G&T Interviews Doug Naylor featured image

Doug Naylor speaks exclusively to G&T about Bodysnatcher, the movie, the BBC, and lots more besides. READ THIS NOW.

As moments in this site’s life go, this is a biggie. The man himself, Red Dwarf‘s head honcho Doug Naylor, speaks exclusively to Ganymede & Titan about The Bodysnatcher Collection, mobisodes, the movie, the BBC… and a lot more besides. Commence pants-wetting – you simply have to read this.

It took long enough to set up – multiple back-and-forths, emails, phone calls, illnesses, cancellations, days off work… but finally, the dynamic duo of Ian Symes and Seb Patrick sat down around a telephone to spend half an hour chatting to the great man. And boy, does he chat. Get Doug going on the subject of Dwarf, and it’s an absolute delight to behold – so much so, that we can’t even bring ourselves to edit the interview down in any meaningful way. So what you’re getting is almost the entire conversation – and despite the fact that the whole thing was ostensibly to plug Bodysnatcher, Doug was willing to hold court on all manner of Dwarf-related subjects, being remarkably candid about the future (and about the BBC). As far as the current state of Dwarf goes, this is it – the full story. So what are you waiting for? Read on…

Doug Naylor in documentary mode.So, Bodysnatcher is obviously what we’re really here to talk about. And first of all, what prompted the release of it, and of the Remastered series, at this moment in time?

Well, it was really because the BBC wanted to release Remastered, and we knew it was really going to be the last throw of the dice, so we were looking around to see if there was anything that we hadn’t released that would be fun – and we came across this script. It was really bizarre how we’d both kind of forgotten it. I think it was because it had to be show two [in the running order] – and if it wasn’t show two, it couldn’t be anywhere. And we wanted, I think, the option of being able to put out a strong show two, whatever it was, and because this script didn’t really have an end, and it was the early days – you know, not really knowing what was going to work and what wasn’t going to work – we wrote probably three-quarters of the thing and put it to one side, and didn’t go back to it. Probably one of the strongest sequences in it was the skutter fight, and of course that was an absolute logistic nightmare – with two animatronic skutters that hardly worked at the best of the times trying to have a fight… I mean, we’d probably have done it with puppet arms, or something… but no, I think that’s another reason why it didn’t get made. I think even if it had been in season three, we would have been able to do it without any trouble – but just those early days, it wasn’t possible.

So yeah, we really just forgot about it – and what was really bizarre is that in the past, if we’ve written a show and it hasn’t gone forward, we’ve generally gone back and tried to take the good bits from it, and pop it in the show. But for some reason we didn’t do that with Bodysnatcher, and so much of it was never used. And we both read it, and enjoyed it, and thought with a few tweaks, and a new end, this could be good.

So how did Rob’s involvement come about? How was the initial contact made, and so on?

Before we do any DVD we always ask Rob if he wants to be involved. Always have done, from the first season, right through to the present. And he’s always gone “Maybe”, or, “if time permits”, and then for whatever reason he hasn’t been available. And no-one was more surprised than us when we asked this time and he said “Yeah, fine, okay, I’m happy to come and do documentary stuff, and I’m happy to do this and that”. So that was great. And then we told him about the script, and he seemed keen to have a look at it, and have a tinker with it – so he had the first pass at it, and I had the one after that. And it just kind of went from there – and then he was happy to come in and do the documentary, and all the bits and pieces. You know, I haven’t actually asked “Why the change of mind?” as it didn’t really seem appropriate to ask – but we’re all very pleased that he was happy to come back on board.

You mentioned that it was the BBC who wanted to release Remastered – I just wonder if you know anything about their reasons for that?

Well, their point of view is to make money. That’s why they’re there, and so they’ll release anything that they think will sell.

So they came to you with the suggestion?

Oh, yeah. And we knew Remastered hadn’t worked out maybe in the way we were hoping for, and we knew that there were fan reservations about it. Which was one of the motivation points, thinking “Well, there’s loads of stuff we can get onto the DVD that will make it a good buy for the fan who doesn’t necessarily want the Remastered”. And we knew we hadn’t been able to do the two full documentaries for seasons one and two in the way that we’d been able to on the other seasons – so that was something that Andrew was particularly keen to do. And there were other bits and pieces we were able to do. So that’s really how it came about.

What are the expectations for the release, then, in terms of its appeal beyond the hardcore fans who want the documentaries, and Bodysnatcher, and so on?

Well… as you know, the Remastered came about because we couldn’t sell the originals to certain territories. So, they’re the only versions that have been seen in Japan, for example – they’re the versions that they get in the boxsets over there. So there are different expectations about it – I know there are certain fan expectations, from people who didn’t want us messing with the originals. So they may not want it, I don’t know. Completists will be interested… casual fans, people who like the show – I mean, you get three seasons worth of shows on it, as well as a lot of extras. So if you haven’t got any Red Dwarf on DVD at all, it’s really not a bad buy!

What about Just the Smegs? There have been a few question marks among fans over releasing that, given that all the outtakes are already available on the original DVDs, so only the completists, or the people who bought Just the Shows, are going to want it…

Well, again, that’s the BBC. If the BBC want to release these things, I’m not going to say no, if they feel there’s a market there. So that very much came from them – I wasn’t really expecting it to happen, and was really quite surprised that they suggested it. So we’ll see. I don’t know whether it’s because they haven’t got a huge amount to sell this Christmas. But having said that – again, if you haven’t got the material, it’s a good DVD.

With Bodysnatcher, it pretty much feels like we’ve had everything it’s possible to dig out from the eight series. Can you see there being any further releases in the foreseeable future?

No! [laughs] I really can’t. Well, I say that… obviously if we do new shows, then yes. As you know, there are about thirty-six drafts of the movie screenplay which have not been made, so we could make that. And we are in talks with an animation company to possibly do a TV series and maybe also a film. So that would be new Red Dwarf projects rather than old ones repackaged… but I think in terms of old Red Dwarf, that’s it. We’ve done it.

I know that not everyone’s interested in this, but what about other GNP projects? In particular, I’d be quite interested to see a release of The 10%ers

Well, at one point, BBC said yes to The 10%ers, and then actually… I don’t know what happened! Because they did say yes, they wanted to do it, and then it didn’t happen! But we do get requests for that from time to time, and it’s never been repeated, so…

What about a situation as happened with the recent Joking Apart DVD release, with someone getting the rights themselves and releasing it?

Well, hey, that’s actually quite an interesting thought… it hasn’t been suggested, but rather than it do absolutely nothing, yeah… Though I think we’ll find that this year, and probably next year, DVD sales will be at an all-time low, especially TV stuff. You know, even the top BBC shows aren’t selling nearly as well as expected – quite why that is, I’m not sure. Everyone’s buying iPhones and things, I think!

Doug Naylor with Chris Barrie and Craig Charles, rehearsing Series 1Coming back to Red Dwarf, the issue that’s really had everyone talking is the situation with the BBC, and their attitude to the series. What’s your take on the whole thing?

The thing that you have to understand is – often people who work at the BBC are in these roles only for a couple of years, and then they get promoted up or go sideways. So it’s very important that they don’t make mistakes. And so commissioning risky programmes is not something that they love doing. No-one really looks ahead and goes “If we plan now, we’ll have brilliant television in five years’ time”. It’s very much a lot of individuals looking after themselves, as opposed to a business where you’re looking after the whole product. And so, for example, BBC Television aren’t remotely interested if a series sells well on DVD, because they don’t get the money – that goes to BBC Worldwide and 2entertain. Who are very interested in commercial projects – but first you have to get them on television. And so the television agenda is different from the DVD agenda – you have all these little tribes working with different agendas, and all clashing with one-another because of it. And so, although from a “Hey, let’s sell more DVDs!” point of view, making more Red Dwarf would make sense – and it would probably make sense in terms of the viewing figures as well – that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s best for the agenda of the people who currently work in those positions to commission them. Because it’s like “Oh, everyone knows Red Dwarf is a hit” – so if it isn’t a hit, it reflects badly on that person; and if it is a hit, you won’t get any of the credit, because it was already a hit.

With regards specifically to the Points of View story, there seemed to be a fair bit of mudslinging going on – the quote from Dimension Jump, which they then denied on POV

Well, they didn’t deny it… what she said was – and this was the head of comedy – “No-one has ever come to me and asked”. And the head of comedy is entirely different from other people who work in television – such as controllers. And the head of comedy doesn’t actually decide what goes on television – the head of comedy recommends things. But if you’ve already been to other people who maybe are above the head of comedy, then there would be no point going to the head of comedy asking, because you already know the answer. So that wasn’t mud-slinging, that was kind of factual – she was absolutely truthful when she said no-one had come to her, and we were truthful in what we said.

It seems a bit like one hand not knowing what the other’s doing…

Oh, sure, and that’s how the BBC’s always operated. As I say, lots of different people, all working with lots of different agendas. You know, if they were making ball-bearings or something, it would work in a different way. But they ain’t.

So if Red Dwarf came back, could it only be with the BBC?

No… it could move. We could take it somewhere else. Absolutely.

Because a lot of fan discussion seems to centre around what the BBC want to do, rather than what GNP want to do – people often tend to see the BBC as the be-all and end-all…

Well, in the end, we can only do it with the BBC if the BBC want to do it. And actually, the irony is, on Dave – which is an offshoot of the BBC – it’s doing well. And I understand series one is being repeated on BBC2 over Christmas… in the middle of the night, but hey. That’s progress, maybe.

But that all depends on the controller of the time, because they decide what they want on their channel. And if they go, and a new person comes in, then that can change.

So with all the discussion of Dwarf on TV, the focus seems to have shifted away from the movie. Is there anything else you can tell us on that score?

The movie, basically, hit a wall. I was close on so, so many occasions, where it really did look like the money was going to be there – and it always fell out. And the last time it fell out was because the BBC wouldn’t give us a TV deal – so in other words, they wouldn’t agree to buy the movie. And so everyone then goes “Well, why? This series has been really successful, there must be something wrong with it if they don’t want to buy it”. And their stance on it is that they won’t buy individual movies, and they aren’t prepared to make an exception with something like Red Dwarf. And some people at the BBC, really high up people, thought that was scandalous – but that’s the rule.

Something that was quite cryptically mentioned at Dimension Jump was a stage show… and I don’t know if there’s anything else that you can tell us about that beyond the vague detail we’ve had?

Well, there are a variety of projects under discussion. Basically, what I don’t want to happen is for Red Dwarf : The Movie never to be seen. Because that’s just bloody stupid. [laughs] Because we have done a lot of work on it, and it would have been a great movie. So it’s, “Okay, what are the options?” One option is the stage show, one option is an animated movie… and in some ways, maybe that would be more attractive to financiers because you could even, if they wanted, dangle the carrot of being able to re-voice it into Bulgarian or Romanian or whatever… if that was a way they wanted to go. But we haven’t actually decided which way we’re going to go. So as yet, we’re still looking at all those options.

Doug Naylor in an upcoming mobisode. Oh, OK, it's from one of the animated eggs on the Dwarf DVDs, obviously. I'm only putting this disclaimer in case anyone who doesn't know the site takes us seriously on this one. But unfortunately it ruins a perfectly good joke. But what can you do?On the subject of new animated material, we’ve been reading on the official site about the mobisodes…

Well, obviously, the animation has to be simple on those because you download them on your phone, but the later ones are really coming out well – so I’m quite buoyed by the look of those, which does make you think “Hmm… maybe…” And it gives you an idea of whether the jokes work in that environment or not. And I think if they’re funny, they do work. And obviously, the film was intended to be a lot more dramatic, but… it’s something we’re looking at.

There’s also the Christmas special, with the new cast recording – how did that come about?

Well, I think they wanted to test the idea out first by using old stuff… which seemed more sensible, because you’ve got material that’s proven to work. But I think it was Andrew’s idea, he said “Look, it’s Christmas, wouldn’t it be an idea to write something new?” They said it had to be 40 seconds, so I spent two days trying to write a 40 second episode, and thought I’d done really well. And then… rewrote it a bit… and it got a bit longer… and it came in at a minute and a half! So we’ve turned it into a two-parter!

So from the way you’re talking, it seems new material could be the way forward for the mobisodes…

Oh, yeah, I think so. We’ll see how this one works. But yeah, you can do anything with a cartoon, without having to worry about budget, so it’s quite an interesting area to look at.

Just as one last quick point, then, and on the subject of new material – do you see Grant Naylor Productions as only existing to further the Red Dwarf franchise? Or do you think we might see other, non-Dwarf projects from you in the future?

I think because Rob’s not really related to Grant Naylor in any kind of creative way, and hasn’t been for some time, new projects – for example, that are coming from me – will be done with my new production company. And hopefully we’ll have some good news on that front within the first three months of next year. Everything crossed, really. It’s been a long road, but hopefully we’ll have some news.

Doug Naylor – thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us.

And we’d also like to thank the good folk at GNP – Helen and Andrew specifically – for taking the time and effort to make the interview happen.

76 comments on “G&T Interviews Doug Naylor

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  • >And we are in talks with an animation company to possibly do a TV series and maybe also a film.

    Still reading, but I had to pop down here and just say:

    YES YES YES YES YESYESYES PLEASE. I can’t even begin to convey just how MUCH I want this to happen.

  • One of what I consider to be TWO utterly fucking massive never-before-mentioned bits of news, there. I wonder who’ll be the first to pick up on the other one ;-)

  • Okay, one more quote, to springboard me into the meat of my reaction here:

    >it would have been a great movie. So it?s, ?Okay, what are the options?? One option is the stage show, one option is an animated movie?

    While I know a lot of people would have been happy with a stage show, and, yes, while I admit I know precisely NOTHING about the content of the film, I really have to imagine that animation is the way to take this. After all, the following will no longer be an issue:

    1) “But they won’t come to [whatever town/country]!”
    2) “The audience will be too loud for me to appreciate the nuances!”

    Those were some of the negative reactions other people had. My personal negative reaction was this:

    3) “The special effects available on stage will be hugely limiting.”

    Now I’d never, in a thousand years, say that the special effects make a film good on their own, and I’m not even putting a particular emphasis on them here because I think I’d miss them…it’s just that I don’t feel many Dwarf episodes would work as an out-and-out stage show. They’d take some retooling…in many cases a great deal of retooling…just to fit the logistics of live performance.

    Now since an average episode of Red Dwarf would require so much in the way of rewrite and reformatting, imagine how much the movie would take! At least, potentially. My real fear here is that Doug will have to rewrite the film (again!) just to make it performable, and so we STILL won’t be getting to see the film we’ve been waiting for. It’ll be new Dwarf, yes, and obviously I’d never stand in the way of that, but with animation I can’t imagine there’d be anything Doug COULDN’T do.

    Also, he mentions the film being very dramatic. While that’s not impossible, or very difficult, to achieve on stage, it might be at odds with what the audience wants to do: laugh uproariously as often as possible. Cartoons, especially nowadays, have a lot of emotional wiggle-room. People aren’t turned off by it now, so I really hope Doug isn’t afraid that making it animated means it has to be Road Runner or something.

    I’m sure he’s seen Futurama, and I hate to keep bringing it up, but it’s such a good corollary here. The emotion, when necessary, is pretty damn effective, and those are very, very simplistic character drawings–you can get some decent emotional mileage out of some good cartoon face-acting, voice-acting, and score.

    And, also, the special effects in that show are hugely impressive if you just sit back and appreciate them. So, really, I can’t imagine you’d HAVE to strive for anything larger than the budget of Bender’s Big Score…whatever that was…which I’m certain was far below the cost of any major cinema release…

    I’d love for a Red Dwarf cartoon (film, series, or both) to find its own voice and identity, obviously…I don’t really want them being “the British Futurama” (how ironic that’d be…), but it’s an excellent place to look, just to see what can be done, how much it can be done for, and even, I’ll admit, how it can be done better.

    And if anyone can do it better, it’s Doug and the cast.

  • Cheers to G&T…and MASSIVE thanks to Doug for this.

    Yup Animated Movie I think Is the future. Even for the simple reason that the cast is not getting any younger. Im definatley not against a stage production though.

    So we’re thinking sorta Futurama… I think the pacing of Family Guy would help. Its fast and funny… slam the laughs out. If there’s no laughter track, It needs to be fast, I find the jokes fall flat on Futurama and The Simpsons these days.

    Ridiculous as this may seem… has a cg-animation been considered? Like NEW Captain Scarlet? Pretty expensive though (now Im told the most expensive British childrens programme ever made at ?26million).

    Im not giving up on a live action series yet though. These re-runs on BBC Two and the Comedy Connections re-run say to me “we are listening, but we’re not convinced”.

    VERY interested to see what Doug has planned for 2008.

    And can I say what a fantastic year for Dwarf It’s been. We’re pretty lucky.

  • Wahey! Doug!

    > And so, for example, BBC Television aren?t remotely interested if a series sells well on DVD, because they don?t get the money ? that goes to BBC Worldwide and 2entertain.

    People here have mentioned this before and it’s an extremely important factor to take into consideration. If BBC TV were gonna make loads of money out of a Dwarf return due to DVD sales and whatnot they would have snapped it up in a flash. And as far as guaranteed viewing figures and popularity go, like Doug said they’re more interested in bringing new shows in. It would need someone like Paul Jacko to convince others to resurrect the pencil-shaped rouge one.

    The thing about the film almost happening but not, due to the BBC not wanting to buy it is so so infuriating. It makes you want to weep, it was so close! Ah well, we just have to accept it now. An animated movie would be a great runner-up prize. It would be better than the stage show due to all the ship action we can only assume is in the movie, which would be a bit crap on stage. I wouldn’t be totally opposed to a stage show of some kind though.

    And Doug’s got a new project on the go! Wonderful. Great to see the chase for the Movie hasn’t beaten him into the ground! Can’t wait to see what it is, and hopefully the Dwarf animation will get the go-ahead.

    I don’t believe this means the end for the series proper though. I don’t care about this ‘the cast are too old’ crap. It could return when they’re in their 60s and it would still be worth watching. I still hold a lot of hope for an eventual TV return. Like Doug says, future personel changes at the BBC could result in them receiving a different answer.

  • Cool. Thanks you guys for interviewing Doug, and thanks to Doug for being interviewed!

    I’ve got nothing much to add really, but it all seems quietly confident.

  • Hi,

    Great interview,nice to see more clearly what has been hinted at so far.

    I definitely think animation is the way to go for the film. I hope the type of animation is more detailed and less toony than Futurama (not that I dislike that style, I just don’t really see Dwarf being like that.) I agree it doesn’t necesarily need to be CGI though at least not all the way through. I.e. there can be CG sequences, as there are in Futurama (yes it’s true, a lot of the background scenes particularly when the ship is flying about is cgi) but it needn’t be the photo realistic kind.

    Anyway it looks like things are optimistic in the RD world. I’d really like to see a continuation of the series of course but any new Dwarf is a good thing. I hope the entire future of Red Dwarf isn’t tied into mobisodes anyway.

    Just registered here by the way, although I’ve attended the Redwarf.co.uk forum for a while. For those of you who attend there, my screen name is MDN T1. (That’s the designation of a character from Rob Grant’s book ‘Backwards’…)

  • First of all, a hearty congratulations on the scoop, very impressive. There’s so much in there to pick points out of isn’t there…

    I’ve always found Dougs interviews a tad cryptic and open to misinterpretation but this contains a lot of facts that not only bode reasonably well for the future but also clear up some of the haze surrounding previous quotes.

    The thought of an animated movie fills me with delight given that the actual movie seems rather dead in the water, I’d be happy with a ‘Futerama’ style or CGI to be honest and yes, the scope for special effects would be boundless. The thought that it could be voiced by the original cast with the option of a couple of guest artists as with other animated films is just great although I’m probably looking too far ahead now…

    I think we’d all love to see other ‘Doug’ stuff and would love to see him come out with another winner, fingers crossed on the ‘new production company’ front..

    After another great year for the fans, this all comes as a bit of a tonic knowing so much is still going on behind the scenes for the future and Bodysnatcher isn’t as some have said, the end of the road.

    With the ‘Fan Club’ in something of a hiatus at the moment, it would be nice to think that there’s something around the corner to give it a much needed boost.

    Once again, well done everyone involved and thanks…

  • > my screen name is MDN T1. (That?s the designation of a character from Rob Grant?s book ?Backwards??)

    Man, even *I* didn’t know that!

  • Really? It’s one of the agonoid characters. If you speak it phonetically quickly you should get the joke.

  • The joke in the book is based on fully written names. I didn’t notice them being abbreviated to letters/numbers – which shows how little I pay attention!

  • It’s a while since i’ve read it and I don’t own it unfortunately so can’t double check right now. I think it’s kind of the other way though, I.e. the codes were assigned to them by their human creators as a joke (remember they’re essentially robots, albeit with fleshy bits) kind of reminiscent of Kryten motherboard number (although his isn’t a joke ). They pronounce it phonetically and that pronunciation became their names.. if that makes sense, written in an Star-Trek style to add to the joke.

    I’ve taken this way off topic haven’t I?

    Go animation go!


  • I’m pretty sure they we called ‘M’aiden Taiwun’, ‘Djun Keep’ and ‘Pizzak Rap’ constantly; those were the jokes names they were given. I don’t recall any “MDN T1” style ‘motherboard’ versions.

    Okay, okay I’ll stop. Just trying to say that I got the joke as present in the book…!

    Good interview, guys. Smart questions, good answers; clarifies a lot of stuff.

  • >Good interview, guys. Smart questions, good answers; clarifies a lot of stuff.

    Yeah, it really was great. Except that now I’m going to be checking both this site and TOS obsessively for some word of development on the animation front.

  • That was interesting, thanks. One bit puzzled me a little though:

    And so, for example, BBC Television aren?t remotely interested if a series sells well on DVD, because they don?t get the money ? that goes to BBC Worldwide and 2entertain.

    I may have misunderstood what Doug is saying here, but where does he think the money that BBC Worldwide make goes?

  • To BBC Worldwide. Which is a separate company within the BBC organisation as a whole. Doug didn’t say “The BBC aren’t remotely interested blah blah blah”. He said “BBC Television aren’t remotely interested…” Which is correct. Because BBC television doesn’t – and, indeed, can’t – make commissioning decisions based on potential sales profits. That’s actually one of the core tenets of the entire organisation.

    No offence, but I think Doug knows a bit more than you about the structure of BBC television… ;-)

  • Shush, Seb. Nik works for the BBC, so he knows a bit about it too!

    BBC Worldwide do pump a percentage of their profits into broadcasting, but by no means all of it. Doug wasn’t *wrong* to say the money doesn’t go to BBC TV, and neither was Nik wrong to say that it does – the truth lies somewhere in the middle. As you say, the commissioning decision can’t be based on potential sales, but as we all know the whole thing is a huge grey area.

  • Touche, fair enough, that probably makes me look like a complete arse, never mind. Sorry, Nik. I’d delete it out of shame, but that would make me look like a hypocrite after the recent Matt fiasco, so I’ll leave my words as a cautionary tale ;-)

    But I do think Doug was right to draw attention to the fact that a lot of fans will simply go “But look, they’re selling loads of DVDs, they must know it’s a success!” when in fact that isn’t really a factor in commissioning decisions. I think it’s an important point to make people aware of. Yes, the BBC is one big organisation – but Worldwide has a definite degree of autonomy. As anyone who’s tried to sort out payments from both Worldwide and Contributor Payments (*points at self*) will know ;-)

  • Oh would you look at this.

    Very interesting and at times infuriating. Oh well, shit happens I suppose. As to the animated show idea, I’d still sooner take a stage show or even radio show (and obviously some proper tele) but I guess it could work. It would have to be proper animation though, not a load of cgi. I’m sorry, but I haven’t been able to get the image of The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest out of my head ever since this was raised.

    Bah, a fine read. Well done.

  • > It would have to be proper animation though, not a load of cgi.

    I know it’s been said loads, but the Futurama style of 2D mixed with cell shaded 3D would be ideal. It’s kind of easy to notice the joins, but it looks so damn lovely it’s hard to care.

  • There are occasional exceptions – BBC Worldwide (via their BBC America sub-division) are co-producers on Robin Hood with the BBC-proper and contributing to the funding. While it’s unlikely, there’s no direct reason why WW couldn’t co-sponsor a Dwarf series so long as they thought they could get their money back & more through DVD & overseas sales…

  • Do I recall that BBC Worldwide contributed to the budget of the later Dwarf series anyway? Or am I making that up?

  • I suppose even if Worldwide ploughed loads of money into the series it would still make no difference if Television is committed to NOT bringing it back.

    That’s what’s infuriating. Television COULD say ‘we’ll bring Dwarf back’ if they wanted to, quite easily I’m sure, and Worldwide would undoubtedly get fully onboard, but Television probably wouldn’t get enough out of it to warrant the return.

    As one of my colleagues says, whatever the deal, whatever the format, whatever the situation, it always boils down to a bastard in an office. You can pretty much guarantee that a bastard in an office would be saying ‘why would you want to bring back a dead and buried “cult” show for a NINTH series??’ and any talk of fans wanting it back would be met with blank stares.

  • As Doug says, though, it’s less about money anyway – and more about getting credit for commissioning it. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation, and it would basically take someone who would personally WANT to see it come back to make it happen.

    What we need, really, is a Tony Hayers/Chris Feather situation… ;-)

  • No offence taken Seb – I appreciate my comment looked a bit smartarsey. I certainly wouldn’t claim great knowledge of BBC finances but as I understand it (from a lecture about the BBC’s structure last week) BBC Worldwide profits basically supplement the license fee (I could go into percentages, but I never now how confidential stuff like this is supposed to be!), so it’s a bit like saying “the license fee settlement doesn’t matter to TV”. Doug is probably right about them not being as bothered about sales as Worldwide themselves, but indirectly more sales means more money to play with across the BBC, so the way he phrased it seemed a little odd.

    (Disclaimer: I do not speak on behalf of the BBC and all opinions expressed are my own etc.)

    About getting credit for commissioning a new series – maybe we need a Doctor Who-type situation, whereby it’s been gone for so long that bringing it back does seem like a huge risk, and a huge triumph if it’s a hit. Although the big problem then (that Doctor Who doesn’t really have by nature) would be the age of the cast. And the waiting another eight years. Actually this is a bad idea, I’ll shut up.

    Anyway, smashing interview and Doug seems like a really nice chap.

  • People keep mentioning the age of the cast, as a negative for the continuation of the series, but I really don’t see that as a problem. They’re not *that* old yet, and the fact that they are ‘getting on’ could if anything add to the comedy.

    If it were a show which based on characters with sex appeal (like a lot of the American Sci-fi shows out there- I like em but you got to admit they don’t half show off the totty don’t they?) then that might be a problem, but Dwarf has never really been about that. Not that they were ever trolls or anything but point is, the show is about a bunch of losers on a space-ship 3 million years into deep space trying to muddle their way through life. That works well regardless of the casts age. (Unless they’re very old perhaps, but even that could have comedy value .) In fact, Lister was originaly designed as a middle aged man.

    The only character where they really went down the hottie route was Kochanski in series 7, but Chloe Annette is hardly past it yet, and regardless, the whole ‘aging’ thing can work just as well for a female in comedy as a male, if not better. I refer you to a certain comment made by Kryten during a rather bitchy moment when he states something about “Women galloping to the wrong side of thirty still owning a teddy called boo boo.” Not the exact quote, but the point is the reinvention of Kochanski in series seven for all her officer acumen has a self conscious paranoid side to her nature… how much more so an older Kochanski? Not that Chloe Annette is past it I empshasize again! I’m 32 myself and I don’t think she’s that much older than me.

    As for stage show or radio vs. animation, as I said I’m really interested in the animation route. I’m referring to an adaption of the film script though should the live version never be made, not a continuation of the series that way (although that’s an option too.) I think it depends a lot on what you like about Red Dwarf though. If you’re a fan of sitcoms but not really into sci-fi it’s understandable that you’d like to see it as a stage show or radio show. Personally I’m a fan of both. I love their adventures in that sci-fi universe and the weird creatures that populate it as much as the comedy. Hence for that I reckon the animation route is best. Just think of all those gelf critters you see in “Last Human”, Alberogs, dolochimps. We could actually see such crteaturs on screen in an animation! I’d only prefer that if further TV or film productions prove completely out of bounds however, which as yet, still isn’t completely certain.

    (Andrew, I’m tempted to check out that book to see if my ‘screen name’ is based on a ‘mismemory’. (Hey I invented my own word! Doesn’t really matter I know but geek city here I come…. ;}). )

  • Right, a few of my own thoughts on this. And seeing as I had very little to do with it, I can safely say: it’s a fucking great interview, which spells out exactly what the current state of Dwarf actually is, for the first time. Well done Seb and Ian (I would have frozen up and done terribly if I’d done it!), and thanks to everyone at GNP who made it possible – and especially Doug himself, who comes across as a lovely bloke.

    So: animation. It’s hugely interesting that this has come up, not only as a potential way to make the film, but also a possible TV series. And something about it still bugs me – but I can’t figure out what. I adore Futurama, and I adore (good) animation generally… but I have problems seeing how Dwarf characters translate to animation. As I’ve said before, I hope that’s just my general lack of imagination – it’s not like Dwarf hasn’t made the successful leap to other mediums – but I can’t help but have reservations. Having said that, if it’s no Dwarf at all, or going down the animated route, I’d choose the latter every time – and I’m probably completely and utterly wrong.

    The 10%ers snippet is fascinating – it was going to be released at one point. We can only hope that at some point, this happens – and hey, maybe some form of campaign wouldn’t go amiss. (They very rarely directly cause anything to happen – but they can help.) I’d love to see a release. Or perhaps it could be made available as a download, along with a few extras…

    The stuff with the BBC is hugely revelatory, I think – finally, all that stuff has been nailed down, and rather than relying on ambiguous statements, we know what the true situation is. And now we know what the situation is, perhaps it’s worth thinking about some kind of campaign again – and for me, Bodysnatcher has reinvigorated my interest in new Dwarf. Even if it does nothing directly with the BBC, it could help in other ways to get new Dwarf, seeing as GNP are still actively trying to make it in some form. And frankly, I find the stuff about the controller of BBC TWO as being hugely hopeful – when they bugger off, maybe there’s a chance again with the BBC.

    The Movie stuff I find faintly depressing – perhaps more so than most people. I suspect that’s because most people had already given up on a live action film, wheras I still had vague hopes it might happen – so the news that, for the moment at least, a live action film as completely hit a brick wall is horrible news. There’s a lot to feel hopeful about with this interview, so I don’t want to concentrate on that too much – and things can always change in the future on this front – but yeah, that was awful news for me. Still – we finally get a proper explanation about the link between the BBC and the Movie that was cryptically referred to in the GNP’s reaction to Points Of View, which clears up a lot of confusion in that area. And whilst the BBC don’t have an OBLIGATION to buy the film… isn’t it a huge fucking shame that they didn’t, eh?

    Excellent news about possible new material for future Mobisodes – that would really make the whole thing worthwhile. I will review the Mobile service, and the Christmas Mobisodes soon – got a Just The Smegs review to get up first…

    And finally – for me, the most exciting part of the interview was about Doug’s new production company, hopefully being launched next year. New Dwarf would be great – but I’m desperate to see anything new from Doug, and it’s possible I may enjoy it more than new Dwarf. It’s just brilliant news, and I really hope his new projects come off.

    It’s wonderful that things are happening behind the scenes – and if only ONE of the mooted projects in this interview comes to fruition, I’ll be overjoyed. It makes next year – which was threatening to be a depressing year for Dwarf fans – into something hugely exciting. And I think we should all think about doing our bit to HELP some of this stuff happen.


  • The news about Doug’s new production company is hugely exciting, it has to be said. It’s one of the biggest regrets I’ve had about the long process of getting the film made: Doug’s not had any new shows. Obviously he’s been working on something, though, so I’m VERY keen to see what he’s got up his sleeve. I reckon he could write an absolutely killer comedy/drama piece.

  • Jesus Christ. You can copy-and-paste entire segments of our text verbatim without bothering to write it, but you can’t even pay attention to the name of the person you’re quoting? WELL DONE.

    Two articles now that have picked up on the “thirty-six drafts” comment, even though I got the impression that was a random figure plucked from the air… hmm.

  • What about the ever-popular spinoff site Anal-mead & Hymen, a site dedicated to the love of…runny shit and…being a virgin…if you’re a woman…and if you’re not one of those who’ve had the operation to re-instate it to make it look like you’re still intact…

    Why am I still alive…?

  • I am clearly disagreeing with the majority here, but an animation wouldn’t interest me at all. To me, it’s not Dwarf.

  • I don’t think you’re disagreeing quite as much as you might think. I’m pretty sure the unspoken consensus here is this:

    live action > animation > nothing at all

    And since the live action route seems to have hit a brick wall, we’re left with a pretty easy choice.

  • This is the thing that bugs me – as I’ve said before, Dwarf has proved itself very good at adapting to differemt mediums. The sitcom, the books, stuff like Bodysnatcher, the radio series (admittedly derived from reading the books, rather than a full cast reenactment – but let’s face it, a proper Dwarf radio series would work even better, given stuff like Bodysnatcher). There’s no reason to think that, if adapted right, it wouldn’t work as animation as well.

    But I see where Joey is coming from. Mainly because I can’t see what style of animation would work for Dwarf, I think. If I could figure that out, I’d feel a lot more comfortable with the idea.

  • Scroll to the bottom.

    So, “Gannymede and Titan”, eh? The exact misspelling that Chortle used? THIS IS HOW THE MEDIA WORKS. Couldn’t be arsed to check the story for yourself? I wouldn’t mind, but it’s such an obvious misspelling!

    Also: fans of the series are known as ‘smegheads’? No. And there’s that 36 drafts thing again…

    And yes, Hugo Rifkind is the son of Malcolm Rifkind. I found that out all by myself. It’s called research.

  • And why not a link to the full article?

    Obviously there isn’t room for them to do a full rundown of the interview, but surely anybody interested in that tidbit would also be interested in seeing it in context.

    Okay, I realize people can do their own googling, but what are they going to search for? “Red Dwarf + cartoon?” “John Naylor animation?” “Gannymede and Titan?” Somehow I doubt any of those will yield helpful results…

  • Back to the animation – see, I’m a fan of animation, and I think it would allay a lot of the concerns about the cast being too old for a “proper” movie or new series. Hell, they could all be in their sixties, and still sound alright. And if you get the right company in – Cosgrove Hall, perhaps? – then it could look fantastic. In much the same way as I was always in favour of the idea for Who in the post-McGann pre-RTD era, I really think that if we can’t have live action, animation would be an excellent route to go – series, movie, whatever. The possibilities suddenly become a lot less limited…

  • And why not a link to the full article?

    Presumably because it’s in the print edition as well (page ten, folks!). Shame about the misspelling, but maybe we could write in and have them correct it, thus giving us a second mention? ;-)

  • Given that there’s a section of the existing fanbase who already think ‘proper Dwarf’ ended with Series VI (or V, or even III), I think an animated version could be ideal. I suspect it’ll suit Doug’s writing style very well, and allow a clearer separation of ‘Doug Dwarf’ from ‘Rob & Doug Dwarf’.

    Sure, we’ll maybe lose some current fans. But that happens every year anyway – since the reformatting for Series II, I’m sure! – and it’ll certainly pick up newbies for whom the new incarnation IS Dwarf.

  • > Given that there?s a section of the existing fanbase who already think ?proper Dwarf? ended with Series VI (or V, or even III), I think an animated version could be ideal. I suspect it?ll suit Doug?s writing style very well, and allow a clearer separation of ?Doug Dwarf? from ?Rob & Doug Dwarf?.

    As I’m probably one of those people, I would agree with most of this. I think that if something is written by Doug then it qualifies as being ‘Doug Dwarf’. That’s irrespective of whether it’s live action, radio, book or animation.

    I can certainly imagine an animated movie being very good. Doug has had so much time to polish the script that it should be impressive and the age of the actors would no longer be relevant as has already been mentioned. I would have slight reservations about some of the cast members and how well they would perform without an audience but hopefully lessons can be learnt from some of the problems of Series VII that have been discussed in the past.

  • >Presumably because it?s in the print edition as well

    Oooh! That makes the mention even more impressive, and the mis-spelling even more frustrating.

    >maybe we could write in and have them correct it, thus giving us a second mention?

    I like it!

  • Blimey… The Times is getting news from Chortle and ISN’T proof reading what they get? Have they ever even read Chortle?

  • Appearing in the Times was weeks ago. We’re far more concerned at the moment about the quite hideous thing that’s happened to Cappsy…

  • > Given that there?s a section of the existing fanbase who already think ?proper Dwarf? ended with Series VI (or V, or even III),

    II. Or rather ‘2’.

  • >Given that there?s a section of the existing fanbase who already think ?proper Dwarf? ended with Series VI (or V, or even III),

    I quite personally think that everything made after the ‘stasis field’ speech was bollocks :P

  • I personally think Grant Naylor lost their way after the opening credits of “The End”.

    Top that.

  • Thinking about it, Rob and Doug meeting for the first time was probably the peak. It ran out of steam pretty quickly after that.

  • Tbh, after the construction of the Great Pyramid at Giza (which, contrary to popular belief, is more like 12,000 years old as opposed to 5,000 – that’s the Illuminati still shielding us from knowledge of the great ancient civilizations…), why did anyone even bother making anything else? I mean just look at that fucker. What’s a TV series compared with that?

  • >the construction of the Great Pyramid at Giza

    Yeah, like that really compares to the spontaneous creation of the universe and all to be found within it. n00b.

  • I’m still having trouble picturing the kind of animation that would work for Dwarf. If I could figure this out, I’d feel a lot more excited about animation.

    Stuff like The Infinite Quest I wasn’t keen on at all – it just looked cheap and nasty. The similar techniques used for the animated stuff for The Invasion worked well because of the context – DVD only, recreating live action eps – but wouldn’t have worked at all if presented as an all-new adventure. Context is everything on that one.

    Futurama is the obvious touchstone – and I love the animation and character designs on Futurama – but I can’t see how it would translate to the Dwarf universe. I can’t figure out what’s wrong… but when I try and imagine it in my head, it doesn’t work at all. And neither does lush Disney-style animation, or Pixar CGI, or Cartoon Network’s various styles (although they all seem to be converging into a weak Dexter’s Lab. rip-off these days), any other kind of animation I try and picture in my head.

    What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I see it? There’s NO REASON why Dwarf shouldn’t work in animated form – but I’ll be damned if I can figure it out.

  • I must admit, mind you, that Phil has a VERY good point above when he says that adapting the Movie to a stage show would take a LOT more adapting than to an animated movie – and if the script really is as good as has been said, it would be a shame for it to have to be heavily adapted AGAIN, into such a completely different form.

    Still, I’d love to see one one day – perhaps one not based on the Movie. Although, as fannish as I am, if it turned into the kind of thing where people applaud whenever anyone says a line, it would get really fucking tiresome…

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