We have something interesting for you today.
Cor. Right, go and do what you need to do, and come back when you’re finished.
Back? Excellent. Firstly, many thanks to Keith Jacobsen for the above picture, who you will be unsurprised to hear worked on Series 2 of Red Dwarf. The revelations you can get out of something like this are many and varied. So let’s just concentrate on one thing. Because I know the kind of thing which really excites you all. And that is: recording dates for Tongue Tied.
A quick recap. Parallel Universe, despite being the last episode broadcast of Series 2, was the penultimate episode recorded – on the 25th/26th of June 1988. Queeg was the last episode recorded, on the 2nd/3rd of July 1988. Which means the following note is extremely interesting:
“TONGUETIED – TO BE RX’D ON 9/10.7”
Which is a full week later than Queeg!
It’s when you read things like this that you understand how many dodgy assumptions we’ve all made about the production of Red Dwarf over the years. In my head, I had always assumed that Tongue Tied was just recorded during Parallel Universe‘s pre-record day, on the 25th June. The fact there was an entire two days of recording after the series had finished – containing one of the show’s most famous sequences – has never been documented anywhere publicly before. It’s at this point you realise exactly how spoilt Doctor Who fandom is for this kind of production information – so many people have done so much legwork over the years. With Red Dwarf, there is still so much left to discover.
It also leaves us with something else to ponder. The documentary The Beginning on The Bodysnatcher Collection documented something major which had never been talked about before: that Series 1 had seven episodes commissioned, seven recording dates, but only delivered six shows. Here we find out that Series 2 had a similar situation: there were two whole recording days spare for other things, after the last episode had been recorded. It makes you wonder what other things we just don’t know. Did Series III have similar extra recording days at the end of the series?
Finally: it brings home the fact that when Parallel Universe was shot, the studio audience didn’t even see the best-remembered sequence of the show. Where does the audience reaction come from for the sequence? Real laughs? Canned laughs?
Anyway, a few things to think about. And we haven’t even started considering the code NGTV 029 on the front page of the script. NGTV will be Noel Gay Television; as this is show 5, presumably the first four episodes of the series are NGTV 025 – 028. Series 1 of Red Dwarf will take up six more of the numbers… leaving 18 unaccounted for. So if you fancy speculation about the production codes of early Noel Gay productions, this is an ideal opportunity.
Oh, go on then, one more little tidbit:
Peter Simon did warm-up.
I need a lie down now.