It’s been mentioned several times before that, based on all available data, if there was one word to sum up Series XII, it’s “batshit”. The set reports indicated that several of the episodes are particularly out there, certainly compared to Series XI, and the early publicity would certainly seen to corroborate that initial assessment. Following on from last week’s somewhat unconventional group shot, no less than four individual character photos have been released on social media today (and then handily compiled on TOS), all of which feature one of the four boys in unusual circumstances. Let’s go through them one by one, in ascending order of weirdness.
It’s a cat in a porthole, waiting to drown. Alternative caption: Danny John-Jules’s Radiohead tribute act goes tragically wrong. The most unconventional thing about this picture is that Cat photos usually provide us with a good look at a brand new costume, but this shot offers few conclusions, other than the assumption that, at some point over the course of the six episodes, The Cat will be in danger of drowning behind a porthole. Moving on then…
Craig will be absolutely furious that they’ve released a photo of him without make-up, etc. Here we see a severely aged Lister, looking kind of like how he did in Future Echoes, but with two arms, more life-like ageing effects, and a dreadlocked beard. He’s also in the whitest room since the last Trump rally, complete with white clothing, white guitar and what look like white lager cans on the right hand side. G&T regular Craig Walker tweeted to point out the M-Corp logo on Lister’s top; I wasn’t sure at first, but it’s clearly visible in the higher-res version from TOS, if you squint a bit.
Next up, here’s Kryten in his absolute element, getting waited on hand and foot by a whole host of fellow mechanoids, like when the Tin Man first arrives in the Land of Oz. I particularly like the guy on the right wearing a beret and gloves, reminiscent of the leather daddy look that the original Kryten adopts at the end of Kryten. Slightly disconcerted by the way Kryten’s groinal socket dangles so provocatively.
And saving by far the best til last:
Our initial response on Twitter was simply “HOLY SHIT”, and I stand by that sentiment. This is an extraordinary image. It’s Rimmer, in a Series 1 style uniform, with a Series 1 style giant H, standing in what is clearly a Series 1 style set. There are some key differences though – there doesn’t appear to be any attempt to make him look younger, and his uniform indicates that he’s a Navigation Officer, rather than a lowly Second Technician. This is clearly not as straight-forward as a Balance of Power-esque flashback, or a Stasis Leak-esque journey to the past – this is something else entirely.
Bloody hell, just look at that picture. Just look at it. Since Series X, we’ve been saying how important it is that the revived Dwarf should focus on forging its own identity, and not concern itself too much with linking up with the show’s past. But now that new Dwarf is a semi-regular occurrence, established in its own right as a continuing series instead of a retro throwback, they can afford to indulge in a little nostalgia every now and then. It’s a similar situation to Doctor Who, which didn’t so much as show a still image of a previous Doctor until the third new series, but is now in the position where this year’s Christmas special is a sequel-of-sorts to a partially lost story from 1966. This picture appearing in our news feeds, with all the warm, happy feelings it evokes, is our equivalent of Hartnell’s TARDIS turning up in the Doctor Who trailer.
One further note: Naylor Minor has tweeted to clarify that these four images are taken from four different episodes. This is good for two reasons – firstly, it means that no one episode will have two or more of these extreme concepts competing for screen time, and it also means that the batshit vibe of Series XII will be present in more than half of the episodes, at the very least. We’re not sure which episodes are which, obviously, but I think it’s a safe bet that the one with all the mechanoids is also The One Where Everyone’s Kryten, and the one where Lister has “M-Corp” on his top is from M-Corp.
In other news, TOS reports that general tickets are now on sale for the premiere screening in Edinburgh at the end of August, but probably won’t be for long. Meanwhile, Matrix, the company behind the hugely successful Red Dwarf XI merchandise, tweeted a preview of a new Series XII t-shirt the other day, stating that the new merch will be available in September. Last time round, the shop launched on the same day as the series, so is this a further indication that Series XII will be hitting our screens in September? It won’t be long now until we find out for sure…