We all really rather enjoyed the first instalment of Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years last week, despite some quibbles that mostly involve the treatment of 4:3 material. We will put our thoughts on the record properly at some point in the future, but while we’re still on compassionate leave from having to think about anything too much, here’s a little discussion thread for you in the meantime. This covers episode two, In Studio Space No-One Can Hear You Scream, which airs tonight at 9pm on Dave

58 comments on “Let’s Talk About The First Three Million Years #2

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  • Thanks for keeping these going at a hard time.

    Does anyone know for sure what period this covers? Are we assuming it’s up to the end of VIII and then the final episode will be the Dave era?

    If so, I wonder how much they’ll touch on the movie saga in between.

  • Does anyone know for sure what period this covers?

    The first three million years, keep up Dave.

  • I watched that on UKTV Play and despite it pestering me to turn my ad blocker off, I didn’t get any ads. So I’m finished already.

    That felt a lot fresher than last week. Where as last week focused really on the first two years chronologically, setting up the show and casting it etc, looking at a couple of topics from across the years really brought things together in a different way. I also feel like I learnt more from this episode but who knows.

    Still very little Dave era content, and only reference a shot or two in referencing to something else. This “first three million years” really feels much more like a retrospective of Red Dwarf up to the Dave era at his point, even though it’s barely even touched on anything past series 6.

    Looking at the science within the show next week will be interesting, although I suspect it won’t be as in-dept as those Star Trek docs that do similar things, because as far as I’m aware no-one has invented a triplicate that is capable of extracting the good and bad in something and turning them into real things.

  • Sadly, we’re all over the place narrative-wise. I liked the shout-outs to Mel Bibby and Peter Wragg and nice to see the specially shot stuff with Howard Burden, but the whole thing has turned into a scattershot clip-show rather than attempting to document the evolution of the show.

    I was hoping for a discussion of Hattie’s departure, the split, the shake-up for VII and VIII and the struggles for the movie – and, hell, even the BBC losing interest in the type of audience the show used to attract. Maybe I was simply expecting part 3 to be Dave-era centric. We haven’t even hit IV, as far as I can tell from Tennant’s commentary.

  • Sadly, we’re all over the place narrative-wise. I liked the shout-outs to Mel Bibby and Peter Wragg and nice to see the specially shot stuff with Howard Burden, but the whole thing has turned into a scattershot clip-show rather than attempting to document the evolution of the show.

    Yep, I feel the same. I was hoping for a more thorough chronological through-line that picked up where episode one left off, and at the start it looked like it would do that (with the changes for Series III). But then it lost its way a bit.

    Also, given that so much of this episode was spent talking about the various costumes and character alter egos, the omission of Ace Rimmer is a bit baffling. Maybe they have a dedicated section lined up in episode three or something.

  • I’m enjoying this. I do hope there’s an actual physical media release of some kind that we can ask Santa to bring us for Christmas.

  • Hm, not as good this week. Just all over the shop really. Danny and Howard Burden discussing Cat’s costumes would be a great DVD extra but it seems an oddly niche thing to devote that much time to in this.

    That bobbing bird in Bobby’s background is bloody distracting.

    Nish Kumar has beautiful eyes.

  • That bobbing bird in Bobby’s background is bloody distracting.

    Is it some pun on Bobby? I can’t think why it’s there otherwise.

  • Oooh, they called it series 9.

    Yep, David Tennant referred to the Red Dwarf series that weren’t recorded in front of a studio audience as “series seven and nine”.

    This is canon now.

  • It’s in The Promised Land, on the Iron Star. I think someone said it’s an Alien homage?

    No, I get that, I mean why it’s in the background of this interview.

  • Tonight’s felt a lot like it couldn’t decide what it wanted to focus on. Enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes footage (especially the model work) but left me yearning for more. I think three parts at 45 minutes a piece is barely scratching the surface.

  • I think three parts at 45 minutes a piece is barely scratching the surface.

    I’m not sure they needed more time, I just think they needed the same kind of focus as episode one.

    I do wonder whether there’s going to be an unwillingness to talk about anything negative or controversial, so maybe we won’t get any acknowledgement of VII/VIII making unpopular changes, Chris leaving, nu-Kochanski, the BBC dumping the show, the failure to get the film off the ground etc. Which would be a shame as those are all part of the story of the show.

  • I think three parts at 45 minutes a piece is barely scratching the surface.

    3 parts of 45 minutes should be plenty and, to be frank, more than generous to dedicate to any single show. Comedy Connections did this better in a fraction of the time.

    Should have been:

    1: 1988-1993
    2:1994-2008
    3:2008-2020

    I think the writing was on the wall in terms of negative topics when they brushed over Norm leaving in Part 1 . Bearing in mind, he’s come back three times (and there doesn’t even seem to be any lingering animosity between the two people involved; Norm and Paul), they could quite easily have tackled that with the candour of the DVD docs. But they chose not to. Cos, “nah, let’s keep it light and fluffy. Here; have a clip of the groinal attachment scene in Polymorph which is so poorly cropped, you can barely see the attachment”.

    I reckon the hardest this will hit is at the US version. Low hanging fruit. That said, at this pace, I doubt they’ll even reach ‘92 by the end of Part 3.

  • Here; have a clip of the groinal attachment scene in Polymorph which is so poorly cropped, you can barely see the attachment

    It did occur to me that this was a particularly awful choice of visual gag to choose if you’re cropping the footage. Like Duff-brewery level awful.

  • I think the writing was on the wall in terms of negative topics when they brushed over Norm leaving in Part 1

    They did at least address it though.

    I’m half-expecting this documentary to leave viewers with the impression that Red Dwarf has been broadcast in a constant uninterrupted run since Series I, with a thoroughly consistent format and cast throughout.

  • I’m glad Clare wasn’t brought back and i think she is as well. Like Yvonne Craig (Batgirl), Clare knows that when guys come up to her and say “um, i really liked your character”, it usually means “I masturbated to you on the screen”

  • I kinda feel this could have been a 5 or 6 part documentary .

    Maybe there might be a plan for them next 3 million?’

    Quick question there was a song that played early in the episode I was curious to know what it was called? It was bugging me last night

  • I don’t think narratively it’s all over the place, they’ve just chosen not to take a chronological look at the show in the way we’re used to seeing this stuff as we got a doc on each DVD.

    The first episode was the cast and hope it all came together.
    This week was settings and costume.
    Next week will be the science of the show.

    That’s three fairly broad areas to look at, and I’d have thought fairly typical of this sort of retrospective, with some other stuff on the periphery.

  • I don’t think narratively it’s all over the place, they’ve just chosen not to take a chronological look at the show in the way we’re used to seeing this stuff as we got a doc on each DVD.

    I think that because the first episode was largely chronological, it created an expectation that the second would follow that model.

    And while I don’t have any issue with the areas selected in terms of how interesting they are, “Series I-II”, “a bit of III and costumes and models” and “the science of Red Dwarf and twenty minutes on Gunmen” doesn’t seem to be a hugely comprehensive or logical way of approaching it.

    At least there’s more original material here than some of us suspected, and it’s still an enjoyable watch, I just think it’s not going to be the comprehensive history of the show that we hoped for. In place it feels more like a series of themed DVD featurettes sewn together.

    Edit: this sounds massively ungrateful and entitled doesn’t it? Either way, it’s still great that we’re getting three hours of documentary on our favourite show that includes stuff we’ve never seen/heard before, for free.

  • In place it feels more like a series of themed DVD featurettes sewn together.

    There is some truth in this, so I see your points.

    And it is a little disappointing it isn’t as comprehensive as we imagined it would be. It’d be nice to be able to point to 2hr 15mins of documentary and say here, look, this tells you everything you need to know about the show.

    But also, given there’s at least a 1 hour doc on each series DVD that was never going to happen. They’d have to gloss over so much and it would only serve as a pocket history to the show, whichever way you dice it.

    This really is a “behind the scenes look at Red Dwarf for people that watch it when its on Dave”, which is fine, and hopefully encourages some of them to seek out the more in depth documentaries that exist.

  • Yeah, that’s all fair.

    But also, given there’s at least a 1 hour doc on each series DVD that was never going to happen.

    True, although you wouldn’t require the episode-by-episode breakdowns that make up so much of this.

    Either way, I guess we need to remember that these things that are aimed mass audiences beyond the fandom will always need to make room for a certain amount of funny clips to keep people watching, a certain number of funny behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the cast and crew, and a certain amount of explaining/recapping the basics of the show in general. Once you take out that (as well as ad breaks) any runthrough of the show’s history would be pretty brisk either way.

  • The cropped footage from the early series is still really grating. Visual gags being cut off so you can’t even see what the joke is… how did that get past quality control when editing this for broadcast?

    The narrative does seem to be a bit all over the place. They have a lot of things to cover in the final episode and it looks like they aren’t even going to bother covering much or any of the Dave era of the show. Still nothing from Chloë or Claire Grogan or any female really apart from Hattie and Katy Brand. No-one available or just not asked I wonder. We’ve only had one or two lines form Mac and others too, why so underused if they bothered to record commentaries?

    Some celeb fan talking heads have popped up and said one line and that’s it. Was it worth getting them in to talk about the show when they were so underused, and why do we give a shit what some famous people think of the show. We want to hear form the people who made the thing, not fans who happen to be famous saying “It’s so funny” and “I love this show”. Wow, so informative, thanks for that wonderful contribution.

  • I thought it was a enjoyable if somewhat scatter gun hour of red dwarf. The first show was fairly chronological but yesterday’ seemed to start on series (season according to Doug) III and then it just seemed to talk about themes like the special effects and the clothing. Look at this stage any new (well sort of) stuff on Red Dwarf on TV is a massive bonus. I guess if you want the blow by blow account of each episode then you should watch the series documentaries on the DVD’s/Blu Rays. Or dip into the excellent quarantine commentaries that Rob, Ed and Paul Jackson are doing at the moment.

    It would have been good if it was a live audience recollection like what they originally planned instead of BTE. Then they could have done a This is Your Life surprise reveal and put Rob next to Doug, which would have been gloriously awkward.

  • Everyone’s complaining that we’re two thirds of the way through the series and we haven’t even got to Series IV yet, but considering the first 3 million years doesn’t even cover the whole of Series 1, Episode 1, I’d say they’re going incredibly fast.

    I was disappointed in the “Next time… ” preview bit at the end, because it revealed that they intend to spend more than 0 seconds talking about Timewave.

  • Not rewatched it yet but a pleasant hour, if a little all over the place compared with last week – however, if we’d been given this first, I think the non-chronological nature probably would have felt find (but then it would have been nonsensical to turn to the origins and casting later). I do have a nitpick about series II and maybe I clips being used in a montage referring to series III onwards, but I’ll have to rewatch it to see whether I just misunderstood ;)

    I also did not know that Peter Wragg previously worked on Thunderbirds! Very impressive.

    Nice to see Seb Patrick’s name in the credits again.

    I think the celebs are to help give it a wider appeal, but if I were one of their fans watching it mainly/solely because they were in it, I would be pretty disappointed. Let’s hope anyone who may have done that found the rest of it entertaining enough not to mind.

  • While it isn’t covering a whole lot of material, I’m enjoying it nonetheless. I think the documentaries are just meant to be a lightweight entertaining celebration of the show, and I think the last two episodes succeed at that.

  • Reading these comments, all I can think is – cheer up, people!

    We wouldn’t be proper Red Dwarf fans if we weren’t moaning about something or other.

  • I thought it was fine for what it was – a background behind the general ‘making of’ the show. I’d much prefer a really in detail chronological one, but for a general audience I think this was great and very entertaining.

    I’m sure we’ll get at least some story about the 10 year gap and the movie etc. at the end of next week’s.

    I’m glad series 9 is now officially canon. I won’t need to argue that corner any more.

  • I thought it was fine, but I watched it with my parents who really loved it and they haven’t really kept up with the Dave-era stuff beyond series 10. After the documentary they said “We should watch some of the new stuff.” Then they watched Marooned, so swings and roundabouts.

    The Dave era has always felt separate from the original run to me so it was nice to see it in the context of the rest of Dwarf, even if that meant this second episode felt a bit formless and meandering. Another things is I was dreading that they were going to devote a section to series 8 and say nice things about it. I’m not sure I could handle that, so I’m glad that hasn’t happened hactually.

  • I was disappointed in the “Next time… ” preview bit at the end, because it revealed that they intend to spend more than 0 seconds talking about Timewave.

    Yeah, this filled me with horror.

  • It would be great if they do twenty minutes on Timewave and hold it up as the show’s pinnacle, Doug saying “this is what I always wanted Red Dwarf to be” etc.

  • It would be great if they do twenty minutes on Timewave and hold it up as the show’s pinnacle, Doug saying “this is what I always wanted Red Dwarf to be” etc.

    The episode is just Timewave, with a 15min post episode Ted Talk monologue from Doug about why it’s his best and proudest achievement in 30 years of Red Dwarf.

  • To be fair, it’s not going to be about Timewave, is it? It’ll just be a few words about Timewave Guest Castmember Johnny Vegas, as part of a small feature about Red Dwarf Guest Castmembers.

  • “I got a lot of resistance about the “droopy-ass titties” line. The whole cast and crew were very nervous about it. But I stuck to my guns and it ended up getting just the most amazing reaction. Little did I know that the “spit on her wrist” line would surpass it in the same episode! Since Timewave went out I can barely go a day without someone shouting one of those lines at me in the street. And if I don’t go out, they shout through my bedroom window instead. It’s been very affirming.”

    Doug Naylor (Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years)

  • To be fair, it’s not going to be about Timewave, is it? It’ll just be a few words about Timewave Guest Castmember Johnny Vegas, as part of a small feature about Red Dwarf Guest Castmembers.

    True. It’s just the bitter irony that, for everything left out of these docs, anything from Timewave air time.

  • Fair fan comments. ^

    My mum and dad watched episode 2. (They are In their 70s). My dad recorded it because my uktvplay app is playing up and it won’t stream via phone/tablet anymore. I watched ep 1 at work on the late shift on their tv as I don’t have a tv with Dave at home.

    My parents watched episode 1 apparently anyway – as a general interested tv audience ( in a fair bit of lockdown to be honest), when I sat down to watch episode 2 they insisted on me not watching without them until they were ready. They had enjoyed episode one.

    My mother has never expressed interest in ever watching red dwarf before. (She is a Corrie watcher and I once showed her back to Earth only for obvious reasons and she mostly didn’t mind it but sure as hell didn’t get any blade runner stuff) My dad has watched some Dave era episodes with me, knows I’ve been dimension Jump Met the cast etc. He probably saw the show most eps once around broadcast times, my mothers probably only ever been in the room doing crosswords when the show was on. Neither has ever seen a dvd extra of any kind. Chris, Craig And Danny to them mean brittas, Corrie, death in paradise and strictly as much as they are smegheads.

    They absolutely loved it. They howled at some clips, Were rivited by production tales they had never considered what it takes to make a show like this etc. And it all lead to the inevitable family discussion we’ve had several times that involve me discussing series X audience recordings vs them seeing Goddfreys cottage being filmed for Dads Army.

    Because I share your fan comments type opinions ^ I had to say stuff like “But you’ve never said you wanted to watch “We’re Smegged” on

  • … the series X dvd. They defensively replied “well we might”

    So then I had to defend my deeper fandom by showing off with predictive comments like “ah the Craig breaks props story, they will show the memosiam chop stick breaking next!!”

    This series is for them. They don’t pay attention to the shows sci fi plots. But little funny clips and story’s by this lot is really entertaining them and lifting their lockdown and drawing an audience like them into maybe watching a few more episodes. Which given the amount of times entitled fans have seen the eps, they no doubt as a channel can widen the repeat audience a bit. The topics of “what you see” costumes, models, general look of the show and upcoming famous faces. Is about their level. Chris Barrie from demons and angels got the biggest laugh. They can’t wait for episode 3.

  • That is really good to hear. I think we’re all guilty of looking at these things too much from a fan perspective sometimes, and we should be more mindful of the wider audience. It would be great if these documentaries increased interest in the show.

  • In my mind, “entitled” would be expecting this to be new Red Dwarf (despite it never claiming to be) and to produce some new LOLs. That was part of the negativity surrounding “The Inbetweeners: Fwends Reunited” a couple of years ago. (The other source of negativity was from discerning viewers who weren’t expecting a new episode, but were expecting a competently-made piece of television).

    I’d hope it’s not too entitled to judge a documentary on how good it is at being a documentary.

    I was hoping for something like this https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2366308/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2 simply because it’s a great example of what you can do with the talking heads/ clipshow format. This was an officially sanctioned doc, but it managed a fair amount of a grit and candour about things that didn’t work and disagreements that were had, rather than just smoothing out of the edges and slapping some clips together. Now, you could say “That subject is bit more mainstream than Dwarf”, well- yeah – but I daresay that it appealed to different audiences; and the stories that the talking heads divulged provided the entertainment.

    I’d throw in more pertinent examples like Gold’s docs on BlackAdder, Comedy Connections or the Britain’s Best Sitcom docs from years ago. None of them were afraid to dig into missteps and stumbles in the show’s evolution.

    There’s a reason why stuff like Dwarfin’ USA and Re-Dwarf are the best of the DVD Features. And it’s not because Katy Brand pops up and says “That bit when Rimmer did that thing was funny”. I thought we’d moved past this with The Red Dwarf A-Z.

    The First Three Million Years is a three-part (!) documentary for a smaller-scale channel about a show which recently gave them their biggest viewing ratings in 7 years. Red Dwarf is a big fish in a small pond. For that reason, I think they could fulfil the remit of doing a proper documentary without it veering into “too niche” territory. If you’re expecting an audience (even one in lockdown) to turn up every week, there’s an assumption on a level of interest in the subject matter, similar to BBC2’s Red Dwarf Night in 1998. Either that, or it’s simply riding the fact that this is “Brand New” (60% new material!) and will bring in more audiences to the repeats. That’s all very nice and “good for the brand”, but it doesn’t make it immune to criticism as a single piece of television.

  • Yes, I presume due to the recent spamming and resulting argument.

    In the case of the Idea For An Episode thread it’s probably for the best.

  • am i missing something here? excuse if im upsetting anyone, but all i can see is someone posted a thread about a “New Red Dwarf Forum” due to the TOS forum getting shut down, then everyone got really angry about it and now all threads on here are locked? was there something that got deleted or am i just not understanding? again, sorry if im being insensitive here since people seemed pretty upset about it

  • Er, if all the forum threads are locked then that’s a mistake. Looking at it now.

    am i missing something here? excuse if im upsetting anyone, but all i can see is someone posted a thread about a “New Red Dwarf Forum” due to the TOS forum getting shut down, then everyone got really angry about it and now all threads on here are locked?

    It wasn’t just a thread, the link was spammed in multiple threads.

  • Some of the people on TOS’s forums were a nightmare to deal with and they had a real hatred for this place, so I’m not surprised they have decided to come on here and spam their new, unofficial and crappy looking forum because the TOS forum was closed. It was just a place for a handful of weirdos to talk shite to one another and quite a lot of it was absolutely nothing to do with Red Dwarf. That and spamming peoples profiles calling them child molesters, accusing them of being sockpuppet accounts and just generally being twats. Glad its finally been shut down and they can take their shite elsewhere.

  • And as I said elsewhere, please can we not get into it here? I appreciate that everyone here is on our side and is only responding to provocation, but they’re now going to take what one person has said and frame it as “G&T said this”. I can’t emphasise enough that the very last thing I want at the moment is to get dragged into internet drama.

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