Red Dwarf XII – Episode 2 – Set Report

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This article discusses Red Dwarf XI & XII whilst adhering to G&T’s spoiler policy. Please ensure your comments do likewise…

A full episode of Red Dwarf has been recorded in front of a studio audience in the month of February for the first time since 1993. Well, you try coming up with relevant milestones for this many episodes in such a short space of time. As usual, there were no G&T representatives at the recording, but this week we strong-armed two “volunteers” into answering our questions, and they did so in such a thorough and entertaining way that we’re going to quote them both in full. Please welcome Jon Botham and TORDFC‘s Joey Newsome, easily the best person named Newsome to belong to that particular organisation.

What’s your opinion on the way the show looks on screen?

JOEY: I’m going to use the main guest set as an example this week as it was quite obvious to me that there was a marked difference to the live set and what was piped through to us. The colours were noticeably military greyer in real life (as it were) than on the screens. I tried to look at both the large projection screens and the three smaller televisions they have at the bottom of the audience and although colours varied, over all everything “popped” better on screen. What is quite interesting about attending a recording is that most scenes/lines/directions are filmed several times from different angles – it is very easy to forget when watching a first take that the action you think you’re missing will be covered in another take. This was no more evident than in this week’s episode, which saw characters in a particular scene walk down a hallway that featured turns – with some dialogue “off camera” at first.

Space (arf!) has always been well used in RD, even some economies can come off as looking truly huge on screen (c.f. last week’s episode). I would say perhaps the more intricate detail of the main guest set this week was lost somewhat to the scene; cameras were very close in, and a large part of the prop inventory in the centre of the set was ultimately ‘chopped off’.

Apart from the very intentional dodgy DIY temporary effects on VT scenes (as other reporters have mentioned, these will be ‘sorted out in the dub’/edit), generally I’m optimistic about the final look and feel. What we saw on screen had that ‘filmic’ look akin to Series X (but not as juddery as VII) but in 2016 it feels the norm now.

JON: We were sat directly in front of the sleeping quarters set, but sadly no scenes were filmed there. Most of the scenes were shot out of sight in Starbug and on guest set/s. The sleeping quarters are largely unchanged from X except for a few minor alterations. I was very impressed with the Starbug set despite an initial worry that it looked a little cramped in the pictures I’ve seen.

It’s clear that a lot more money has been spent on the production in general this series – it feels like a big step up visually. Also with there being more guest/supporting cast and shooting on different sets it feels bigger than most of the episodes in X. Doug seemed to be playing around with more/different camera angles and lighting options, giving the show a livelier look and feel. They also picked up quite a bit, and he seemed to be making sure the performances were tight and to script. One of my criticisms of X was that I felt that some cast members didn’t quite nail their lines so I’m pleased this was done.

Re: the look of the characters, Danny looked great as always, and Craig and Chris looked more or less the same as in X. I’m still not sure about the Kryten mask, though. It’s a slight improvement but still doesn’t look right to me. At least we’ve lost those shoulder hook things!

What are the main cast’s performances like?

JOEY: If I’m being totally honest, I felt the energy overall and generally (cast, crew and audience) was perhaps not as high as I have experienced before at an RD record – to be fair, it was a long evening (running to near enough 11pm) – however once ‘action’ was shouted, not one of them faltered in giving it their all. It is very clear that although RD is essentially a comedy first and foremost, they all take their jobs here very seriously and are engaging as utter professionals (darling). Form wise, I am always going to default to Danny John-Jules (as if he needs more praise); he actually rarely smegs up (perhaps twice this record) and delivery is consistent and sharp.

JON: The cast all seemed to be on good form and looked quite comfortable and confident with their lines. Robert and Chris had a few big chunks of dialogue, and I was impressed how quickly they got through them.

Everyone was clearly knackered by the end, though. At one point towards the end of the final scene I got the impression Danny was struggling a little bit – he leaned over a table for a second and I thought he was going to pass out! It was quite late by this point and he’d been stood in the same position for a long time while the crew sorted out a few technical issues. Danny and Craig didn’t join Robert and Chris at the end of the show to take a bow – we were told they’d already gone to the bar. I couldn’t blame them, I was ready for a drink myself.

Were there any amusing bits of the cast/crew interacting with the audience?

JOEY: To be honest this activity was low in general, as RAY PEACOCK WASN’T THERE. As a huge Ray fan for several years, I can’t deny I wasn’t disappointed to find out he had a prior engagement during this recording. As an experienced warm-up act, Ray has typically excelled in bridging the gap between cast and audience throughout Series X, XI and XII’s first episode, however younger act James Farmer took over the role tonight. James did well to introduce some of the crew, which by the end of the evening ended up like its own reality TV show. What was really nice to see was a smiley Craig shaking the hands of anyone in the audience he could reach during the original introduction of the cast on set. The love was truly felt!

There was one particular scene in Starbug where Danny had an absolute woofer to deliver, and it needed picking up towards the end. It was very much a ‘drop the mic’ moment with four fingers up to the crew who’d asked him to re-take it, with the audience practically rolling in the aisles! Burrrrrn.

No Kenneth moments from Chris this week, although Robert couldn’t be held back on the Les Dawson impersonations as usual!

JON: It was great to see the main cast (and one excellent special guest) interact with the audience. One funny moment involved the main cast winding Robert Llewellyn up about a recent, and somewhat personal medical issue which had us all laughing very hard. Apparently Bobby went to the docs midweek with a mild urinary tract infection, and Craig teased us all about his “leaking cock”.

The guest star told us he/she is a massive RD fan and that appearing in the show has been on his/her bucket list for ages. Also, thanks to James, the warm up guy, we got to meet Calum, an assistant floor manager, who we learnt went to Nando’s 72 times last year. He was the butt of a few jokes throughout the evening.

Roughly what percentage of the episode was pre-recorded, and what percentage was done live?

JOEY: Four and a half scenes were shown were VT (around a third VT in terms of number of scenes, and maybe 50/50 on time). I say a half scene, because of an absolutely seamless job on the final segment, which involved VTs of the same scene being piped in while the live scene was being acted out. Well… I was impressed.

JON: I’d say it was 70% live, 30% pre-record.

Was there a focus on any particular character, or was it an ensemble piece? What kind of story was being told?

JOEY: Definitely an ensemble, which meant everyone got pretty much equal screen time, although some cast in more than one guise. It was a stand-alone tale, with a healthy dose of guest cast – I think to say any more could be too spoilery.

JON: It was an ensemble piece, but there was a particular focus on Rimmer at the beginning and end of the episode. The episode has a sci-fi concept which is ripe for laughs (especially with the well-known guest star who was hilarious and went down really well with the audience).

Did it remind you of a particular series or episode from the past?

JOEY: Yes – hints of Series VI throughout – Legion, Psirens, and Rimmerworld spring to mind. There was one part where I felt my heart sing a little with a lovely VI reference!

JON: One particular scene reminded me of Terrorform, another of Entangled (oh no!), but I felt that the episode as a whole could fit into either Series IV, V or X.

What are your non-spoilery opinions on the episode?

JOEY: I thought the gags were brilliant from the first minute of the first scene; one thing I will say about this new tranche of Red Dwarf is that the jokes are as strong as they ever have been, and I can genuinely lose count at the number of guffaw moments from me just in this episode.

Probably the biggest boon of this episode (yet again, two weeks in a row), was the guest star. Again, this person has been very vocal in the past about their love for RD, and definitely will be known to a general audience as well as anyone who loves British comedy. As it goes, the guest told the audience it has been on their ‘bucket list’ to appear in Red Dwarf and it was almost quite emotional for a moment. Let it be said we have been truly spoiled with the quality of guest cast members during these recordings, well known and not. Linda Glover has done a stellar job with casting and should be applauded.

But I want to be balanced about this – I think it will look a lot better on screen because it suffered from a series of technical faults on the day (mostly sound, including recording the audience’s laughter), as well as 90 per cent of the live scenes being recorded on a guest set behind a wall. Because of this, scenes felt disconnected and it was difficult to hold onto a sweet-flowing storyline. Despite having a personal fondness for the weird and wonderful, the story was somewhat… no… downright bizarre in places, thanks to a trippy plot that largely revolved around surreal situations that our boys find themselves in.

I’m also sad to report that there were a number of audience members who felt it was the time and place to behave appallingly with unnecessary comments and heckles during this week’s warm-up act James Farmer. Rest assured they are not representative of Red Dwarf fandom, as has been said on Twitter over the last 24 hours. We were all there for an incredible opportunity to watch our favourite telly show being recorded live – everyone has put their blood, sweat and tears into the show. If you’re feeling snipey, please don’t ruin it for cast, crew or other audience members and kindly keep the mush closed.

So perhaps based on the previous reports and my own personal experience, this would sit somewhere near the lower middle for me – and only really brought down by some points out of the control of cast and crew. As a side note, I found myself utterly entertained by the adventures of warm-up man James Farmer, cheeky Assistant Floor Manager Callum, and his deadpan but fair boss, Dan. More crew-audience interaction please!

JON: Overall I enjoyed this episode. It was funny (at least 2 belly laughs from me), and all the cast, main and guest stars, got a good share of woofers. I particularly enjoy the “something happens and 4 guys go off in Starbug to investigate” stories so was happy we got that! It’s tough to say, though, as I enjoyed the last episode I went to see recorded, but wasn’t too keen when it aired. The excitement you feel at a recording, surrounded by cast, crew and lots of sci-fi buttons and lights can sometimes mess with your objectivity!

TINY TEASER: Crevice Brush
APPROXIMATE SCENE COUNT: 12-14 (Total so far: 28.5-30.5)
APPROXIMATE SMEG COUNT: 1-2 (Total so far: 2-3)


Huge thanks to Jon Botham, whose Twitter profile is recommended if you like B Movies, death metal and waffle, and to the Fan Club‘s Joey Newsome for betraying her husband. Are YOU going to any Red Dwarf XII recordings? Particularly episode 5? Would YOU be willing to write a full report, a mini review, or even just answer a few questions? If so, do get in touch.

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91 Responses to Red Dwarf XII – Episode 2 – Set Report

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  1. Phew – glad we largely agreed (hilariously apart from the series similarities!).

  2. Phew – glad we largely agreed (hilariously apart from the series similarities!).

    Aww, the VI reference completely slipped my mind! Shame mode.

  3. Thanks as ever for set reports. Very interesting indeed.

  4. Nice report guys, ta. Desperate, as ever, to see this stuff on t’tellybox.

  5. I was at the recording last night, and I’m stunned to read any positive set reports.

    There was a palpable sense that nobody knew what they were doing with the show. Writing, directing, production design, and general studio management was a total shambles. At one point a scene had to be reset because nobody pressed record on the camera. They also came out to ask us to laugh harder as the microphones were unable to hear us…

    Regarding the plot of the episode, it felt totally insignificant, without any resolution, and barely any of the characters acted much like themselves.

    Series X might have its problems, but generally had internal consistency. This seemed to be a case of rattle away some generic Dwarf lines, then have everyone act in the broadest, most pantomime way possible.

    I’d say a good chunk of the episode was shot in the same poorly decorated corridor and a half, so definitely felt very closed in. The ceilings were quite low, and had that crate like structure used on Red Dwarf. Which could have looked great, but the way it was lit, combined with Ikea-looking side lights on the walls meant the cast’s faces were either oddly obscured in too much shadow, or lost with a strange halo effect behind their heads.

    The famous guest star was so poorly used, and a real shame. More a case of random bit part, than writing a great guest starring role for them. Could have been anybody, frankly. They didn’t have much to do, and anything they did do that was funny, and deviated from the script, was quickly re-shot to be script correct, which deflated the energy of all the performances.

    Really, I’d say the biggest problem with the recording was Doug Naylor. He’s had a fair while to write 12 episodes of Red Dwarf, and, if it comes out this was hastily written to replace something else I wouldn’t be surprised. Easily the worst written Red Dwarf, maybe ever.

    His directing style seemed to repeatedly stall proceedings, with vastly over complicated camera set ups that resulted in something that looked like it was shot on a DSLR in a brightly lit room. Even with a flat script, you could easily dress it up with some dynamic Series IV/V/VI direction, blocking and lighting. But shooting it flat on and bright constantly make it look like a parody of sitcom than an exciting or clever sci-fi show that’s funny.

    The cast definitely didn’t look convinced by the material, looking bored and exhausted from the go. Though, to their credit, performed it as best they could, and were always on cue, even when being stopped to repeat a really cumbersome line or fix a technical fault.

    I’m also not sure they had much time to rehearse this episode, as there didn’t seem to be any blocking, or timing to the comedy. Which again, meant everything had to be shot 5 times from various angles, despite having a few cameras on the go at one time.

    Kryten is now the worst he has ever looked. His mask, bloated and immobile, his suit bright grey, chunky and made of cheap foam. The series X costume looked so much better. I’m really surprised how poor it is.

    I think the only positive I took away from the night was how professional the main cast were in the face of chaos and awful material. That, and Cat is back to being his sarcastic, rather than wacky self.

    Also, the warm up act wasn’t funny, repeatedly being interrupted by Craig to lift the audience’s spirits.

  6. G&T Admin

    Christ, spam bots are getting a lot more sophisticated.

  7. I need to stop reading these, I’m not sure knowing I have to wait 18 months to see them is doing my health any good.

  8. This all sounds absolutely lovely. The reason I fell for Dwarf way back in ’88 was because it was weird, different and funny. Sounds like XI and XII are going to deliver and I am so excited to see these new shows and devour the DVDs

  9. It’s unfortunate how poorly executed the episode’s sci-fi concept was, considering what it involved. Doug Naylor would have done well to take his own advice.

  10. Great set report, Jon and Joey! My impatience for the broadcast continues to grow!

  11. Also, the warm up act wasn’t funny, repeatedly being interrupted by Craig to lift the audience’s spirits.

    I think we’ve found one of the hecklers.

  12. I’m sorry spambot, I hope you won’t have to endure another recording.

  13. Actually it is interesting that spam bot has the only negative comments that I’ve heard so far. We fans are not blind to the faults of Dwarf. I remember I was even a little bit excited for the last two episodes of VIII when my enthusiasm was at it’s lowest. This episode will be interesting to watch at least.

  14. Series VIII is generally considered to be the worst of Red Dwarf, correct? I’d place what I saw somewhere between the broadest of that, Hyperdrive, and Lister ironing sneezes at the start of Back to Earth.

  15. Thanks for the set reports, nice to read Jon that you say this one has a sci fi concept i like to see the show
    grasp one. A lot of this sounds pretty similar in vague points to the episode of 11 i got along too.
    Great to hear an appreciative guest artist got their dream, Interesting that both rimmerworld and terrorform get Mentioned in your similar ep vibe.

    Sounds like you felt trapped in boredom there spambot as there is so much you didnt like and then point fingers at all round , shame you didn’t enjoy the tv creation process you participated in attending and were there to help with your laughter. You articulately describe tv production so i can’t concluded you didnt know the experience can be long drawn out and tricky which you cut zero slack for, but thanks anyway for the feedback, comforting to know cats bitchy low humour of sarcasm was the area that impressed you. We interesting come any future documentary to see which episodes the cast felt they were up against it.

  16. The final scene, and the only one to be filmed in front of an audience was a total mess. Half of it was pre-recorded, which is fine, but Cat and Kryten only had two shots for the entire scene.

    The first involved panning across from a sign, to Cat’s one line reaction to it, then later, one small line in reply to something Rimmer/Kryten were discussing.

    Kryten had a single shot, and a few lines to run through, that I think was only done twice.

    The rest of the scene was mostly Rimmer, and a guest cast member, and a few of Lister, who also had very little to do.

    So, they weren’t needed for most of it, and you could see Danny struggling as the scene went on and on. I can’t imagine those heels are too comfortable for long periods of time. He put on a brave face, but did appear very annoyed. It’s like nobody in the crew realised, or addressed that he didn’t need to be there.

    One of the final shots of the night involved a wide with both Lister and Rimmer, but it again seems like nobody told Craig he was in shot, so while Chris did some of his best takes, the shot must be unusable (unless they crop it significantly) as Craig was standing around tapping his feet, waiting for his cue.

  17. My personal nominations for worst of Dwarf are the ending of Emohawk, Danny’s Tongue Tied single and the last two episodes of VIII. Nothing before or since has truly disappointed me although the last five minutes of Entangled came close.

  18. The most frustrating part about Entangled is that the first half of the episode is really, really strong in my opinion. Then it kind of falls apart at the end.

  19. This is the first time I’ve seen mixed feelings on audience recordings since series X (I remember hearing people say they weren’t taken with the use of weak subplots via Twitter and tumblr well before the episodes aired), though this one might also have to do with a negative experience at the recording session…..either way it’s the new upcoming episode that I am most worried about so far. That said it will still be interesting to see how this one goes when it’s all edited together into a cohesive whole.

  20. spambot does seem to be nit picking the hell out of this episode so i ain’t reading to much into his comments but i have always been a little cautious about XI and XII because i have had issues with every series since 7 and after 10 i started to think doug was just going back and forth trying to get the balance right and just wasn’t capable of hitting the perfect mark anymore.

    Positives i have had from recent set reports are the writing at least sounds more tighter and visually the production sounds like its improved in a big way.

  21. Having read a few twitter posts its sounding like it was a fairly strained atmosphere and a few people in the audience ruining it for everyone else.
    I like the idea of the off occasional references to previous episodes and series especially if those are from VI my personal favourite, many VIII references yet??… Moving on.

    It’s also interesting to hear varied opinions on the recording although I must say this is the first time iv heard such an outright negative one as featured in these comments. It will be very interesting to see how it plays out.

    Would the slight changes to the main sets between XI and XII suggest they are sticking to filming the episodes in order they will be shown? As I am pretty sure they said they are not 100% what episodes will end up where as of yet, or are the changes so small it should not make a difference?
    Superb work on the report guys and gals.

  22. I would consider myself a pretty fair fan of Red Dwarf. Enough to apply for tickets, own various books, and all the series on DVD.

    I would also say, although negative, I went in hoping that wouldn’t be the case. From the opening scene played on VT, even with half finished VFX, It reminded me of Series 2.

    But the writing simply isn’t good enough. For Red Dwarf, or broadcast TV. That really took me by surprise. Jokes are set up, but the punchlines are weak, they go nowhere or are cartoony and obvious. Crawling by on fan goodwill, and charm from the cast.

    I think going in, fans are overwhelmed by the experience, and don’t want to stand back objectively for ruining a fun evening. I’m not being especially picky. It just wasn’t very good at all.

    There’s an attempt to go with the Starbug centric style of series VI, but to borrow a phrase from Lister, there’s no magnificence to its soul.

    There’s a really nice moment towards the end that was VFX heavy and played through for us. Reminded me of Quarantine or Terrorform. But it’s too little, too late, and literally shrinks away. It also jars tonally with the rest of the episode.

    I saw some comments from other people online that it could be seen as offensive. It could be read that way. Not with any malicious intent, but it did seem like an idea by a middle aged man that’s way out of touch.

    Also, regarding the warm up, he wasn’t being bullied. The running joke of the night was that one side cheered when they liked something, the other jeered when they liked something. It was encouraged and the warm up was going back and forth with a few people all night, in good fun. I think you’d need to be very delicate or just not be hearing things correctly to read it any other way.

  23. I was sat directly behind people being quite unpleasant to the warm up. There’s playing along, but what I was hearing wasn’t that. Telling him repeatedly that they didn’t like him and at one point telling him to fuck off simply isn’t on. If a stand up is being self deprecating, you don’t then cheer when someone else takes the microphone and boo when it is returned to them. Frankly, I don’t care whether he was those people’s cup of tea or not. It’s not a stand up gig, it’s a sitcom recording, and at points they made it quite uncomfortable all because they thought they were being funny. Joey and I literally reached a point of telling these people to shut the fuck up after each comment. If you think this behaviour was acceptable then I pray that I never have to be in an audience with you.

  24. Looks like we may have to accept this was a bit of an ‘off’ day for Dwarfdom?? Though (some of) the audience being dicks can’t have helped the cast and crew’s energy/mood. Hopefully Doug can pull a decent episode out of proceedings. Maybe there really were some last minute changes for the production??

    The set reports were great btw guys. :)

  25. G&T Admin

    Spambot – I removed one sentence from your latest comment, as it strayed too far into the specifics. Keep it vague, please.

  26. Interesting to read all of the comments here (both positive and negative).

    I would agree with Jon’s comments above that it must be difficult to make a genuine judgment on the quality of material when seeing it live. I think a comment for Series X was, ‘The audience laughed at everything!’.

  27. I get the impression that this is a very ‘out-there’ episode that would benefit from a rewatch to make sense of it, and possibly one that’s very difficult to get a handle on when seen in the studio?

  28. It must be difficult to make a genuine judgment on the quality of material when seeing it live.

    Agreed. The atmosphere and sense of occasion overwhelms you. Dear Dave was hilarious on the night. By the time it went out, two thirds of it had been replaced by that vending machine nonsense.

    When I read the Tweets and reports on Saturday morning, I also mentioned that perhaps watching the episode when transmitted may actually make for a better viewing experience, as most of us will be able to make out the plot better without having to experience any of the difficulties encountered on the night.

  29. It was an episode perfectly easy to understand. It just wasn’t funny, or clever, or interesting. Everyone in the audience was laughing, but I think because they’re seeing it happen. Caught in the excitement and atmosphere.

    But even then the jokes weren’t getting the reactions expected. They even asked us to laugh louder. Which is a bit cheeky, especially after multiple takes, and ever deflating performances.

    I understand there’s going to be delays while shooting. Though, not knowing how Red Dwarf operates, but how other shows do, this seemed shambolic, slow and amateurish.

    I think most people can piece this particular episode together from what they saw. It was presented and filmed in chronological order.

  30. I think that when the set reports have talked about needing to see the finished product, it’s not an issue of following the plot, it’s an issue of pacing. One particular scene reasonably early on took a particularly long time to film, and as such dominated the recording experience. But when you see it on TV it will only make up a few minutes. While you can play it all through in your mind, you can’t necessarily get an accurate handle on how the edited version will feel pace wise. That’s why on X for example it wasn’t uncommon for people to think the plot wrapped up quickly, but when they saw the version on TV it wasn’t a concern for them anymore.

  31. I think get the feeling that even the end result of the episode this time will be one of those episode that leave people feeling divided…..it certainly seems to be the only episode so far that’s had a troubled production…..I just hope the quality doesn’t suffer for it.

  32. I like to think it’s something of a good sign that they’ve gotten this far and this is the only negative reaction we’ve had so far. And I don’t have any worries that the remaining four episodes will suffer. Dear Dave was bit of a clusterfuck, but then it was followed by The Beginning, which arguably pisses all over Dear Dave from a great height.

  33. It seems odd that so much of Spam Bot’s objections seem to go against what we’ve heard from other people, in particular, that both the writing and production design are generally a solid step up from Series X. I’d be interested to hear some responses to his review from people who have attended the XI/XII recordings, not necessarily just this one, and see whether they feel, on reflection, that the criticisms he brings up are valid.

  34. Interesting to hear some negative reaction, especially on the writing and the use of the guest star. I think it’s a little unfair to be judging the direction on what you saw on the night, happening live. And the crew making mistakes? Sorry, but this isn’t a theatre production. It’s a complex TV shoot.

    I was rather impressed with the way the one I saw in December was directed; it helped allay some fears that Doug had bitten off more than he can chew, when he also has the small matter of scripting 12 episodes. It was certainly less point and shoot than Series X.

    The “pantomime” remark is alarming, as the one I saw rode a fine line. The only thing I agree completely on is Kryten’s costume. I’m not sure if it’s changed between XI and XII, but the panelling on his suit did look kinda cheap and foamy (foaming? no).

  35. The production, as far as I can see, looked cheaper, and generally sort of lame. Like the minimum amount of thought had gone into any idea present. Which sounds harsh, but you really could have improved everything about what I saw with invention, not money. The approach, not necessarily the physical build, or VFX or anything.

    The pantomime stuff was mostly from Rimmer and the guest cast. Rimmer throughout just acts like a cartoon. No meaning to his actions. Big performances on little jokes. Rimmer does a lot of shouting, and face pulling. Until the end, with Chris got to do something different, and you could see him enjoy cutting loose.

    I know what shooting a TV show is like, but the kind of mistakes made were embarrassing. The cast looked annoyed and tired. Most of the technical problems wouldn’t have happened if they had used less equipment. In the final scene, and the only one filmed in front of the audience, there was a huge jib thing, that the microphone was sitting on. It obscured a huge amount of the action and did nothing a boom op, or cleverly placed mics in the set couldn’t. There was so much faffing around with cameras, and it added nothing to the look at all. Great big movie lenses that had barely any effect on it looking different from a student film. I genuinely believe Doug Naylor has no idea what he’s doing when it comes to direction. He has no eye for what works in comedy, whether timing, or visuals

    Look at any of the best Red Dwarf, even cheaper flatter series like 1 & 2, they still look vaguely dramatic in composition and lighting (the dying cat priest, for instance). You’re never taken out of the scene. The world feels real, and tangible.

    Watching this episode filmed, everything looked horrible. Flat direction, bright lights everywhere. It really works against the reality of the show at its best. Unless you think pink is hilarious.

    Even outside of visual terms, the performances are played in the quickest, least interesting way. Like everything has been over directed and micromanaged to stay exactly to the word on the page. Even though those words, and the unimaginative direction, fail to work.

  36. I don’t have a problem with Doug taking time to get shots right and ensuring that lines are read correctly so long as the end result looks good. I guess at this stage it’s difficult to tell. If he’s shot everything from five different angles, who’s to say that what appears on the monitor in the studio will be what is used in the final show? It also wouldn’t be hugely out of character for Doug to go back and reshoot scenes if he’s not happy with the look of them. Maybe it was just a bad night.

    The consensus on Kryten’s costume is a bit of a shame though – I suppose Robert just wanted something less cumbersome and more lightweight. From the description, it sounds similar to what he wore for the Red Dwarf US pilot.

  37. Spambot, some of your complaints about Doug’s direction have nothing to do with the directing but rather the cinematography…..those sorts of production elements are being handled by Baby Cow and not Doug Naylor himself. Honestly it’s kinda unfair to blame Doug for elements of the production he has no control over.

  38. He’s directing and producing the show. Ultimately, he decides how it looks. I’m actually surprised Baby Cow didn’t insist on hiring someone else after series X. Plenty of fantastic, dynamic directors and DPs in comedy right now.

    A director blocks the movement of a scene, or interprets the script in a way that benefits the story with some style. Doug seems to go “it is filmed from these angles a few times, from a distance, then we move on”. He wasn’t on the floor to direct, and there seemed to be very little information relayed to the actors on how to play a scene. I think Craig said at one point they hadn’t even rehearsed a few scenes all together.

  39. Well, I’m not sure what I’d have thought if I’d seen Out of Time being recorded with Idiot Boards floating around the studio, but I definitely liked the result on telly.

    >It obscured a huge amount of the action
    It obscured a huge amount of action TO YOU in the studio audience. As I’ve said, you’re not watching a play. It’s not being directed so that the people in the studio audience can see everything clearly. The studio audience having a jolly old time is way down the list.

    I don’t think it’s any problem whatsoever evaluating the performances, the story and writing from a recording. but sitting in a studio audience and ranting about the the lighting and direction when you have no way of knowing how it will be graded and edited, is, yes, a little harsh. Your fears may be completely well-founded but none of us (including you) will really know until it appears in the medium for which it was produced.

  40. You can tell from how things were lit theres only so much you could grade. I’d say it 80% close to what it will look like eventually. The 12 foot crane with one mic attatched although obviously not in the actual episode, shows a lack of control and planning to the night. It’s just another example of awkwardly I’ll thought through recording methods and over complicated set ups that are clearly plaguing the production, and that could easily be sorted out.

  41. G&T Admin

    Spambot, I find your criticisms of the plotting and writing interesting, and can see that they’re likely to be valid and constructive. But when it comes the production process, you are talking out of your arse.

  42. I’m familiar with many production processes, and I know I sound unrelentingly negative. But I honestly have never seen a more needlessly over complicated shooting process than Red Dwarf.

    It constantly caused problems, which i wouldnt mind if the results were worth it, but it isn’t. It shouldn’t be a case that episodes from 23 years ago are better looking.

  43. He wasn’t on the floor to direct,

    Well, no, he wouldn’t be. He was in the gallery where he was supposed to be.

    and there seemed to be very little information relayed to the actors on how to play a scene.

    The crew have earpieces, so you have no way of knowing that.

    …i wouldnt mind if the results were worth it, but it isn’t.

    Spambot has a time machine!

  44. He wasn’t on the floor to direct,

    Well, no, he wouldn’t be. He was in the gallery where he was supposed to be.
    and there seemed to be very little information relayed to the actors on how to play a scene.
    The crew have earpieces, so you have no way of knowing that.
    …i wouldnt mind if the results were worth it, but it isn’t.
    Spambot has a time machine!

    Yes, Usually you’d direct from the gallery and relay information, but it isn’t shot a simply as a multi camera sitcom. It’s some half way thing that doesn’t really work. There seemed to be a total lack of communication from all over. At the end of the night they nearly forgot that Danny had a line in a scene, it was only him reminding the crew that they went and picked it up.

    You can tell from what was shot, there isn’t really much room for it to go anywhere. Mostly because there’s no style. Just awkward scene to the next. It looked bad, they can’t improve on what they had without completely re-shooting it, the writing was poor and performances overplayed. I would rather than wasn’t the case, but I really can’t see it improving much. A couple of model shots aren’t going to make it funnier.

  45. As with Ian, I’m not going to respond to the stuff about the episode itself, because that’s entirely opinion and there’s no “right” or “wrong” (also, for obvious reasons, I try not to talk about my specific reactions to individual episodes on here any more).

    But when it comes to the look and feel of these episodes (and I’ve seen four of them shot, now), particularly the production design, lighting and composition, I couldn’t disagree with you more. Judging by what I’ve seen piped through onto the screens in the recordings I’ve been at, I think these are going to be some of the best-looking RD episodes ever made. And they certainly ain’t “cheap”. Maybe this one felt that way to you, but I can honestly tell you that that’s the polar opposite of the feeling everyone got from several during the XI run, and (from what I gather, I wasn’t there) the first one of XII, too.

    As for the point about Craig in the wide shot – I noticed that too, and thought it was a bit strange that nobody seemed to pick up on it. But throughout every episode there have been wide shots where booms and the like have been clearly visible, so it’s clear that there’ll be a lot of intentional shot cropping going on, and the angles we saw on screen won’t be fully representative of the final episodes. Certainly, it was going on for long enough that if it was a concern, it would have been picked up on, I’m sure of that.

  46. Spambot am no questioning your judgement on the script or whether or not the acting was loaded with series VIII pantomime because I wasn’t there and can’t judge on that. However you clearly don’t know how filming processes work, and you complaints about the cinematography could like very different when the film has been graded….It’s all about how things look on the camera when edited together and less about how it looks to the audience member on the night. In reality non of us will have a full idea how the episode looks until it comes to air.

    As said you can still be very right in terms of this episode being not very good, it’s undeniably been the only new episode so far that some people online (not just you) have been iffy about. Even prior to reading your comments it’s been the episode I’ve had the most concerns about.

  47. > You can tell from how things were lit theres only so much you could grade.

    I can’t tell if you’re being serious with this comment. Grading can make a colossal difference to the look of a shot. You mention everything being brightly lit, well that actually allows for more options with grading later on.

    You also seem to be forgetting that this episode will be edited into a final product, with all the cuts to the correct angles and everything. Doug’s direction seems firmly on show here, as he seems to be going for a much more dynamic shoot than the ‘flat’ X, and this will not be a waste of efforts, as you seem to be suggesting… While this does not seem like it will be the best episode, I doubt it will be as catastrophic as you’re making it out to be. :p

    Btw the fact that Danny and Craig didn’t come back out to take a bow maybe goes to show the audiences really need to get their arse cheeks together, sit up in their seats and fucking participate in the Red Dwarf studio recording they applied to see…

  48. I know how TV is made, and it’s quite clear what they were filming wouldn’t be graded much from what was shown on the monitors. Series X wasn’t too heavily graded either. It’ll look roughly the same I expect. Though, due to the nature of this one, it’ll likely still be very bright on purpose.

    It’s not the audiences responsibility to laugh at things they don’t find funny. And I don’t for a second think they left early due to that. More the uncomfortably laboured shoot.

  49. Listen everyone, Spambot knows more about “how TV is made” than anyone else on this forum, right? Spambot is “familiar with many production processes” and as such is able to tell you that the finished episode will look shit (well… apart from that final scene – stupid camera crane getting in the way of the audience view! I mean WTF, right?!). It’ll look shit, it’ll sound shit, it’ll have stupid shit camera angles it… it’s just shit. So let’s all pack up here, because there’s no real point waiting to see how the series turns out on broadcast. Spambot has already told us, using superior knowledge and skills.

  50. Just a healthy bit of criticism though.

    I’m happy to be proven wrong, but I don’t think that’s likely considering how Series X turned out.

  51. > Series X wasn’t too heavily graded either.

    Maybe not, but this is not Series X and Doug can do what he wants! If he wants it to look bright, or if it’s bright for a story reason (I don’t know whether that’s the case) then I don’t see the problem with it.

    spamboy, admit it, all of this is down to the fact you don’t like pink!! :p

  52. >Just a healthy bit of criticism though.

    That’s the thing though, it’s not. You’re criticising things in terms of the production, that you clearly have no clue about. Just off the top of my head, you’ve complained about things blocking the audience view, that Doug wasn’t on the floor and that scenes were shot a number of times from different angles. None of these things are wrong or bad. I could be wrong, but based on your many comments, it seems as though you have something against Doug personally, given that you’re placing blame for everything (that you’ve decided is wrong) at his door, despite there being many other people involved in the production.

    Your comments about the actual content of the episode on the other hand, are opinions, and are just as valid as those of anyone else. I’m not disagreeing with you there, and based on the various reports I’ve heard, the finished product might well be one of the poorer episodes of the run. If it is, it is, and nobody here will hold back with their criticism.

  53. Some positive noises being made about episode 3 at least:

    Andrew Ellard
    #RedDwarfXII ep filming now is one of my faves. Pretty out there, in ways akin to a past divisive ep, but SO funny, inventive & insightful.

    Richard Naylor ‏
    A lot of people’s favourite #RedDwarfXII script this week. Just as insanely difficult to make as all the others though!

  54. Willful misinterpretation there, regarding things blocking the audience’s view. My point being, there was no need for a crane to suspend one microphone the way it did, when there were plety of other ways to do it, that were less complicated. My criticism being that the shoot is overly complicated, and how that affects the time everything takes, and the cast losing patience.

  55. Willful misinterpretation there…

    Nope. From what you said, my take away was that you were whinging about the view being obscured. Everyone has said that there were technical issues that night, it could have easily been a last minute fix so that they could get the scene filmed.

  56. No offence to anyone, but as an impartial observer can I just say that Spambot has actually acquitted themselves quite well here. Their thoughts have been well articulated and they’re clearly not sticking the boot in for the sake of it. They’ve admitted they want to show to be good and they clearly don’t have some weird vendetta against Doug Naylor. Some of the rest of you have been rather less classy, though. This is a great site, so it’s sad to see some very touchy members of the inner sanctum simply pile on someone with a less than ecstatic opinion. Pretty unwarranted, in my opinion.

    Doug Naylor has the most important role in these new series by far – as writer/producer/director he has a responsibility to step things up. That’s not finger pointing, it’s just a simple fact. And if someone feels the recordings are a bit/a lot off the mark here and there, they have every right to say so. Of course the finished article may be quite different but these are set reports and can only reflect what happens on the night (while theorizing how the show itself might appear when broadcast).

  57. Let’s not forget to mention that you’ve been blaming the cinematography on Doug Naylor’s directing when they are 2 separate things handled by different people!

  58. G&T Admin

    In all fairness, I think if you sign up for a brand new account, completely anonymously, just to discuss a specific topic, you do so because you know you’re likely to attract some stick. I don’t think any of the regulars have been harsh towards spambot – many people have been at pains to differentiate between his/her opinions, which are being respected, and the reasons behind some of those opinions, which are open to debate.

    I’m aware that the cumulative effect makes it look like several voices shouting down one individual, but a) that’s only because nobody else who was at the recording and on G&T seems to have reacted quite so negatively to the episode, and so there’s nobody to back spambot up; and b) spambot is giving as good as they get. I most certainly welcome a variety of viewpoints on here – I’ve enjoyed having so many different contributors to our set reports recently, and if anything, I’d rather some of them had really hated their particular episode, just to make things more varied! I wouldn’t want anyone, old or new to the site, to be put off from voicing their opinions, but at the same time, nobody is immune from criticism.

  59. Let’s not forget to mention that you’ve been blaming the cinematography on Doug Naylor’s directing when they are 2 separate things handled by different people!

    He’s the director, writer, producer and co-creator. The way the show looks is his choice, ultimately. He chose to make series VII cinematic. He chose to make VIII not. He chose to make Back to Earth cinematic. He chose to make X, XI and XII not.

    Which is fine, but I don’t think many would argue the show was at its best when shooting it more dramatically, while being funny. Instead of shooting it like a cheap comedy and having characters act like parodies of their established personalities.

  60. I liked reading spambot’s reaction to the plot and jokes. (I’ve fallen out of love with the show since it’s glory days, and sometimes feel like the Outsider, so it’s good to hear I’m not alone.)
    If the script was bad, great. I’m looking forward to see how it looks on broadcast. I hope spambot will return then to share their opinions then, about how they think it panned out.

    Did the warm up act encourage jeering? Possibly a bit of a fuck up for what is now a notoriously rough gig. (According to some cool kids I heard talking in the Yates’s wine bar…)

    I should say, Ian, that I actually AM immune from criticism. It is sticks and stones that are my Kryptonite.
    Or if anyone mocks my love of Superman.

  61. I think there’s a fair few regulars who are dissatisfied with certain aspects of “recent” Red Dwarf (or,er, the last twenty years). I’ve no problem with reading criticisms of the show or an episode’ writing.

    What some people here, including me, have a problem with is a criticism of the recording itself when the reasons given are the lighting and the choice of equipment used. I think you’re going to have state your credentials if you’re making those kind of judgements from a seat in a studio audience.

  62. Yeah I agree. I thought about writing something about that in my comment. Then I wrote a watered down version of what I thought in my comment. Then I edited it out of my comment. Didn’t want to fan the flames.

    But the gist was – so what. So what if it was recorded on etch a sketch while actors had their lines barked at them from trained dogs, as long as it looks good on TV.
    The opinions of the process from spambot did actually did interest me but I’m taking it with a pinch of salt unless he (or anyone here) is the Coen Brothers. Or F.W. Murnau… Or John Hoare.

    I was interested to hear more about the warm up act, though. And if anyone had thoughts about that.

  63. > This is a great site, so it’s sad to see some very touchy members of the inner sanctum simply pile on someone with a less than ecstatic opinion. Pretty unwarranted, in my opinion.

    No-one’s been ‘touchy’, please don’t overdramatise events. spambot is determined to be critical of the production, unfairly in places. This was always going to get a response from members. All that’s followed is a discussion of that, nothing ‘unwarranted’ in the slightest. Something that could be seen as unwarranted is your stirring of the pot.

    Roll on episode 3, ffs….! xD

  64. Hi there, “inner sanctum” here! *eye roll*
    I don’t think I can be accused of hiding my true feelings if I dislike something (Hi ‘Dear Dave’!), but then as a new anonymous poster, you may not be aware of that. I’m not afraid of being critical, despite being on the Fan Club team (which you know, because that’s my name and face alongside my post), so please don’t use that as a reason to dismiss my comments as being “touchy”.

    As I went out of my way to point out, the opinions on the content of the show are not the problem here.
    Was I being sarcastic earlier? Yes. Was it deserved? In my opinion, yes. Spambot tries to appear superior by repeatedly declaring that they know all about TV production, but has never explained why… it’s just *because*. So yeah, fuck that.

  65. It seems odd that so much of Spam Bot’s objections seem to go against what we’ve heard from other people, in particular, that both the writing and production design are generally a solid step up from Series X. I’d be interested to hear some responses to his review from people who have attended the XI/XII recordings, not necessarily just this one, and see whether they feel, on reflection, that the criticisms he brings up are valid.

    Well, from the ep I saw back in Dec, I heartily disagree with the show looking cheap. The lighting and set design is a step up from X, it’s deeper, richer and more colourful. Doug’s direction is likewise a step up – more dynamic shots, shots that homage other sci-fi classics, moving camera, focus pulls. It feels more assured.

    On a more objective matter, story and performance… in my personal opinion, (for at least the episode I saw) the story was very good and worthy of being lumped in with Series IV, V or VI levels of goodness. Performance is again subjective… personally I feel that the whole cast got very broad and ‘pantomime-y’ in Series VIII, and while that faded in BTE and X, that broadness is still creeping in at points, and that still holds true for the new eps. But generally, I really enjoyed the balance the cast have hit. Robert’s line delivery seems more confident, with less reliance on ‘sir’ that he had in X.

    Fully admit that the more I reflect on it, the more Kryten’s costume this time around looks rubbish. The mask is great, but it baffles me how the costume from say VI or VII, over two decades ago, was so superior. I hope it’ll look better on screen, but on the monitors I saw at the recording, it didn’t improve much.

    I think spambot may have gone into the filming wanting or expecting more/something different, and they’ve reacted badly to it. I thought The Beginning was a horrible, horrible episode when I first saw it. It wasn’t what I wanted it to be after reading up some previews of it. But I re-watched it with a more open mind, and now its one of my fave episodes of X. So these things always get reappraised.

  66. Also thinks that as a director that Doug should have an eye for cinematography when in reality most directors don’t…..hell that’s why we have cinematographers in the first place, just like how most directors don’t have a good sense for production design! If all of that was so easy then the director would just be doing it all himself, but they don’t and that why his directing abilities have nothing to do with it. I don’t wanna seem picky but as someone who’s spent as much time learning about film making processes as I have, these are common misconceptions that really bug me a great deal.

  67. This is an interesting debate…

    My personal feeling is that while the jobs of the various members of the production team and crew are obviously crucial, on a show like Dwarf where Doug has taken over so many of the key roles, the buck will ultimately stop with him. That goes for pretty much everything from the recordings themselves through to the finished episodes.

    Having said that, as some one mentioned earlier, if you finished episodes turn out well then nobody will care about whether there were difficulties with the recordings.

  68. Well, I think everybody’s right, except me, so just forget I spoke, all right?

  69. I think there’s a fair few regulars who are dissatisfied with certain aspects of “recent” Red Dwarf (or,er, the last twenty years).

    We need more people naming themselves after the bits they don’t like, really. When are Tabby Ranks Mix, Red Christmas, Vindalunar and Pastel DVD Cover going to join?

  70. *changes name to Blue Midget Dance Sequence*

  71. Like Native Americans…. Dances with Midgets?
    I might call myself “Rob Grant’s Exit”.

    Ooer. Sounds a bit rude.

  72. Come back, Mr. Sucks!

  73. I’d be interested to hear some responses to his review from people who have attended the XI/XII recordings, not necessarily just this one, and see whether they feel, on reflection, that the criticisms he brings up are valid.

    I was going to write a huge post about how I sort of agree on some very (very) basic points spambot is making about the script, but I really feel like it’s just adding fuel to the fire, so I’ll try and be concise! (I had no problems with the production though, and I am in my second year of a BSc Television and Broadcasting degree, so I sort of know my shit, or I should anyway).

    However, when I left my thoughts on the episode I saw (XI Recording no.5) I was almost overwhelmed by the positivity and on reflection, I was probably overly positive about the episode. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as great as I made it out, and I definitely think the commotion of the event made me big it up more. The more I think back on it, I really feel like I saw a “filler” episode, that was the word that was bobbing round in my head after the recoridng, compared to other set reports anyway. But then again who knows whether it will translate better on screen.

    So I can see where spambot is coming from on the most basic of basic levels, but I don’t think I feel as strongly about anything as he does. Ever. Red Dwarf related or not. Sorry if this post is a garbled mess, it was quite hard to write down how I feel about it.

  74. Also thinks that as a director that Doug should have an eye for cinematography when in reality most directors don’t…..hell that’s why we have cinematographers in the first place, just like how most directors don’t have a good sense for production design! If all of that was so easy then the director would just be doing it all himself, but they don’t and that why his directing abilities have nothing to do with it. I don’t wanna seem picky but as someone who’s spent as much time learning about film making processes as I have, these are common misconceptions that really bug me a great deal.

    Good directors absolutely have a sense of cinematography and design. You hire people to put your vision forward, you don’t hire them and say “lord knows, mate, crack on with it”.

    But, even if that was the case, the direction for Red Dwarf XII that I saw was inept. Poor communication between crew, cast and gallery. Seemingly no blocking, which is vital for composition, actors marks and camera movements. Everyone finished a scene differently, and they had to retake multiple times. Someone good at their job wouldn’t have to figure it out on the day like that.

    The shot choices were also really bad, and beyond something that simple, there was no pace and sense of drama to anything. Yes, it’s a comedy, but you need tension for that, to build a scene, for it to go somewhere. The cast seemed to just say their lines as fast as possible, then move on immediately. There was a moment where the guest star tried to use some actual comic timing, but was quickly stopped, and things were retaken until they were performing it the fastest way possible. Awful.

    Doug’s direction is to shoot everything like a sketch, then move on, so nothing feels connected to whatever preceded or followed. Zero connective tissue. Compare that to how Ed Bye had everything feel like a sci fi movie each week, for very little money and in 30 minutes.

  75. G&T Admin

    I think Ouroboros is shit.

    Discuss.

  76. Is spambot going to tonight’s recording? Will we be able to just read and get excited about this week’s set report?

  77. >The shot choices were also really bad, and beyond something that simple, there was no pace and sense of drama to anything.
    This is getting pretty boring, spambot. Your reasoning doesn’t get any better. You do realise the shots onscreen at the recording, wont’t necessarily be the ones chosen in the edit, yeah?

    >Someone good at their job wouldn’t have to figure it out on the day like that.
    Yeah, probably for the best to shut up now.

    >I think Ouroboros is shit.
    it is. It really is.

  78. >The shot choices were also really bad, and beyond something that simple, there was no pace and sense of drama to anything.

    This is getting pretty boring, spambot. Your reasoning doesn’t get any better. You do realise the shots onscreen at the recording, wont’t necessarily be the ones chosen in the edit, yeah?
    >Someone good at their job wouldn’t have to figure it out on the day like that.
    Yeah, probably for the best to shut up now.

    The framing of all the shots, and the movement of the camera, and timing of the scenes were off. You can’t just crop and hope for the best. Most of the shots quite close already.

    I think despite fan opinions, the cast, and nostalgia, Red Dwarf really suffers from being filmed in front of an audience now. For a variety of reasons. Technically, it’s a huge ask, and a slow process. It certainly doesn’t look as dynamic as it once did, over 20 years ago. The cast really over play their performances in front of an audience, when they clearly never did. I don’t know if that’s Doug telling them to go bigger, I suspect not though.

    The pantomiming, I think, is an effect of the cast not being very confident in the material, so play it wide, and then get an overexcited laugh from a fan audience that can’t believe they’re seeing their favourite show live. So the cast take that as a response and go bigger, playing to an energy that will not translate to TV. Sort of how Edinburgh Fringe comedy shows translate badly when there’s no half drunk audience to play to.

    Red Dwarf VII and Back To Earth get criticised for lacking atmosphere, and I wouldn’t deny that, but I think the writing would benefit from being better, and the editing being tighter. Single camera works for everyone else, and could work for Red Dwarf. I don’t think it’s possible to capture it in the old days, I dont think crews know how to shoot audience sitcoms as well as they used to, and Doug isnt a strong enough director. It surprises me Baby Cow wouldn’t get someone else to direct it. Plenty of great people still working like Steve Bendelack. Although having done Dark Ages, that might not be an option.

  79. G&T Admin

    I think the writing would benefit from being better

    I take it all back – this is a genius piece of analysis.

    I don’t think it’s fair to make assumptions about people’s motives by extrapolating from your opinions, and I don’t think it’s possible to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of any perceived problems from the outside.

  80. I think Ouroboros is a fair job.

  81. I think you absolutely can. That’s what criticism is. Which is pertinent to this episode, for sure. Red Dwarf hasn’t been great for 20 years. It’s had good moments, and embarrassing ones. Most of the good coming from Craig’s dramatic experience giving Lister history, weight and humanity.

    Doug gets most of the blame for it not being good, from fans mostly, because he really isn’t a strong comedy writer or director. I don’t know why, other than money or ego, he’d hold on so tightly to it, than getting help to make it the best it could possibly be.

    If he had been smart about this, he could have used the audience’s familiarity to the characters to build drama into the comedy. Only Fools & Horses, whether you like it or not, did that brilliantly. I don’t know exactly what Andrew Ellard’s input into the scripts is. He’s a respected industry professional. But from Series X, to XII, the show hasn’t improved much.

    Red Dwarf, to me, and I imagine a lot of you too, is a character piece. Comedy, Drama or sci-fi, there’s a core to it that’s ultimately sad. And that’s brilliant. It doesn’t cost anything to write better material. I think most fans would exchange expensive model shots in exchange for something like Marooned.

    The trouble with Red Dwarf fandom, especially here, is it’s quite small, a bit insular, and close with Grant Naylor productions. It’s hard to not feel like there’s a family working hard to keep the show going. To stand back and objectively look at it. Moreso when the shows haven’t been broadcast.

  82. So, okay, Red Dwarf’s been shit for twenty years, it’s poorly written and badly directed, with shoddy production values, and suffers for being filmed in front of a live audience.

    Why THE FUCK did you get tickets to be in a Red Dwarf studio audience?

  83. So, okay, Red Dwarf’s been shit for twenty years, it’s poorly written and badly directed, with shoddy production values, and suffers for being filmed in front of a live audience.

    Why THE FUCK did you get tickets to be in a Red Dwarf studio audience?

    I still enjoy the old shows, and like anything you enjoy, that you think has gotten a bit wonky, you hope with experience, time and money, it’ll get better and return to greatness.

  84. I’d say there’s a definite competence and ambition to Doug’s directorial output over the last decade or so. Back to Earth, whatever you think of the plot, looks pretty consistently great throughout. Series X is a bit rougher around the edges, but I think we can probably chalk a lot of that down to the various problems which dogged the whole production. And there are still some nice shot choices, the sweeping tracking shot as the crew enter the Trojan for the first time is a good example. Even something like Over to Bill had crane mounted sweeps and pans, so I’d be surprised if he’s ditched that completely and just gone for static wide shots. It could well be a temporary vision mix so the audience can see what’s going on.

  85. >Only Fools & Horses, whether you like it or not…
    Most people like it, don’t they? As you bring it up, I think this is a bit of a false dilemma. OFAH changed quite a bit in its eighty series run. It was a lot broader by the end. It was dramatic from the beginning. (Was RD dramatic from the start? Lighting, yes, direction, not sure.) However, I sort of agree in that John Sullivan was a gifted writer. Probably a comedy genius. Where I don’t think Doug is. Sullivan didn’t direct any of the episodes, though. He sat in on the edits. So a strange comparison IMO.

    Also have you not noticed that people have been baying for credentials. Is this the part when you reveal you are a camera operator on the production?

    >Why THE FUCK did you get tickets to be in a Red Dwarf studio audience?
    Nurse! Quick! I’ve never seen him like this.

  86. >The trouble with Red Dwarf fandom, especially here, is it’s quite small, a bit insular, and close with Grant Naylor productions. It’s hard to not feel like there’s a family working hard to keep the show going. To stand back and objectively look at it.

    As someone who’s been shooting their mouth off for about twenty years about their dissatisfaction with the show, I’d utterly dispute this point. I felt the direction of X was pedestrian and felt that Doug’s obvious enjoyment of this role was causing an unnecessary distraction from the writing.

    Believe me, I could get on board with your criticism of the episode’s direction if, ironically, you *hadn’t* provided examples of why you thought this. Unfortunately, your examples have been questionable to say the least. Moaning about not being able to see the action at a studio recording because a piece of, supposedly cumbersome, equipment was in your way, being the best of the bunch.

    A painfree production doesn’t automatically result in a brilliant end-product. And a production beset by difficulties doesn’t automatically result in a failure. I don’t think sitting in a seat at Pinewood for 4 hours can allow you to judge either way.

    >Red Dwarf really suffers from being filmed in front of an audience now.
    But, surely, if we got Ed Bye back, we’d have a 30 minute Sci-fi movie every week?

  87. >The trouble with Red Dwarf fandom, especially here, is it’s quite small, a bit insular, and close with Grant Naylor productions. It’s hard to not feel like there’s a family working hard to keep the show going. To stand back and objectively look at it.

    As someone who’s been shooting their mouth off for about twenty years about their dissatisfaction with the show, I’d utterly dispute this point. I felt the direction of X was pedestrian and felt that Doug’s obvious enjoyment of this role was causing an unnecessary distraction from the writing.
    Believe me, I could get on board with your criticism of the episode’s direction if, ironically, you *hadn’t* provided examples of why you thought this. Unfortunately, your examples have been questionable to say the least. Moaning about not being able to see the action at a studio recording because a piece of, supposedly cumbersome, equipment was in your way, being the best of the bunch.
    A painfree production doesn’t automatically result in a brilliant end-product. And a production beset by difficulties doesn’t automatically result in a failure. I don’t think sitting in a seat at Pinewood for 4 hours can allow you to judge either way.
    >Red Dwarf really suffers from being filmed in front of an audience now.
    But, surely, if we got Ed Bye back, we’d have a 30 minute Sci-fi movie every week?

    I never complained about not being able to see due to equipment. It was because it was huge, unnecessary and didn’t move, and with the set up as it was, there were plenty of ways to record sound. It’s bulkiness got in the way of the crew, slowed them down, and that was frustrating an exhaused cast. As i said earlier, they nearly missed Danny’s only line in the scene due to the faffing around, and it was Danny himself that reminded them.

    I think if you got Ed Bye back, there would be a marked improvement of the timing and look of things. But I imagine the logistics and infrastructure of shooting a complex audience sitcom are lost on modern crews mainly trained for single camera shoots. So it would probably be less of a mess, but still one.

  88. > It was because it was huge, unnecessary and didn’t move, and with the set up as it was, there were plenty of ways to record sound.

    You’re making a lot of assumptions with zero inner knowledge on the production of Red Dwarf XII. I think I’ll stick to judging Doug’s direction on the finished episodes, rather than harshly critiquing it and the entire production on the pieces of equipment being used and how tired the actors appeared to be. You know, the actual finished product, rather than the stuff I gleaned from sitting in the studio audience for a few hours at the end of the week’s shoot.

    >I imagine the logistics and infrastructure of shooting a complex audience sitcom are lost on modern crews mainly trained for single camera shoots.

    Well, I’m glad the assumptions aren’t limited to Red Dwarf itself.

  89. Red Dwarf X was a production disaster due to a lot of things. Mostly things that wouldn’t have happened with a more experienced crew, or better producer and director. It is staggering how they’re still making these kinds of mistakes years later. Hopefully the model shoot isn’t abandoned and reshot this time.

  90. I’ll bet good money that Series X tortured production and post-production is a HUGE reason Baby Cow are now on board. In addition to bolstering resource for budget, it’s a guarantee of sorts to Dave that there’s a dearth of production experience on board the show now.

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