Sorry? What was that, Andrew?
Topic: What did we miss?
From: Grant Naylor Administrator
Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2006 03:12 PM
Series VIII is about to turn up on DVD, completing the
collection. Kind of.
What I want to know is this: what did we miss?
What would you have liked to seen that never appeared?
What were the gaps in the eight series releases? What
could we have done but didn’t?
To start things off, I’d like to suggest the following:
Series I documentary.
Series II documentary.
Danny’s Tongue Tied video and ‘making of’.
Rob Grant & Doug Naylor commentaries.
Basically, ignore logistics – all of these things didn’t
happen for good reasons, but still, there exist holes.
I’m hoping Teh Hoare and Cappsy will weigh in, along with
everyone else, because I’m keen to get as many specific
things as possible, too: Rob and Doug on BiteBack,
Norman as Holly in Tomorrow’s World, blah, blah, blah…
Well, I’m never one to disappoint. Apart from in bed. So, for the benefit of future generations, what extra things would I like to see on any future Dwarf releases? These could, of course, be anything from a release of the Re-mastered series, a release of Smeg Ups/Outs, a special DVD release of extra material, a release of the Movie DVD, or even a possible re-release of all eight series…
Series 1 and 2 Documentaries
Yes, it’s the obvious – episode-by-episode documentaries on Series 1 and 2. GNP wanted to do these at the time, but the budget wouldn’t stretch to it. Luckily, the budget was increased for the later DVDs, as the first two releases sold, erm, “lots” of copies. (Andrew says that one early BBC estimate of Series 1’s sales ended up being an eighth of what has sold so far. You’d think that it would be predictable the series would sell a ridiculous number of copies, of course, but never mind.)
As for who I’d like to see interviewed – Paul Montague, set designer for the first two series, would be very interesting. Ed Wooden, the editor, would also be good – a few stories about how things were edited back then would be interesting… if only to two viewers. And John Pomphrey, lighting director for the first six series, is notably missing from the DVDs, for such an important person involved in the show. Cast-wise, Clare Grogan springs instantly to mind. Charles Augins would also be great – as indeed would The Actor David Ross.
One thing to ponder here – one of the main reasons to release the Re-mastered series is to do doccos for the first two series. But would the clips used be from the Re-mastered versions of the episodes, to fit with what’s on the disc – or be from the original versions, to fit in with the rest of the documentaries? GUESS WHAT I THINK SHOULD HAPPEN.
Of course, the obvious would be – Rob, Doug, and Ed. The Six Of The Best CD is an absolute joy (“Keep my mum out of this!”), and to hear the three of them in a commentary booth would possibly be the highlight of my life.
But there are other wonderful people who could be involved as well. How about Peter Wragg, Mike Tucker, and Pete Tyler, doing a SFX commentary? (Although no doubt they’d find plenty to talk about about the rest of the episodes, as well.)
Some people were expecting to see this dealt with on the VII or VIII DVDs. From a chronological point of view, this would be absolutely the right thing to do – but if there was a real chance of getting the Re-mastered series released as well (if only to do Series 1 and 2 documentaries), then it makes perfect sense to save it for that release, and spend the money on other things instead.
A similar thing to the main documentaries would work pretty well – talking heads, interspersed with clips comparing the footage from the two different versions. No doubt Doug Naylor will be his normal forthright self about the shows – bearing in mind that he’s gone on record as saying he’s not convinced by the Re-mastered shows at all now:
“I’m in two minds about the remastered. I thought the sound was great on the remastered versions, because it was much improved. Some of the CG worked fabulously when you saw it when we put it in in the edit, and then I don’t know what happens – it’s some kind of thing that happens when it’s transferred and goes on a DVD and you’re looking at it on a DVD or a video. You’re looking at video #7,576, and I just thought a lot of those things were just so disappointing… The advantages of miniatures is that at least with a miniature, it looks real, because it is a 3-dimensional thing. Whereas the CG just seems to…and also red is such a terrible color – it’s just the worst color for that, because it gets so hot and can look absolutely terrible.”
I’m sure it would make rather entertaining viewing. It would also be interesting to see Mike Tucker interviewed – as he said at the last Dimension Jump, him and the team built the physical model of Dwarf thinking that it would be shot motion-control to create the new effects – not scanned in and used as the basis of a CGI model. And no doubt Veale would have some insight…
A personal obsession, perhaps, but I’d also be interested in Doug and the other’s views of how well they thought the new film effect added to the show worked. I think it looks bloody awful – a complete blurry mess. Shoot and light for it, like VII was, and it’s fine – but trying to treat 1988 analogue video which it just wasn’t designed for, and you’re just not going to get anything pleasant. Obviously, however, a number of people disagree.
Howard Burden Documentary
So, we got the Howard Goodall docco on the Series VI DVD – how about one on Howard Burden? His contribution to Dwarf was invaluable – and he comes across as extremely entertaining in the main series documentaries (and, indeed, in real life at the last Dimension Jump.) Again, it could be done in exactly the same style as the Goodall documentary – turn up at his house, interview him, and get him to show some designs. That’s all you need.
The most disc-space friendly thing to do here is simply stick Kryten’s introductions from the VHS releases on – most of which are actually quite funny (“Nevertheless, this tape is the first of a series of 30 tapes, commemorating some of those very rare errors.”) I was surprised that these didn’t make it onto any of the releases – and even more so when the introductions from the Smeg Ups on Red Dwarf Night were on the VII release. There is a reason, however, as Andrew says:
“Actually, we were holding it back – for reasons I can’t divulge. But since then circumstances have changed…”
The other option here is just to include the full versions of the Smeg Ups and Smeg Outs tapes. This does of course duplicate material on the main releases – but these shows are so much more entertaining to watch than the series-specific stuff on the main DVDs. That isn’t to say that there’s anything GNP could have done to make them work better – it’s simply the nature of the material. If there was disc space, it would be lovely to have the full releases included. Indeed, with the appropriate extra material, I wonder whether they could actually make a release in their own right.
There is, of course, the slightly thorny question of whether any new, previously unseen Smeg Ups can be released. We know they exist – and entertaining ones, too – but there is also the question of rights issues. But the directive was to ignore logistics…
Some to think of it – is there any more interesting Dimension Jump material as used in Smeg Outs?
Rupert Bates as the Chef from Balance Of Power! The Mugs Murphy footage from Me2! The full version of Channel 27 News!
To be honest, this probably isn’t a good use of time, money, or disc space. But I must admit, I would love to see Holoship Xtended. With deleted scenes being seperate, you get an idea of how they work individually as scenes – but it’s difficult to picture them as part of the actual episode. With most of the stuff from that episode being cut for reasons of time and not quality, and with there being so much of it as well, it would be a nice thing to see.
What would also be interesting is a recut version of The End – with all the original versions from the first recording of all scenes included, rather than the retakes from later studio recordings. Again, I’m not sure how much of general interest this is – particularly when most of the footage is already included in the deleted scenes – and it’s also a completely fake exercise, as there’s no way that the material wouldn’t have been reshot, and so doesn’t give any indication as to how the show would ever have gone out. But I’d be interested, if only as as close a recreation as possible of the original pilot script, so I just thought I’d mention it…
I’ve no idea how expensive this would be to licence, but it is something I would absolutely adore to have released. Howard Goodall is indeed a god, but there are some lovely bits of library music used in Dwarf that I’d love to hear clean and in full – stuff like the piece used at the start of Ouroboros, for instance. Which, incidentally, also showed up in an episode of Live & Kicking once – as I didn’t know it was library music at the time (or, indeed, know what library music was), it confused the buggery out of me, wondering whether L&K had been raiding Dwarf‘s archives for music!
Well, Doctor Who gets releases of its sound effects – why can’t Dwarf? Admittedly, most people won’t be interested – but it gives me something to wank to, and it wouldn’t take up much space on the disc. And wouldn’t you just love to push your toy skutter around to the actual sounds?
Random fact: in the Hippies episode Protesting Hippies, the big fan that The Freak starts up makes exactly the same noise as Starbug’s engines.
Extra VFX shots
Ah, I remember the heady days of the Series 1 and 2 releases – with me moaning on about the raw model footage being cut down, and WHY CAN’T I HAVE IT ALL MUMMY IT’S NOT FAIR. Of course, there’s two views on this – the first being that most people wouldn’t be interested in all of it, so only edited highlights are appropriate – and the other, which is that if you’re interested enough to watch it, you probably want the whole thing. The argument quickly became irrelevant, as the later releases simply would not have had room for the full footage anyway.
However, it would be nice to see a few more snippets from the VFX reels. What got me about Series 1 is that some very famous footage wasn’t used – for instance, it seems bizarre that the fly across the ship from the end credits, as used in 24 episodes, and deemed so classic that it was recreated for the Re-mastered episodes, doesn’t actually appear in the raw effects footage!
Danny’s Tongue Tied Video
FOR COMPLETENESS ONLY.
I mean, it’s just absolute shit, isn’t it?
Other Show Excerpts
Biteback: I didn’t even know about this one until recently. I remember Biteback, certainly – imagine Kilroy crossed with Right To Reply – but I don’t recall Rob and Doug turning up to discuss SF TV. It must cost a bit – it wasn’t a BBC programme, but was produced by Humphrey Barclay Productions – but I would pay REAL MONEY to see this.
Whatever You Want: aka Gaby’ll Fix It. In the last series, a fan won a week working on the Movie, plus an actual Starbug. Apparently, GNP have had it out of the archive, but couldn’t include it on the VIII DVD because of cost. Again, it was made by an independent, not the BBC – Hat Trick, actually.
As it’s so expensive, I wonder whether it would be ideal to go onto the Movie DVD. Because the Movie will happen. FUCK. YOU.
Tomorrow’s World: Yep, that appearance by Norman Lovett just before VIII aired, in a feature about AI. I did see it at the time, and, erm, remember it to be slightly embarassing. Still, it would be nice to have on DVD – and bearing in mind that it was a BBC production, and the Hitchhikers DVD used Tomorrow’s World footage, the rights issues shouldn’t be too problematic.
Telly Addicts: Yes, someone had Red Dwarf as their ‘On The Box’ round. This would be good to see. Come to think of it, so would this…
Awards Footage: As we all know, Series VI won an Emmy, and a British Comedy Award. It’d be nice to have some footage of the awards ceremonies included.
Sorry. But it had to be said.
In fact, the rights to the first pilot rest with Universal – in reality, the only way it could be released is with their involvement. (According to Andrew, the clips used in Dwarfing USA took up a quarter of Series V’s budget. And they charged by the second.) This is something I keep meaning to set up a petition about – and, to be honest, it seems a bit of a no-brainer for Universal to release it. Sure, it might not sell as many copies as the latest Hollywood action blockbuster – but the Dwarf DVDs are some of the best-selling BBC Worldwide/2 entertain have ever had, and there’s endless questions about the pilots in the Dwarf fan community. Bung it on a DVD, and make some cash – what could be easier?
The second pilot is a bit more of a grey area. And the problem is – nobody admits to owning the rights. (Come on, fellas, it wasn’t that bad.) NBC don’t recognise that they own the pilot – unfortunately, if 2 entertain go ahead and release it (or, indeed, just use clips from it), NBC might suddenly turn round and say “Oh yeah, we do, you bastards. Cough up immediately.” Until this is sorted out, I doubt we’ll see a release in any form – but hey, it might get sorted one day.
I’m under no illusions that this will ever get a commercial release. The format is owned by the College Bowl Company in America – and the BBC only have broadcast rights to the format – they can’t commercially sell it. From what I understand, it was a one-off agreement to be able to broadcast the programme in the first place, although no doubt I will be corrected if I’m wrong on that.
The only way I can see round this is if it was ever made part of a charity release. Go on, BBC – collect together a load of unreleasable stuff, and blackmail people into agreeing to it because it’s for Comic Relief. Oh well, I can dream. Speaking of which…
For some reason, I expected this to be on the VI release. Why, I have no idea, as the fact that it was done for charity, plus the fact that the music probably costs a bomb to clear, means that it’s unlikely to ever be released – either in the full take that the Dwarfer’s did, or the full broadcast montage. Of course, you could always include the full take with the audio removed, and we’ll play the music ourselves.
But that would be STUPID.
I am loathe even to mention these, given the arguments they caused last time.
However, it would be nice to see more raw footage from the episodes – especially having seen the glimpses on the documentaries. The Doctor Who releases show how interesting they can be – for the people interested in the technical side, you can get an idea of how the show was shot – and for people more interested in the actors, you get a real sense of what things were actually like between them on set.
I wouldn’t be asking for hours and hours of the stuff (although if you want to rush-release Red Dwarf Sessions: Volumes I-LII, that’s fine by me) – but just selected stuff, showing how certain complex scenes were shot, would be very interesting.
Ah, one thing I always missed. Trailers were present and correct – but I would love to see how each episode was introduced, on its original transmission, with any end announcement – whether over the credits or a caption.
Oddly enough, this often seems to be met with what can only be described as sneering – SFX in particular seem to have quite a few reviewers who do this, including one observing that a easter egg of continuity on one DVD “may as well have stayed hidden”. Well, everyone has to sneer at someone, I suppose – although I tend to reserve mine for when someone has done something idiotic, rather than someone being interested in different things than I am.
TV continuity is interesting for a number of reasons. Obviously, in this instance it’s simply just interesting to see how Red Dwarf was introduced. But it’s also of more general interest – for a start, it’s a general rule that the quality of presentation on a channel is an indication of the quality of the programming itself. It’s also interesting from a historical point of view – a little snippet of the kind of channel BBC2 was in those days.
Speaking of continuity, you could also stick some stuff from Red Dwarf Night on there. Although I suspect the Patrick Stewart intros would be completely impossible to budget for. He might ring up his lawyers, or something.
And the big one here, of course, is the missing Series 1 script, mentioned by Rob Grant in the introduction to Son Of Soup:
“The strike hadn’t been all bad for the show. There had been a valuable opportunity to see the cast in action, and to watch the bulk of the shows at least to rehearsal stage. The consensus was that the second show was the worst of the bunch. The story involved Rimmer trying to cope with his death by going insane, and trying to construct a new body for himself by stealing bits of Lister while he was asleep. We decided to replace it…Me2 was the replacement.
It certainly still existed around the time of Six Of The Best, as on the CD Rob Grant mentions that he “came across it about three weeks ago just going through some papers.” Presumably, he wiped it down and refiled it. Then, of course, there is the famous Dad. No full script was ever written, but parts of it do – it would be nice to see it on a DVD.
Of course, all this could be paired with some interviews – Rob, Doug, or Ed explaining why they didn’t shoot the episode in the end.
The only thing I’d say about this, is that I’m still hoping for a big, colour retrospective of the series at some point. If unseen scripts are being saved for this, I can wait. The other option is simply publishing them on reddwarf.co.uk, of course. It’s not the kind of thing that’s vital to have on DVD, as they can be released in other forms. Indeed, the stuff about the unmade first episode script could easily be incorporated into the Series 1 documentary.
This would be EXCELLENT.
But I suspect the expense would not be worth it, especially as they turn up on eBay regularly. But if at all possible, it would be nice.
Ganymede & Titan Weblink
And you can include all this stuff whilst you’re at it.
So, there we go. RELEASE ALL THAT IMMEDIATELY. Clearly though, the most important additional extra that could be released it the missing Series 1 ‘Souper’ Smeg Up…