Red Dwarf X - Episode 4 - Set Report featured image

A full episode of Red Dwarf has been recorded in front of a studio audience for the 2nd time in 7 days. G&T made an appearance.

This article discusses Red Dwarf X whilst adhering to G&T’s spoiler policy. Please ensure your comments do likewise…

This is the fourth episode recorded, but as it has been for the majority of audience members, my first.

We were ushered down the muddy path of the back lot of Shepperton to the waiting area aside The David Lean building, a name which seemed innocuous until I realised it was where Grant Naylor HQ resides, and that sparked a very long-overdue sense of excitement. Even when we were chatting about our particular hopes (and fears) for the series, it was strange that I wasn’t bouncing off the walls in anticipation, maybe the 8:30am start to the day and the 9-stop travel down to London had worn me out slightly. However, that all changed when we got into the studio…

Due to an unfortunate accident which left one of my ticket attendees with back problems, Jay from Lost In TV kindly allowed us to grab some seats with some leg room and allowed us to be one of the first into the studio, which provided us with a bit of time to get a look at the sets for a little big longer than everyone else. The first thing that struck me was the detail of the sets, the first set seen was the guest set for that episode and of course the main sets for the series: bunk room, drive room, corridor. Another part of set sat on the right purely for one brilliant gag involving Lister, and even more sets built round the back, out of shot of the audience for various single scenes.

Location shootingNow, I will say at this point, because I had never seen a set, or indeed THE set for Red Dwarf previously in person, it reminded me of a museum piece that wouldn’t look out of place in the Media Museum in Bradford. I’ve been trying to work out why this was, and it became apparent how classic this set looked. It just screamed V, VI, VII style Dwarf all mixed together but with many excellent touches by the Art Department. The monitors were constantly active with graphics and information reminiscent of Series I and II with a modern twist, there was one item in the bunk room that reminded me of ‘Legion’ in terms of style and indeed pertaining to Lister’s tastes perfectly.

Once we got comfortable, Ray Peacock proceeded with the warm up doing an excellent job of keeping the audiences attention during downtimes, which were more often than I thought would be, but he did an excellent job, he never missed a beat with the audience and accepted participation and mild heckling as some kind of challenge, which culminated in an unbelievably strange fan story that slowly unfolded during the gaps in filming. It involved a portaloo, and a sex tape.

For an audience seeing jokes said multiple times, but genuinely I did not once hear the audience’s participation wane during multiple takes. Interestingly, the cast were slightly shifting their lines with every take in order to get a fresh laugh. You hear all the time on the documentaries that the cast prefer an audience in order to get feedback on the lines, but I’ve never seen a scene mutate organically in front of me. It was both fascinating and rewarding in equal measure.

Other than the video released on the website a few days ago, I haven’t really managed to visualise the guys in their main costumes. I was worried about the Cat’s look as it is something that errs on the side of extreme, but becomes something that is easy to get used to after long exposure to it, and now looks typically Cat-like, more about that later. Rimmer’s outfit just looks… right and Lister’s outfits work brilliantly. Kryten’s outfit looks different on the mask and shoulders but ultimately doesn’t affect Robert’s performance and general look on the whole, and as everyone has said that while it looks strange on set, it really doesn’t look as apparent on the monitors, and presumably, the cameras.

As per episode 3, the scenes were shot in order, but ironically I wasn’t expecting it to be, owing to previous experience with shooting practices. This led to some confusion with a plot point, but this seemed down to some very confusing scripting which was ambiguous enough to throw me off the plot and had to have the confusion explained to me later on after the fact. Understand? No, neither did I. On we go.

The characterisations were superb, Lister’s laziness and slobbiness kicks off the episode in grand tradition, Rimmer’s character being typically anal about procedure is used to great effect and forms a running joke throughout the episode. I’m relieved to say that the Cat has reverted back to his I/II-like catty ways, but still keeping his acid tongue from V-VI era. This is good, this is very good. Danny has a lot of dialogue in this episode, and it’s not wasted. It’s genuinely funny.

One interesting aspect of this episode is the Cat/Kryten dynamic, which hasn’t really been explored in previous Dwarf. They work very well together in this episode, and with good reason. We’re introduced to a new feature of Kryten which is hilarious, and again poor Bobby is subjected to dialogue so mind-bogglingly complex, it was worth him fluffing his lines so that you could absorb it properly. (There was a idiot board with these bits of dialogue in the seats next to ours when we arrived, they disappeared shortly afterwards…) Speaking of complicated dialogue, it’s worth pointing out that Doug has created another brilliant scientific concept reminiscent of Quarantine, in as much as the idea behind it is both brilliant and bizarre at the same time, while providing plenty of opportunities for gags along the way.

For a series that has traditionally had 4 or 5 characters per episode, they’re certainly managing to keep the extra characters coming, and this episode is no exception. From what we saw we’ve got about 6 extra characters involved in various scenes, one scene involved the majority of extras, one of them being introduced in the last 10 minutes of the episode, which is both unexpected and fairly strange, even for Red Dwarf. However, the fate of this character is not known to us as the last 5 minutes of the episode have not been filmed due to said new actor/actress being taken ill before shooting the pre-record VT that was intended for us. So we won’t know what happens until broadcast as Doug decided not to indulge us with any details.

All in all, it’s an episode that for me feels in part like series I through VII in various places. This is a very complicated episode, but without the ending, it’s very much in the hands of the edit and the broadcast to cast my full/true opinion, but from what I have seen of the episode, it’s got some great gags, some brilliant plot ideas and some excellent character work.

TINY TEASER: Kebab Instructions
SMEG COUNT: 1.5 (Total so far: 6.5)

83 comments on “Red Dwarf X – Episode 4 – Set Report

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  • Brilliant report Danny, well worth the wait.
    I don’t know about you all, but I’m almost as curious about the portaloo/sex tape fan story as the show itself.

  • The icon picture is of a selection of cakes given to us by our lovely friend Jonsmad.

  • “…I’ve never seen a scene mutate organically in front of me.” I love how you phrased that. Beautiful.

  • Crushed vertebrae for the win!
    Ah! the sweet sweet legroom…

    I’m relieved to say that the Cat has reverted back to his I/II-like catty ways, but still keeping his acid tongue from V-VI era. This is good, this is very good.

    I completely agree – After Danny’s portrayal of the Cat in BTE, I was really worried we would be subject to another round of ‘well-dressed Dibley’ – I’ve rarely been more pleased to be wrong.

  • >but I’m almost as curious about the portaloo/sex tape fan story as the show

    During fan questioning of the audience by warm up man Ray, a female fan calling herself “smudge” admitted to a claim that a previous boyfriend years earlier had introduced her to Red Dwarf by showing her Terrorform and asking after some lead up which character he should dress as, and would she dress as kochanski, to make a sex tape, which they did with a westminster portaloo playing the part of starbug. This all came out during questions which Ray persisted with sensing the comedy gold of the audience intrigue at it. “Did he do pick ups?” etc.

    Ray asked for a twitter name for the ex-boyfriend so that he could get the audience with us all sworn to secrecy, to make seperate comments about having seen it. Twitter today reveals that Smudge gave an incorrect twitter name though. So she’s at least lieing about that part, if not more.

    She won a prize later for the entertainment this had caused, and probably because it left little time to really fit any competitioning in given it was talked about between about 5 scenes for much mirth. Ray also made her list the full cast in her order of shag preference. Later telling the passing cast all about it. Kryten called her “A dirty girl”, Craig made and on set reference to her during a fluffed scene to big laughs. And bottom of the shag preference list Cat, when Danny was told of the Rimmer first preference, said simply “That says a lot about Smudge” and cooly sipped his coffee with a look that brought cheers and clapping for his comeback.

  • Ha ha, cake icon!

    I’ll pass the icon fame and thanks on to Sharon Staite, of caketoppers website, who was thanking me for the night out, thanks that I just had to pass, a cake layers worth of, on to the team here for the news articles that lead to my ticket sucess.

    Mind the one with chilli sauce and chutney. ;-)

  • If the scene order expectation thing, was one of the same things that happened to me also when watching, it’s logic that was lost due to laughter over a line Lister gives, as I later worked it out during the episodes run I think. I’m pretty sure a couple of things I didnt quite grasp first time will be clearer in the edit due to transistion shots flow.

    But yeah I loved the Kryten/Cat dynamic. It’s a rare thing to say but on that aspect this episode is better at that than Marooned. They dont turn up like spare parts in a story they arent needed in. It’s rare team up worked brilliantly.

  • > But yeah I loved the Kryten/Cat dynamic. It’s a rare thing to say but on that aspect this episode is better at that than Marooned. They dont turn up like spare parts in a story they arent needed in. It’s rare team up worked brilliantly.

    *gasp* I am so outrageously excited now! Marooned is my all-time favorite episode because of the Lister/Rimmer dynamic. To see Cat and Kryten surpass this or even approximate it… when oh when will Series X get over the pond? What will I do until then??

  • Another brilliant set report.

    Interesting to read that they have other sets built round the back, hopefully that’ll be the StarBug set.

  • Hmm, nice one Danny. This episode really does sound fascinating, can’t wait to see it. Now I’m just counting down the days til Friday, when I’m Shepperton-bound for the first time myself. :)

  • Great report. I got slightly confused on two plot points – but one of those was down to me miss-hearing a line due to roars of laughter :D

    Yes the Cat & Kryten partnership was great to witness. How about that creaky set eh? Blooooody annoying, and evidently a smeg-up in the making.

    Smudge was brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!

    I had a stab at the fan comp, then got forgotten about at the end. Sigh. No matter. Ray was eeeeeeeeexcellent!

  • I’m intrigued by the idea of Cat and Kryten pairing up…in a non-slashy way, I assume. In III it looks like they were trying to imply they’re close friends; there’s that bit where Cat walks in and high-fives Kryten in Polymorph, and the shot of them laughing together in Bodyswap, and Cat’s enthusiasm in getting Kryten a present in The Last Day.

  • I think one of the things I missed about BTE is they were so busy moving and doing that the characters didn’t have time for long dialogues with each other as in a full series. And, one of the fun parts of dialogue for me were cultural references to our contemporary world. But of course, there hasn’t been a series in many years … I guess what I’d like to ask of anyone who’s gone to any of these for tapings, how well have cultural references been updated for the 2000s, and does it feel weird? (Despite being set in the future, the past series still felt very much a product of the decades in which they were made, IMO.) Also, are the references largely UK things, more U.S. than before, or more global this time around?

  • Back to Earth had cultural reference. Dwarf throughout its history had many. It’s fairly safe to say there will be.

  • The cupcake pictures are genius – especially the Kryten one!

    All sounds encouraging. It hadn’t occured to me that the cat had become less funny as the series progressed but I guess that’s true. Nothing of the quality of ‘Did someone suggest he pick up the tab for lunch?!’ in series 6,7,8 or BTE that I can think of.

  • Given the natural friendship/chemistry that Robert and Danny seem to have nowadays, it makes sense that the scripts would start to play off that. Sounds encouraging.

  • HelloMabel. I think you missunderstand my comparrison. I am saying that one of the only weak points of the excellent Marooned, is perhaps that when Kryten and Cat appear together near the end, they appear as a couple of individuals just happening to make their entrance together and both feel like sidelined characters in the episode. Which is no major bad thing in such a great show.

    But with last RDX EP 4. Beyond all characters getting something to do, when Kryten and Cat team up and then also later return to scene’s within the main 4 there is buddy relationship maintained in this story. Part of it plot related. But beyond that both actors just clearly get on as people more than at a time when they first met on III and they relish the opportunity to spark off each other. It’s something that worked well I thought. But I’m no way comparing what they do to the Lister/Rimmer massive marooned pairing up. That’s only going to massively dissapoint it’s not those heights of comedy and depths of character.

  • Really enjoying these set reports (some great writing from the G&T crew) so thanks for doing these for us, guys. After “Back To Earth” I was left feeling that the Red Dwarf I loved could never really return, but I guess it’s testament to how much I love the show that I can’t do what would, perhaps, be the sensible thing of just ignoring the existence of this new series.

    Come September, I will be watching. For better or for worse.

  • great write up!!..and just to verify, the story is 100% true without deviation or exaggeration ..( in fact certain bits were even left out as I couldn’t bare to say them outloud) I gave out a false twitter account for my ex as I was not confident he ( or his wife ) would handle it well!.. I’m glad my reddwarfsextape added to an already mind blowing and surreal evening!.. ;-)

  • And In answer to the earlier question – there was most certainly one very comical cultural referance.

  • My take is I noticed one cultural referance and it was shit, the one about banks in back to earth at least had some “setting” relevance, but this cultural refence I’m hoping the gag I heard hits the cutting room floor.

  • I laughed at the reference, but it’s one of those jokes that, like the BTE ‘Banks’ thing, is going to be painfully irrelevant in only a few years time.

  • Jonsmad, thanks for clarifying. So they split off into 2+2 but we see both parties do something. Cat and Kryten kind of become buddies, and it sticks.

    Hmm. It still sounds like a diamond of an episode to me, even though it won’t approach the level of Marooned – then again, in Marooned the friendship didn’t stick.

    Cat has always been reliably self-centered; sure he will never completely shed that aspect of his character, but it’ll be nice to see him develop some consideration – especially with Kryten, since episodes tend to focus on Lister or Rimmer. I’m reminded of Lister and Cat’s friendship in Backwards and got a great mental image of Cat and Kryten doing the Red Dwarf Shuffle.

    Seriously, even if I completely misconstrue something I read on here, I don’t think it’ll matter. I’m not gonna be disappointed in Series X no matter what – New Dwarf is new Dwarf. I like to see Doug Naylor stick with his labor of love.

  • > I laughed at the reference, but it’s one of those jokes that, like the BTE ‘Banks’ thing, is going to be painfully irrelevant in only a few years time.

    I didn’t laugh, but then the reference wasn’t relevant to my interests.

  • Whatever you do, don’t see Run For Your Wife. We could persuade Dustin Hoffman not to make Ishtar. Felicity Kendal’s bottom. (EDIT: Beaten!)

    As long as it’s just a funny line or two, and not something that makes the whole show meaningless in the future, then I’m not bothered.

  • >How many people nowadays know that Felicity Kendal was Rear of the Year in 1981?

    I didn’t know that, but it doesn’t actually effect the context of the joke. A moon shaped like a bottom, the crew flying round it several times because of this. The image of that is amusing. The name doesn’t actually matter, which is why it’s interchangeable.

    The Run For Your Wife joke, I think is awful. Never found it funny and I don’t think a different play would make much difference. Craig’s delivery isn’t great either.

    And the Banks thing in BTE sucks. This isn’t Have I Got News For You.

  • Another great set report, nice one!

    The best news to come out of them, for me, are the improvements to Cat and Kryten that seem to have been made. I’m particularly pleased for Danny, who’s been given a pretty thankless task since VI IMO.

  • KRYTEN: Surely you’ve heard of Silicon Heaven?
    LISTER: Has it got anything to do with being stuck opposite Brigitte Nielsen in a packed lift?

    I still love that one.

  • The set reports have all been pretty positive so far so they’ve definately got my hopes up for series 10. Hopefully it will make up for series 8. I’m glad that the format and characters have been restored to what they should be.

  • I agree with Seb. And also – the referance wasn’t relevant to my tastes, but I still found It funny. Also, I dont think It’ll date, plus there seems sometimes to be too much analysis on a single line/element of the show.

  • I thought there was some great language in the show as well, the word play in some lines, particularly for Lister, and Rimmer’s performance milked Chris’s facial ability in a new level for relevant reasons in one scene.

    I’ve got extra respect for Robert having now actually lived through the timescale and environment under which he has to keep that mask on. Ray mentioned once about Robert being outside and not noticing it was raining so I guess thats the only upside. True to what dvd documentaries and smeg tapes have taught me, Danny couldnt even get through his first line before dropping words, and then going backwards in ability. Seeing scenes done more than once was an eye opener to how much performance can lift or kill some scenes.

  • > How many people nowadays know that Felicity Kendal was Rear of the Year in 1981?

    Brooke Shields’ buttocks.

  • Robert has posted some audio boos for people who subscribe to The Man in the Rubber Mask audiobook.

    It is accompanied by a picture of Kryten. I assume that it is the new mask because it isn’t a mask that I have seen before!

  • Thanks thomasevans – I was wanting more or less a feeling if current references worked well. Good to know several people seemed to think so at the taping!

  • You know that thing where lines or bits from comedy shows come into your head, during real life situations or as responses cus you’ve heard them an you appropriate them. Well I obviously cant elaborate for spoilers, but the fact it happened today at work, I think says “quality” for the line and performance in question from Friday’s recording.

  • I said previously one cultural reference I saw, I thought was shit, personally. Which doesnt mean I’m against them per say, it means the one I witnessed I didnt really enjoy myself. I do agree with you by the way that the audience laughed at it, if indeed without the ability to name spoilers we are even talking about the same moment from the show.

    My most recent comment, refers though not to that cultural reference at all, or to taking a joke from the show for retelling, it was a comment more on the way lines and phrasing are things you pick up and want to re-use in relation to the world. An example using old dialouge, would be using the sentance “let’s get out there and twat it” in relation to the problem of catching a mouse in your own house or something like that. Sorry for confusing, It’s this worthy spoilers dance that leads to unspecificness.

  • Spoilers dance sounds like fun though – Sir, I’d like to volunteer to choreograph the spoilers dance sir.

  • I’m intrigued by this Smeg Count of one and a half. Does that mean someone gets cut off in the middle of saying it? Or do we only hear the last bit of the word? Or is it a Kryten “smeeeee…”? Or is someone’s mouth numb or full when they say it so it comes out indistinct?

    Whatever could it be? It’s all very exciting! I think this is the key question of Red Dwarf X at the moment. “Red Dwarf’s more than just a show where people say ‘smeg’ a lot” is something people like to claim when defending the programme. WELL NOT TO ME!!!

  • G+T dudes: Is John or someone able to tell me why I can’t post comments from my work laptop?

  • G+T dudes : Can John or someone explain why I can’t post using my work laptop? Everything comes up as “awaiting moderation”.

    I know I spout a lot of shit, but it’s harder to type on my phone!

  • Dan the man! Great read. You’ve captured some excellent mind visuals there. There was a really famous film shot in The David Lean building, corridor shots just outside the holding area, can you name it?

  • I’ve got a feeling something we saw within this, in assembly VT, is going to be redone during the pick up’s week. I really hope I’m right and Chris is more heavily involved in it’s execution, will be a cool moment.

  • You’ve captured some excellent mind visuals there. There was a really famous film shot in The David Lean building, corridor shots just outside the holding area, can you name it?

    What was this?

  • Something that was seen on this recording day near to the end of the session, I’ve just seen in another old uk sitcom im watching right now, I wont mention it yet, incase of spoilers, but after broadcast I’ll compare and elaborate then.

  • > Don’t tell him Kryten/Rimmer falls through the bar.

    And the Cat does a face.

    Actually, I have it on good authority that a West Indian family move into the ship and Rimmer is horrifically racist about them.

  • It’s either that, or the bit where they find an old till and Kryten almost gets his fingers trapped in it every time they play shop together.

  • Also, Lister stops calling Cat “Cat” and insists on calling him “Pussy” instead. This leads to lots of hilarious lines coming from Lister throughout RDX. “I can’t find me Pussy”, “Me Pussy’s wet”, “Me Pussy stinks of fish” and “I’ve just fucked me Pussy until it bled!” All tastefully done mind…

  • I heard they turn Red Dwarf into a hotel but Lister is really inept and nasty to all the guests. And Kryten’s accent is supposed to be Spanish. Also, sometimes the letters on the ship are repainted so that they read ‘Reward F’ or ‘Drew Fad.’

  • I’d like to see Rimmer talking to Cat about perspective, while Lister sits in the corner shouting ‘SMEG!’ and Kryten keeps running in, persuading people to have a cup of tea.

  • Cat has a cunning plan to get them all away from the trenches, but Rimmer dismisses it, finally realising the time has come to go over the top…

    …but before that happens, Ace Rimmer bursts in and slaps everyone with a fish, while Ireland recruits Lister to play Guitar for Eurovision. He fails epicly, people riot, and the Spanish Inquisition invade amid the chaos. At the absolute peak of rioting, everybody is crushed by a giant foot.

    …which then slips on butter.

  • > At the absolute peak of rioting, everybody is crushed by a giant foot.
    >…which then slips on butter.

    ISOLAT! (I screamed out loud at this)

  • Strangely enough, none of these are right, though most are amusing for the wrong reasons. I really like the Fawlty Dwarf letters one, thats a mash up waiting to happen right there. I’m still not saying anything till after broadcast about the show I was watching.

  • ‘Something that was seen on this recording day near to the end of the session, I’ve just seen in another old uk sitcom im watching right now, I wont mention it yet, incase of spoilers, but after broadcast I’ll compare and elaborate then.’ – Jonsmad early 2012

    Sorry to keep harping on about this, but what were you referring to here?

    Also what about… THE APPEAL????!!!!!!1

  • Hi Mani506. I did return to this. In the thread “Let’s talk about Entangled” on the night of broadcast. Here’s a copy for you…

    “Was worried about the Monkey. Cus we didnt know where it was all going on the night. It felt very series 8 watching that recorded. But didnt tonight watching the episode. It looked pretty real as a character and worked fine for me hearing the dialouge back around it. The reveal reminded me of Nightingales. The Episode Terrence in the Midst. That was the sitcom I previously mentioned on here that resembeled that.”

    So yeah In Nightingales the C4 sitcom starring Robert Lyndsay, set around nightwatchmen guarding an office, there is a reveal just before the ad break, where the “new nightwatch man” they are all waiting for by the door, is lead in, and it’s a Gorilla. It reminded me of them waiting for Kochanski and the chimp is lead in.

    I wonder what the chimp would have done, if they had had longer with the actor and the ending they first planned was filmed. And whether I would have felt it mirrored anymore of the nightingales themes. Entangled In the Midst, would end with the
    chimp basically mastering command and control of Red Dwarf better than Rimmer, and then leaving our crew behind for a much better ship.

  • Oh yeah, I remember now. I have the Nightingales DVD so I’ll be watching them through again soon. Great show – the last episode really creeped me out as a kid.

  • John Archer – Tim Vine’s mate – and Paul Tonkinson have written/starred in a sitcom pilot about night watchmen… I thought it sounded like a familiar concept…
    I think their next project is about 4 students that live in a house.

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