So, we reach the cumulation of our series of articles exploring Dave’s edits of Red Dwarf, as we deal with the first two series. Not really worth you coming back to the site after this – it’s not like there’s much else going on. HA HA, I AM PRETENDING RED DWARF X ISN’T HAPPENING FOR A JOKE.
Cuts, as usual, are indicated [like this].
1) The following piece of advice from Lister to Kryten, which creates a horrendously appalling edit:
LISTER: “Mister Arnold” isn’t his name. His name’s “Rimmer.” Or “Smeghead.” Or “Dinosaur Breath” or “Molecule Mind.” [And on the very rare occasion when you want to be really mega-polite to him, Kryten, we’re talking MEGA-polite, in those exceptional circumstances, you can call him “Arsehole”.]
There’s a line between saying arse, and arsehole.
2) The following, with the associated “Swivel on it, punk!”
The accompanying massive audience laugh and claps now sound really awkward, of course. Congratulations, Dave, you’ve ruined the climax of the episode. Excellent work. Give yourselves a biscuit.
Better Than Life
You know, I’m being shamelessly populist here. G&T never used to demean itself like this.
4) A fascinating cut – a few frames are shaved off Mr. Outland Revenue to remove the sound effect of Rimmer’s fingers being SMASHED WITH A HAMMER. I’m amazed this was deemed necessary – I’m a wimpy bastard at the best of times, but not even I’m disturbed by that. So flesh hitting the screen is fine in Psirens, but this needs cutting?
Thanks for the Memory
5) The following, “disguised” by a cutaway to an awkward slo-mo shot of Lister:
RIMMER: I have got time for people. What about all the time I spent licking up to Todhunter even though he was a total gimp? [And Captain Hollister? Mr. Fat Bastard 2044.] I went out of my way to simp around him.
6) Lister getting up and leaving the room at the end of the above scene, to help the transition into the ad break.
7) You all know what’s coming. Cut:
What is absolutely infuriating about this cut is that the Skutter V-sign in Balance of Power was not cut on Sunday. Absolute nonsense.
I must, however, give praise where praise is due to Dave: the ad break for this episode was placed perfectly – just after the line “From now on, Red Dwarf is run by Queeg 500.” Lovely stuff. There were quite a few nice ad break placings throughout the weekend – getting these right is an art in itself.
Onto Series 1, and… what do we have here? A single cut, to one episode only? Bloody hell.
Waiting For God
8) Rimmer shouting “Bastard!” at Lister. (An extremely well done cut technically – you’ve never know it was gone.) I’m interested that an awful lot of the cut moments in the first few series are either V-signs or bastards…
So, we’ve covered a lot of ground in this series of articles, and – quite fairly – I have been asked: what do you want? After all, isn’t it a good thing that Dave are giving this much screen time to Red Dwarf? And if it’s shown pre-watershed, surely cuts have to be made?
My wish – in an ideal world – is that this repeat run happened after the watershed… entirely uncut. There is acres and acres of material suitable for pre-watershed transmission – just show that, instead of these awkward edits. When you are butchering the climax of episodes, or cutting some of the best jokes in a series – it’s a sign that the show just isn’t suitable to be shown before the watershed.
But I’m enough of a realist to accept that the business case for this may not be sound. So, here’s my alternative plan for how Dave could have done these weekends far more sensibly:
- Firstly – get entirely new masters of all episodes of Red Dwarf. Yes, this would be expensive – but this isn’t some obscure programme I’m talking about here. Dave is selling itself as the new home for the show. If that’s the case, it’s worth getting new masters for a high-profile set of repeats. Come on, they’ve just funded an entire new series of the show. Don’t show the same old grotty versions of these episodes that have been hanging around UKTV for donkey’s years. We live in a world where ITV3 is putting in the money to acquire HD versions of the Steptoe and Son films, after all.
- Edit them for compliance for pre-watershed… properly. The hit-and-miss nature of the edits I’ve been detailing proves that this has been done by a number of different teams, over a number of years, to a number of different standards. The lack of consistency is bizarre – either we’re being subjected to edits that don’t need to be made, or Dave is opening itself up to the possibility of trouble with Ofcom. Neither is something the channel wants to be doing.
- Edit new break bumpers onto the episodes. Over the last few weeks we’ve been subjected to a variety of different bumpers – or randomly, no bumper at all – including an absolutely bizarre speeded-up shot of the ship for a number of Series 1 and 2 episodes, which looks God-awful. Standardise it, and make sure it’s done professionally, and not… like this.
- Label the pre-watershed and post-watershed episodes correctly, so you don’t end up playing the edited versions after the watershed.
- Finally, on this specific repeat run – schedule one repeat before the watershed, and one repeat after. The best of both worlds. Dave gets its money, and also shows the episodes uncut into the bargain. By showing the repeat runs at two entirely different times, rather than one after the other, you manage to target two different audiences as well.
I love television. At its best, it can provide an experience that pulling DVDs off the shelf just can’t provide – it can add context to what you’re watching. This repeat run on Dave was a brilliant idea – it gave a lot of people the chance to reacquaint themselves with the show, or possibly even see it for the first time – and at the same time, also provided valuable advertising for the upcoming series. I’m betting audience figures for Red Dwarf X are better than they would have been without this repeat run. But the actual broadcast of these repeats has been so half-arsed, and at times completely incompetent. Besides, seriously – what’s the point in showing each series twice, both pre-watershed, with cuts?
Dave is, frankly, bemusing. It is a Very Good Thing that they are now putting money into new television production – and however Red Dwarf X turns out, I can tell you at the very least that it’s an ambitious series, that any network should be proud of funding. Moreover, some of the edits done to these old episodes are technically brilliant – and some of the ad breaks are excellently placed. But as detailed extensively in these articles, so many other things are ludicrously sloppy – as though they don’t actually give a stuff at all.
Two words, Dave: quality control. If you want to be playing with the big boys – act like it.