You join us live from Sunday lunchtime at Dimension Jump XXI, and as the cockroaches have finally finished their incessant shuffling, we’re able to bring you an update on what happened last night. For the first time in a long time, Doug Naylor is not attending in person, which we presume is due to, you know, all that stuff. Nevertheless, he sent in a video message which was played betwixt costume competition and auction as part of the Saturday night entertainment, and it was both extremely positive and surprising in its content. With thanks to Si Bromley for sneakily filming it on his phone, here’s a full transcript of what was said:

Hi everyone, just a quick message to say I hope you all have an incredible weekend at Dimension Jump. I’m really sad not to be able to be with you this year.

In case anyone was in any doubt, the posse and I all want to make more Red Dwarf and just as importantly, so does a certain broadcaster, so hopefully for when the various issues are resolved, we’ll be able to get back to doing what we’ve been doing for the past 30 plus years, and that’s making Red Dwarf.

That also goes for the brand new stage show, which a well known impresario has wanted me to write for the posse since 2015. The plan’s always been to stage it at the O2, which obviously is incredibly exciting. Everyone knowing their lines, no mistakes, seamless, amazing, piece of theatre… Absolutely guaranteed. That could be really quite something, quite a night(s).

Also looking to the future, I’ve written some TV specials, the first is a 90-minute film starring the guys as fictitious versions of themselves, because everyone’s so very different, as we all know, from their Red Dwarf characters. It’s called Out Of The Red. It’s a story about how they get involved in a worldwide conspiracy, made in the present day. I think it gives a new element to the guys’ chemistry, and you know, it’ll run a bit different and a new way to go.

I’m also writing the next Red Dwarf special, which fingers crossed, will all go through and I’ve also just finished writing a brand new science fiction comedy drama and that will be coming along soon and I wish you all enjoy.

Thanks as always for your incredible support. Thanks also to Joey and everyone at the Fan Club for putting in so much work and making this event so memorable and giving you such a great time. The Promised Land continues to be the best watched show on UKTV in the last nine years, which proves I think that there is still life in the old mining ship yet.

Take care, keep well, keep safe and hope to see you next time. All the best, cheers, bye!

Now then. We remain confused and upset about the “various issues” that Doug alludes to, but all we can do is remain hopeful that they can be resolved, no matter how difficult it seems to be at times. And so if the situation gets sorted, it seems like there’s going to be lots to be getting on with. The stage show idea limps on – whether it will ever see the light of day is another matter, but it’s clearly still being discussed. More pressingly, confirmation that Doug is indeed working on a new special (not a series), following on from Paul Jackson’s comments in February stating that Doug will be writer, director and executive producer on any new Dwarf commission. Absolutely everyone wants this to happen, by all accounts, so, you know… sort it out lads, please.

Regardless of this, it seems like Doug is also working on some new non-Dwarfy projects, which if nothing else will be a good insurance policy if it turns out he can’t make new Dwarf after all. There’s certainly been rumblings before about the cast working together on something new, and it looks like they’re going down the comedians-playing-themselves path. Back To Earth II: This Time It’s A Global Conspiracy Of Some Sort. All this plus a separate new sci-fi comedy drama, providing three genres for the price of one.

Absolutely none of this is guaranteed to happen of course; as Red Dwarf fans, we’ve learned over the years not to get too excited about anything until there’s a proper official announcement from TOS and/or a broadcaster, but it’s nevertheless a much appreciated update on the current thinking behind the scenes. There has been a slightly nervous air around the Nottingham Crown Plaza this year, with hushed mentions of “the legal situation” and much speculation as to whether The Promised Land will ultimately turn out to be the last episode ever. At least now we know that plans are being put in place, and that the future of Red Dwarf is still very much a going concern.

53 comments on “New special? Stage show happening? New Doug and cast projects? Who’s eating this chicken?

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  • I for one can’t wait to watch the Red Dwarf cast taking down the evil mastermind responsible for Danny being eliminated from series 16 of Strictly Come Dancing.

  • I love the sound of that meta special. Why the hell not, especially if a traditional Dwarf special is also on the cards.

  • The “‘Out of the Red’ is Red Dwarf XIV” arguments will be great.

    I mostly didn’t like Back to Earth, so I was not sold when I first heard the concept, but if it’s not a sci-fi squid/Blade Runner/Coronation Street homage trying to fit into a Red Dwarf universe that’s not really like that, and just an entirely separate entity then I think it’ll be good fun and keeps Red Dwarf in Dave’s mind until they can make some traditional Dwarf.

  • > I’ve written some TV specials, the first is a 90-minute film starring the guys as fictitious versions of themselves

    Yeah, we know you did, Doug. In 2009. Enough with the meta stuff already.

  • But 90 minutes? I’m sure we can expect exaggerated versions of the cast and an exaggerated look at Red Dwarf fans for comedy effect. Doug has a Meta itch.

    Doug has spoken in the past about being a big fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm. So Red Dwarf can be anything if you just put your mind to it.

  • Having not seen a second of it, as it’s not even been made yet, I can confidently say the meta special will be utterly terrible.

    Nah, it sounds like it’ll probably be a bit of fun, not something I’m massively excited for but will of course watch. Stage show, meh. New special is obviously the most exciting thing, but it’s odd that Doug’s only now writing it, given that previous suggestions hinted that we would have had another two specials already by this point were it not for Covid.

  • Out of the Dwarfers, didn’t only Craig Charles play himself? So, mathematically, 3/4 of this idea is fresh. Wouldn’t Doug have more time to draft and redraft making the finished product better polished than BtE? The 2009 special feels very undercooked but maybe having more time to work on the script will make the 2029 special where the entire cast are playing themselves something fans will keep going back to.

    I really don’t like the idea of a stage show, I doubt I’ll even get to see it, but good luck to them anyway, I hope it’s a success (if it happens).

  • So the Out of the Red special wouldn’t need Rob or Paul to OK it because it wouldn’t be Red Dwarf?

    I may well be misunderstanding that…

  • I think people are approaching Out of the Red in the wrong way. I don’t think it’s intended to be a Red Dwarf special, it’s a new thing with the same cast and writer.

  • My script entitled “Absolutely Not A Red Dwarf Story” has people asking a lot of questions already answered by my script.

  • I hope its a story about how the cast find out they are actually the fictional character from the TV Series Red Dwarf.

  • Have we heard anything new from Rob or Paul at all?

    Great to hear Doug is still pushing on with new ideas, both Dwarf and non-Dwarf based, it’s just hard to get overly excited when this stuff may still not happen

  • The meta Craig Charles stuff was a particular highpoint for BTE. I’m really excited to see something with Doug and cast dicking around with that concept, especially since it’s obviously never going to replace a normal Dwarf special.

  • If its basically a 90-minute film full of Meta jokes about Chris Barrie’s obsession with cars or Danny always being late. you know stuff we have heard about for years as fans. as well as showing Red Dwarf fans in an exaggerated light like most meta films tend to do that. and the cast referencing the show constantly. then no matter how much people just want more Red Dwarf material. i just don’t get why this would or needs be a thing.

    It’s like scraping the barrel. except Doug is just craping wood chip, melting it down and handing it out to fans.

  • I doubt the delays have anything to do with it, we had a 6-year delay after series 10. we only had TPL last year.

  • The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot was quite fun, but if it had been *instead* of The Day of the Doctor, you’d have felt a bit short changed, wouldn’t you? It also had limited appeal for a mainstream audience which was why it was hidden away on a red button service.

    I’d rather Doug put his efforts into sorting out this legal shambles then trying to cobble together something that isn’t Red Dwarf but is *clearly* trading on its audience.

    This isn’t creativity. This is just looking around and thinking “what else can we sell to these guys?”.

  • I’d rather Doug put his efforts into sorting out this legal shambles then trying to cobble together something that isn’t Red Dwarf but is *clearly* trading on its audience.

    Ah yes, the classic choice between dealing with legal issues and continuing to work. You must do only one.

  • Didn’t Rob say last year the contracts had already been signed for another special? so even if they wanted to stop it they couldn’t. Wouldn’t that mean Doug would be able to do it even with the legal issues?

    Doug doesn’t have to give us a 2 hour The Five-ish Doctors film with the cast. But then Doug doesn’t need to give us a Stage Show or what he wanted to do back in 2009. Remember Red Dwarf unplanned or whatever it was? That got canceled. I assume because the cast didn’t want to do it. Craig didn’t really sound that positive about it when it was brought up in 2012. Insinuating it sounded good in Doug’s head but they didn’t have enough faith in their in-character improvisation skills.

    I mean if Doug suddenly said tomorrow that he would be writing some Big Finish stuff, then yeah that works. But a 2 hour film about the cast written by Doug? Why? I don’t believe it’s got anything to do with legal stuff. i think Doug just had an idea and wants to do it. and we the Red Dwarf fans will tune in.

  • Was he definitely not joking about the Out of the Red special?

    Title is very similar to ‘into the gloop’.

  • I would absolutely like to see Out of the Red if it’s anything like the hilariously heightened cast interaction from Man in the Rubber Mask.

    Also I tweeted Doug and Richard on whether a stage show would be filmed and made widely available so those of us from United America can see it.

    The legal issues are clearly the reason he’s not able to do the work he *wants* to do.

    And Pete is clearly inside Doug’s head, able to tell us that Doug actually isn’t creatively interested in this as a side project.

    Just because the idea may have come from being backed into a corner doesn’t mean that nobody is actually into it. You can be cynical as you like on your end with regards to the idea in of itself, but I find it a bit tiring that you’re basically claiming to speak for Doug, a person you are

    *checks notes*

    not.

  • and we the Red Dwarf fans will tune in.

    And that’s my problem with it. No matter how narrow the appeal this is to mainstream audience, we’re a “sure thing” to watch this, as its intended audience is narrow at best.

    I don’t believe it’s got anything to do with legal stuff

    We’ll see. Looks to me that new Red Dwarf is a quite a way off and there’s quite a lot of issues to work around (as Doug himself says). UKTV, however, has an appetite for some shows and Doug’s previous efforts have all done extremely well so he’s got some clout there. On paper, this this seems to be a way of giving them something which isn’t Red Dwarf…but will lure in fans, without having to wait for the legal issues to go away.

    I’ll be surprised if it happens, mind.

  • On paper, this this seems to be a way of giving them something which isn’t Red Dwarf…but will lure in fans

    Which is arguably what Back To Earth was too, except we know that there were good reasons for doing it back then, to get a foot back in the door and then go on to make more proper Red Dwarf. Doing something like that again now maybe seems self-indulgent, even if it is because of the legal situation, but done right, Out Of The Red could end up being more like what BTE perhaps should’ve been i.e. something non-canon set in the actual real world (rather than the weird dream amalgam of real world/Blade Runner) so they can lean into the fun meta stuff more.

  • And that’s my problem with it. No matter how narrow the appeal this is to mainstream audience, we’re a “sure thing” to watch this, as its intended audience is narrow at best.

    “Band accused of cynically releasing album to appeal to their fans”

    It’s a bit daft throwing around accusations that someone is only doing something for that reason. It would be ridiculous not to make something there is an audience for.

    Honestly, the entitlement of some of this fan base is astounding considering we’re lucky if we ever get anything at all. Just let Doug do his thing, whatever it is.

    He’s clearly got multiple ideas, whether any of them come to fruition is a different matter, but we’d all be complaining if he just put his feet up and did nothing. So lets wait and see what happens first before we start ripping it apart.

  • I do think, given the whole legal shit going on, it’s fair to consider why the special is being made. It’s effectively a way to get a Red Dwarf audience without actually making Red Dwarf. It’s always difficult trying to disconnect art from business when it comes to professional creatives, but there are times when sometimes a little cynicism is healthy: yes, it could be a case of Doug wanting to work with a team he’s comfortable with; similarly, it could exist entirely to tide him over until the next Dwarf special can come around, and there’s no passion behind it. I think, given Doug’s track record for solo comedy, it’s worth being at least a little wary about something which might only exist out of necessity rather than creative instinct.

  • Was he definitely not joking about the Out of the Red special?

    Title is very similar to ‘into the gloop’.

    Their full titles are “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Red)” and “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Gloop)”.

  • “Band accused of cynically releasing album to appeal to their fans”

    This analogy only works if the “band” are doing a new album with a totally different music style and releasing it under a different name to prevent copyright infringement.

    Honestly, the entitlement of some of this fan base is astounding considering we’re lucky if we ever get anything at all.

    Ah, the old “entitled” argument. Here I am, a Red Dwarf fan who wants *Red Dwarf* (which has been effectively greenlit) not some weird half-way house that sounds like a glorified cast commentary session. Red Dwarf is why we’re here.

    Just let Doug do his thing, whatever it is.

    I didn’t realise I was actively stopping him. Just having a response to an idea. I’ve commented on the stage show idea previously so I won’t repeat myself, but since Doug is also throwing around ideas for a new Red Dwarf episode, I know where I’d want his focus to be. And if the legal issues are what’s preventing him going all in on that, then they really need to sort it out. The whole thing is pathetic.

  • This analogy only works if the “band” are doing a new album with a totally different music style and releasing it under a different name to prevent copyright infringement.

    Which bands do do to get around record contracts.

    Ah, the old “entitled” argument. Here I am, a Red Dwarf fan who wants *Red Dwarf* (which has been effectively greenlit) not some weird half-way house that sounds like a glorified cast commentary session. Red Dwarf is why we’re here.

    You’re allowed to want Red Dwarf. It’s just tiring seeing negativity towards something that doesn’t even exist because that’s all people will accept.

  • Which bands do do to get around record contracts.

    Bands may release new music under a different name, but it will normally be a pretty close approximation of the previous product. As I’ve said above, the analogy doesn’t work as this idea can’t realistically be confused with Red Dwarf if none of the actors are playing their characters and no one’s able to say the name. And yet it clearly exists because of Red Dwarf and the fans of that show are likely the only people sure to watch. (The days of Chris Barrie being a strong enough name to get a “Motoring Wheel Nuts” video have long since passed)

    It’s just tiring seeing negativity towards something that doesn’t even exist because that’s all people will accept.

    But negativity towards stuff that does exist (say, Timewave) is fine? Or Into the Gloop (to use a Rob example) which was pretty ropey.

    If Doug is going to announce an “idea” for something to a group of fans at a *Red Dwarf* convention, then I’m going to have a response to it. That’s not “entitlement”, that’s just me (like it or not, a member of the intended target audience) saying “yeah, that sounds a bit crap”.

    I had a similar reaction when Carbug turned up on Coronarion Street or Doug announced early plans for Siliconia, or Doug said he wanted a guy in a chimp suit for 15 minutes.

    The guy’s not infallible, so smiling widely and saying “that sounds great, I cannot wait to buy it” isn’t me, sorry.

    You find it tiring when something is criticised before it’s made. I find it tiring when I see something that was badly conceived and inevitably turns out to be rubbish. I could “just don’t watch it” and you could “just don’t read my comments”, but that’s not really fandom is it?

  • I don’t get the argument that fans are compelled to sit through something if it doesn’t sound any good. A lot of fans don’t read the books or check out other Rob/Doug or cast projects already, this is just some random thing. It’s not Timewave that could harm Red Dwarf’s legacy and future prospects (though they managed to get away with that).

  • >I don’t get the argument that fans are compelled to sit through something if it doesn’t sound any good.

    Because they’re fans. This is what Doug is banking on. This is why he announces it at a Red Dwarf convention.

  • You say that like he announced this and only this. It was announced alongside other projects, and was to let fans know he is still trying to produce things despite whatever is going on in the background.

    I really don’t see the need to be negative or critical of a project that’s really only even speculative. Should be glad Doug is trying to do anything at all, he could have just stepped away and left it to Rob to pick up a project he left nearly 30 years ago.

  • I think it’s fine for Doug to have new projects like this on the go. I think it’s fine for him to announce them. I think it’s fine for fans to react positively to the announcement based on what little we know so far. I think it’s fine for fans to react negatively to it on the same basis.

    What I don’t think we’re going to resolve at this point is the question of whether or not this is A Good Idea, because it hasn’t been made yet, and we know very little about it. Who knows, it might never get made.

    But at the very least it’s an interesting thing on the horizon and I don’t think there needs to be any real argument over it, even if some of us think it sounds like it could be good and some of us think it’s likely to be poor.

    Some of us might even think both of those things.

  • >Should be glad Doug is trying to do anything at all

    Doug is trying to make Red Dwarf. I’m glad of that. We know he wants to make it. We know we want to see it. We know UKTV want to buy it. We know that the thing preventing him making it is a legal matter.

    Doug is also trying to make his own original sci-fi ideas. I’m pleased for him. I will be curious to see them, just as I was curious to see “Over to Bill”.

    Doug also is trying to sell a product to UKTV, made by the Red Dwarf team, designed to appeal to fans of him and the cast…but is not Red Dwarf and is not featuring the characters (presumably for legal reasons). Is it ok to say that I’d rather they sorted out the issues preventing them making Red Dwarf than trying to make some weird substitute?

    Would this be a thing if Red Dwarf was an active project? Nope.

    >I really don’t see the need to be negative or critical of a project that’s really only even speculative.

    Because it’s *speculation*. The whole point of throwing around speculative ideas is to see whether they actually have weight. Are people interested?

    When Fox announced a Die Hard prequel a few years back, I thought “God, that sounds shit”. What horrendous entitlement.

  • if you want meta, doug has consistently made real life into an episode of the show by always showing us the future, leaving us to helplessly wait for it to happen, depriving us of any sense of novelty or spontaneity

  • I don’t think it’s self-entitlement. But in a sense, i think alot of Red Dwarf fans will be abit emotionally self-entitled. Alot of us grew up with this show. And i think we all want quality material. Not just quantity over quality. And Doug’s Track record isn’t exactly spotless. So we will want extra care spent on what we consider the right things.

    I still can’t get over that something like this would be 90 minutes. A project with the cast playing themselves really seems like a novelty that would work in at most an hour. If generous.

  • Like or lump Out of the Red as a concept, I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that Doug is actively choosing to postpone new Red Dwarf in order to make it. Assuming that there genuinely are serious legal and/or practical issues that need resolving, is the idea that Doug could get a new RD special made sooner, if he only refused to write anything else, went down to his solicitor’s office, and said “OK, I don’t care how late we have to stay up, we’re sorting this out right now”?

    If he’s just saying “due to circumstances I can’t really control, a new Red Dwarf special is a way off. In the meantime we might be able to put something tangentially related together with the guys that should be fun” there’s not really justification for interpreting that as a hostile statement… even if it does turn out to be shit.

  • I think id rather have no shit content at all. Its like if Doug said due to legal issues the only Red Dwarf that can be made is a sequel to Timewave. Bringing back all the cast for part 2… i wouldn’t feel any desperation to see it just for the sake of more Red Dwarf content. The thought that this is how the show is treated would bum me out. Making content just for the sake of making content.

  • If it is true that OOTR is nothing but a stop-gap, then I get it, but it doesn’t seem like that’s the case. The gap between Red Dwarf specials is an opportunity for Doug to do something he has the creative drive to do, or at least that’s my optimistic interpretation.

    I could certainly understand the frustration if this were a canonical Red Dwarf Outing, but it isn’t, so there’s less compulsion to watch it if you’re not interested, and there’s no chance of it leaving the series on a sour note for a while.

    Although honestly? If I were given that cosmic would-you-rather dilemma – no new Red Dwarf, or a sequel to Timewave – I would take Timewave 2 for sure. Timewave wasn’t completely devoid of enjoyment after all, and there’s even the chance of it being a surprisingly decent follow-up (like Fathers & Suns was to Ouroboros). Sounds worth it to me, especially if we have a guarantee it won’t be the last episode ever.

  • Sounds worth it to me, especially if we have a guarantee it won’t be the last episode ever.

    I suppose its a case of Crap Red Dwarf vs No Red Dwarf. Would you prefer to get any Red Dwarf for the sake of getting more Red Dwarf?

    Now thats not to say a concept like Timewave: Part 2 would automatically be crap. although the pieces in place wouldn’t favour it very much. the moment your guest characters prance’s around in a pink horse costume… it doesn’t favour confidence.

  • I think I’d always favour more on the chance it’ll be good. There’s not really been a moment in the last 10+ years where that’s been a guarantee. Largely the reception has been good the longer the show has managed to put out content on Dave, but people still have reservations and Timewave is fucking bollocks.

    So I think I’d welcome something over nothing in case it’s good. Timewave two I’d definitely be skeptical of, but if Doug took on the criticism we levelled at it (ha) then a follow up might not be awful. I’d be disheartened to know he’d want to follow up an episode he must know everyone in the fan community at least at panned.

  • On the strength of the most recent Dwarf (back half of XII and TPL) I’d be giving Doug the benefit of the doubt at this point.

  • I’ve decided not to get angry about Out of the Red until after I’ve seen it.

    But by that time everyone else will be getting angry about the next Red Dwarf special. Keep up.

  • Anger about Out of the Red was *last * week. Now we’re far more concerned with Red Dwarf’s ‘Naked Attraction’ cross over.

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