While you shouldn’t expect much immediate in-depth coverage from us for obvious reasons, we thought we’d best provide a place for everyone to discuss The Boys from the Dwarf, the first of the three-part documentary series Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years, which airs tonight at 9pm on DaveA few reviews and previews have started to emerge, from the likes of Radio Times, What’s On TV and Sci-Fi Bulletin, who reveal the unexpected but welcome news that the series is narrated by an actual Doctor Who, David Tennant. A fansite of his has what looks like the full press release.

There is also an additional reason to tune in tonight. The Patrick family have asked us to spread the news that there will be a tribute card to Seb included. It was too late to get it added to the programme itself, but thanks to Doug and the team at GNP, UKTV are doing it as part of their presentation. We’re told it’ll happen during an ad break at around 21:25.

64 comments on “Let’s Talk About The First Three Million Years #1

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  • Nice news about the tribute.

    Interesting that they snagged Tennant to narrate. That’ll be where the 2nd half of the series budget went in the TPL/Docs production block.

  • I wonder why Tennant was chosen to narrate. Seems odd as he’s well associated with Doctor Who and not Red Dwarf. Was there no-one more ‘Dwarfian’ they could have got?

  • I wonder why Tennant was chosen to narrate. Seems odd as he’s well associated with Doctor Who and not Red Dwarf. Was there no-one more ‘Dwarfian’ they could have got?

    Come on, it’s David Tennant. Aside from his Sci-fi credentials, he’s also an excellent v/o artist in general, and always sounds fantastic.

    Marvellous news about Seb’s tribute.

  • Patrick Stewart too expensive now innit.

    Not sure it’ll be cheaper to fend off his legal team when this goes to court, though.

    It’s sweet of them to include Seb somehow.

  • Really great of UKTV to pull out the stops and acknowledge Seb. And, yeah, Tennant’s done a bunch of documentary narration work over the years (even did the very first DW Confidential before we knew he was going to be in the role).

  • If David does it in the style of W1A i’ll cry…

    “It’s Thursday morning at (Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath) and it’s not a good start to the day for (actor Danny John-Jules). He’s already late for work, but he’s about to discover he’s not as late yet as he’s eventually going to be”.

  • even did the very first DW Confidential before we knew he was going to be in the role

    Crikey, really? I didn’t even notice and I watched those go out

    The only other person I could think of to do it would be Robert Llewellyn, but he’s in it, so

  • It wasn’t a Confidential as such, it was a half-hour piece that went out before Rose. Eccleston announced he was leaving two days later and Tennant was immediately reported as the favourite to succeed him, so draw your own conclusions.

  • Hmm. Peter Capaldi’s latest role immediately before being cast as the Doctor was in a movie where he was credited as “WHO Doctor”. Make of that what you will

  • I’m glad some strings have been pulled to get a tribute to Seb in there. Yet another sign of the importance of community around the show that it was deemed important enough. I hope it makes it into the UKTV play version as that’s the one I’ll be watching.

  • Even if there isn’t much new information in this – I would gladly just watch all of the existing documentaries, anyway, really. So all of that information packaged up in a new way is slightly more exciting and interesting. So even if I learn not one single thing from tonight, I won’t be upset about it. Very cool that lots of eyes will be on this either way, and great for people who haven’t seen the DVD stuff.

  • Should have got James O’Brien to narrate.

    And yeah what Ben said. We either have or do or will watch the documentaries will already have more than once. Having it in a more concise format it nice, and it will hopefully bring it a little more up to date.

    And I’m sure they’ll be loads of fans of the show who watch it on TV but haven’t ever bought the DVD because they got into it later, they weren’t born at the right time etc etc. So new docs to disseminate all this info to them is great.

  • I think it’ll be worth it just for the roundtable chats, if that clip is anything to go by.

  • Only thing annoying me is the 4:3 content being stretched and some gags being lost as stuff is being cut off. That and the old crappy version of the logo being used on the show.

  • I could do without the cropped clips of the classic era. A bit of a shame as some of the specially filmed stuff (the “character-load” graphics) was done with care.

    I can understand why Rob isn’t there. Don’t get why Paul isn’t.

    Doug sounds ill.

  • I thought Doug looked/sounded ill, but then remember he is doing it rather last-minute from his bedroom, isn’t he. Lockdown and all that.

    This documentary is so FAST FAST FAST, but a lot of this sort of stuff is.

  • Exactly what I expected it to be. Electrician’s strike, “a poet, impressionist, dancer and comedian”, rejected 3 times… not a bad thing but it really does feel like I’ve seen it before.

    Lovely, simple tribute to Seb. I’m sure he’d be proud.

  • Enjoying it, but I can’t believe they’re using that title card, it’s awful. Other than that, well made! Howard Goodall is always entertaining.

  • I’m actually really quite enjoying it. Yes, a lot of it is familiar to us fans, but it was always going to be. This still feels fairly thorough and feels like it’s been put together with care.

  • I enjoyed it even if it was mostly stuff we had heard before. I was good to hear Craig acknowledge that the first episode did actually get decent viewing figures.

  • Honestly, seeing Seb’s name in the credits got me more, because I wasn’t expecting it.

    There were a few bits of archive I hadn’t seen before (or at least, didn’t remember), like the shots of Acton.

  • Enjoyed it, but I missed the first few minutes due to doing that Jay’s Virtual Pub Quiz with my family. Will catch up using the app and give an in-depth thinky think on it. Hope everyone here is okay.

  • No. It’s 4:3 for me on Freeview.

    We’re watching on UKTV play where it’s being broadcast in what we believe is 14:9

    Not a great photo I know. You can’t screenshot UKTV Play

  • There were a few bits of archive I hadn’t seen before (or at least, didn’t remember), like the shots of Acton.

    I’ve watched A-Z and the DVD docs to death over the last 20 years, so I enjoyed seeing seeing unfamiliar (to me) clips of Craig doing poetry, Robert in The Joeys etc.

    Agree that it’s familiar content packaged and delivered very well, and I’m getting a kick out of imagining how eye-opening and enjoyable it must be for a casual/new fan.

    An hour of Robert Llewellyn laughing would do me

    Also agree with this. I never cease to get joy from that man’s endless humour, self-effacement and zest for life. I’d love to be his friend

  • That closing theme was horrifically edited.
    But a nice show, and a couple of little things in there even I’d not seen before (or forgotten about). From what was said at the end, I thought that they might have put the whole series on UKTV Play already, but no. Which I’m glad about, because I’d really like to wait and watch on telly, not sure I’d be able to if it was there for me to neb at.

  • At the moment, it really does just seem to be people remembering how they answered questions for the DVD documentaries and repeating those stories about the filming of the show three decades ago, rather than people remembering the filming of the show three decades ago.

    The chat with Craig, Danny, Chris and Bobby on the Stabug set was a nice change of pace from the talking-heads format. It was a little stilted and semi-rehearsed, but it was a bit different.

    I have to confess, I’m actually looking forward to the narrative reaching the Dave era just for the chance of something new, beyond stuff that could have been assembled from The Bodysnatcher Collection.

  • The format is familiar but it’s nice to see Dwarf get this treatment and, though we’ve seen a lot of this stuff before, I thought it was really nicely put together.

  • There is something quite comforting about watching this style of documentary, even if there’s little to no truly new information. David Tennant’s narration, production people who I vividly remember from 10-20 year old DVD special features doing talking heads, the cast with their roundtable banter, Howard Goodall singing the theme song, celebrity fans praising the show, intercut archive footage. It’s all just so… pleasant.

    I also liked how Hattie’s caption changed from ‘Hilly’ to ‘Holly’ mid-shot when she was discussing her coming back for series 3.

    Shame about the forced widescreen on the classic clips, though. At least they didn’t use Remastered.

  • I also liked how Hattie’s caption changed from ‘Hilly’ to ‘Holly’ mid-shot when she was discussing her coming back for series 3.

    Did it? Didn’t spot that. I’ll have to go inspect UKTV Play.

  • I didn’t notice that either. Nice touch.

    Stretched clips and the really horribly shortened version of the theme song aside, I enjoyed it. Even the celebrity fans were alright I guess. Danny chatting with Howard Burden ought to be interesting. Hoping for one or two other things like that we haven’t seen before, if memory serves, and a bit more of the main cast chatting.

  • There is something quite comforting about watching this style of documentary, even if there’s little to no truly new information. David Tennant’s narration, production people who I vividly remember from 10-20 year old DVD special features doing talking heads, the cast with their roundtable banter, Howard Goodall singing the theme song, celebrity fans praising the show, intercut archive footage. It’s all just so… pleasant.

    Summed it up better than I did 😊

  • I also liked how Hattie’s caption changed from ‘Hilly’ to ‘Holly’ mid-shot when she was discussing her coming back for series 3.

    Did it? Didn’t spot that. I’ll have to go inspect UKTV Play.

    Oh yeah. 41:46.

  • I have very little to add to this. I enjoyed it, despite it being nothing new. I enjoyed the guys sitting around the table talking, that was a good vibe and hopefully there’s a lot more of that in the next couple of episodes.

    That theme tune at the end though, wow! I don’t mind them editing it down, but at least edit it so it’s a bit more seamless. You could almost feel the scissors being taken haphazardly to a reel to reel tape in the two very awkward and obvious cuts there.

  • I don’t have The Bodysnatcher Collection, so the clips of the original version of The End were mostly new to me.

    I liked the clips of the cast sitting around the table on the set of The Promised Land, but I was a bit distracted because it kept making me think of Four Yorkshiremen. (Now there’s a thought: that sketch, re-enacted by the Red Dwarf cast…)

  • (Now there’s a thought: that sketch, re-enacted by the Red Dwarf cast…)

    You’re asking for Red Dwarf Unplugged. Stop that!

  • Shame about the forced widescreen on the classic clips, though. At least they didn’t use Remastered.

    They did use Remastered for at least one clip from ‘The End’.

  • it kept making me think of Four Yorkshiremen. (Now there’s a thought: that sketch, re-enacted by the Red Dwarf cast…)

    In full costume?

    Just a little note – I watched in full a second time via a SkyGo app on my laptop last night, and was surprised how much sharper the shorn 4:3 stuff looked on there.

  • Yeah, that was nice. A few unseen snippets and new talking heads, the four of them chatting, and a different format made it different enough from just rewatching the DVD extras. Looks like we have more unseen stuff coming next week.

    The structure makes sense: one episode on 1 & 2, one on III-VIII and one on the Dave era (presumably). Most looking forward to the post-Rob stuff in terms of how they all react to the critical and fan backlash of later BBC, and just general discussion of the Dave era.

    Still great to have this much material on actual TV.

  • I was watching on UKTV Play and honestly I thought the footage of the earlier series looked pretty good for the most part. There was one clip where they really fucked with the contrast/colour on a Series 1 scene, as if trying to make it look more visually impressive than it is, like an overly-bright Tumblr gif, iirc.

  • There’s that one clip with Lister’s guitar where it looks super-bright white, like someone’s tip-exxed over the footage.

  • There’s that one clip with Lister’s guitar where it looks super-bright white, like someone’s tip-exxed over the footage.

    That’s always looked like that, though.

  • Maybe it’s just my TV settings for broadcast TV but I thought it looked particularly bad on Thursday night.

  • It’s completely needless, for a show aimed at Red Dwarf fans, to zoom crop old clips. Just do the blurred pillar box thing, it’s fine.

  • It’s completely needless, for a show aimed at Red Dwarf fans, to zoom crop old clips. Just do the blurred pillar box thing, it’s fine.

    Is it aimed at fans though, or people that watch the show when it is on Dave? Not to say they’re not fans, but they’re not here are they.

    They appeared to stretch the two episodes that followed to to something close to but not quite 16:9. It didn’t look awful, but felt unnecessary. Maybe they’re moving all their broadcast to widescreen

  • We discussed that earlier in the thread, and it seems as if they broadcast it on telly in 4:3, but in 14:9 on UKTV Play. Might be worth looking into, and asking why.

  • Oh I missed that. Curious. Especially as we were watching the Dave TV live stream, you’d expect it to be as per the TV Broadcast. The fact they switch in files with different aspect rations for over the air and online “live” streaming” is very interesting.

  • Is it aimed at fans though, or people that watch the show when it is on Dave? Not to say they’re not fans, but they’re not here are they.

    I think yer average TV viewer is much more sensitive and aware of things like this than the send to be. They’re certainly well equipped to know why there’s pillar boxes on old clips.

  • I think yer average TV viewer is much more sensitive and aware of things like this

    People still don’t notice or understand frame interpolation after I explain it to them and beg them to turn it off

  • I caught it on UKTV Play On Demand after the Dave broadcast. Despite covering a lot of stuff I’d seen before elsewhere, it still felt pretty fresh to me. This is likely due to the new format and the fact it’s been a while since I saw the DVD documentaries.

    Yeah, I enjoyed that.

  • I caught it on UKTV Play On Demand after the Dave broadcast. Despite covering a lot of stuff I’d seen before elsewhere, it still felt pretty fresh to me. This is likely due to the new format and the fact it’s been a while since I saw the DVD documentaries.

    Yeah, I enjoyed that.

    Yeah, same actually. I quite enjoyed it. I forget that the documentaries on the DVD are largely episode/series specific and not about Red Dwarf as a whole so it’s interesting to see this being planned out in such a fashion. I liked the stuff that isn’t usually seen my mainstream audiences like The End Original Assembly and the Acton Rehearsal pics. and the shot of the Acton building they were rehearsing in, I don’t think we’ve seen that before.

  • Is it aimed at fans though, or people that watch the show when it is on Dave? Not to say they’re not fans, but they’re not here are they.

    I think yer average TV viewer is much more sensitive and aware of things like this than the send to be. They’re certainly well equipped to know why there’s pillar boxes on old clips.

    I’ve seen a few music videos recently that are in 4:3 with black boxes either side, seemingly as a stylistic choice. Pretty sure everyone is aware the aspect ratio change was a thing.

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