Empire Dwarfcast

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    With Craig, Danny, Robert and Doug.


    Pete Part Three

    Thanks Jon.

    Sadly nothing new learned there and I’m not sure I needed to hear another retelling of the Tank story from a largely disliked episode from 20 years ago. I wish Craig, Danny and Robert had learned to not talk over each other in interviews at some point in the last 30 years. There are points which are near-incomprehensible. Shame Chris couldn’t be there, but I doubt he’d have got a word in edgeways.

    Danny talks about the film and, with exasperation, claims the the people who are keen on that being made, are the same people who hate Back to Earth. They’re really not, Danny.

    The conversation between the hosts is wholly skippable, if anyone considers hanging on after the interview.



    great stuff. thank you.

    first time in ages since i bothered with empire since the old guard were replaced with millennials



    The cast think the movie wouldn’t work because Fans hated BTE but thats like saying it wasn’t good because there wasn’t an audience… not because it just wasn’t good.



    Yeah as long as the Red Dwarf film isn’t another Coronation Street/Red Dwarf/ Blade Runner hybrid made for a few grand in the space of a couple of weeks with little to no rehearsal time, I think the fans would welcome it personally.

    I don’t like BtE because it’s terrible. I was glad to have Dwarf back at the time, but in the end it’s worse than VIII and that was the “classic” Red Dwarf recipe, audience sitcom, bunk room, even had Norman.


    Ben Paddon

    BTE is a lot of things, but it is categorically not worse than VIII.

    Chris’ absence isn’t missed – typically when the cast do a group interview for a media outlet Chris mostly sits silent anyway.



    It’s not Red Dwarf in my opinion. VIII is bad Red Dwarf, BtE is a weird knock-off Red Dwarf you buy in Aldi where half of it’s been taped over with an episode of Coronation Street. Characters weren’t quite right, tone was all over the place.

    In my opinion that makes it categorically worse.



    Watched BtE the other day and I remain convinced that it would have received a far better response with an audience – even if it had been shown to an audience post edit. I watched it with my partner who was laughing quite a bit but by the time we had reached the diving bell sequence she was exasperatedly saying “where’s the audience!?” with each development and subsequent joke; the problem being it’s written like an audience sitcom, performed like an audience sitcom but it is not an audience sitcom. Thinking back to the classic episodes, I’m convinced that there are many moments that would not play half as well without an audience and I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.

    For what it’s worth, I thought the guys’ performances were fantastic in BtE and it reminded me how relieved I was in 2009 because there was such a good sense of character in BtE. Syncs up with my thoughts that the guys performances are generally at their best during the pre-recorded sections of recent episodes.

    Also, I don’t agree with these guys that X is very good and XI/XII are not as good. Rewatching X now and it just doesn’t feel as Dwarfy even though there are some really strong jokes. Depends what you’re in it for though, I guess.


    Ben Saunders

    Hmmmmmmmmmm I’m not entirely convinced, but it’s probably just a case of different strokes for different folks. I just watched two VII Xtended episodes, and most of the jokes I did laugh at, despite the lack of audience. Some of the dead air after jokes I didn’t laugh at did feel awkward, though. But would I have laughed at this jokes if there was an audience laughing along with me? Would I laugh harder at the other jokes? I don’t know. Maybe.

    The performances were good in BtE for the most part, and do get a bit pantomimey in XI and XII. It is interesting how with the non-extended episodes of VII, its really just like watching an episode that’s entirely pre-recorded, it’s not an entirely different experience that’s completely alien. BtE is alien for having no laughs at all.



    when you think about it from the perspective of the characters, they must really be wondering why whenever they say something mildly amusing, they all just stand there for fucking ages as if waiting for some sort of audience laughter to die down


    International Debris

    I absolutely hated BtE on first watch, other than a handful of jokes, but after introducing the missus to the show and getting that received pleasure from her enjoyment of it, VIII seemed even worse than ever, and suddenly BtE was an absolute beacon of shining light at the end of it.

    I still think some of the jokes are fucking terrible, the Blade Runner stuff too on the nose, and the lack of audience jarring, but it feels so much more Dwarfish than VIII for having the plot and a lot of the jokes come from familiar versions of the characters. It’s an underwritten, hugely compromised version of the show that treads an uncomfortable line of meta plotting, largely through necessity, but we have Actual Rimmer back being snide, we have Street Smart Lister back as the emotional core, Cat actually has a presence and some jokes, and Kryten is the most Kryten he’s been since VI (even if he somehow thinks a postbox is an android… ugh). Not to mention a number of classic Dwarfish jokes, mixed in with the other stuff.

    Throw in Doug’s commentary where he sounds like he’s rediscovered what the show is, and the BtE DVD gave me hope for the show’s future. VIII, on the other hand, still makes me angry and depressed just thinking about it.



    > I absolutely hated BtE on first watch, other than a handful of jokes, but after introducing the missus to the show and getting that received pleasure from her enjoyment of it, VIII seemed even worse than ever, and suddenly BtE was an absolute beacon of shining light at the end of it.

    Now we’re so far the other side of VIII, in terms of actual episodes as well as time, it’s absolutely baffling to re-watch (which I also did during a run through with my partner). I now watch it and think “how did this even happen!?”. It doesn’t anger me so much anymore but it does just baffle me.



    I didn’t like BtE at first but I like it much more now. You have to give it a break to an extent as it was put together rather quickly, for as cheap as possible hence the earth angle and the fact they had been away for a decade.



    I was just happy to see new Red Dwarf that wasn’t Red Dwarf VIII. There’s a lot to like, and I think them being in ‘real life’ probably works better without a laugh track. If the stuff before they make the journey through, and once they were back, could have had one, it would maybe have made the change between fiction and reality more effective.


    Pete Part Three

    I’m not sure how you do a meta exploration of Red Dwarf without mentioning once that it’s a bloody sitcom. There’s something in the idea that Lister’s shitty life as the last human in the universe is being played for laughs.

    If they’d done that, the lack of a studio audience or laugh-track in Back to Earth would have actually served a purpose.


    Ben Saunders

    Surely – SURELY – they mentioned Red Dwarf was a sitcom at some point in BtE. They must have. Didn’t they?


    Ben Saunders

    Rimmer said he wanted a sitcom, is that the closest they got? Felt like a Brittas reference, that.



    When Rimmer says he’d “even do a sitcom” etc., surely the joke is that even though they know they’re characters in a television show, it doesn’t cross their minds that it might be a comedy, which I don’t suppose it would. I like that, but I agree with Pete – they should have found out Red Dwarf is a sitcom, and reacted accordingly. The closest we get to that is Rimmer’s bafflement at being described as “hilarious” in the magazine. It’s a shame there’s not more of that sort of thing instead of all the Blade Runner stuff.



    The three points in my life I’ve loved Red Dwarf most have been series 2, V and BTE. I loved Back To Earth so much that I re-joined the fan club, started posting on G&T and went to my first Dimension Jump since 1998.


    Flap Jack

    I liked Back to Earth at the time, because I was just so happy to see more Red Dwarf, and to have the then-current ending of the show not be the terrible Only The Good… cliffhanger.

    Plus, the fact that it even got made on a budget of about 72p is hugely impressive, and we probably wouldn’t have had the last 3 series without it, so I’m grateful for that.

    But yeah, the story makes little sense and it’s pretty low on laughs outside of episode 2. At least I can appreciate episode 3 a bit more after watching Blade Runner for the first time ever last month!


    Ben Paddon

    BTE definitely works best in Director’s Cut form, I reckon. As a whole, it’s some of the strongest Dave-era Dwarf. I agree with John that it doesn’t quite set the right tone at the top of the episode, though.


    Ben Saunders

    Yeah, it really baffles me that people refer to “episode two” of Back to Earth, which I’ve considered to be one episode ever since the DVD came out.

    I remember that as a Dwarf fan who became one after VIII had ended, the feeling of there being new episodes was incredible, as was watching live with everybody during X. With Twitter and fansites, the sense of community around X was phenomenal. Perhaps the fragmented release of XI and XII has diluted this feeling, or maybe I’m just getting older.


    Ben Paddon

    It’s weird for me, because the BBC era and the Dave era are separated by my immigrating to the US. The BBC stuff will always be the stuff I saw on telly as a kid, while the Dave episodes are very much “the show I went to tremendous pains to watch as it aired back home.” Though I was in the UK when Back to Earth aired, which was a nice treat.

    They’re also separated by my having, y’know, grown up ‘n’ that. Obviously not a tremendous amount, as previous posts on this forum will attest, but I’m very much a different person from the one that watched VII and VIII at broadcast.


    International Debris

    I think that’s true of a lot of us here. I was 15 when VIII went out. Watching new Dwarf at 33 is a very different experience.




    And that difference is obviously complicated by the fact that the show itself is quite different now to the show I watched as a kid, which can make it hard to evaluate whether I’m reacting to the show differently now because I’ve changed or because the show has.



    The different eras have all come in very different parts of my life: I was a kid/in my early teens during the ‘classic’ era (ie I-VI), 18-20 during the ‘crap’ era (VII-VIII), 30 when Back to Earth aired, then in my thirties during the Dave era.

    I still get just as giddy these days as I did back then, to be honest, but found VII and BtE particularly disappointing even at the time. Series VIII – I can, of course, see it’s many faults, but at the time, I thought it was great.

    So…I don’t think I’ve grown up at all, really. I’ve got grumpier, but I’m still far too enthusiastic.


    Flap Jack

    The 3-part version is the one I saw first and the one that debuted on TV, so that’s the true, original version in my eyes.

    Of course, if Back to Earth is definitively 1 episode then so is Back in the Red…


    Ali Green

    I still can’t get over the fact they went onto Coronation Street and met Craig Charles, fucking awful! I was so happy at the time with getting new Dwarf but hated it on viewing, now I just consider it a special which could have been one of the character’s having a dream, I certainly don’t consider it canon.


    Ben Saunders

    It was all four of the characters having a dream, to be fair


    Flap Jack

    The sheer weirdness of having the Dwarfers turn up in the “real” world and interrogate their roles as fictional characters is just too much fun for me to have much of a problem with it! If it was a regular episode, it would have been quite irritating, but as a one off special to celebrate the show after being off the air for a decade or more? I dig it.

    The problem is that this only feels fully formed for the middle third. The first episode is just a long slog to get to the actual plot punctuated by jarring mourning scenes, and the third episode follows up the second fairly well, but falls apart as it tries to explain everything going on and make it dramatically satisfying.

    So BtE is a Dwarf story I hugely appreciate, even if on the whole it’s only OK.

    Those lines at the end where they say “I bet anyone watching our shared dream on television would think we really WERE fictional – what a crazy thought!” are shit, though.


    Ben Paddon

    BtE isn’t what I wanted from Red Dwarf’s triumphant return, but I enjoy it all the same. Despite its limitations and weaknesses, it’s a largely enjoyable bit of telly for me. It’s not perfect, by any means, but I will defend it to the hilt.



    i came to appreciate Back To Earth a bit more after listening to doug naylor’s commentary on it on the DVD. it made me realize certain things about it that i hadn’t really picked up on before- apparently it’s also meant to be about the dwarfers having drifted apart over the years, and towards the end of it coming back together and working as a team again.

    i still don’t like BtE that much, but it’s a nice extra layer of detail to the story.


    International Debris

    I never really got that vibe from it. Kryten might be coming back from holiday, but the way they all interact at the start of BtE just feels like normal, everyday chat to me. Would be nice if maybe they’d been looking for the Cat, having not seen him for months, and finding him soaking from his water tank experience, for example.

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