A date with Norman Lovett

So, let’s cut right to the chase.

Norman Lovett is BACK in an as yet unconfirmed episode of series XII – a series which, we now know, will ‘premiere’ on Thursday 12th October 2017.

Depending on how lucky/unlucky you’ve been with the minor minefield of spoilers since his episode was recorded last year you’ll either be SURPRISED or UNSURPRISED to learn of Lovett’s return to the show. Personally, I’m more shocked and sickened by the fact that it’s been 18 years since series 8 first aired but I have to say the old computer is looking good on it, if a little overly made up.

Regardless of your thoughts on who is the One True Holly, the above image will certainly invoke a lot of warm fuzzy feelings for a lot of you. I’m personally getting more of a 1 and 2 than an VIII vibe from that image but as for the performance we’ll have to wait to see what a 2017 version of Holly looks and sounds like and, indeed, what the context of his appearance will be. GNP are keeping schtum about the exact episode he’s appearing in, but I imagine it’ll become clear soon enough.

The other big news to come out today is of course confirmation that Series XII, episode 1, Cured will air on Dave on the 12th October. Now, as we all know at this point the likelihood is that this puts the true start date of the series a week earlier on Thursday 5th through the UKTV Play service. While there’s no reason to believe that won’t be the case, we’re still waiting on official confirmation. Personally, I’m rooting for the decision that doesn’t split the viewership into two angry pieces.

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74 Responses to A date with Norman Lovett

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  1. In that aspect ratio there’s plenty of room for Hattie as well.

  2. It’s good see Holly back but wonder how long before the calls for a permanent or semi-recurring role?
    With a start date announced, will you be replicating last years model, with retrospective podcast series on XI before XII starts?

  3. Nah.

    I ain’t one of these blind “it’ll be like series II” thinkers. Sorry cappsy no warm fuzz here, not much left on his head either, worse look than series VIII red, with drawn on eyebrows now the hairs that cause problems
    I genuinely didnt recognise him and had to look twice on this small wrist watch phone I’m on.

    No point feeling sorry about Holly anymore. He looks like a blind old incontinent computer, he’s had his day. Take him out to the barn and press delete. Its a kindness. And I’m only saying that because I was so fond of him in Queeg.

  4. Erm, what is your source for Norman Lovett supposedly coming back? I’ve certainly not heard anything.

    This ‘official’ picture could just as easily have been faked by someone placing their testicles on a flatbed scanner.

  5. I’d imagine the link to the official site at the top of the article, is a little clue to the source.

  6. They at least made an effort to de-age him a little since i honestly thought they were just gonna leave him with normans natural grey hair and just make some excuse for it.

    Will take a little while to get used to a much more aged holly.

  7. I’d imagine the link to the official site at the top of the article, is a little clue to the source.

    Nah, if he was coming back Norm would have mentioned it by now.

  8. G&T Admin

    Oh my God, it’s hideous.

  9. it’s the way the light was shining on his…what’s the word? ‘face’, i suppose. just didn’t recognise him for a minute.

  10. G&T Admin

    Wow, I’m a bit off the curve with liking the picture then?

  11. Wonder if he actually looks like that in the episode. With Holly you could probably get either Norman or Hattie looking close to their original appearances if you went for the 8-bit filter look.

  12. I’m surprised he didn’t demand it to be more pixelated.

  13. Honestly giving how much Norman hated being pixelated in Series 1 i am fairly sure he probably didn’t even want to dye his hair for the part ;p

    I wonder why they decided to reveal this today? is doug getting caught up in the hype system

  14. >I wonder why they decided to reveal this today? is doug getting caught up in the hype system

    Publicity department in “generating publicity” shocker.

  15. Also – 30 years later and he still can’t keep his head straight. There are points in VIII where I desperately want to somehow burst through the screen and put a folded-over beermat under one of his legs.

  16. Uh…hmm. Is it too late to bring back the dodgy digital blur effect from Series 1?

  17. Uh…hmmm. Is it too late to bring back the more superior blonde one from Series III?

    (Or Pree even. I liked Pree a lot!)

  18. Am Ii looking at a Game of Thrones crossover? Because all I see is a white walker.

    Disappointing news, I always wanted Hattie back.

  19. Wow, I’m a bit off the curve with liking the picture then?

    It’s alright Cappsy, I think this looks alright too

  20. Is there any use pretending this wouldn’t be for the big finale?

    For us, anyway, still too early for official channels. This announcement will obviously excite a lot of casual fans by promising more of the past.

    It’s working on me, anyway. Skipper is the one I’m mainly waiting for.

  21. Is there any use pretending this wouldn’t be for the big finale?

    I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that some people have concluded otherwise based on the set reports.

  22. Aging is fair enough, but I don’t understand why they seem to have given him bright blue contact lenses. That’s the bit that looks really … off.

  23. The metadata is in the picture of Holly. If you are that way inclined you can get the date it was taken and work out the likely episode this appears in.

    Provided it wasn’t recorded for an earlier episode as a pick up that is.

  24. God he looks like shit.

    Was my initial reaction. The more I stare at it the more I think it actually looks alright

    But looks aside, all that really matters is his performance/delivery, and whether or not his lines are funny. Some of the funniest stuff in VIII came from Holly if I remember right, so I’m not worried.

    Basically, my level of hype remains unchanged by this announcement.

  25. Aging is fair enough, but I don’t understand why they seem to have given him bright blue contact lenses. That’s the bit that looks really … off.

    I think it’s just grading – I remember thinking Robert Llewellyn had contacts in as the upgraded Kryten in Krysis but it was a trick of saturation.

  26. He looks more like the smegazine comic holly artwork from the first couple of issues.

  27. Ed Moore‏ @edmoore
    “Finally my nightmare of having accidentally tweeted a picture of the signed clapperboard with Norman’s signature is over. TWO YEARS.”

    Heh.

  28. In regard to the air date, the amazon.com DVD release date still says Nov 14th meaning (subject to change of course) that would be out before episode 6 is on TV.

  29. Just had a look at the metadata on the picture again. Got it mixed up. The picture is dated yesterday. The metadata date from earlier is from before XII started filming so would probably refer to the programme used to edit the picture.

  30. The UktvPress Twitter page has the New Red Dwarf SFX Magazine cover

  31. A little too much make up, for sure, but he still looks more like Holly than Kryten has looked like Kryten since X so I’m fine with it.

    To be honest, I wasn’t sure about him coming back but IF it is a one-off then it might serve as a decent send-off and acknowledgement of the character that will at least provide some closure in that respect.

    I wonder if Kochanski will ever get that closure….. they nailed it with Back to Earth but the pointless references in X kinda messed that up.

  32. Wow, I’m a bit off the curve with liking the picture then?

    I suggested earlier that he’s not looking his best. Had time to think about it and… It’s odd. He’s certainly not aged particularly well, but he’s turned 70, so I suppose it can be forgiven. I think he’s shot better than he was in VII and VIII. I think he’s lit better here. Though I’m not entirely sure what’s happening with his eyes.

  33. You can tell it is Norman and once the voice is going with it then there won’t be any doubt.

    The picture is fine for me. They all look older. It happens.

    Though he did look a lot younger in Beat The Geek.

  34. Norman could have at least got a face lift… i don’t think his heart was in this role at all! :p

  35. I would say he looked more natural in Beat The Geek (because he was… duh), but I don’t think he looked younger. I remember being surprised at how old he looked compared to 8.

    Also, BtG was depressingly 11 years ago…

  36. G&T Admin

    I don’t think it’s the fact that Norman is older than he was eighteen years ago that’s the problem, it’s more the make-up and the lighting and the grade. He looks like he’s been put through FaceApp.

  37. In regard to the air date, the amazon.com DVD release date still says Nov 14th meaning (subject to change of course) that would be out before episode 6 is on TV.

    I have a feeling the US date might change as I think the Dave premiere is slightly later than originally planned. UK Bluray/DVD will be either Nov 20th (if it’s directly on the tail of Skipper’s TX) or Nov 27th.

    Interesting and relevant thing I just noticed which may bring some hope – Taskmaster is back on Wednesday but is NOT previewing a week early on UKTV Play. Likewise, the big new Only Fools & Horses documentary series on GOLD, save a single advance premiere for ep 1, is also not a week ahead of TX.

  38. I don’t think it’s the fact that Norman is older than he was eighteen years ago that’s the problem, it’s more the make-up and the lighting and the grade. He looks like he’s been put through FaceApp.

    Agree about the lighting, it’s like a YouTube makeup tutorial. I mean, bright, crisp lighting is a perfectly logical choice for a hyper-real computer generated character – but perhaps not one played by Norman, bless him.

  39. Taskmaster is back on Wednesday but is NOT previewing a week early on UKTV Play.

    Episode 1 is. It’s there right now.

  40. Taskmaster is back on Wednesday but is NOT previewing a week early on UKTV Play.

    Episode 1 is. It’s there right now.

    IS IT?!!! *dashes off to UKTV Play*

  41. Yes, I realised this also and have just watched it. Apologies+

  42. Honestly, if the ship can change shape multiple times, the interior design can change with almost every series, and Kryten’s costume and mask can be all over the place, what is wrong with a slightly different looking Holly? As a computer generated representation of a human face, he can look like anything. Even a woman.

    I know everyone around here likes to give Norman a lot of shit for all he has said and done, but I am finding it all to be a bit much here. If anything being a bit made up and odd looking suits an AI.

  43. On the bright side, he could take over from Andrew Neil on Sunday Politics and no-one would bat an eyelid.

  44. I know everyone around here likes to give Norman a lot of shit for all he has said and done, but I am finding it all to be a bit much here.

    I don’t think anyone’s claiming he’s not great as Holly, nor that he’s not a good and influential standup. I also don’t think anything said on here has been unfair in context of his behaviour. Hell, we’ve been more gentle than the rest of the cast are on the DVD commentaries.

    I’m looking forward to him in the episode if that helps. Just not in the making of.

  45. > If anything being a bit made up and odd looking suits an AI.

    Generally speaking it does but I’d argue it doesn’t really suit Holly, especially Holly as played by Norman. Partly what made the character funny in the first place was the conceit that a genius computer looks and sounds like a very ordinary bloke, plus Norman’s deadpan delivery of course.

  46. >I know everyone around here likes to give Norman a lot of shit for all he has said and done, but I am finding it all to be a bit much here.

    It’s OK, I’m sure that, when he appears onscreen, they’ll be an excitable round of applause from the studio audience to balance things out.

    If the show’s going to do “fan-service” (and, tbh, it seems like this entire episode is), they will need to be prepared for a mix of opinions.

  47. G&T Admin

    Again, I don’t mind him looking different. I mind him looking shit. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think this is any kind of anti-Norman agenda. My reaction to this photo is purely due to aesthetics, not a judgement on the character of the person in it.

  48. >a bit much

    Hot takes about Lovett’s age may warrant a side eye but knocking image quality is fair game.

  49. Honestly, if the ship can change shape multiple times, the interior design can change with almost every series, and Kryten’s costume and mask can be all over the place, what is wrong with a slightly different looking Holly? As a computer generated representation of a human face, he can look like anything. Even a woman.

    I know everyone around here likes to give Norman a lot of shit for all he has said and done, but I am finding it all to be a bit much here. If anything being a bit made up and odd looking suits an AI.

    Yeah you are right some of us in this section have Norm issues, but if you dont, and are thrilled he is back then there is a mass of tv audience that will cheer with you buddy I’m sure. If its funny, his bits, I will probably love it too. But surely round here there has been just as much shit thrown at the shape of the ship / kryten mask that you point out as ok, and loads of discussion about changing interior, so this ain’t much different.

    Personally I’m happy to see him back, my money is on him being in “skipper” though some around here count clues differently,
    So my expectation is of an alternate dimension holly, one that could look like anything, and doesn’t change any on gluing future show dynamic at this point in time, my only reaction is that this photo and gif animation announcement doesn’t thrill me like it might others, failed hype only on my eyes, and i remain more thrilled by johnny Vegas being in XII
    Than any Norman involvement. Also mr vegas is a madness fan, what great taste he has. :-)

  50. Maybe he’s Hilly after her head swap operation?

  51. Perhaps my wording was too strong, even though all I said was the reaction here was a “a bit much”. As in I find it to be out of proportion to how supposedly terrible the image itself actually looks. To me at least the way Holly looks would fit the aesthetic of XI to the ground, so I can only assume the same will be true with XII.

  52. Personally I am open to a new look for Holly and even him returning for one episode (I don’t think he is needed anymore and would prefer RD to move forward then look back) but the use of obviously rebranded current tech TV’s for his monitor spoils it for me a bit. This was avoided many times in earlier seasons

  53. I don’t want Holly back unless he’s on a custom-made curved CRT monitor made from genuine 80s junk

  54. There’s no real beef with Norman, at least not anymore. If he can appear in the new series, that says it all really, and we should be happy about that. :)

    After all, if he wasn’t such a moaning old bald bastard we wouldn’t love him so much anyway. :p

  55. Well done to whoever added the picture of the clapperboard to the G&T banners.

  56. Well done to whoever added the picture of the clapperboard to the G&T banners.

    I think “HideousHolly” is even better.

  57. I didn’t see Skipper being recorded but looking at the photos we’ve seen so far I reckon the Skipper episode (even the title Skipper) is going to riff off the Dimension Jump episode like Back To Earth riffed off Back ago Reality as in I reckon there will be one incident that happened to our crew that didn’t happen in this apparent alternate dimension. My money is on it being them never having used the Holly Hop drive in the alternate dimension that our Rimmer travels to but that’s just my theory

  58. Judging by SFX magazine it sounds like the audience went nuts when Norman appeared.

  59. Judging by SFX magazine it sounds like the audience went nuts when Norman appeared.

    Did he first appear live or on VT? If live did the audience see Norm before he appeared in the scene?

  60. I was at this recording and no one was expecting Norm to pop up when he did, hence the ‘mad noise’ that Doug describes. I must admit I’ve been a bit apprehensive about how that will come across in the episode, as I do get slightly irritated by over-the-top audience reactions – even more so now, with the proverbial cat being let out of that particular bag for the viewers – so good to hear it’s been trimmed down a bit.

    Still think it’s a shame that this news came out, although undeniably good publicity for the series. Incidentally, I do recall him looking a little older on the night…

  61. Last Friday while heading across London to go and meet some friends for The Selecter album launch gig in Camden,
    I exited a tube train and headed for the escalator in a small crowd of people and somehow unknowingly managed to find myself standing behind Norman and his small traveling suitcase, only realising who it was as we started to travel together up the moving steps amongst everyone else hurriedly bustling to the next thing. Not knowing how to react, with a busy commute ahead of both of us, I politely kept quiet, deciding against bothering him. Instead i noted he was looking quiet and well, and having already watched “Cured” the day before I felt very much in a forgiving mood and suddenly got excited in a new way that he would once again be returning to Red Dwarf. Updating my opinions, I thought to myself as we reached the top of the moving stairs and departed towards separate trains. “Its Friday. And we are in an underground Corridor.”

  62. Just reading an interview with Doug where he says it was Norman who contacted Doug about coming back to the show

    “The story with Norman is, I obviously had to write twelve shows. I was half way through and Norman text me to say was he going to be in the new series, because he kept being pestered by fans at science fiction conventions who wanted to know. And I called him and said “But Norm, last time we spoke you said you didn’t want to be in it anymore.” And he goes, “Oh well, I was daft and I do now. I do want to be in it.” And I went, “Well great. There’s no one who loves you more than me and you’re hilarious and always have been, but you haven’t wanted to do it. Okay, the situation is I can’t really put you in the shows that are finished, but I’ll do my absolute damnedest to get you in.” So basically, the first opportunity to get him back in, I got him back in. And the audience reaction was great and they seemed to enjoy themselves.”

    https://screenmayhem.com/doug-naylor-interview-part-1-we-chat-with-the-red-dwarf-co-creator-about-making-a-new-series-and-returning-the-show-to-its-peak/

    Doug was also asked whether hattie will ever get to come back and while doug said its possible i get the feeling he was trying to change the subject since somehow asking about hattie made respond with talk of budget and model shots.

  63. Somebody Already posted that in the radio times thread

  64. Ohh i didn’t know.

  65. Having two Hollys is a bit of a conundrum. You can’t really feasibly use both, and whichever one you bring back, it’ll feel like a slight to the other. Maybe if Hattie had texted Doug earlier things would be different. I like them both

  66. I think Doug prefers having no Holly these days anyway.

  67. Given that they canned Holly for two series because they couldn’t write for her/it, I’m not surprised honestly. I like the odd Holly joke, and he/it had some of the good material in VIII (sick bags on standby), but I can understand not wanting to have them around if they’re only going to contribute two lines an episode, and also feeling like you NEED to write them two lines an episode can’t be fun.

  68. Well to be fair the only reason Holly didn’t come back for X was because norman burnt his bridge with the show and instead of going to Hattie i guess Doug just decided to go without Holly.

    Then again i imagine Norman would have burnt even more bridges with the show if they brought back Hattie and not him.

  69. >because he kept being pestered by fans at science fiction conventions who wanted to know.

    Brilliant. It wasn’t because he wanted a job or something.

    Frankly, I don’t miss Holly. I think he worked perfectly back in Series 1 and 2 when Rob and Doug could crank out great chunks of comedy dialogue for him, none of which was plot relevant and could be summarised as “Holly doing a funny bit, based on previous Grant Naylor comedy stylings”

    I think the show falls on its arse when it stops and stands around to do that kind of stuff now as there’s nothing to match. It needs to keep moving. Hattie’s Holly was a reflection of the move towards pacier storytelling…but then came a realisation that there was’t enough for her to do to justify her being there. I don’t think Holly’s diminished role was much to do with the recasting and it would be interesting to see what would have happened to the character with Norm in the role.

  70. I don’t think the sideline of Holly had anything to do with Hattie and everything to do with Kryten – he became the exposition droid, and he’s much easier to take on location. Hattie was fantastic as Holly, she really pulled off the “completely fucking thick” aspect of the character

  71. Cheers Dax. Hadn’t read that. What a Norman sounding begrudge of an apology/change of minds, but an admission of fault none the less. How surprising that fans at events like “Meet Norman Lovett Holly from Red Dwarf” should ask him about Red Dwarf, whilst he signs his photo of Holly in Red Dwarf publicity shot to them. I look forward to the documentary on the dvd now.

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