It’s actually getting genuinely ridiculous now, isn’t it? Go and read it, and then report back, as usual…

I must admit, I’ve always wanted a text track on the Dwarf DVDs; I take the point that the other extras cover some of the same ground, but I’ve always been the kind of person who takes great delight in the obsessive anal detail that only text tracks can provide – and the tangents that they occasionally allow you to go off at, which are impossible in a documentary. (I have a fond memory of my sister being slightly disturbed that I was so excited at finding out what edit suite a particular episode of Blake’s 7 was shot in.) But no matter – because the What’s Different? track sounds fantastic. And what gets me is that it’s such an OBVIOUS idea – and yet I don’t think anyone’s ever suggested it!

Taking each bit in turn:

“We’ll note the addition or removal of frames to a shot, for example, or a bit of character redubbing you might not have noticed. (You’ll be surprised where this occurs.)”

Fucking fantastic. The only small extra bits of footage I recall from Remastered (as opposed to larger edits) is the slight re-edit to Rimmer kneeing Hollister in the balls in Stasis Leak so we get to see the actual impact (was the original version censored, or was it just a sloppy edit?), and the extra stuff with Danny being very silly at the end of Bodyswap. I’m fascinated to know what else there is…

“Still, if all this is sounding a little dry, don’t worry. Despite being informative, there’s a certain irreverent style to the track – it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s the kind of text track that, when it gets bored, starts trying to play rock-paper-scissors with you. Think of it as a present-day version of Holly.”

This sounds most amusing.

“We’ve also taken the chance to incorporate some direct quotes from the remastering notes list – the collection of changes Doug Naylor and Ed Bye drew up when planning the remastered project.

This includes ideas that were dropped during the three-series production – extra filming that could never have been afforded, for example – as well as the most interesting ideas for Series IV. Want to know what was being considered for the remastering of this series before plans were shelved?”

Just… brilliant. The digging out of the actual notes is hugely impressive. And however densely packed it is, a 20 minute documentary might have seemed slightly too small to fully explore the Remastered series – but the text track, along with the The End commentary, is masses of stuff. (To say nothing of the fact that it’s brilliant we even get the series fully explored. How many sitcom releases have no material whatsoever to put the series in context? If only text tracks were included on more releases, as a relatively cheap extra compared to commentaries or interviews…)

So, anyone got any guesses as to what else they wanted to change? I was always surprised that they didn’t bother redoing the scrolltext at the start of Backwards – lovely in its own right, but if you were going to remaster the series, that’s one thing you’d change, especially considering the mistake of the duplicate line near the end. But then, a scrolltext doesn’t cost that much to do in the edit, so that seems to me to just be slightly sloppy work, rather than a cost issue.

The same goes for the Series IV stuff – any guesses as to what their ideas were? I wonder if they had any ideas as to how to improve the awkward end of Dimension Jump? Or maybe they simply wanted to emphasise the split-screen.

Seriously, though – much as it’ll be nice to own them, I might not have got round to watching all the Remastered series itself. The ones with commentaries, certainly, but after that, I’d probably have stuck in Make Me Creamy #3, or something. But this looks like it’ll turn what could be a slightly annoying viewing experience into an absolutely fascinating – and hopefully amusing – one. And it adds NINE HOURS to the content of the release!

And the best news is: we never, EVER have to go back and finish this.

Onto the newly-announced photo gallery, then. This feels like something I should have predicted would be on there – after all, there was bound to be design work for the new ships included – but I completely forgot about it. The pictured version of the design for the new Dwarf is interesting – I can’t say I like it even nearly as much as the original design, but it does look rather shorter – it would certainly have avoided the pencil jibes. And whilst I still have certain reservations about whether the redesign of Blue Midget suits those earlier series (I still think it looks too high-tech), there’s no denying that in its own right, the physical model looks gorgeous.

And the other finds are just amazing. Series 1 model shoot photos! Series 2 continuity polarioids! Behind-the-scenes studio and location shots! And naked skutters! And then there’s the Series 1 rehearsal photos. And as soon as I saw that picture of Doug (reading, as Andrew pointed out on the Webboard, The Junior Colour Encyclopedia of the Universe) – a bell went off in my head. Think back to Bruce Dessau’s badly-rushed-for-the-Christmas-market The Official Red Dwarf Companion – and specifically, a black and white image of Norman Lovett looking at a model of the Series 1 set. I always wondered where that photo came from, and now we know…

And then:


I can’t put into words how I feel about this one. Just… incredible.

I’ve always been a staunch defender of photo galleries on DVDs, as I’ve banged on about a million times before. I don’t see why some people aren’t interested – does an image become less interesting just because it’s not moving? Are all photographers just wasting their time? Clearly not, although from the way a lot of people react to DVD photo galleries, you’d think so. (This is, of course separate from genuine complaints about the implementation of them; certainly, most galleries have problems such as having the pictures too small, or cropping them.) But even though I love them, even I will admit that they’re usually quite far down on the list of what I stick on first when I get a new DVD.

But I think – apart from the Rob and Doug commentaries – out of all the extras announced for The Bodysnatcher Collection, I’m looking forward to the photo gallery the most now. And specifically, the two sets of Series 1 rehearsal photos. Because they feel like a magical glimpse into another world, from long ago – a world I never thought we’d actually see. These are shots of the initial creation of the show that we all know and love now. And we’ve all read about the aborted Series 1 rehearsals – but who would have thought we would actually ever see them? No matter how badly-framed?

I wrote a message on the Webboard a few months ago, saying how wonderful it would be if some video from the Series 1 rehearsals had been taken at the time; but then deleted it. It just felt too silly – you might as well say “why can’t we all just love each other?” But photos? That’s very nearly as good.

I now fully expect world peace around the next corner.

29 comments on “Oh, just some gorgeous chunk of loveliness

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  • why isnt’ it September yet!!!

    Where the hell is DJ!!!!!!

    ARGH! Can’t wait to see this stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We’re not worthy!!!! We’re not worthy!!!!!!!

  • Y’know, at some point you’re going to run out of quotes with which to title articles…

    > proper updates coming TONIGHT HONEST THANKS BYE.

    You lying lying liar.

  • If you watch/listen every possible peice of this box set,
    assuming that commentary on/off and trivia track on/off options makes up
    3 different seperate viewings on some episodes. Then I estimate the running time
    of this box set just went over the lenght of 1 whole day by more
    than a couple of hours.

    Did we really used to buy videos that ran less than 90 minutes?

  • Yeah, sorry. Will get it done.

    I just want the write-up to be good, because in my opinion, this is the best extra announced apart from the commentaries…

  • I predict that this is all an elaborate ploy to force us all to watch the remastereds episodes again. Curse you, GNP.

  • > I predict that this is all an elaborate ploy to force us all to watch the remastereds episodes again

    And again, and again, and again…. UNTIL WE LIKE THEM!!!

  • I really, really hope the text tracks are worth it to people. Obviously one can’t help be be aware that for all the people asking for the remastered eps, genuinely, because they like (or just want) them, there are some who are taking them for the sake of completion, or for the bonus content.

    But, regardless of your opinion on the qualities of the eps themselves, they represent an interesting part of the history. I think the documentary is going to surprise some people…and the text track may enhance that further. (Plus, if we’ve got it right, it should raise some laughs along the way.)

    Examples: Kryten is re-dubbed in the “Here”/”Where?”/”Somewhere” scene in Polymorph to improve his accent; Rimmer and Lister’s cries of “Snake!” are, along with two shots, swapped in the boxer-short scene in the same ep; and one of the Series IV remastering ideas was to get Talkie to sing the closing titles to White Hole with suitable adjusted bread-based lyrics.

  • >to get Talkie to sing the closing titles to White Hole with suitable adjusted bread-based lyrics.



  • Given that Series IV is THE series for theme-tune-fuckery (the Hammond version, the Elvis version), I rather liked that idea…

  • I like it as an idea in itself. But I’m not sure I’d like it in an actual episode of Red Dwarf.

    But whatever – it’s fascinating stuff!

  • I think my problem with the idea is that I can’t imagine it being very funny. (And, yes, I know, I’ve really no right to judge it without hearing it, which I suspect I never will…but it doesn’t really *sound* like something that’d be very funny.)

    In the case of the Hammond version…it’s just a new instrumentation for the same tune. It’s not hilarious or anything, but it’s appropriate, and a neat change. (I feel the same way about the end Gunmen theme. Not funny–and I’m sure it wasn’t supposed to be–but oh so perfect.)

    The Elvis version…again, not hilarious, but so what? It’s kind of cool. It’s the same song but sung by a guest in the episode. I’m cool with that.

    But the bread-oriented end theme just sounds like it’d be a whole load of puns and clumsy word-substitutions. To have Talkie sing the normal tune: it’d be okay, because it doesn’t have to be any funnier than the Elvis/Hammond/Gunmen version. But if you’re going to go back and insert jokes…well…they’d better be very good jokes, otherwise you’re just asking for a continuous groan punctuated by a “Why did they bother?”

    It’s all down to taste. But something tells me I’d like the Elvis version of the theme tune much less than I do if they’d re-written the words to reference Presley lore.

  • >one of the Series IV remastering ideas was to get Talkie to sing the closing titles to White Hole with suitable adjusted bread-based lyrics.

    Are we going to get to see/hear these lyrics?

  • > Are we going to get to see/hear these lyrics?

    No, no, no – they don’t exist. These were “If we get to Series IV+ this is what we’re considering”. (Doug pulled the plug after three series, so it never went that far.) It may never have happened. But the text track quotes directly from Doug and Ed’s list of possibles. (Likewise it covers some interesting ideas for Series I to III that never happened.)

  • > Does Rob provide any comments about the re-mastering?

    No. He wasn’t involved with it and didn’t feel it was appropriate.

  • Doug pulled the plug after three series, so it never went that far.

    I find this a VERY interesting comment…

  • >slight re-edit to Rimmer kneeing Hollister in the balls in Stasis Leak so we get to see the actual impact (was the original version censored, or was it just a sloppy edit?)

    This seems to come up periodically with the same question attached. I guess we never really did find a definitive answer, did we? I always end up comparing it to the vomiting chef in Gourmet Night…but THAT one, I think, somebody pointed out was an intentional edit, as, when finally seeing it in action, Cleese thought it was too disgusting.

  • Yes, the Gourmet Night edit was deliberate, and self-censorship by Cleese.

    He shouldn’t have done it, though – not because I think he’s right or wrong, but purely because technically it’s really, really awkward, and draws you out of the moment.

  • >purely because technically it?s really, really awkward, and draws you out of the moment.

    Agreed ten million percent. It’s better to see a subpar moment straight through than interrupt the flow of the program itself.

  • I’m starting to think it was an edit from the live studio line cut that simply never got changed. The early series doesn’t differ much from those cuts (as a sitcom it wouldn’t have been expected to have spent acres of time in post) the way the later series do (once Rob and Doug started producing and got heavily into the edits).

    Still, Rob’s at DJ and might know different…

  • Which reminds me, Andrew – how much isolated camera stuff was recorded for Dwarf in those early days?

    Presumably, in the later series, pretty much every camera was also recorded separately…

  • Oh, the ISOs are mostly all there – ish, more or less, notwithstanding some genuine tape losses, or damage. The BBC have Series I to III, GNP has the rest.

    The pain is:

    a) Finding what you want. Because they early series are often labeled just ‘Red Dwarf’, and even if they have an episode title, it’s only the right one about half the time. So you rely on the editor’s paperwork at the time. Which, for Series I, we have none of, cos (we think) Manchester chucked it out. We have a bit of Series II – which made a HUGE difference for the Bodysnatcher doc – and it gets better as you go more recent.

    b) Affording to see them. Because they’re on one-inch for the first three series, so have to be outsourced to be duped to, say, digi-beta, just to see them. At two hours a tape, it’s…well, expensive. So you have to know what you want, that you have the right tape, in advance. Which is where the paperwork or lack of comes back in.

    We have been repeatedly saved by the Remastered and Smeg Outs, who had a lot of VHS tapes run off (usually the line cuts, but not always, and a lot of old stuff was indexed…though not always 100% accurately). Without them, frankly, Series I and II on DVD wouldn’t have had deleted scenes at all.

  • Well, it’s seriously appreciated just how much effort you guys go into finding this information just to keep us happy. I cannot think of ANY RELEASE which gives this level of sourcing material and thought into the creation of it…

    My God, this is a great show!!!

  • Wait – I thought the Beeb finished dubbing all their Quads (2″) and 1″ tapes to DigiBeta a while back, and gave the originals to the National TV Archive or somesuch?

  • All their episode masters maybe? Perhaps not every single rushes tape for every show since the inception of the channel? So far as I’m aware our rushes are still on one inch.

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