It’s a genuinely strange feeling for me (as indeed it would be for the rest of the remaining G&T team) to report on Fan Club activity from an outsider’s perspective. I’m still not used to finding out what they’re up to via official channels, rather than half-listening to their remote team meetings taking place at the other end of the sofa, worrying about what duties I’m going to be volunteered for. But today’s announcement is quite a big one, as the sensationalist and yet entirely accurate headline demonstrates.

Via TOS, the Fan Club have unveiled a two-day online convention called Holly Hop, taking place on the most recently cancelled dates for DJXXI, the 6th & 7th February 2021, to tide us over until the proper convention hopefully happens in September next year, deadly pandemic permitting. So, it’s a Hop for a skipped Jump, providing “guest Q&As and behind-the-scenes discussions, as well as a few surprises along the way”.

This is great stuff – while the magic of DJ can’t fully be captured without 400 people crammed into a sweaty hotel conferencing room with endless booze on tap, this is the next best thing to tide us over until such a thing is possible again, whenever that may be. And you really can’t argue with the price – just £9, or £5 for existing Fan Club members and/or DJXXI ticket holders. Plus, part of the proceeds will be donated to the Trussell Trust, in memory of Seb Patrick. It’s a cause that was close to his heart, and this is a wonderful gesture.

It’s not going to be a struggle to provide excellent value for money at less than a tenner, but the headline event is surely worth the price of admission alone. Yes, Rob Grant has written a brand new Red Dwarf script especially for the event. His first original Red Dwarf story since 1996. Bloody hell.

Ever since the last DJ in 2018, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much Rob has been edging his way back into prominence after spending so much time away from any kind of association with the show. The Quarantine Commentaries have been a brilliant new addition to his oeuvre, while his other venture with Paul Jackson and Ed Bye, Lockdown Theatre, has provided some impressive and ambitious entertainment. Never did I dream that the two would be combined to produce original Dwarf material from one of its co-creators, not least the co-creator who’s barely been near a Red Dwarf script (amendments to Bodysnatcher aside) since 1993.

The one caveat is that it won’t be performed by the proper cast; instead there’ll be a competition for fans to take part in a live table reading. I must admit that the prospect of fans being let loose on this material slightly fills me with trepidation and a bit of nausea, but three things to bear in mind: 1) there’s a proper audition process rather than the parts being given by random chance, so hopefully some genuine talent can be unearthed; 2) we’ll be able to judge the script on its own merits regardless of the performance; 3) hello, yes, thanks for this massive gift horse, but please could I have one with a slightly more attractive mouth?

We say again: Rob Grant has written a brand new Red Dwarf script. We say again: bloody hell.

48 comments on “ROB GRANT WRITES NEW RED DWARF SCRIPT

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  • I won’t be able to participate in a whole weekend and maybe not even the equivalent of a whole day, but for that price AND part of the proceeds going towards such an excellent cause it’s an absolute no-brainer!

  • Over on the forum post originally discussing the new script, I half (mostly) jokingly asked whether people would be auditioning using accents.
    Given that for the audition:

    You may choose any scene from Red Dwarf to showcase your acting talents

    …the Judges are going to hear lines that we’re all familiar with, but rather than the voice and intonation we know and love, it’ll be completely alien.
    But then those auditioning – how daunting must it be to read lines in your own accent that, again, you know so well being spoken by someone else.
    I mean, it’d certainly be very strange hearing the Cat’s ‘yowwww’s in a clipped RP accent.

  • Suppose doing it as a fan thing eases some of the pressure/expectation off the post-VI Grant/Naylor Bout of the Century.

    Glad I’m not the one having to listen to all those Cat impressions.

  • It’s so lovely just how involved in Dwarf Rob is these days. While I still don’t believe we’ll ever get any new TV Dwarf with him involved, stuff like this just makes it feel like it belongs to the pair of them again.

  • You may choose any scene from Red Dwarf to showcase your acting talents

    Presumably most people will pick iconic series 1-6 scenes, but it’s very possible someone will pick a scene neither Ed or Rob have had a hand in or indeed even seen

  • Presumably most people will pick iconic series 1-6 scenes, but it’s very possible someone will pick a scene neither Ed or Rob have had a hand in or indeed even seen

    Timewave!

  • It’s so lovely just how involved in Dwarf Rob is these days. While I still don’t believe we’ll ever get any new TV Dwarf with him involved, stuff like this just makes it feel like it belongs to the pair of them again.

    The lockdown commentaries have been some of the best new Red Dwarf content in many years. I hope they come back in some form.

  • Being written for a table read suggests this is going to be a very talky episode, something the Dave era has only briefly indulged in. Dear Dave was the closest but also a rushed last minute script.

    Samsara did it way better but that’s only for the opening scene.

  • Presumably most people will pick iconic series 1-6 scenes, but it’s very possible someone will pick a scene neither Ed or Rob have had a hand in or indeed even seen

    Timewave!

    Paul seems to have kept reasonably abreast of recent Dwarf, so presuming he’s seen it then someone choosing Timewave would definitely be a bold choice – either showing exceedingly poor judgement, or if they somehow manage to do it better than the broadcast episode, an absolutely inspired choice.

  • Doing an audition piece from a series VII-XII episode would certainly have Rob focusing on the performance rather than his familiarity with the script.

  • I’m saying this very facetiously but wouldn’t seeking out new actors instead of the real cast who’d obviously be happy to do it make way more sense if Rob was secretly planning his own reboot?

    Then we could have _twice_ as much Red Dwarf that isn’t as good as the old episodes. Every fan’s dream!

    Conspiracy theories aside, having a solo Rob script is going to make those “Who was the better writer?” debates reignite again.

  • Well Rob getting fans to do it wouldn’t be a good reboot. Rob seems to be experiment with Zoom these days. i think thats all it is. and he probably wanted something unique to do with it.

    The performances, unless totally perfect, probably will affect how we see the script.

  • I hope he accidentally copies the plot of a Dave Dwarf episode he never watched.

    Imagine if he does a backwards Officer Rimmer where everything is shit but the ending is excellent.

  • Being written for a table read suggests this is going to be a very talky episode, something the Dave era has only briefly indulged in.

    Futurama did it well with their audio only episode, I thought, and made something that wouldn’t have worked visually while having fun with it.

    Plus it’s not like Grant doesn’t have radio experience.

  • Woweee.
    I wonder whether it’ll be set during a particular era of the show. No mention of Holly, so VI maybe? How cool would it be if Rob sort of did another Backwards, the novel I mean, and gave us his resolution to the Out of Time cliffhanger?

    Or maybe they’ve got a celebrity fan to play Holly. Or even Hattie, who I believe has taken part in a couple of the Lockdown Theatre events which were a similar format to this?

  • Okay then.

    Canon.
    Discuss.

    More canon than Can’t Smeg Won’t Smeg but not as canon as Bodysnatcher.

    So, sorta, kinda, but not really, I guess, maybe, definitely not, but perhaps a smidge?

  • Looking forward to reading the script that will be inevitably transcribed shortly after the fact.

    Not so much looking forward to the performance of the script if I’m honest.

    Also if it’s really fucking good everyone is going to be depressed.

  • Yeah, it sounds mean-spirited but while I’d be hugely excited by a simple script release, I’m a little less keen on seeing other actors play the characters and that being my first experience of it (and that goes for any actors, professional or amateur, that aren’t the original cast).

    However, I think we have to have some faith that there might be a reason for this. Perhaps the script itself addresses the idea that these aren’t the same versions of the characters that we know from the show, or provides some other caveat for the alternate cast.

  • I think I could get on with it if it was quite different, say, Yorkshire Lister and posh Scottish Rimmer, South London Cat, and RP Kryten etc, assuming the acting is good.

    If they’re doing impressions I think I’m out by default.

  • I think I could get on with it if it was quite different, say, Yorkshire Lister

    You can beg all you want, but I’ve already said that I’m *not* auditioning.

  • I want to audition for Kochanski, but specifically the third Kochanski. The one with the big hat. Awesome Kochanski. Best by miles.

  • I’m going to stretch a condom over my head and film myself in the showers at the local gym looking incredibly bored while women soap themselves.

    That’s gonna take a lot of acting.

  • I want to be the sexy leather-clad dominatrix who whips Rimmer to a bloody pulp.

    But enough about my bucket list.

  • I echo the comment about looking forward to the transcript.

    I’m not sure how enjoyable actually watching a performance might be, but that’s mainly because I tend to cringe far too easily.

  • As someone who doesn’t have the confidence to participate in fan conventions, this is obviously awesome but I can’t stop myself from being mildly disappointed that this couldn’t be a proper episode in the next series of the show, whatever form that may take.

  • We maybe shouldn’t assume that this is something episode-length. It could be something shorter.

    Yeah, my initial reaction was that it would be a short – say, five minutes – sketch. A full length episode… well, that’d be great.

  • Okay then.

    Canon.
    Discuss.

    I take the view that as long as nothing in the episode contradicts what has been broadcast, and as long as it feels like proper Dwarf* theres no reason not to consider it canon. If it doesn’t fulfil those requirements, parallel universes are a reoccurring thing in Red Dwarf.

    Bodysnatcher is an interesting one. It’s a decent episode in it’s own right and it doesn’t contradict stuff from the rest of the show, but it does use ideas and plot points from other episodes. If Bodysnatcher has been broadcast as it’s now scripted, would they have been made?

    *I realise this is a vague caveat as the tone of the show itself can vary, and plenty of fans has voiced opinions on various episodes post series 6 not feeling like ‘proper Dwarf’.

  • This seems to have flown a little under the radar, but Ed Bye is directing.

    Wouldn’t it have been kinda interesting to see how the real cast performed with Ed directing them vs. Doug? That could have answered a lot of questions about the way the performances are different in the Dave era.

  • How long are the Lockdowns Theatre?

    I only watched the first one but it was basically a half-hour TV pilot script, wasn’t it? Give or take a few minutes. I recently watched an entire musical done over Zoom, with Scott Klopfenstein the composer playing all of the songs himself, which was about an hour and a half. Difficult to really pay attention to a Zoom call for that long when you have the entire internet just an alt-tab away. I did enjoy both, though.

  • We maybe shouldn’t assume that this is something episode-length. It could be something shorter.

    Ah, like Earth in Backwards.

    Also, this script is obviously going to be based on the group who took over playing on machine 16 once Sebastian, Billy, Dwayne and Jake were finished with it.

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