Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Why has Red Dwarf from a production point of view always ran into problems?

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    One thing that I have noticed about Red Dwarf, even in its BBC days, is that whatever the series from a production point of view it seems to have always ran into problems. Everybody knows how hard it was for Grant Naylor to get the show commissioned, eventually managing to ‘sneak in through the back door’ at BBC Manchester, and even then when the show finally began there were problems right from the start.

    Be it mismanagement, miscommunications between the production crew, issues with model shots, issues with directors (such as how Juliet May famously left the show half way through Series V), and issues with the budget, most other shows arguably have never had to deal with the amount of problems in the same way that Red Dwarf has. I cannot imagine any other successful BBC comedy series, such as Only Fools and Horses or Steptoe and Son, being allowed to deal with the amount of issues that Red Dwarf has had to face over the years. Had either of these two shows encountered any of the problems that Red Dwarf has had, I am quite sure that the BBC management would not have tolerated it and would have taken action to ensure any issues were quickly resolved. Yet, it seems, Red Dwarf was allowed to continue with little help in overcoming its issues.

    Whilst one might be forgiven for thinking that when Red Dwarf was commissioned in the 1980s it was a groundbreaking show and learning curve for everybody involved, so consequently mistakes were bound to happen, even now in the Dave era the stories about production problems and budget issues are seemingly never ending – have no lessons been learnt from the first eight series? Why are Dave and UKTV repeating the same mistakes that the BBC made all those years ago?

    What are all your thoughts on this?


    I’d always presumed it was less a case of Dwarf being unusual in having productions problems, and more that they’re unusual in openly discussing them.

    How many other sitcoms have 30+ minute in-depth documentaries on every series DVD? (That’s not a rhetorical question, genuinely asking.)


    I agree – I’m sure if you looked into most shows you would find stories of difficulties behind-the-scenes. We’re just (naturally) a lot more familiar with this show, and the extensive documentaries about it are always going to focus on the most dramatic angle on the production.


    I’d imagine there’s probably a lot more to go wrong in Red Dwarf than your average sitcom.

    Ben Saunders

    It is an extremely ambitious show. How many other sitcoms have such involved model shots and special effects? The dissolution of your writing team and a couple of questionable decisions may also generate problems.

    There are also a lot more scrutinous eyes on the show, and of course the incredibly open documentaries

    And Red Dwarf certainly isn’t the only show that got knocked back several times – in fact I’d assume almost all shows ever get knocked back so many times they never actually get made.


    You forgot the minor problem it ran into once of being cancelled for ten years.

    Me Own Stunts

    Has Red Dwarf really run into more problems than most other shows? Or do we just know about its problems more than other shows because the DVD documentaries/commentaries are so extensive and candid?


    >Has Red Dwarf really run into more problems than most other shows? Or do we just know about its problems more than other shows because the DVD documentaries/commentaries are so extensive and candid?

    True, but even Doug himself has admitted that the crew (assuming he means the cast and writers) were always considered to be “outsiders at the BBC”, so it’s highly likely that the corporation were not the most supportive when it came to producing the series. This anecdote has even been reported in the mainstream media:



    Red Dwarf is ridiculously complicated for an audience sitcom. If you know anything about how
    TV shows are produced, it’s really not surprising that making a show like Red Dwarf as an audience sitcom with an audience sitcom budget is so much more difficult and strenuous than a normal audience sitcom or even a single camera sci-fi drama.


    hey it’s february 26th now


    oh bollocks wrong thread

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