The Hunt For Smeg October

Honestly, you wait a whole week for the next bit of Red Dwarf XII news, and then three come along at once. And they’re three pretty substantial ones too, each of which could probably have carried the traditional Friday lunchtime news slot on its own. A more specific TX date! The traditional four-shot publicity photo! The series synopsis! The first two of these were initially covered in a single tweet:

Yes, it looks like we’ll be waiting slightly later than anticipated for Series XII, but that’s our own fault – there was never any official indication that the schedule would closely match that of XI, that was just a widely held assumption. Instead, it looks like it’s still six weeks away at the very very least – it’s not clear whether the Smegtober date refers to the Dave broadcast, the (presumably a week early) UKTV Play premiere, or both. I don’t think it’s likely to be too late into the month, simply because the publicity machine has been in gear for a good few weeks already, and there’s only so many weekly updates you can do.

Meanwhile, following on from a few variations on the norm, we now have our more conventional publicity shot of the main cast, which will presumably be used as the default image for posters, merchandise, DVD covers and whatnot. The above tweet premiered the image in animated form, but today’s TOS update gives us a closer look:

The first thing you notice is the background – instead of the more traditional spacescape, which was perhaps becoming a little tired, we’re afforded a good nosy round the rejigged bunkroom, as glimpsed briefly at the end of Twentica and in the Series XI documentary. The bunks themselves really are very different; as well as the addition of prominent numbers, the big blue lights have been removed in favour of a generous lick of orange paint. While there’s still a fair deal of the trademark XI blue in the overall image, the glimpses we’ve seen so far suggest that XII might have a slightly warmer colour palette than its stablemate.

As for the cast themselves, they obviously don’t look hugely different from the series that was shot just a few weeks earlier. That said, it can’t escape one’s attention that Craig looks slightly older and dare I say chubbier than he does from most angles, but at least this is the first XII photo where you can tell that it’s definitely him. Kryten thankfully looks like Kryten, which isn’t always guaranteed, Chris Barrie is doing a Chris Barrie face, and the Cat has got a lovely gold and black shiny suit. It’s a good photo.

Last but by no means least, perhaps the most exciting of today’s updates is the series synopsis. We’ll presumably get the episode-by-episode breakdown at some point in the next few weeks, but this is the main blurb that we can expect to see pasted all over the internet between now and October, and then adapted for the back of the DVD and Bluray. It starts with the standard biographical information:

Red Dwarf XII is the twelfth series of the legendary comedy, once again written and directed by Doug Naylor and following last year’s series XI, voted “Best Comedy of the Year” and “Best Returning Comedy” by British Comedy Guide. The original cast of Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Craig Charles (Lister), Danny John-Jules (Cat) and Robert Llewellyn (Kryten) are back for six brand new episodes recorded in front of a live studio audience at Pinewood Studios.

We were a bit sneery about those British Comedy Guide Awards at the time, and were called on it by various people on Twitter, but it is nice to be able to include recent recognition for the show in the publicity. For the record, I reckon that while it’s easier to win a poll on the internet when you’ve got a large and dedicated fanbase to mobilise, that doesn’t necessary detract from the achievement – after all, the fanbase is there for a reason.

Anyway, the synopsis continues with a series of plot teasers, and the TOS article actively encourages us to try and match these to the episode titles, so let’s attempt to do that:

For the very first time, the rest of the crew discover just how it feels to be Kryten when they’re arrested by the Mechanoid Intergalactic Liberation Front.

Well, this is The One Where Everyone’s Kryten, but we’re still not quite sure whether it’s Siliconia or Mechocracy that will forever be referred to by this unofficial title. This is the first proper confirmation that the previously teased “MILF” idea is indeed part of the same episode as the Krytenification, and we’re pleased that the synopsis didn’t feel the need to spell out the acronym joke.

The Dwarfers come across a ship where criticism is illegal

No idea which episode this will be, but we hope the entire thing is a thinly-veiled dig at pricks like us.

and a space station where the crew have developed a cure for evil.

Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure this is Cured. In fact, it’s the one episode of XII that I saw recorded, and believe me, Here No Evil would have been a much better title.

When all the machines on Red Dwarf go on strike Rimmer and Kryten hold a Presidential election,

Ooh. I must admit, this has set alarm bells ringing, simply because this episode will have been recorded in early 2016, back when David Cameron was Prime Minister and the US election could have been between Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz. Since then we’ve had the Brexit vote, President Trump, Theresa May’s failed snap election and Nazis marching through the streets of America. I’ve got no problem whatsoever with Red Dwarf tackling politics, but virtually every development in the last two years has rendered all previous satire wildly out-of-date overnight. I worry about how such a storyline will stand up in what is a very different landscape to the one in which it was written, but I hope that I’m reading too much into it.

while The Cat faces an identity crisis like never before when he discovers he needs glasses.

Well, that’s a lot less heavy duty. Like much of the synopsis, it’s actually near impossible to nail this down to one of those six episode titles, so perhaps this will be a smaller comedic subplot, and not the basis of an entire episode.

Lister discovers a simple update of the ship’s latest software could be a matter of life or death.

Ah, this brings back memories of a proposed plot arc from Series X, whereby each episode would deal with the implications of a different ship upgrade – this eventually manifested itself with a bit of a through-thread from Trojan to Entangled, but was largely dropped and forgotten about when the last two episodes were radically changed mid-production. Again, this could be any ep, but it sounds like the software update could be the catalyst for a much bigger plot.

Finally, Rimmer decides to leave Red Dwarf in search of a parallel universe where he isn’t such a massive loser.

This sounds like Skipper, given that Rimmer is attempting to skip between dimensions, and that it could potentially invoke the same concepts that gave us Ace Rimmer. There has been speculation in the last week that the big man himself could be involved, but I think it’s more likely that we’ll meet a different parallel version of Rimmer, perhaps one who’s a navigation officer who never moved out of his original bunkroom or changed uniforms.

With regards to which episodes are which, we’re still largely in the dark – Timewave, M-Corp and one of Siliconia and Mechocracy are still unaccounted for. There are seven individual plot strands mentioned in that second paragraph, so they can’t all be separate episodes; at least two of these bits belong together. There is still much more speculation to take place in the now-slightly-increased-amount-of weeks to come.

Additional. Earlier today, several eagle-eyed readers noticed that a version of this synopsis had been published by various US-based news sites, such as Deadline, following the news that the series has been picked up by Britbox. We were waiting to see what the TOS update was before we covered it, and it turns out that the two versions of the synopsis are quite different. There certainly seems to be more detail about a couple of the episodes in the non-TOS version, so click through if you want to, but note that our spoiler policy specifies that “details revealed via Dave, Grant Naylor or Baby Cow can and will be discussed openly”, and technically this hasn’t been revealed by one of them.

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58 Responses to The Hunt For Smeg October

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  1. Surely #Smegtember would have been catchier?

  2. At least we’ve nailed down the month now. They’re still teasing us with an actual date, but I’m sure that will follow soon. I’m very excited and intrigued about this series. Sounds like it’s going to be quite a ride.

  3. Could the other one out of Siliconia and Mechocracy be the one where the machines go on strike? I know that the synopsis frames that as merely the inciting incident and the Presidential election as the main story, but maybe it’s a set up for the election to be won by a skutter or a vending machine or something. Just a thought…

  4. The criticism is illegal thing sounds abit similar to technology being illegal in twentica.

    The machines going on strike doesn’t sound great, am not a fan of this new over use of talking lifts, dispensing machines and whatever else.

    Cat needing glasses… sounds abit lame and may end up another excuse for cat to act really really dumb and silly.

    Going by XI… none of these excite me beyond being curious about the Rimmer finding another universe idea

  5. G&T Admin

    Could the other one out of Siliconia and Mechocracy be the one where the machines go on strike? I know that the synopsis frames that as merely the inciting incident and the Presidential election as the main story, but maybe it’s a set up for the election to be won by a skutter or a vending machine or something. Just a thought…

    Ah, of course! Yes, that would certainly suit Mechocracy to a tee.

  6. The machines going on strike requiring Rimmer and Kryten to hold an election is definitely Mechocracy, which would make Everybody’s Kryten Siliconia. I would honestly be surprised if this isn’t the case. I want to be remembered as the one who figured it out first.

    The election thing sounds like a damn good Red Dwarf plot.

  7. Looks like I was quite close to the mark with the Rimmer in Alternate Dimensions blurb:

    I’m working on a theory that this is an alternate timeline where the crew were never wiped out and they continued on with their mundane 23rd/21st century lives. Wouldn’t exactly explain why Rimmer died though, but then again exploding boxes…

    http://www.ganymede.tv/2017/08/the-fantastic-four/#comment-87357

    I like the sound of all of these. The alternate dimensions one piques my interest the most followed by Krytens and No Evil in a tie.

  8. Life-or-death update sounds a bit M-Corpy, just from the way that Lister looks not too far from the latter in that photo.

  9. Well, that’s the best headline we’ve had in a while.

    >The machines going on strike requiring Rimmer and Kryten to hold an election is definitely Mechocracy, which would make Everybody’s Kryten Siliconia. I would honestly be surprised if this isn’t the case. I want to be remembered as the one who figured it out first.

    Get in line, Bud!

    I saw Mechocracy recorded. “Cracy” – from the latin to rule. You must have a basic grasp of latin if you’re…going to… figure out Red Dwarf titles.

  10. Am I correct in thinking Timewave is the one episode we still don’t know anything about?

    I wonder if they’re holding information about that one back for a reason. Regardless, I wouldn’t mind being left totally in the dark about one of the episodes so at least that one can be a complete surprise.

  11. The machines going on strike doesn’t sound great, am not a fan of this new over use of talking lifts, dispensing machines and whatever else.

    Have you seen series 1 recently?

    Timewave seems to be the ‘one with the big name guest star’ where the recording turned sour.

  12. I think Timewave is the one where Cat needs glasses because:

    a) That’s probably a subplot or something minor that sets a bigger plot in motion, which would fit with how little we know about Timewave
    b) I think the plot will involve the Cat travelling back in time to stop himself from ever developing astigmatism

  13. The one where Cat needs glasses, featuring Kerry Shale as Opti-Bot.

  14. I’m unclear on how Series 11 features an “overuse” of talking machines. Why is it that after Series 10, suddenly any talking machines showing up in Series 11 gather massive criticism just for being there despite being used in the same ways with the same kind of restrained performance as the beloved Tony Hawkes dispensers from Series 1?

    Taiwan Tony was five years ago. Get over it. It wasn’t even that big a deal, everybody just massively overblew it because they didn’t get the joke.

  15. Well, that’s the best headline we’ve had in a while.

    >The machines going on strike requiring Rimmer and Kryten to hold an election is definitely Mechocracy, which would make Everybody’s Kryten Siliconia. I would honestly be surprised if this isn’t the case. I want to be remembered as the one who figured it out first.
    Get in line, Bud!
    I saw Mechocracy recorded.

    Same here!

    This time last week Ali and I were discussing this and betting Mechocracy was the election ep we saw being recorded. If only we had bet money or something. We could’ve been very smug pricks right now. Oh well.

  16. Re: Ian’s ponderings in the original article about Mechocracy being dated. Might that be why, in the running order on the fucked XI steelbook, it was going to go fifth?

  17. Have you seen series 1 recently?

    There is certainly a difference between how they were used in series 1 to how they are slightly more depended upon in Series X/XI and from what it sounds like probably XII too.

    For Season 1 it was done in small doses, While they are abit more oversaturate in the more recent series when you really compare them.

    Id like to be proven wrong but i can see the machines on strike thing being another round of personalities to argue with, whether its thai dispensing machine, french dispensing machine or another.

  18. Dax, you have a remarkable capacity for thinking things are going to be shit based on supposition. It’s a bit wearying.

  19. If the last series is anything to go by.

  20. Also, there really isn’t a difference in how they were used in series 1 to the Dave era. In the first series their role became supplanted by Holly, and now Holly’s gone they’re back to their original purpose. Gobshite technology all over the ship is literally part of Grant Naylor’s original format.

  21. You just gave a difference right there though.

    I don’t buy the whole idea tbh, yes they kinda phased them out in series 2 onwards and doug brought them back for series 8 with tony slattery and then series X went abit nuts with it IMO.

  22. Seb are you building Dax a ship where pre judging is illegal?

    That eps sound a bit in the justice/samsara family to me.
    An exciting set of plots and sub plots.

    Dam have to wait until October to see them though.

  23. Seb are you building Dax a ship where pre judging is illegal?

    Dougs already wrote that script ;D

  24. So now I’m wondering if the layout of the sleeping quarters has changed dramatically for Series XII or if this is just a photoshop rejigging of the key elements (bunks, monitors, sofa) for the purposes of fitting the promo shot layout. Surely the monitor and wireframe image should be to the left of the bunks?

  25. So now I’m wondering if the layout of the sleeping quarters has changed dramatically for Series XII or if this is just a photoshop rejigging of the key elements (bunks, monitors, sofa) for the purposes of fitting the promo shot layout. Surely the monitor and wireframe image should be to the left of the bunks?

    Think it’s just some odd photoshop, there are pictures of the new bunkroom, or elements of it anyway and the bunks have a new fascia and new gubbins, the monitor area is in the same place but different etc, I think this image, the door behind them is in sort of the right place, there was a door about there in XI (although again, new style), I think the stuff to the right of the door (and maybe the door itself as it looks a bit off to me to be in one straight line from the bunks) is from the left of the bunks, and the settee is just put there because it’s interesting. It’s also nosing down a tad which makes me think it’s a CTRL+C CTRL+V from another press shot.

  26. There is certainly a difference between how they were used in series 1 to how they are slightly more depended upon in Series X/XI

    You absolutely cannot group Series X and XI together on that front. Talking as if they’re in any way comparable in their use of the onboard machines only shows me that you’re actively looking for reasons to hate the new episodes before they even air. Series 10 overused the vending machines in too broad a way. Series 11 did not. Unless you’d care to point me to the part of Series 11 where talking machines with goofy accents take up large swathes of screen time, because I must have missed it the eight hundred times I’ve rewatched it.

    and from what it sounds like probably XII too.

    Id like to be proven wrong but i can see the machines on strike thing being another round of personalities to argue with, whether its thai dispensing machine, french dispensing machine or another.

    So, because a plot in Series 12 involves the onboard machines in any way, therefore Series 12 will be loaded with Taiwan Tonys? What do you mean, you’d love to be proven wrong? If you wanted to be proven wrong you could just think critically for two seconds about how fucking ridiculous what you just said is.

    You literally have no idea how heavily the machines feature in this episode because all you’ve seen of it is one sentence of teaser. For all you know it could be just one scene at the beginning where they all gang up on Rimmer, then they don’t show up again. You don’t know. But you do know Series 11 isn’t Series 10, and wouldn’t it make more sense to base your expectations on the series actually made alongside 12 rather than the one that’s now five years old made under profoundly different circumstances? One that wouldn’t have even relied so much on the onboard machines if it had the kind of budget management Series 11 and 12 have?

    Series 11 uses the onboard machines in the same kind of way Series 1 did. That is the whole of my statement. Feel free to debate that point, but stop invoking Series 10 as if it’s somehow relevant. If anything, it’s much more useful as a point of contrast than that of comparison.

    I’m sorry everyone else, I am profoundly annoyed by this.

  27. Why is it that everywhere I look online, the only thing people seem to care about with Mechocracy is that it features the onboard AI machines?

    Why does it feel like nobody is focusing on the fact we’re going to have an episode where Rimmer runs a political campaign to become President of the Machines aboard Red Dwarf? In what way does that not sound like amazing new way for Rimmer to hilariously ruthless? I want to talk about that, not tediously rehash the Series X vending machines debate.

    I’m already visualizing his attack ad against Kryten.

  28. > I’m sorry everyone else, I am profoundly annoyed by this.

    I think we are all getting used to that by now.

  29. where Rimmer runs a political campaign to become President of the Machines aboard Red Dwarf? …
    I’m already visualizing his attack ad against Kryten.

    I too am really interested by this. I may be reading too much into it but it sounds a little like it could hit the strong points of “waxworld” or “rimmerworld”. Rimmer inerests me when he is in risk campaign mode especially if he has learnt from “Officer Rimmer”.

    For me personally i have always enjoyed the way Rob and Doug give objects personality such as Talkie Toaster, the suitcase with the lost owner. It was one of my highlights of Dave Hollins and series X (“he touched my logo” and how medibot acts a bit like microsoft Clippy). I like how the motivations of the machines are different to our own and think for that reason and more it has the potentiality to be brilliant. I wonder if Kryten will understand them better than Rimmer.

    Mmm an attack ad sounds potentially fantastic. I hope it has one now.

  30. The way they write “while The Cat faces an identity crisis like never before when he discovers he needs glasses.” indicated to me that this plot strand happens concurrently to the presidential election plot which immediately precedes it. Out of all the plots there is does seem to be the one most likely to require a B plot to fit the 30 minutes.

    November 14th for the US DVD would indicate a launch date of 5th of October with a launch on UKTV Play the week before if they are still doing that this time around. So we might only be 5 and a half weeks away from Cured.

  31. The way they write “while The Cat faces an identity crisis like never before when he discovers he needs glasses.” indicated to me that this plot strand happens concurrently to the presidential election plot which immediately precedes it. Out of all the plots there is does seem to be the one most likely to require a B plot to fit the 30 minutes.

    November 14th for the US DVD would indicate a launch date of 5th of October with a launch on UKTV Play the week before if they are still doing that this time around. So we might only be 5 and a half weeks away from Cured.

    Mechocracy (which is obviously the presidential election plot) has been stated to be the fourth episode recorded, which was also the one with **r*** ***e**. Seems a hell of a lot to pack in.

  32. Thanks for spoiling the Andreas Boceli cameo.

  33. The only thing that will be disappointing about Mechocracy is if they don’t lose to a third candidate – either Talkie Toaster or Tony Hawks.

  34. >Mechocracy (which is obviously the presidential election plot) has been stated to be the fourth episode recorded, which was also the one with **r*** ***e**.

    I don’t believe that has been confirmed. And a leak whilst filming from a member of the crew indicated that it definitely isn’t said episode unless the picture leaked (and taken down a few minutes later) was from from a different week to the one they were filming.

  35. I’ve also just went and re-read the set report from on here regarding the fourth episode recording:

    “The only guest cast this week were voice-overs”

  36. I’ve also just went and re-read the set report from on here regarding the fourth episode recording:

    “The only guest cast this week were voice-overs”

    Although that is contradicted elsewhere in the set report:

    “There were no guest cast members on set during filming but some did appear on VT.”

    Also: if it isn’t the one with ****a* *****t, what are all the references to a special surprise from the show’s past in reference to?

  37. I did think about that but they all talk about a specific Series IV episode. The only thing I can think which fits them all is that the special surprise is something like Spare Head Three which would fit what with no guest cast, the Series IV references and would make sense plot wise.

  38. Also: if it isn’t the one with ****a* *****t, what are all the references to a special surprise from the show’s past in reference to?

    Don’t multiple set reports mention callbacks to the past used in plot-relevant ways?

    If he was going to show up in any episode, my money is on the one with the Series I costumes and sets.

  39. Sounds promising, think prefer the 1st XI promo pic with Michael McIntyre Kryten, in the XII image, his face looks so squashed, compared to how perfect it was in XI, take Krysis. in that it was perfection, here looks like been condensed.
    Will it be the same as last year, with XI commentaries before the start of XII??
    We need our DwarfCast fix!!

  40. >“he touched my logo” and how medibot acts a bit like microsoft Clippy

    CLIPPIT! IT’S NAME WAS CLIPPIT!

    *turns of pedantic mode*

  41. >IT’S NAME WAS CLIPPIT!

    You sir are no doubt correct, however we really clicked after many pop ins so I’m able to use the nickname. ;)

  42. You’ve gotta take some of these synopsis lines with a pinch of salt. After all, last year we had ‘Kryten leaves the Dwarfers for a younger crew’ or whatever it was, and THAT turned out to be nothing more than a reference to a line Cat has in the episode. Saying that…did anyone else instantly freak out at the idea of Rimmer leaving the crew…again?? :o

  43. *turns of pedantic mode*

    Not the best time to make a typo.

  44. >CLIPPIT! IT’S NAME WAS CLIPPIT!

    Clippy’s my pet name for him.

  45. did anyone else instantly freak out at the idea of Rimmer leaving the crew…again?? :o

    I wouldn’t say freak out, exactly, but I did think it sounded awfully familiar. Not in a particularly bad way, just wondering in what way it’ll be different

  46. The full title is Cloak Me A Skipper.

  47. Not the best time to make a typo.

    In my defence, it was turned off by that point.

    *turns off lie mode*

  48. I saw Mechocracy recorded. “Cracy” – from the latin to rule. You must have a basic grasp of latin if you’re…going to… figure out Red Dwarf titles.

    “These Romans are cracy!”

  49. The description of Mechocracy would have concerned me too but having seen it recorded I can hopefully assure everyone there’s really not much to worry about (unless you really can’t stand any inclusion of talking machines!). At first I did think it was going down a dodgy path and I really wasn’t sure about the plot but as the episode progressed my fears were soon gone. I did think it would be the one for the episode 5 ‘filler’ slot but that’s not taking anything away from it, got to say it was done very well and it was incredibly funny in places. As it is no longer in the show 5 position as initially proposed on the steelbook it seems the final edit could have been favoured higher than the weakest show of the bunch?

    I’ll now wait for it to air and for everyone to hate it and hate me too!

  50. synopsis on cultbox

    wow that is different, and while similar I feel its much more revealing. This has got me more excited than the one on TOS. Come on October.

  51. What are the odds on a trailer today?

  52. Too early for a teaser – more pictures maybe?

    XII still feels like it’s ages away. About 6 weeks still to go?

  53. Would think it’d be another couple of weeks for the trailer. The trailer for XI was released almost exactly a year ago today which was 4 weeks prior to it being on TV.

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