Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas everyone. It was twenty-five years ago this very month that all our mums went out to buy the Smeg Ups tape for us to open on Christmas Day 1994. For Red Dwarf fans of a certain age, this seems to be an almost universal experience, especially the ones like us who are still obsessed with it now – the joy and laughter provided by seeing the cast off-guard and out of character cemented our love for the show, and imbued us with a fondness for and fascination with the behind-the-scenes process too. So what better way to pay tribute than to investigate the process of making the video itself?
At some point during the compiling stage of production, a rough cut was dubbed on to VHS, before any grading, mixing or sound effects were added, and with big “LINK Goes Here” captions in lieu of Llew. This tape somehow made its way out of the edit suite and into the hands of fans, who made copies for their friends, who made copies for their friends, and so on until an extremely low quality version, suffering from multiple layers of analogue generation loss, became a relatively readily available open secret. Inevitably, you can now find it on YouTube. The full length tape is there as an unlisted video, and there’s also a compilation of the most interesting bits:
Fire up your podcast feed, abandon a baby in a pub and shoot an alternate version of your ex-girlfriend with a harpoon gun, because the latest victim of the DwarfCast commentary treatment is Ouroboros, the Xtended version no less. And as it tradition for the less good episodes of Red Dwarf, it falls to the double act of Danny Stephenson and Ian Symes to do the honours, because nobody else could face it. So join them as they continuously fail to remember which bits are Xtended and which aren’t, and complain about the awkward pauses added by the process, while also leaving their own awkward pauses.
Nevertheless, there’s plenty to discuss, including JMC’s fickle uniform policy, comparisons between what’s on screen and what was in an early draft of the script, how to make a disintegrator, the incestuous implications of the episode’s big twist and exactly what “hospital corners” means. Oh, and the “you’re lying” thing comes up every now and then.
Bad news, everyone. Ticket holders for the Red Dwarf Special recording scheduled for Friday 6th December have received the following message from Doug Naylor, via ticketing company Lost In TV:
We’re so sorry to have to do this, but due to one of our cast members suffering from illness, we’re going to have to reschedule your live audience recording of the Red Dwarf Special.
There are so many elements to coordinate when filming a complicated show like Red Dwarf that it’s extremely difficult to pick up lost filming days within a schedule. I know many of you will be disappointed, but we hope that you can all join us at a later date.
We are currently awaiting confirmation of the rescheduled date – although we can say this is likely to be in January 2020. As soon as we have news we will be in touch to arrange your replacement tickets. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused and we look forward to seeing you at the studio soon.
Oh smeg indeed, matey. This must be extremely frustrating for all concerned, and disruptive for fans who would have already booked travel/accommodation/time off work. The delay could also have a knock-on effect on the broadcast date, and will require more praying to the gods of cast availability, especially if the recording on the 13th also ends up getting pushed back. But that’s not really the important thing here – whichever of the cast members it is that’s ill, please get well soon.
We must say, this whack-a-mole game of spotting details about the Red Dwarf Special is proving to be rather fun. There was a time when major production decisions were revealed slowly and calculatedly in co-ordinated releases, but now you just have to wait for someone to chuck it all on social media, probably not realising that analysing the contents of their otherwise benign posts is incredibly interesting to the hardest of hardcore fans like us. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts and take a look at the short video posted by Danny John-Jules this morning. It’s of him, Chris and Robert strolling through Pinewood and chatting about the filming they’ve just completed. But Chris is in full costume and Robert is in full make-up.
Well, we weren’t expecting to do another front page post so quickly, but it’s not every day you get your first official glimpse of a new Red Dwarf production. The Official Twitter (TOT) has released a still from yesterday’s first day of filming, showing a bit of Kryten, an obscured Lister and a big old clapperboard:
Yes folks, after a break of two years and eight months since the Series XII shoot wrapped, Red Dwarf is back in production once more. That’s as of pretty much right now, according to a tweet from a freshly-shaved Robert Llewellyn, who confusingly continues to refer to the special as Series XIII:
In fact, this post should appear at the exact moment that rehearsal starts on the first scene. The cast will get ready afterwards, while the rest of the crew set up. That’s according to a note on the call sheet, as tweeted by Linda Glover:
Fingers crossed that it is indeed a fantastic shoot – break several legs, guys. And of course, there’s bound to be a fair few further updates from cast and crew on social media over the coming days and weeks ahead of December’s studio dates, so please help us keep on top of them all by using the comments on this post as a repository for anything interesting you’ve spotted.
Ooh, that sounds a bit rude, doesn’t it! Nevertheless, the time has come to not only hear new comedy material from one of Red Dwarf‘s co-creators, but to hear it in his own voice. Rob Grant and Andrew Marshall have written *and* performed Radio 4’s The Nether Regions, also starring Helen Cripps, Edward Rowett and Holly Morgan, and it airs tonight at 11pm on BBC Radio 4. It will also be available thereafter on BBC Sounds and the programme page, for those too sleepy. This broadcast pilot, which was produced by Hudzen 10, marks a return to sketch comedy from two of its most distinguished exponents, and we’re very much looking forward to it. Do let us know what you reckon.
No, really. Ahead of their new sketch show pilot The Nether Regions airing on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday 24th October at 11pm, Rob Grant and Andrew Marshall invited your intrepid DwarfCast team of Ian Symes, Danny Stephenson and Jo Sharples for a big old chat at Rob’s kitchen table. We touched upon the “terrifying” experience of performing in front of an audience, the intricacies of their writing process, the sketches and characters that didn’t make the final cut, their “bloody magnificent” producer Gordon Kennedy, and also got the latest on Quanderhorn Series 2. And yes, we also discussed another show that Rob co-created, covering his experiences at Dimension Jump, being back on set for the first time since the 90s, and the possibility of him ever writing for Red Dwarf again.
All this, plus 2point4 Children, Son of Cliché, Strange, Week Ending and how Rob’s The Strangerers caused unexpected problems for one of Andrew’s series. We also grill Andrew about his connection to Marvin The Paranoid Android, get Rob’s thoughts on the proposed return of Spitting Image, his friendship with Martin Kemp, and how he pissed off Billy Ocean when they were both on Top of the Pops. A huge, huge thank you to Rob and Andrew for their candid, thoughtful and hilarious interview.
After the merest Morse-based mumblings on Thursday afternoon, the news we’ve all been waiting for dropped in the very early hours of Friday morning. It’s quite late at night and we’ve got work in the morning, so here’s the short version: NEW FEATURE LENGTH SPECIAL! THREE-PART RETROSPECTIVE DOCUMENTARY! LIVE AUDIENCE! RECORDING IN DECEMBER! AIRING NEXT YEAR! TOS, of course, has some finer details, and here are our initial bleary-eyed thoughts…