Apologies for being far too late to provide the full write-up on this, but the following tweet rather took us by surprise when it was posted in what was effectively the middle of the night:
— Red Dwarf (@RedDwarfHQ) July 28, 2017
Yes, the first official cast photo from Series XII is not your conventional everyone-in-front-of-a-spacescape shot, but rather a teaser from a particularly unusual episode. Remember that while us lot have known about this storyline for ages, the general public are learning about it for the first time, and as their first exposure to the series.
You’ve got to hand it to them – this was a brilliant marketing decision, as this has received far more press coverage and social media discussion than a bog-standard cast shot would have done; it’s only been a year since the last one, and the costumes and make-up won’t have changed much. It even made the print media, with the Daily Mirror providing a pun headline which very nearly works, and yet emphatically doesn’t.
But what of the photo itself? Well, it’s clearly utterly superb. It’s bizarre just how much Chris Barrie still just looks like Chris Barrie when he’s encased in mechanoid make-up. Such a powerful set of facial muscles, and the android nostrils appear to be appropriately flared. Danny similarly retains an innate Dannyness, and it’ll be interesting to see if Catbot has fangs, given that Rimmerdroid still has an H. Weirdly, Kryten doesn’t look particularly Krytenish in this shot, the seemingly smoother lines from this angle bringing to mind the original version of the XI promo shot.
And then Craig just looks… weird. I think it’s the open mouth that does it, as it makes the overall shape of the head longer and less round than Craig’s cheeky chops. And while Danny’s mask matches his natural skin tone, Craig’s looks lighter even than Robert and Chris’s caucasian mechanoids. It must just be the lighting in this particular shot, as this amusing tweet from Doug suggests that he looks less “white” on screen. An earlier Doug tweet revealed that in addition to the four regulars, the episode features around 30 mechanoids. Take a bow, make-up department.
Over on TOS, their write-up on the picture features quotes from the four guys, along with several new behind-the-scenes photos. These photos are all, without exception, fantastic, but first place has to go the visage of Chris Barrie, his face fully rubbered-up, pouring his curves into a fetching dressing gown, toasting the camera with a particularly large and particularly beige mug of tea. And again, his face is somehow still Chris Barrie’s face. Expect a new banner imminently.
What a joyous day it’s been, watching the wider world starting to talk about Red Dwarf again. As we slide inexorably towards Autumn, this is hopefully the start of a more regular release of information over the coming weeks. It’s time to do it all again; back-to-back annual series for the first time since 1992/1993. Bring it on.