“That which we call Gunmen of the Apocalypse by any other name would smell as sweet.” Shakespeare? Who’s Shakespeare? Throughout the history of Red Dwarf, many episodes have been subject to changes in title, for various reasons. This article lists all of these alterations, and gives our opinions on them. Oh, and we fully acknowledge the help we recieved from Time Hole and the Programme Guide Ahem.
|Final Title||Alternate Title(s)|
|Marooned||Men of Honour|
|DNA||Do Not Alter|
|Dimension Jump||Dimension Trip|
|Demons & Angels||High & Low|
|Legion||Call Me Legion|
|Gunmen of the Apocalypse||High Midnight|
|Emohawk – Polymorph II||Polymorph II – Emohawk|
|Out of Time||RIP Dave Lister
Present From The Future
|Stoke Me A Clipper||Natural Born Rimmers|
|Back in the Red||Resurrection|
|Pete (Part One)||Captain’s Office|
|Pete (Part Two)||Tempus|
|Only the Good…||Mirror/rorriM
As far as we know, no episodes from Series I or II have been given alternate titles, but it’s interesting to note that the name of the Series II finale Parallel Universe was not known to most fans until it was released on video in 1992, due to it being broadcast without a title sequence, which was replaced by Tongue Tied. Therefore, the first episode to be renamed was Marooned, which was originally titled Men of Honour. This phrase, or its singular equivalent, is used twice by Rimmer in the episode, firstly to describe military generals, and then as a compliment to Lister. However, the title goes against the style of the series, which was purely descriptive of the main plot (c.f. Backwards, Polymorph).
After three series, only one episode had been renamed, but Series IV alone had double this amount. Firstly, the script suggested that DNA didn’t stand for Deoxyribonucleic Acid, as per the scientific term, but Do Not Alter, in a clever pun. Also, Dimension Jump was originally to be called Dimension Trip, but that sounds too much like an LSD reference to us.
Series V’s Terrorform was originally going to be called Psi-Moon, which is interesting as ‘Psy-Moon’ is the term used in most reference books. However, both of the prefixes ‘psi-‘ and ‘psy-‘ refer to the mind, so either term could be correct. However, as fans of puns, we prefer the broadcast title anyway. Also in this series, Demons & Angels was originally to be called High & Low, which does quite have the same ring to it for us.
Series VI set the record for title changes, with only two episodes retaining their original name. The first change to be made was dropping the first two words of Call Me Legion, which was probably a good move, as it made the title more concise, and easier to recite when listing the best episodes ever. The opposite happened to Gunmen of the Apocalypse, which was originally given the much snappier title High Midnight. This referred to the final duel, which was scripted to take place at night. Unfortunately, a daft BBC rule meant that in order to shoot outside of London during the hours of darkness, the entire crew would have to be put up in a hotel, which would have been far too expensive to contemplate. A suitable new title was written, and the name High Midnight eventually made it into the novel Backwards. The next episode was changed from Polymorph II – Emohawk to the very similar Emohawk – Polymorph II, as the former sounded too much like a football score to be used. However, the original title was mistakenly used for the video release. Bloody BBC Worldwide. The final episode of the series has two alternate titles – RIP Dave Lister and Present From The Future. The first title would have played further on the teaser ending of the previous episode (see: Don’t Leave Us Hanging), and would have had Radio Times readers shitting themselves. The second title is a bit long winded, so we can see why Out of Time was eventually chosen.
Initially, the opening episode of Series VII was billed in some publications as Ticket to Ride, but this was a mistake (presumably the telephonist was hard of hearing), and not the working title. However, the next episode was originally titled Natural Born Rimmers, but someone pointed out that this title could be misconstrued as an analingus reference. This is unlikely – and it’s never stopped them before (c.f. Ace Rimmer, Rimmerworld). We much prefer the original title to Stoke Me A Clipper, which makes Rimmer’s malapropism at the end rather predictable. Also in Series VII, Blue was originally titled Heartache, which isn’t a very good name.
And so, we move on to Series VIII, in which six of the episodes had been renamed, some more than once. Back in the Red was originally titled Resurrection, which would have been a decent title, but you have to say that Back in the Red is better. Of course, when Back in the Red (Part Two) was first written, it wouldn’t have had the (Part Two) bit, so that title has been changed too. The most alarming original title of all is that of Krytie TV, which was to be called Phwoaar!. This would have been in line with the distinctly Benny Hill-style feel of the episode. A slight improvement was made with the second title Greedy, but frankly, that has very little to do with the episode at all. We still disapprove of the title Krytie TV, but be thankful it wasn’t Phwoaar!, eh? The Pete two-parter was originally to be named as two seperate episodes – Captain’s Office and Tempus. Why in the name of fuck didn’t they stick with this? For a start, it would have made the series look less stretched out and contrived, and secondly, Part One has very little to do with Pete at all, so we are left with a misnomer and the impression of five stories being dragged out into eight episodes. The final episode of the series also had its fair share of name changes. It was originally titled Mirror/rorriM, before it was changed to incorporate a line from the episode, Every Dog…. Considering the original ending of the episode didn’t include this line, it is reasonable to assume that this title wasn’t used until after the bulk of the episode had been filmed, and the eventual title Only The Good… must have been added even later, after the broadcast ending had been filmed. Some reviews have stated that the episode was originally entitled Earth, but this episode was seperate, and was never filmed. (See: The Lost Episodes.)
Of 52 episodes made, 71 titles have been considered, averaging at 1.3 titles per episode. And that’s just the ones we know about – who knows what titles Rob and Doug considered that were thrown out before a final draft was complete? Interestingly, very few of the earlier shows had to be re-named, but the numbers shot up from Series VI onwards, when budget constraints and late script changes started to affect the content of the episodes.