Red Dwarf Special – Set Report (Byte 1)

At least some of an episode of Red Dwarf has been recorded in front of a studio audience for the first time in nearly four years. G&T were there.

There were many things that made it unique. The first time that they’d deliberately set out to only shoot half of an episode in one audience night, and yet it will convert to the highest amount of screen time covered in a single session since Back In The Red in 1998. The fact that we were supposed to be watching the second part last night, but circumstances conspired to make this the first part, which also means that this will become the first individual episode to have its filming split roughly equally across two different calendar years. And that’s not even to mention that this is a completely new format for Red Dwarf, the first time ever that – on broadcast, at least – a story that lasts longer than half an hour will be told in one uninterrupted go. But there was so much that was reassuringly familiar.

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It’s Been 1,375 Days…

…since Red Dwarf had a studio audience recording. Well, they’re back at it from 6pm tonight. And it’s undoubtedly the biggest, most important thing happening in the UK right now.

We noticed when looking back at some old “it’s been x days” posts that this is a pretty similar gap to the one between X and XI’s studio dates, coming in at just nine days shorter. What is unique, however, is that this will be the first time that only part of an episode is being shot in a single audience session, barring oddities like Dear Dave‘s incompleteness, or the extra dates to pick up material for The End and Back In The Red. This Friday 13th date was initially supposed to be the concluding session for the Special of course, until the original first date was pushed back until the new year. We’d assume that tonight’s audience will see what will roughly amount to the first half of the final episode in order, although they might need to mix it up for whatever reason, and the percentages might change depending on the proportion of pre-recorded and live scenes.

Either way, we’ll have a spy in the audience, and so we’ll let you know everything our recently updated Spoiler Policy allows us to with one of our patented set reports over the weekend. We expect there’ll be some action on social media and TOS today too, so keep an eye out.

G&TV Special: Smeg Ups Rough Cut

G&TV logoHo ho ho, Merry Christmas everyone. It was twenty-five years ago this very month that all our mums went out to buy the Smeg Ups tape for us to open on Christmas Day 1994. For Red Dwarf fans of a certain age, this seems to be an almost universal experience, especially the ones like us who are still obsessed with it now – the joy and laughter provided by seeing the cast off-guard and out of character cemented our love for the show, and imbued us with a fondness for and fascination with the behind-the-scenes process too. So what better way to pay tribute than to investigate the process of making the video itself?

At some point during the compiling stage of production, a rough cut was dubbed on to VHS, before any grading, mixing or sound effects were added, and with big “LINK Goes Here” captions in lieu of Llew. This tape somehow made its way out of the edit suite and into the hands of fans, who made copies for their friends, who made copies for their friends, and so on until an extremely low quality version, suffering from multiple layers of analogue generation loss, became a relatively readily available open secret. Inevitably, you can now find it on YouTube. The full length tape is there as an unlisted video, and there’s also a compilation of the most interesting bits:

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DwarfCast 104 – Ouroboros Xtended Commentary

Fire up your podcast feed, abandon a baby in a pub and shoot an alternate version of your ex-girlfriend with a harpoon gun, because the latest victim of the DwarfCast commentary treatment is Ouroboros, the Xtended version no less. And as it tradition for the less good episodes of Red Dwarf, it falls to the double act of Danny Stephenson and Ian Symes to do the honours, because nobody else could face it. So join them as they continuously fail to remember which bits are Xtended and which aren’t, and complain about the awkward pauses added by the process, while also leaving their own awkward pauses.

Nevertheless, there’s plenty to discuss, including JMC’s fickle uniform policy, comparisons between what’s on screen and what was in an early draft of the script, how to make a disintegrator, the incestuous implications of the episode’s big twist and exactly what “hospital corners” means. Oh, and the “you’re lying” thing comes up every now and then.

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Red Dwarf Special Recording Postponed

Bad news, everyone. Ticket holders for the Red Dwarf Special recording scheduled for Friday 6th December have received the following message from Doug Naylor, via ticketing company Lost In TV:

Oh smeg!
We’re so sorry to have to do this, but due to one of our cast members suffering from illness, we’re going to have to reschedule your live audience recording of the Red Dwarf Special.

There are so many elements to coordinate when filming a complicated show like Red Dwarf that it’s extremely difficult to pick up lost filming days within a schedule. I know many of you will be disappointed, but we hope that you can all join us at a later date.

We are currently awaiting confirmation of the rescheduled date – although we can say this is likely to be in January 2020. As soon as we have news we will be in touch to arrange your replacement tickets. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused and we look forward to seeing you at the studio soon.

Yours Sincerely,
Doug Naylor

Oh smeg indeed, matey. This must be extremely frustrating for all concerned, and disruptive for fans who would have already booked travel/accommodation/time off work. The delay could also have a knock-on effect on the broadcast date, and will require more praying to the gods of cast availability, especially if the recording on the 13th also ends up getting pushed back. But that’s not really the important thing here – whichever of the cast members it is that’s ill, please get well soon.

Two lines and an action sequence

We must say, this whack-a-mole game of spotting details about the Red Dwarf Special is proving to be rather fun. There was a time when major production decisions were revealed slowly and calculatedly in co-ordinated releases, but now you just have to wait for someone to chuck it all on social media, probably not realising that analysing the contents of their otherwise benign posts is incredibly interesting to the hardest of hardcore fans like us. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts and take a look at the short video posted by Danny John-Jules this morning. It’s of him, Chris and Robert strolling through Pinewood and chatting about the filming they’ve just completed. But Chris is in full costume and Robert is in full make-up.

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Well, Krytie. Today’s the day.

Yes folks, after a break of two years and eight months since the Series XII shoot wrapped, Red Dwarf is back in production once more. That’s as of pretty much right now, according to a tweet from a freshly-shaved Robert Llewellyn, who confusingly continues to refer to the special as Series XIII:

In fact, this post should appear at the exact moment that rehearsal starts on the first scene. The cast will get ready afterwards, while the rest of the crew set up. That’s according to a note on the call sheet, as tweeted by Linda Glover:

Fingers crossed that it is indeed a fantastic shoot – break several legs, guys. And of course, there’s bound to be a fair few further updates from cast and crew on social media over the coming days and weeks ahead of December’s studio dates, so please help us keep on top of them all by using the comments on this post as a repository for anything interesting you’ve spotted.

G&TV: Pillow Talk on Night Network

G&TV logoLong before Paula Yates invited people On the Bed, Emma Freud was doing the same on Pillow Talk, part of ITV’s late night programming Night Network. And who did she have on the bed in 1987? None other than a certain Chris Barrie, who spends much of the interview looking fairly uncomfortable. They should have just had sex in multiple different positions and had done with it.

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Let’s Talk About The Nether Regions

Ooh, that sounds a bit rude, doesn’t it! Nevertheless, the time has come to not only hear new comedy material from one of Red Dwarf‘s co-creators, but to hear it in his own voice. Rob Grant and Andrew Marshall have written *and* performed Radio 4’s The Nether Regions, also starring Helen Cripps, Edward Rowett and Holly Morgan, and it airs tonight at 11pm on BBC Radio 4. It will also be available thereafter on BBC Sounds and the programme page, for those too sleepy. This broadcast pilot, which was produced by Hudzen 10, marks a return to sketch comedy from two of its most distinguished exponents, and we’re very much looking forward to it. Do let us know what you reckon.

And if you haven’t already, why not warm up by listening to our interview with the pair of writer-performers?