TX version perfectly uses Lily Allen’s “The Fear”. The DVD version pathetically replaces this with Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl”: turning the scene from touching and meaningful to the trite and obvious. Netflix thankfully has the original TX version.
Back to Red Dwarf: and I have a theory about this edit. And it’s a theory borne out of something that I’m not sure anybody else has noticed. Directly comparing this version to the original brings up something rather interesting.
Take a close listen to Lister’s lines: “There goes McIntyre. Bye George. That was George!” They are actually slightly differently spoken in the Netflix version than in the original episode. This isn’t something just pasted in from Remastered, either – Remastered has the same take as the original. It’s not something you would notice whilst just watching normally – but compare the lines directly to the original episode, and the differences in intonation are spottable.
Presumably, the new music has been pasted in, but they didn’t have access to either the rushes or a version with separate music and dialogue tracks. So the new music obscured Craig’s lines, and they needed to be re-recorded.
Now, where would this come from? Surely Netflix wouldn’t have a budget for re-recording Craig Charles for this purpose? At this point, we’re wildly into speculation – but I suspect that this change was originally done for PBS stations, and this is the copy Netflix have got hold of. PBS would a) Care about getting any edits right rather than just cutting the material entirely, and b) Have contact with the cast through their pledge drives, making it easy to get Craig to do a bit of dubbing.
Also, to put it bluntly… doesn’t the choice of a football chant feel a bit like PBS trying to prove they know British culture?
Seemingly – by common consensus, and the fact that this wasn’t whinged about in the UK before – this edit was not on the UK version of Netflix when it was last available. Now the show has returned to UK Netflix, it seems the US version has been mistakenly – or deliberately? – included.
Like I say: pure speculation. We did email Netflix PR to ask some of the above questions, but we were studiously ignored. Netflix, I’m putting you on my list of enemies.
There. You’re in for it now, Netflix.