E-Norm-ous Casting News

Today, a readthrough is taking place for the forthcoming Red Dwarf special. Dave have already tweeted a photo of the front page of the script, and now Baby Cow Productions have posted a lovely little cast photo on Instagram. The guys are all there, there’s Danny, Craig, Chris, Robert and… oh wait…

We were already aware that Norman’s presence in the special was a possibility after Richard Naylor responded in the affirmative to a question about plans to involve Holly, but I guess this confirms it. Norman Lovett will appear for a second consecutive episode of Red Dwarf.

Thanks to Joey Newsome for the heads-up.

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88 Responses to E-Norm-ous Casting News

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  1. What if he is just there to read the stage directions?

  2. I hope they just let him look like he does now, rather than trying to spraypaint a young man’s face onto his own. In Skipper he had that weird ‘Rimmer in Back To Earth/mid-2000s Paul McCartney’ cracked vanity thing going on. Give him some side patches, maybe, but let them be grey.

  3. Clearly scouring the script for any actual lines, there

  4. G&T Admin

    Norman’s changed his stance on rehearsals, then

  5. Can we do some ‘enhance’ on the script pages visible there?

  6. Interesting that there appear to be the five headshots of the main cast on those pieces of paper, along with a sixth blank headshot. Spoiler avoidance or have they just not cast that character yet?

  7. G&T Admin

    There’s another row of placeholders underneath too, so the sixth one on the top row might not be a “main” character.

  8. Norman’s changed his stance on rehearsals, then

    They tempted him along with the promise of a kick around when they break for lunch.

  9. There are 2 6-packs of crisps behind them too. Not yet known whether they’re going to be double-bagging, but an anagram of “Salt And Vinegar” is “La Grant Invades”, so I’m taking that as proof Rob’s back.

  10. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been on a very strict diet for three months and I’d have seen crisps in that picture even if there were none.

  11. Normans back? ah no wonder we need 90 minutes.

  12. Oh, it’s that guy who they haven’t given a funny line to for 31 years and wrote out twice.

    YAY.

  13. Oh, it’s that guy who they haven’t given a funny line to for 31 years and wrote out twice.

    YAY.

    What do you mean? “Become a dog” is the greatest gag in Red Dwarf history /s

  14. Oh, it’s that guy who they haven’t given a funny line to for 31 years and wrote out twice.

    YAY.

    do you not like any of holly’s gags?….actually, genuine question, do you like any of red dwarf? not trying to be a smartarse or anything here, just surely if you don’t think one of the main characters for the first few series is funny, and you don’t like the stuff past series 6 (i think i remember you saying this before, could be wrong) then surely that only leaves about 4 series of stuff you actually like. that’s barely a third of the show

  15. G&T Admin

    Yeah, but saying Norman hasn’t had a funny line for 31 years only excludes ten episodes, and he’s barely in some of those. Personally, I liked Holly in Nanarchy and Skipper, but think he was awful, both in writing and performance, throughout Series VIII. But also, I don’t think that necessarily precludes him from being good now, given that the same could be said of several characters in VIII. But also also, I do have reservations about whether there’s space for the character as a regular any more, and worry that he’d be just as superfluous as he was in VIII if he’s back on a permanent basis.

    That was some impressive fence-sitting, you have to admit.

  16. He wasn’t great in the Remastered stuff either. although he had improved in Skipper.

  17. >do you not like any of holly’s gags?

    Yes, the stuff from Series 1 and 2. You know, 31 years ago as per my comment. He wasn’t in it again until Nanarchy, which was shite. Then he was in Series 8 and was lucky if they gave him a couple of lines an episode. And then they brought him back for Skipper, and he had nothing notable to do except make the audience go apeshit because he was back. Again. Well, he’s not going to get that reaction *this* time, so they’re going to have to give him something to do to justify him being back. Plus, he plays the character different these days.

    My problem with Norman (and I’ve said this before) is that his version of the character worked when Rob and Doug gifted him little skits. They were essentially monologues, which had nothing whatsoever to do with the plots of the episode; Hol Rock, Dog’s Milk, Norweb, Agatha Christie…etc… It was all funny stuff, but the show moved on and there simply wasn’t room for that…which is why Hattie was so underused. And when Norman came back…the writing wasn’t there either. The show now is at his best when it moves at a decent pace. It falls on its arse when the characters just sit around talking about stuff that doesn’t drive the plot forward. This is the problem with Dear Dave or great chunks of Samsara. And I can see that being exacerbated if you have an immobile character back, and the camera just cutting back to him so he can do a face.

    >you don’t like the stuff past series 6

    5 episodes in my Top 36 in the Pearl Poll were Post Series 6. 2 in the top 20. So, no.

  18. He was given a few pretty good lines in VIII to be fair, but unfortunately they were too often followed by an unnecessary explainer line. “Brylcreem, it’s called” is such a nice gag, for example, but then piledriven into the ground by the next line.

  19. >Yes, the stuff from Series 1 and 2. You know, 31 years ago as per my comment.

    oh sorry, i forgot when series 1 and 2 were. i thought you were saying you didn’t like any of holly’s gags ever

  20. I always thought Timewave should have been 90 minutes.

  21. Citing Skipper as part of Norman’s defence is like introducing Ben Woodburn as “Champions League winner, Ben Woodburn”.

    Technical true as he’s got a medal, but he did fuck all.

    How many lines did he have? Compared to be being crap in VII and VIII, you can blame the material for a chunk of it I suppose, but it was a completely different Holly, none of the charm, so why bother getting a known pain in the arse back? Especially when two writers struggled to find material for him and Hattie.

  22. Let’s hope he gets his ball back, this time!

  23. I’ve never missed Holly in any of the non-Holly series, but if Doug paces this special nicely, so there’s time for banter and asides that don’t feel like interruptions, it’s the best time to make a comeback.

  24. Least with Holly around there won’t be any need for that JMC computer crap. it never made much sense to me.

  25. Oh hey, they also brought back one of the attendees from McIntyre’s funeral.

  26. I’m glad Chris Barrie’s elusive twin brother could make it for the rehearsals next to Danny.

  27. A 90 minute episode gives a lot more room to breathe, plenty of space to give Holly some good dialogue.

  28. It’s going to be a standard 28-minute Dwarf plot with 62 minutes of Holly skits to make up for all the material he didn’t get in VIII-XII

  29. A 90 minute episode gives a lot more room to breathe, plenty of space to give Holly some good dialogue.

    Time isn’t the issue, the character has become superfluous, and even if Doug came up with a Dog’s milk/Norweb tier bit, it’s the performance.

    Nothing seen or heard since 1988 suggests we’re getting that Holly back, he’s gone.

    Bringing back the character peak Grant Naylor couldn’t make worthwhile just seems like a waste of budget/time and potentially ends up with Norman getting face on again and being written out for the third time because he himself doesn’t think it’s worth his time.

  30. Just bring Hattie back, or at least have her involved in some fashion. I’ve never actually liked Norm as Holly and much preferred Hattie’s performance/style.

  31. I’ve always regarded Smeg Outs rather than Nanarchy as Norman’s true reintroduction to the series. He features very heavily on that tape.

  32. why does everyone hate norman so much?

  33. Doug can write good Holly lines – “You’re finished” and the cell inspection gag – and as the show is far, far funnier now than it was in VIII, I believe he could do something worthwhile with the character. Whether he will or not remains to be seen.

    As for Norman’s performance in Skipper, it wasn’t spot on, but then again Chris has a lot of clunky moments these days, but I’m still happy Rimmer’s in the show.

  34. – “If the board of enquiry find us guilty tomorrow, what happens then?”
    – “Well, they’ll probably have a pot of tea, a bit of a chat and go home, I suppose.”

  35. why does everyone hate norman so much?

    Don’t hate the man, I’m sure he’s lovely, but the actor is a mardy arse and hasn’t put in the performances, he’s “bad for the dressing room” in football parlance. Geriatric Pogba.

    Also, not that we get them nowadays, but he ruins commentaries like no-one’s business.

  36. I don’t think it helps that there was a time when Norman was saying how he would never return to the show because they treated him so badly and that he was gonna write a book about it… and now suddenly its ok sure i’l come back, thanks for waiting for me.

  37. Also, not that we get them nowadays, but he ruins commentaries like no-one’s business.

    I dunno, he’s the only one on the VIII commentary brave enough to point out that it’s actually pretty shit.

  38. Doesn’t Chris call VII boring as well (partially a joke about him not being in it, but only partially) and there’s that bit where nobody says anything for about 30 seconds because there’s really nothing to say

  39. There’s a joke in there about Pree-cum or Pree-mature ejaculation, but that would be incredibly immature

  40. Series 8 was a very busy series and Norman was not in it that much. might have helped his dislike for it. Holly was there just to get asked for help with dumb responses and to get occasional sketch comedy.

    I remember Norman did not like the amount of rude humour the show had like Krytie tv.

  41. Certainly at the start of BitR he’s complaining about the quality and style of the writing, so I’d say he’s probably got a better perspective on it than the rest of the cast.

  42. Certainly at the start of BitR he’s complaining about the quality and style of the writing, so I’d say he’s probably got a better perspective on it than the rest of the cast.

    Well he is the only one who’s not under the “it’s some of the best Red Dwarf we’ve ever made” spell that Doug cast while he was away.

  43. In this pic, Norman’s just noticed a ‘spit on her wrist’ level gag in the Special script that everyone else is too polite to flag up. Norman could be our hero.

  44. > Don’t hate the man, I’m sure he’s lovely, but the actor is a mardy arse

    I don’t hate him either, but his behaviour over the years has often gone beyond mardy, and certainly couldn’t be described as lovely. He comes across as an entitled prima donna and has made some very unpleasant comments that were completely unwarranted. He only left the show in the first place because he couldn’t get his own way. Then he complained about Hattie being cast, bizarrely claiming that conditions were agreed to regarding how he’d be replaced, which Doug has said is bollocks. And then he threw his toys out of the pram big time when, heaven forfend, he was kept waiting about a decision as to whether there was a part for him in Back to Earth. I don’t get why he keeps being asked back as if the show needs him.

  45. Well it was apparently Norman who called Doug and asked about being involved in Red Dwarf again. thats why he was in Skipper.

  46. Personally I prefer Hattie’s version of Holly rather than Norm’s though he was good for series 1-2. Basically there has not really been a reason for the Holly character since about Series 4 and that is why it has been written out twice. Be interesting to see what Doug has in mind this time.

  47. I can’t help but feel that G&T may have something new to add to the Recommendations box in the not too distant future.

  48. I like Hattie’s Holly, but she had one prominent role in White Hole and was the hero at the end of Back To Reality. Beyond that her role in those 18 episodes amounted to just quick gags Holly in VIII is often critized for.

    I’m not here to make out Norman as a saint, but his displeasure at going from recurring to minor character status is understandable. I don’t think any conclusions can be drawn whether his departure was because “he couldn’t get his own way” when it looked as if there was little reason why he should’ve been making several trips a month for a bit part when he’d just been newly-wed. It’s not in his own personal interest, and I think people can agree with that.

    Beyond that, the old excuse that a Holly story can’t be written just because they ran out of ideas for him 20 years ago is such bollocks. Doug didn’t have any new potential plots for the character in that long? Doubt it.

  49. I like Hattie’s Holly, but she had one prominent role in White Hole and was the hero at the end of Back To Reality. Beyond that her role in those 18 episodes amounted to just quick gags Holly in VIII is often critized for.

    I’m not here to make out Norman as a saint, but his displeasure at going from recurring to minor character status is understandable. I don’t think any conclusions can be drawn whether his departure was because “he couldn’t get his own way” when it looked as if there was little reason why he should’ve been making several trips a month for a bit part when he’d just been newly-wed. It’s not in his own personal interest, and I think people can agree with that.
    Beyond that, the old excuse that a Holly story can’t be written just because they ran out of ideas for him 20 years ago is such bollocks. Doug didn’t have any new potential plots for the character in that long? Doubt it.

    Think that’s doing her down a bit, White Hole is the best Holly performance in Red Dwarf in my opinion, she also did the Norman jokes well (“lunchtime, maybe ‘arf one”, Grit, autopilot/muggins etc), it’s all better than brylcreem, become a dog, sickbags, nostrilomo and rat arsed anyway, but she gave other options by having some range outside of “middle aged man” – what would an evil/high Norman been in Demons & Angels for example? Or Dimension Jump, Melly vs whoever Norm would have been, probably an air marshall or something, but it doesn’t provide any background on Ace.

    The more I think about the more unforgivable it is that they got rid of her to be honest, and that they didn’t ask her back a mere few years later long before “aged out of it” interviews start appearing.

    Norman was there at the start but that’s the only thing he’s got over Hattie.

  50. > I don’t think any conclusions can be drawn whether his departure was because “he couldn’t get his own way” when it looked as if there was little reason why he should’ve been making several trips a month

    See the documentary on Bodysnatcher, where Paul Jackson and Doug outline the very valid reasons they felt it was necessary for Norman to attend rehearsals. PJ was willing to compromise but Norman evidently thought he was irreplaceable, and wouldn’t accept that he should be paid less for doing less work. ‘He quit because he didn’t get his own way’ is exactly what happened.

  51. I’m not arguing Hattie’s Holly scenes aren’t often unique to her new personality, but that’s not gonna prove anything anyway. I’m sure a Norman Holly would do just as fine in a Demons & Angels compared to Hattie who had her hair black and spoke a bit nasty. Again I like Hattie, but sometimes people boost her role to a signifigance it never had compared to Norman who built the role, even giving it a floating head in the first place.

  52. The producers needed norman at rehearsals so they could see whether certain jokes worked or not. but norman seems to think because he was just a face on a screen that meant he could get that privilege to make up for his smaller role, so they said ok but we will have to reduce your pay and norman did not like that either.

    As for Hattie. from the sound of it they didn’t know how to write for Hattie. i remember reading that they did not want to go the dumb blonde route. nowadays Doug would probably jump to writing a dumb blonde character. but back then they did not want to do that. which is why Holly seemed to show far less computer senility as 3,4 and 5 went on. so thats probably why it was felt Norman was easier to write for.

    But you can not complain about Hattie. she did her job and did it well, and her presence as holly in those 3 series is felt. and adds to the feel of those series.

  53. Less computer seniality like smashing her head into the computer monitor then. There’s so little of Hattie Holly you can’t say her character is beyond a head-in-the-clouds ditz. It’s quite a strawman to assume Doug is just a shit writer now.

  54. She’s noticeably stupider in White Hole for the benefit of the plot. Rob/Doug seemed to think it was a bit much, hence the weird overdubbed explanation about being affected by an ion storm. She’s written as totally competent by series V, no more grit/bomb type gaffes.

  55. Isn’t that mostly though because White Hole was hastily adapted from prose they’d written with Norman Holly in mind.

  56. True, the Holly in the novels is based off Norman Lovett. However, the Holly in the novels is also played pretty straight, he’s never especially dumb, it’s just he’s lost all his essential knowledge and is more clueless than anything. The dumbest thing he does is in Backwards where he manages to subtract his IQ all the way down to double digits.

    Holly is written competently in Series V, but it’s unlikely that was ever the intention, more because she was inconsequential to plots and was only given screentime when she interacted with it such as snapping the crew out of their hallucination in Back to Reality. Mostly though, she has almost no presence in episodes like Holoship and The Inquisitor.

  57. Also for me her best moments were when she was a ditz, she played it wonderfully.

  58. Dye her hair brown then if you don’t want her to be a dumb blonde

  59. If she were to ever come back she’d be the only one with no artificial modifications to her hair, can’t do that now.

  60. >Don’t want to do the dumb blonde trope
    >Cast a BLONDE WOMAN as HOLLY

  61. More likely a tedious objection they encountered along the way, and may have taken on board (they bring it up in a Smegazine interview post series V), than something they fretted about when Paul Jackson recommended the ideal performer for Holly’s female counterpart in a one-off episode. I think she had to audition again for Holly after that, but she’d already proven herself.

    The ‘dumbing-up'(?) over her era seems deliberate to me, even with limited material to base that on, but I put that down to the more serious sci-fi grounding they were going for as it went along, since she’s mainly an interactive set element by that point.

  62. Everyone always seems to forget that Holly isn’t as dumb as he plays sometimes. He’s actually competent at running Red Dwarf in the first two series, and is more eccentric and playful than dumb. Queeg makes it incredibly clear that Holly can actually be serious and responsible if he wants to.

  63. Let’s hope Doug remembers that and doesn’t just write a prat version of Holly

  64. Oh, it’s that guy who they haven’t given a funny line to for 31 years and wrote out twice.

    YAY.

    I disagree I think “Nobody’s dead, Arnold.” In Skipper was a very funny and clever

  65. Perhaps with Holly around the Cat will be alot less incredibly dumb now. need some material for Holly after all.

  66. Speaking strictly Norman’s Holly, Holly has only spoken to Kryten in Nanarchy and only directly talked to Cat maybe once in Pete Part Two and it was the short/long version exchange.

    He’s had more conversation with them in Red Dwarf Log 1996, so there should be plenty of new material to mine there.

  67. I disagree I think “Nobody’s dead, Arnold.” In Skipper was a very funny and clever

    But isn’t that just reverse rehash of another Holly joke?

    I wouldn’t have minded that joke if they had not gone all the way with it step by step.

  68. Oh, it’s that guy who they haven’t given a funny line to for 31 years and wrote out twice.

    YAY.
    I disagree I think “Nobody’s dead, Arnold.” In Skipper was a very funny and clever

    You might think it’s funny but it’s a long way from being clever let’s be honest.

    Rework of the most famous line in Red Dwarf.

  69. Norman is still very skilled in front of an audience and most of his delivery in Series VIII and Skipper was fine (he struggled without an audience before that).

    I think the character can work as part of a 5, but that all depends on the writing.

  70. Rework of the most famous line in Red Dwarf.

    Precisely why its funny.
    I thought Holly was great in Skipper, but that’s because it was a recreation of ‘old’ Holly. As a one off, I think it’s great. But I don’t think the character works as a regular anymore, for the exact reasons the character was excised in the first place – Kryten gets the exposition, and there’s more action.

  71. This isn’t much insight, but I just can’t summon up any opinion other than that it’s really *nice* to see him there in the main cast. It’s just *nice*.

    Quite apart from anything else, how often do you see septuagenarians as marquee names in big entertainment shows now? And viral social media posts announcing them?

  72. There are so many retro franchise revivals around these days that I think it happens often. There’s always demand for gravitas seniors in TV and films too. I’m always (very patronisingly) impressed and reassured to see 70+ actors and writers still getting on with things.

  73. I suppose you’re right, actually. Still nice to see on a TV comedy, in a world which is veering more and more ageist.

  74. Red dwarf yet again having a main cast that’s different from all 12 previous iterations.

    I’m ready and ok with it. Ready for Dougs next vision.

  75. Have they started filming now?

  76. bobbyllew said the cast start filming on Monday morning.

  77. So now?

  78. The first on-camera “smeg” will be heralded by white smoke coming out of the top of Pinewood Studios.

  79. The first on-camera “smeg” will be heralded by white smoke coming out of the top of Pinewood Studios.

    I like it when they say Smeg.

  80. The viral marketing stunt for this special will be The Great London Smeg of 2020 in which they flood the city with poison smog that smells like Indian food.

  81. They should make a full-size Starbug blimp and crash it into Clive Sinclair’s house.

  82. The viral marketing stunt for this special will be The Great London Smeg of 2020 in which they flood the city with poison smog that smells like Indian food.

    They’re going to fill the Thames with vindaloo sauce and give everyone a free naan bread to go and dip into it.

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