Dave’s Red Dwarf XI Bank Holiday Monday

“Now on Dave, it’s time to sit back and relax this Bank Holiday Monday, as we bring you an afternoon in the company of the finest smegheads out there – with the complete series of Red Dwarf XI.”

– Dave continuity announcement into Twentica, 2nd January 2017

Most people, when greeted with a continuity announcement like that, might think: “Oh, that’s good, I get to half-watch all of Red Dwarf XI this afternoon whilst pretending to get some work done.” Or perhaps: “I hate Red Dwarf, Red Dwarf is shit, I am going to turn over, I need to watch anything other than Red Dwarf because I don’t like Red Dwarf.”

Us? We clap our hands in delight, as we indulge in one of our favourite pastimes: pre-watershed Red Dwarf edit spotting. Although perhaps to our surprise, only two of the six episodes had any alterations whatsoever: Twentica, Officer Rimmer, Krysis and Can of Worms got away cut-free.

Let’s take a look at what was changed…

Samsara

Samsara is a very rare thing: the only episode of Red Dwarf to be currently rated 15. (The only other 15-rated Red Dwarf was the original VHS release of Marooned, and Smeg Ups/Outs.) With this in mind, perhaps it isn’t surprising there were a couple of trims to a certain SKELLINGTON BLOWJOBS scene.

Which gives me an excellent excuse to publish the following two screengrabs. Both of these shots were missing from the pre-watershed broadcast:

A skellington getting a blowjob

A skellington still getting a blowjob

However, how these shots were cut is what’s really interesting here. Instead of just chopping them out, alternate angles are used in the pre-watershed version instead, leaving the dialogue identical.

  • The first shot is replaced with a longer version of the shot panning across the skeletons on the floor.
  • The second shot isn’t removed entirely. Instead, we just hold on the previous shot of Kryten talking for longer, and only cut to the shot once it’s tilted up and is merely a close-up of a grinning skull.

All of which means: these can’t be after-the-fact edits made by Dave, like most of their pre-watershed stuff – this is a version which was actually delivered by GNP and Baby Cow for pre-watershed broadcast. Creating this version of the episode relied on access to different, alternative footage.

As to how successful it is, the scene still works… just. Unfortunately, it still means one of the strongest visual gags in the series has gone. It’s always the way with pre-watershed edits – usually it’s the strongest material which is affected, as it’s often the more extreme material which is the funniest. (See: what a certain Mr. Cleese has to say on the matter.)

Give & Take

I think you can already guess this one. All four instances of “Captain Bollocks” are bleeped. Meaning we’re in the strange situation where you can walk down the street with one of these on and presumably not cause widespread offence, but you can’t broadcast the word on daytime television.

I reiterate what I say above: pre-watershed edits aren’t neutral. One of the most well-known jokes in the episode is diluted in this version, which is an irritating state of affairs. Personally, I’d argue that conjuring up the word in people’s heads pre-watershed is just as bad as saying it, but neither The Two Ronnies nor Ofcom would agree with me on that one, and that’s not Dave’s fault.

Oh, Ofcom. Speaking of which…

Merchandise promo

This is really rather unfortunate. In the centre break of every single episode, a merchandise promo was shown, featuring friendly old Kryten telling us:

“Plus, to be in with a chance of winning an exclusive t-shirt signed by the cast, just head to RedDwarfOnDave.co.uk now.”

Exciting! So, I headed over there. Guess what?

Dave webpage stating competiton is closed

I am now going to quote from the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, and point you especially towards rule 2.14:

Broadcast competitions and voting
2.13 Broadcast competitions and voting must be conducted fairly.
2.14 Broadcasters must ensure that viewers and listeners are not materially misled about any broadcast competition or voting.
2.15 Broadcasters must draw up rules for a broadcast competition or vote. These rules must be clear and appropriately made known. In particular, significant conditions that may affect a viewer’s or listener’s decision to participate must be stated at the time an invitation to participate is broadcast.
2.16 Broadcast competition prizes must be described accurately.

I make no judgement as to whether this technically contravenes the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. What I will say is that this is extremely poor form on the part of Dave. No viewer lost any money, true – but it shows a fundamental lack of care over the scheduling of their competitions. If they’re not careful, a similar mistake could seriously come and bite them on the ass one day.

Conclusion

Perhaps the most interesting thing about these edits is how few of them there actually are: a total of three, across six episodes. This is in stark comparison to some of the pre-watershed butchering Dave has done in the past. Perhaps Red Dwarf XI is less rude, or at least less sweary than some previous series – certainly, the lack of bastards, twats, and V-signs gives them less to worry about.

Or maybe, just maybe, part of the answer is: this set of edits were done in a far more controlled situation, and to current broadcast standards, rather than being picked away at over the years. Sometimes it felt like the edits made to Dwarf in the past were almost done out of fear – if in doubt, best cut something to avoid any problems.

But if you have the correct people paying proper attention to things like this, you just don’t need to cut so much. The recent Hi-de-Hi! repeats on BBC Two afternoons happily left “bastard” intact for every single occurrence. And these edits feel even more controlled: GNP and Baby Cow were definitely involved, at least at some point in the process. And the more carefully-done the censorship process is… the less you have to cut.

And regardless of how I feel about the episode as a whole, broadcasting the sordid details of Cat’s seduction in Can of Worms pre-watershed with no cuts pleases me immensely.

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20 Responses to Dave’s Red Dwarf XI Bank Holiday Monday

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  1. Was this a competition specifically set up for bank holiday and then didnt
    happen??? Or and advert for the store also that was used during the premier of the series or pre christmas And now closed and they didn’t revise the advert in time for current broadcasts?

    Great article john as always. Don’t quite understand the wording slightly, (cus i am thick) There is a pan shot that actually continues using previously unbroadcast seconds of footage? Is that what you are saying? And again a longer shot where krytens lips are in synch with his discussion.
    And not just slowed down redubbed or reused footage from the actual episode to cover the join.

    So they anticipated the blow job problem at production level but didnt do a wordy, Alternate like “captain pathetic”. So considered at the edit point of production or since by GNP/baby cow

    Interesting.

  2. Would be tricky to cut any sex references from can of worms,
    But presumably would have been cut in the marooned days.

  3. The Samsara edit fascinates me – the production making a bowdlerised alternate take during production for the channel to use for repeats? Seems pretty unusual. Mostly this sort of thing only happens after the original version’s gone out and everybody’s complained, and it’s usually done by the channel itself.

  4. This post more than any other made me think YES, JOHN IS BACK.

    I was genuinely wondering what they’d do for Samsara, just not enough for me to sit through it again.

    There are a few Kids In The Hall sketches where they shot some truly bizarre non-profane alternatives, but the biggest UK precedent is probably series 2 of Little Britain, which had quite a few lines that were shot twice – once for BBC3, once for BBC1, and one sketch that was unique to each version of the last episode. The DVD doesn’t commemorate this, sadly.

  5. The Samsara edit fascinates me – the production making a bowdlerised alternate take during production for the channel to use for repeats? Seems pretty unusual.

    As an aside, given UKTV’s track record I’m genuinely surprised they didn’t air the wrong version.

  6. In many ways, Samsara *is* the ultimate shitty ruined film-effect version of Marooned they’ve been seeking all these years.

  7. G&T Admin

    Great article john as always. Don’t quite understand the wording slightly, (cus i am thick) There is a pan shot that actually continues using previously unbroadcast seconds of footage? Is that what you are saying? And again a longer shot where krytens lips are in synch with his discussion.

    And not just slowed down redubbed or reused footage from the actual episode to cover the join.

    Yeah, I struggled to write this section – I don’t think you’re being thick, it’s just difficult to describe it rather than just doing a video. (Which I would have liked to do, but I don’t have an easy way of transferring material from my Sky+ box at the moment…)

    You’re correct, though – the pan shot across the floor is a longer version of the one already in the episode, and contains footage not in the original version of the show. And yes, the second replacement is a longer shot of Kryten – originally he’s speaking out-of-shot, but we stay on him in the pre-watershed version.

  8. G&T Admin

    This post more than any other made me think YES, JOHN IS BACK.

    That gobshite again, is he never off the web, etc.

    There are a few Kids In The Hall sketches where they shot some truly bizarre non-profane alternatives, but the biggest UK precedent is probably series 2 of Little Britain, which had quite a few lines that were shot twice – once for BBC3, once for BBC1, and one sketch that was unique to each version of the last episode. The DVD doesn’t commemorate this, sadly.

    I’d love to write an article on the Little Britain thing actually, but tracking down original off-airs would be a pain in the lungs.

  9. Captain Blunt Knife

  10. I’m guessing the answer to this question is “it probably wasn’t”, but are we certain something similar to this wasn’t done for any Series X episodes (it looks like Back to Earth never had any pre-watershed outings)?

  11. There’s a point – when was Back To Earth last transmitted? I am interested in its apparent removal from broadcast circulation.

  12. And on Back to Earth, why would they cover it up rather than, say, VIII? (Hate to say it, but it could very well do this:) Attracts more viewers? Easier to schedule?

  13. I imagine it is the fact that the episodes aren’t the same length. They have aired the Directors Cut a few times.

  14. Not since the XI/XII campaign began I don’t think. BtE was very noticeably absent from the last big repeat season, and I’ve seen and heard a lot of Doug going out of his way to talk it down and disqualify it while promoting XI – in the Fubar interview especially he speaks of it like it’s shameful dirty laundry.

    (Although by that token it was strange to see him borderline criticise VIII as well in the SFX interview where he winced at the “raucous” audience. I have a strong aversion to creators picking apart their own past work, even if I happen to agree with the sentiment – it happens all the time and not only actively pushes away fans who happen to like the stuff being trashed, but creates a weird quasi-factual received opinion where the thing is perceived to be objectively bad. The nadir of this was years of classic Doctor Who DVD booklets that confidently proclaimed how shit the story you’ve just bought was, month on month, regardless of if you happened to have your own opinions. I tend to wish all creators would stand by their past value judgements full stop, regardless of their retrospective opinions, and leave the nitpicking open to debate – Russell T Davies has a policy of doing exactly that and I’ve always admired him for it).

    Bleh. It’s just weird that I seem to like BtE more than the bloke who made it does now. It’s good, it’s valid and it should remain in the canon. What’s even weirder though is that BtE is 8 years old at Easter. BtE – almost as old as Only The Good was when BtE aired. THINK ABOUT THAT.

  15. Now, I think Back to Earth is the worst Red Dwarf ever, though obviously VIII isn’t far behind in that regard, but I think not showing BtE makes sense because it’s so dependent on it’s other parts for it to make sense. VIII is more suitable for both the “shit, we’ve got half an hour, stick a Red Dwarf on” broadcast style and the “an episode or two a day until it’s finished” style without being too badly effected by not knowing what the fuck is happening.

  16. > the biggest UK precedent is probably series 2 of Little Britain, which had quite a few lines that were shot twice – once for BBC3, once for BBC1

    Very interesting. The Four Weddings and a Funeral script book contains an appendix about alternate takes made during production for the purposes of putting together a version of the film that could be shown on American television. It includes extracts from correspondence about problematic scenes such as “Fag does not mean a cigarette here” and “David and Charles cannot sign ‘I’m fucked'”, and Richard Curtis’s suggestions for replacement dialogue, like “bugger-ugger-ugger it” instead of “Fuck-a-doodle-doo” and “wet-dreamily beautiful” instead of “fucking beautiful”.

    > in the Fubar interview especially he speaks of it like it’s shameful dirty laundry

    He goes so far as saying BTE “wasn’t Red Dwarf – it was our ticket to get back into the game” !

  17. I liked BTE, but then I also liked VII. So what do I know?

  18. But which is better? There’s only one way to find out…

  19. …SHIIITE!!!!

  20. I’ve no problem with the head honcho dismissing specific bits of their previous work. Joss Whedon does it, Trey Parker does it, hell, even George Lucas has done it. If the buck stops with them, then it’s refreshing to hears some self-criticism. They’re’ not dismissing the actors, or the crew.

    I’ve more of a problem if someone below them in the pecking order starts taking a swipe. An actor criticising a piece of work (separate from their acting in it) is bad form.

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