Bobby Llew strikes yet again

Oh, Robert Llewellyn. You are a one man gun-jumping machine. This time, he’s turned up on the annoyingly-capitalised radio station talkSPORT, primarily to promote the forthcoming Fully Charged live shows. G&T regular Stephen Abootman was listening, and has very helpfully clipped up the part of the conversation that turned to our favourite show. Upon being asked by either Hawksbee or Jacobs whether he was “gonna do some more Red Dwarf“, Robert replied:

We are. We start Series XIII, which I can’t believe will be nearly 32 years since we started, which is quite daunting. So we’re all getting on a bit, but you know, we have such fun doing it. We’ve been working together recently and it is… I think none of us would do it any more if we didn’t get on, ’cause it’s such a difficult show to make. If you make a show that’s science-fiction, where everyone’s got loads of make-up on and props and difficult things, everything goes wrong. Mainly me and my brain not remembering what I’m supposed to say.

Well then. Quite the bombshell to drop and then swiftly move on from – perhaps having realised that he probably oughtn’t have – although the usual caveats apply that absolutely nothing is confirmed until we hear it from UKTV and/or GNP, despite what the inevitable deluge of semi-informed coverage will have you believe. But if we’re going to needlessly speculate, if it’s going to be “nearly 32 years since we started”, it’ll have to happen by the end of this year, presuming he doesn’t mean 32 years since he started.

I admit that I had got to a point where I thought a new series was unlikely, considering the drought of news over the last couple of years, but now I think we’ve experienced this period of time before. The recent sightings of the cast working together that Robert refers to could theoretically have been anything, but for him to specifically mention “Series XIII” seems pretty conclusive. We’re still keeping the bunting in the cupboard until it’s made official, but we’re putting the leftover bottles of piss-poor Leopard Lager in the fridge now.

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57 Responses to Bobby Llew strikes yet again

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  1. I think we’ve experienced this period of time before, Sir.
    *waits patiently for official confirmation*

  2. The official confirmation will be the live tour dates.

  3. Series XIII but it’s a six-date live show

  4. Curse that bloody Doug Naylor for his total mishandling of the Red Dwarf brand and his inability to… Oh, we’re getting a new series, you say?

  5. I bet filming will start the same time as Series XI did in 2015

  6. I bet filming will start the same time as Series XI did in 2015

    I don’t think filming will start in 2015.

  7. Well this is great news, although obviously not officially confirmed. Does it seem early for them to be doing (what appeared to be) readthroughs and make up tests before the series has been formally announced though? Only because I doubt the recordings are happening too imminently but they seem to be gearing up for production.

  8. And what were they doing at The Aeronaut? All rather odd.

  9. Thanks Ian. You’re first as usual with the latest exciting news. 👍😁

  10. I honestly wouldn’t mind if the next thing they shot, whether it be XIII or a one-off, went back to a BtE style, or similar. If they never did anything more ‘filmic’ again it would IMO be a huge wasted opportunity.

    2 or 3 stories in XI and XII that did not work (e.g. Samsara) COULD have been fantastic if taken more in that direction. I’m not saying there weren’t laughs in the episodes, but I will always class them as ‘throwaway’

  11. Could they preparing to film the serious or complicated bits first, then have the live audience nights in a few months? Perhaps the delay in getting things going is due to the extra cost of the audience, and as a compromise they plan on having fewer audience nights instead?

  12. I want them to do another VII but I also want them to do another BtE but I also want more XI/XII but I also want them to do something entirely new but I also want

    etc

  13. I’d ideally like to see a balance between the largely low-key and grounded Series X and the very middle series action sci-fi of XI and XII. As much as I enjoyed the latest two series, they seemed a bit light on pathos. And the best pathos we got was almost ruined by Cat interrupting with weak, mood-killing jokes.

  14. Could they preparing to film the serious or complicated bits first, then have the live audience nights in a few months?

    Or not at all?

  15. > And the best pathos we got was almost ruined by Cat interrupting with weak, mood-killing jokes.

    Tbf Cat has been interrupting moments of pathos since Better Than Life.

  16. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t fucking shite, though

  17. Cat didn’t interrupt in BTL. The scene had been completed and made its point, and he comes in at the end for some levity. Imagine if Cat had been there the whole time interrupting with jokes, and that’s Siliconia.

  18. One thing he said at the end of the interview when Holly was mentioned: “And now Norman’s come back, very begrudgingly. He was a miserable old man when I met him when he was a young man and he’s now a miserable old man, he hasn’t changed a bit in nearly 40 years”

    Referring to his Skipper appearance or revealing that Norman will be in XIII?

  19. At least to my eyes, it was fairly obvious that Norman would be back in Series XIII. He wanted in on XI / XII but was late to the punch. I think it would be a neat new dynamic to have the core four with Norman’s Holly. We’ve never seen that before.

    Before you say we saw it in VIII, what we saw in VIII was about 800 characters being juggled enough that even mainstays like Cat fell on the sidelines. Of _course_ Holly wasn’t going to have anything to do in VIII. Let’s not pretend like bringing him back in XIII would be the same thing. It’s the four guys alone on the ship. VIII Holly is not a valid comparison.

    I only bring this up to preempt a discussion I already see coming. People love invoking VIII Holly as an argument against the character coming back. It’s a totally different environment being written from a different mindset from then.

  20. V is probably a better comparison, however. Regardless of the incarnation of Holly, the character had nothing to do at all the last time we had a core four + Holly lineup.

  21. I agree it would be nice for Holly to come back, if only to offer something a bit new for the Dave era.

  22. The reason Norman’s Holly was popular is because he was gifted skits and monologues which worked very well in the slow-paced Series One and Two. Dog’s Milk, Norweb, Hol Rock. None of these skits have anything to do with the plots of the episodes, but they worked because they were nicely written and, presumably, stopped Norman moaning about having nothing to do. The show ditched them by Series III, not because Hattie had replaced Norman, but because the pace had been pushed forward and there was less of a need to “give Holly something funny to say, while everyone stands around for 3 minutes while she says it”. I don’t think Doug’s diaglogue is as funny as Series I-VI (controversial, I know), but I do think the show can still be great when it has characters + action driving stories forward at a decent pace. If Doug announced another “Marooned” style episode, I’d expect something like Duct Soup, rather than anything approaching Marooned-quality.

    Holly could have slotted quite easily into Dear Dave or Samsara with their meandering pace and scenes of people just sitting around doing fuck all. However, those episodes are dodgy *because* of their meandering pace and scenes of people just sitting around, so some below-par attempts at Holly monologues (which there are a decent amount of examples of in VIII) isn’t going to make them any better.

    Holly’s been written out twice before, and I can’t say I disagreed with either of those calls. Bringing back a character should be “think of the new storylines this will generate!” and not “remember all those good jokes he used to get!”.

  23. They’d obviously try to give him something to do perhaps more than they did in V, and with XIII hopefully not being as crowded as VIII, will hopefully find a way to do that more organically. I’m not fussed either way – it should be a nice change up and if he’s consistently as funny as he was in Skipper, great imo

  24. Everything Pete Part Three wrote

    That is a pretty good counter-argument, I have to admit. Maybe he’s best kept to scene-stealing one-offs like Nanarchy and Skipper, rather than a regular presence.

  25. My biggest fear is that Doug will create Holly sketches in already busy episodes just to give Norman something to do. which will again result in episodes that feel rushed.

    Holly was written out after series 5 because according to Doug they felt bad that Hattie rarely had anything to do. But these days i get the feeling Doug is more confident in his ability to make anything work. although i kinda don’t think that confidence has been justified based on how jam-packed the last 3 series have been.

  26. Can I just point out that these comments and those posts on the ‘XIII improvements’ thread in the forum are pretty much interchangeable. Can’t remember which one I’m reading half the time. Maybe we could have one or the other?

  27. That XII episode that opened with a Kryten/Rimmer skit that had fuck all to do with the plot was fantastic, tbf, could do that but with Holly

  28. Which one? the Kryten tricking Rimmer into mopping the floor?

  29. Yeah, the whole opening with Kryten sitting there waiting. I thought it was shite at first because we were just getting the “Bobby hams it up to the audience for 10 minutes” bit, but the revelation of how he was tricking Rimmer made it worth it tbh

  30. That’s such an odd one, because until the punch-line, it’s quite a good example of how broad and crude the Dave era can be, just hammering home the not-very-original-or-funny point time after time. I’d like to think that Doug did it on purpose, just to make the reveal even funnier, but I have a feeling he didn’t (it reminds me a little of Rimmer’s ‘move’ monologue in tonal horribleness), and yet the reveal still manages to somehow justify a largely unfunny scene.

  31. For me the reward of the reveal doesn’t feel earnt by the set up. i just could not buy that Rimmer would fall for that trick and then go on to mop the corridor after.

    I haven’t seen that scene in a while but from my memory, Kryten just hands him the mop and walks out the room. then suddenly Rimmer is mopping up the corridor, then its revealed Kryten tricked him and its made out to be this clever trick. i just can’t help but think it could have been done better.

    Maybe i am misunderstanding the scene, but thats how it appeared.

  32. If somebody told me the lackluster, almost annoying opening was deliberately set up to make the release of the reveal that much more satisfying, I’d buy it. You really do get a sense of “oh thank fuck that wasn’t just a waste of everybody’s time and it actually paid off into something hilarious, what a load off my mind”.

    Also Bobby thrusts the mop at Rimmer and it is very clear what he is doing, he doesn’t just hand him it and walk off leaving you to pick up the pieces

  33. Rimmer had to mop the floor or his lesson would have been a failure. The whole point was that he could teach better than Lister in a fraction the time, and if the natural result of his lesson was for Kryten to delegate him a task then he would have to follow through. Otherwise he accomplished nothing and can’t pretend like he was a better teacher than Lister. Rimmer would absolutely mop a floor if it gave him an excuse to feel like he bested someone.

  34. >Also Bobby thrusts the mop at Rimmer and it is very clear what he is doing, he doesn’t just hand him it and walk off leaving you to pick up the pieces

    I just watched the scene again and i understand it abit better now. thrusting the mop at rimmer does make it obvious that Kryten is just trying to get Rimmer to mop up, its abit broad and sketchy. a drop the mic moment for Kryten to walk out of the room.

    Maybe if Kryten had handed him the mop it wouldn’t have worked in terms of getting a laugh. but i do miss the early series subtlety.

  35. I miss the early series subtlety of Norman Lovett wearing a big pair of glasses and a fake mustache, Rimmer screaming about distended recta and Kryten appearing to sodomise Lister. That was so much better than the broad, sketchy stuff like Kryten handing Rimmer a mop.

  36. I miss the early series subtlety of Norman Lovett wearing a big pair of glasses and a fake mustache, Rimmer screaming about distended recta and Kryten appearing to sodomise Lister.

    Speaking of subtlety, I don’t know if it was that noticeable onscreen, but at one point in Future Echoes, Rimmer suddenly has a beehive hairdo for a little while. You have a look next time you watch it.

  37. Best example is in Can of Worms when the Cat is describing his sexual experience. Danny has an excitable energy to him. he is very much in comedy mode. even with the Cat miming the events of what happened, including the piping.

    I am trying to think whether classic Dwarf ever went that far. and its possible there were moments, Danny as Duane Dibley in Emohawk comes to mind. but the performances were often not that broad and felt abit more real.

    Craig Charles has said in interviews that he believes the more seriously you play it the funnier it is. and i totally agree with that.

  38. Hold on, people are now arguing against the fact that the Rob era had more subtlety in writing and performance than the Dave era?

    I like X-XII a lot more than Dax does, but he has a fair point.

  39. “Subtle” is the last word I’d use to describe any era of Red Dwarf honestly, it’s always been played fairly broad and “like a comedy”, it would be misremembering the early series to act like that was the case. But I was Having A Joke

  40. XI-XII does definitely have some very unsubtle (is that a word?) performances from the cast. Particularly Chris, who plays Rimmer like he’s in a pantomime 70% of the time.

    The writing is definitely more broad too, but I feel like we’ve had this exact discussion on G&T before anyway so whatever

  41. G&T Admin

    It’s at this point that I want to bring up Rimmer-in-Lister’s-body poking Cat in the eye in Body Swap, with the accompanying splat noise. CAT WOULD BE FUCKING BLIND IF HE’D DONE THAT, AND RIMMER WOULD HAVE BURST EYEBALL ON HIS FINGER.

    My view on all this: I think you *can* argue the show has become broader in some respects. And I would definitely argue that the performances are nowhere near as good as they used to be. But you can’t argue that the show was *always* entirely restrained.

  42. My view on all this: I think you *can* argue the show has become broader in some respects. And I would definitely argue that the performances are nowhere near as good as they used to be. But you can’t argue that the show was *always* entirely restrained.

    Yes, this. I don’t know if you’d ever get an observation-dome-style scene in the new series, but it’s not like the older series were without silly, broad slapstick moments.

  43. >It’s at this point that I want to bring up Rimmer-in-Lister’s-body poking Cat in the eye in Body Swap, with the accompanying splat noise. CAT WOULD BE FUCKING BLIND IF HE’D DONE THAT, AND RIMMER WOULD HAVE BURST EYEBALL ON HIS FINGER.

    It’s at this point that I want to bring up Blue Midget kicking Cat in the face in BITRP3. BLUE MIDGET WOULD HAVE BURST CAT ON HIS FOOT.

    Aherm. There’s definitely an upwards trajectory.

  44. My view on all this: I think you *can* argue the show has become broader in some respects. And I would definitely argue that the performances are nowhere near as good as they used to be. But you can’t argue that the show was *always* entirely restrained.

    This. It’s the balance that’s wrong: there’s some daft stuff in the whole era, but it was always offset by toned down, more believable performances and nicely acted moments of pathos. The Rimmer / Kryten bunk room bit that preceded the mopping would have been written and performed in a way that made it seem a lot less like a comedy routine if it was in, say, series 3. And you would never have got a moment like Rimmer’s ‘move’ monologue from Dear Dave in an earlier series. So when people are asking for subtlety, they’re not saying there were never moments of absurdity or slapstick in the Rob era, nor are they saying those bits were bad: they’re saying that plenty of scenes in the Dave era need the more understated feel of a lot of the early series’ dialogue to make that balance work, and make the show feel more rounded and believable.

  45. Back to Earth seems to support the argument that playing it up for the audience is what’s making the performances so broad. Personally doesn’t bother me, but obviously it’s not quite as good. I’d just prefer more pathos.

  46. Before tonight’s Taskmaster, there was a specially filmed trailer advertising Dave moving channel positions on Freeview, with all of its current original programming represented. Red Dwarf was in there, and very prominently too, so I am presuming they still consider it an ongoing concern.

  47. Holy shit! and now I’m discovering their brilliant Good Omens model work too.

    With the ‘bug being used in this way, that COULD indeed suggest Dave are in Red Dwarf mode, right now. Definitely a positive sign. And YES to bringing back the old ‘bug model.

  48. I think it’s the final confirmation that they’re gearing up for the live stage show.

  49. It’ll be performed from the back of that Dave van in the middle of random residential streets up and down the country.

  50. Somebody get that on YouTube.

  51. It’ll be performed from the back of that Dave van in the middle of random residential streets up and down the country.

    “Look, I never thought I’d say this, but: Pull down the blinds – I’m closing Starbug! (for an hour)”

  52. oops, wrong thread, never mind

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