Doug WhatCulture interview

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  • #227743

    Stephen Abootman

    http://whatculture.com/tv/red-dwarf-turns-30-interview-with-co-creator-doug-naylor-on-the-30th-anniversary

    Some bits of note from it:

    “If I had my time again I would definitely do Red Dwarf VII with a live studio audience, but I totally bought the argument at the time that we were going to make a film. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have wasted 10 years of my career writing scripts for the movie because that was a complete waste of time”

    “Yeah, I saw him [Rob Grant] yesterday. He’s doing other things right now, but he may well want to return to Red Dwarf in some capacity down the line. He’s never mentioned the latest stuff and I’ve never asked him what he thinks of it, but if offered his opinion I’d happily listen.”

    “I’m not sure whether she [Kochanski] will show up again, although I do have some ideas I may well use in the future”

    “I’m open to working with other directors on Red Dwarf in the future, but there were real benefits to me directing, at least in terms of speed”

    [on doing another series] “Yeah, absolutely. We’re just trying to work out how and when. Everyone seems to be keen so I think that will happen. There’s also talk of a stage show. Again, I’m not sure when, but I’m confident that will happen too.”

    “the fans seem to like single episodes that wrap up and don’t seem keen on two-parters, so we kind of avoid those….There is a possibility we’ll experiment with the format again, like we’ve done in the past. ”

    “I would say the movie is probably third in the line of things to do. The order will probably be another TV series, a stage show and possibly a movie, and I think the guys agree on that.”

    [On Dwarf ending] “My feeling right now is to keep it open-ended, although I do have a story for if we decide to give it a finale.”

    #227744

    Plastic Percy

    This all sounds worryingly like what we heard in 1998. A few more series then possibly a movie. Just let it go already, Doug.

    #227745

    GlenTokyo

    The problem with VII wasn’t the lack of an audience. It was the presence of dodgy writing. Scene by scene, if the writing is good, VII is as good as some of the more lauded Dwarf.

    #227746

    flanl3

    I’m going to make a guess that Doug would be a little wiser on how hard to work on getting a movie this time around. Maybe not, though.

    #227747

    Dax101

    Is Doug by any chance hoping all the hype leading up from the stage show and another series will get the possibility of a movie funding going again?

    He still seems to have it in mind anyway.

    #227752

    Hamish

    Keep in mind it was the interviewer and not Doug that brought up making a movie. It was Doug that went on to say it was “a long shot”.

    #227754

    Ridley

    Not WhatCulture, Doug, why?

    #227756

    Lily

    Doing a live show seems such an odd idea to me. I’m sure it’ll be amazing for the hardcore fans that have the time and money to go to the 02 to see it, but it’s a big fuck you to everyone else.

    #227760

    It’sMarilynMonroe!

    If it happens, maybe it could be streamed in cinemas. At the very least I’d hope there’d be a DVD release too.

    #227761

    Ben Saunders

    Do the fans dislike two-parters as Doug says, or do they just dislike really the bad two parters we’ve had so far, with numerous issues such as Back in the Red and Pete? I haven’t really seen anybody complain about the two-partedness of Epideme/Nanarchy, and some people quite like Back to Earth. Also, the “should have been a two-parter”/”it was trying to cram too much into 28 minutes” criticism was leveled at quite a few XI and especially XII episodes, if I recall.

    Would you be open to a modern two or three-part story which would be written from the ground up to be one, and not the chopped up and calamatised stories we’ve had in the past?

    A three-parter might be a bit much given that that would be half the series (unless they upped the episode number per series again), but I don’t think I’d be at all opposed to a doubler.

    #227762

    Dax101

    well the multipart stories we had so far haven’t been great.

    I also think multipart stories are a tad harder to pull off because they need to be structured in a certain way.

    And trying to pass the issues with 7 or maybe BTE on the lack of audience feels abit like trying to find an excuse that’s not just… It wasn’t very good.

    #227779

    Hamish

    I remember when X first aired I was rather excited at the idea that things from Trojan would be picked up again in following episodes. Which they were… kind of.

    #227780

    Hamish

    Rimmerworld following on from Gunmen also worked quite well, before it started following on from Terrorform.

    #227784

    quinn_drummer

    > I haven’t really seen anybody complain about the two-partedness of Epideme/Nanarchy

    Obviously I don’t speak for everyone, but I don’t really see them as multi-parters, not in the same way as Back in the Red, Pete and BTE are.

    They are 2 very distinct stories that happen to follow on in a serialised way, rather than 1 story specifically across multiple episodes.

    The fact they are given distinct episode titles helps set them apart as well. And when discussed, they probably get swept up in the crapness of series VII debate.

    #227790

    Flap Jack

    Epideme/Nanarchy is a 2-parter in the same way that Confidence & Paranoia/Me^2 is a 2-parter.

    i.e. Not really.

    #227793

    Ben Saunders

    I did almost add the qualifier that it isn’t strictly a two-parter. But VI and later VII are a little more series-wound driven than others with the search for Red Dwarf, the loosely connected stories etc. I would welcome a return to that style. There was a little bit of it in X, and am I right in remembering that here would have been more in X had things gone entirely to plan?

    #227794

    Ben Saunders

    series-plot driven*

    #227796

    Dax101

    i do think there are people in the fandom who may jump to certain conclusions as to why they may not like something and may make their voices heard to Doug and the cast that hey you know what was wrong with BTE? there was no audience and it was a 3 parter…

    Like with an audience at least we can tell what was funny ;p

    #227802

    Lily

    I’m not opposed to multi parters in principle, it’s just unfortunate that the most well know are Back in the Red and Pete, which were both drawn out and padded well beyond what the plot could carry.

    I’d say that Epideme/Nanarchy is an example of it done well. There was too much story for one episode, but enough was added to make it last two without feeling stretched.

    #227806

    Darrell

    The End/Balance Of Power/Waiting For God is a 3 parter as well, and a good one too (it’s not its fault it’s got Future Echoes jammed into it out of sequence).

    #227809

    flanl3

    I would personally prefer Waiting for God second and BoP third.

    #227812

    Jawscvmcdia

    Interesting that Doug apparently met up with Rob for what must be the first time in ages. Wonder what the reason was?

    #227813

    Flap Jack

    Interesting that Doug apparently met up with Rob for what must be the first time in ages. Wonder what the reason was?

    #227817

    Jonsmad

    “Doing a live show seems such an odd idea to me. I’m sure it’ll be amazing for the hardcore fans that have the time and money to go to the 02 to see it, but it’s a big fuck you to everyone else.”

    Would you feel that way IF a live show DVD followed Lily?

    While there is some money for making the shows, and then obviously revenue for worldwide sales, repeat screenings, and DVD and Merch etc. I think being a digital channle plus television in general being what it is now compared to the late 80s that the money isnt what it was perhaps back then for a shows stars and creator.

    With Dwarf being a big recognisable brand and idea, the desire to do a live show to exploit that would be something that follows in the wake of Monty python and Still Game selling multiple nights in uk Arenas and bringing in Millions, thats the incentive right there, to make money after 30 years of making this sci fi comedy a sucess, including nearly a decade in the wilderness.

    I enjoyed python in person and Still game on dvd, so either way with Dwarf live I would personally be interested, and i think a more general audience, even a nostalgia audience who isnt even that bothered with the TV show may be interested in the live show when its an event they can attend and talk about. I think the show could stage an interesting new narrative that also includes loads of nods to the shows history or “hits” in the way Still Game did. Could be a great celebration of the show.

    I wonder about Robert in the mask though, even though he is used to say three hours or more on a TV recording night, I think a run at the 02 if ticket sales allowed a week of shows or more etc there might be some issues there in the logistics of it to be considered.

    #227826

    Dave

    In the first scene, Kryten is turned into a human again.

    #227830

    pi r squared

    I think it’s cynical to suggest that money is a primary driver for wanting to do a stage show. You have four actors, most of whom come from a ‘live performance’ background and all of whom say they much prefer working with an audience, who would likely relish a stage show. Anyone who’s been to a recording know how much the cast enjoy playing up to a crowd, which also brings us to another probable key driver: they KNOW how many people apply for Red Dwarf tickets when they are released, and only a fraction get them. To put on a show in a bigger venue means that more people are able to see Red Dwarf live, so to speak.

    #227840

    Dax101

    Does red dwarf suit a stage show though?

    I don’t think it’s about money either. My assumption is that either Doug just wants to try his creative hand at putting together a stage show… Or it’s just another success for the shows CV and that’s attractive to investors

    #227842

    pi r squared

    I don’t think anyone would claim that a stage show is what Red Dwarf has been missing all of these years, but equally there’s no reason why the ‘odd couple in space’ approach can’t lean towards a stage show – I certainly don’t think it’s any less suited than Bottom was. A massive and passionate fan base; a show that has already broken the fourth-wall numerous times, such as an in-character Kryten leading the Smeg-Ups tapes; and a cast that more than know how to play to an audience.

    #227846

    Dax101

    Id say a typical Red Dwarf story doesn’t really suit a stage show in the same way Bottom did where most episodes centered around one location.

    Although thats not to say you couldn’t tell a Red Dwarf story that fits one location (marooned, quarantine)… its just more a thing that the show at its most ambitious doesn’t feel like an organic fit for a stage show.

    It sounds like Dougs idea is to do a new story that somehow incorporates new and older scenes into the mix (like tongue tied) for the cast to act out.

    #227849

    Lily

    >Would you feel that way IF a live show DVD followed Lily?

    Well I had presumed that there would be one, but guess I’m not a huge fan of filmed live shows.

    It’s like watching porn; entertaining enough and you’re happy it exists, but you know it’s not a patch on experiencing the event yourself.

    #227851

    Jawscvmcdia

    >It’s like watching porn; entertaining enough and you’re happy it exists, but you know it’s not a patch on experiencing the event yourself.

    Interesting analogy. Any reason why you said it?

    #227854

    Darrell

    BAD JAWSCVMCDIA DIRTY JAWSCVMCDIA IN YOUR BED

    #227857

    Dax101

    Basically a stage show is more a personal thing for the audience paying to see it and its less of a thing for a home audience really.

    #227858

    Seb Patrick

    Epideme and Nanarchy are unquestionably a two-parter.

    #227859

    Ben Saunders

    I have a really different time accepting that doing a surge show would be “a big fuck you” to those who can’t go, as if a band going out on tour is “a big fuck you” to everyone who can’t make those shows, therefore the band should just stick to making albums.

    Also, Epideme/Nanarchy is more of a The Girl Who Died/The Woman Who Lived than a The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. In that it’s two closely connected stories rather than one story over two parts.

    #227864

    Dax101

    I don’t think it would be “a big fuck you” but making episodes of the show, filming them infront of an audience and then showing them on tv is abit more for everyone then filming a new story as a stage show at the O2 with presumbaly all these stage tricks, fly over starbugs or whatever they decide to do for the audience who payed to see it

    Course they could release one of the shows on DVD like they did bottom but its probably never gonna be the same as having been there.

    #227865

    Flap Jack

    It’s like watching porn; entertaining enough and you’re happy it exists, but you know it’s not a patch on experiencing the event yourself.

    I’d say that porn is probably the clearest example where watching something performed live in a theatre full of strangers is really NOT preferable to watching a recorded version in private. The chance to shout out “he’s behind you!” just doesn’t make up for the downsides.

    #227872

    Lily

    >as if a band going out on tour is “a big fuck you” to everyone who can’t make those shows, therefore the band should just stick to making albums.

    But a band touring perform songs that people have already have heard. It’s not like the entire set is completely new music that will never be heard again, other than a recording of one show.

    >I’d say that porn is probably the clearest example where watching something performed live in a theatre full of strangers is really NOT preferable to watching a recorded version in private. The chance to shout out “he’s behind you!” just doesn’t make up for the downsides.

    Lol yes, true. Maybe not the best analogy but it was the first thing that came to mind.

    #227873

    GlenTokyo

    I think a stage show would be a pretty bad idea to be honest. It’d probably be for the most part like those “An Evening With” things that ITV used to have on, which is fine but we’ve heard all the stories. If they do bits of episodes, I don’t think there’s enough that suit a stage to be worth it. What’d be good would be if they performed bits and bobs that didn’t make it.

    I’d rather they spent the money (inevitably too much as is always the case with Dwarf big ideas) on something like an augmented Dimension Jump, let the fan club organise as usual, but have it in a location where some parts can be attended individually, like a local theatre with a low budget reading of bits and bobs and maybe some standing sets to walk around.

    #227874

    Darrell

    Well no, it’ll be a two-act play centred around the four main characters, broad in tone, with lots of bits where the actors get to show off their set pieces, with some nice stage effects, probably a small sprinkling of VT, and tons of fourth-wall breaking.

    It literally couldn’t be anything else. I mean, it *literally* couldn’t.

    #227877

    Ben Saunders

    Well if you all don’t want to go to the stage show then that just means I’ll have a higher chance of obtaining tickets, so uh thanks

    #227878

    Jawscvmcdia

    >Lol yes, true. Maybe not the best analogy but it was the first thing that came to mind.

    That’s telling.

    #227879

    bloodteller

    i mean personally i think a stage show would be quite good if it was like the Bottom Live shows, where if they fuck up they all have a good laugh about it and it feels like everyone is having a good time

    i was once in a stage show and i got destroyed for accidentally knocking over a potted plant on the night the cameras were on

    #227881

    Hamish

    > That’s telling.

    Ooh, someone punch him out.

    #227882

    International Debris

    Well no, it’ll be a two-act play centred around the four main characters, broad in tone, with lots of bits where the actors get to show off their set pieces, with some nice stage effects, probably a small sprinkling of VT, and tons of fourth-wall breaking.

    It literally couldn’t be anything else. I mean, it *literally* couldn’t.

    This. It’ll be fun for everybody involved I’m sure. I’d prefer that time to be taken up by doing another TV series, but I wouldn’t have any problem with a stage show instead.

    Two parters… Epideme & Nanarchy is an interesting one, because although they are inseparable, they also have two very different stories. Nanarchy is entirely about the aftermath of Epideme, rather than the two having a single narrative. Other than the arm, all the other aspects of Epideme (Caroline, the virus) are gone. It’s very similar to Confidence & Paranoia and Me^2: the first episode’s problem leads to a dramatic solution, which is resolved in the next episode. I think the Gunmen / Rimmerworld link in VI works well too, as does the return of the quantum rod in X. Little bits of continuity give the show a certain wholeness which I think works well.

    The problem with VIII is that the two- and three-parters are both overkill and lacking any structure. I can’t think of too many brilliant sitcom episodes that exceed the 30 minute mark by much. Most of the 50 minute Only Fools and Horses episodes really drag for me. Sometimes an extended Christmas special gets it right (particularly One Foot in the Grave), but then they aren’t always suited to being split in two.

    So if Doug can pull off an excellent 60 minute plot that is structurally satisfying (and necessary) that can be comfortably split into two parts, then I’d be up for it. I just have my doubts that he can. But two episodes that are thematically linked in some way, I’m up for that.

    I’d really enjoy a series that is bookended by connected episodes. Like if XI opened with Twentica, and then the last episode found them in a dire situation that was a direct result of them and the Exponoids fiddling with time.

    #227896

    performingmonkey

    We can guess Rob and Doug met up to say ‘look what we did thirty years ago’ over a drink, or something? It really would be frickin brilliant if Rob did a new Red Dwarf novel or, indeed, anything connected to Dwarf, in the future.

    As for the stage show… it seems like the cast keep angling for it, so I say let it happen. I can imagine it being a new story but with some ‘greatest hits’ elements thrown in.

    #227900

    Katydid

    well the multipart stories we had so far haven’t been great.

    I’ve never found the common “Red Dwarf doesn’t do multi-parters well” argument to be very fair, considering that Red Dwarf has never done a multi-parter that was intended to run the number of episodes that it ended up running.

    #227917

    Dave

    Maybe that is a significant piece of evidence to support the fact that the show doesn’t do them very well.

    #227919

    Katydid

    No, that’s a significant piece of evidence to support the fact that we have absolutely no idea what a Red Dwarf multi-parter would be like if it was developed and written with the intent of running two episodes, and was produced as those two episodes without any absurd limitations (i.e. Back to Earth) or artificial extension necessitating painful padding (i.e. Back in the Red and Pete).

    Red Dwarf’s multi-parters have been historically subject to ridiculous production problems that did major damage to the quality of the final product. You cannot tell me that you know a two-part Red Dwarf story that didn’t suffer any of those problems would automatically be terrible just because it runs for longer, ESPECIALLY considering how some of the best Dave era episodes suffered from having too many good ideas to adequately explore in 28 minutes.

    #227922

    Ben Saunders

    Basically what Katydid said

    Again

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