News Roundup: Rubber Up, Bunk Up, Rob… Up?

Yes yes, we know, we’re a bit behind on this one. We’ve been meaning to get around to this for a while, but for reasons of sheer laziness and lack of sleep we’ve… well… not.

Now it’s time to pull up our sock suspender before the trickle of news becomes a flood. So let’s run through a quick mop of of all the recent news, then quietly forget this delay until Friday’s TOS update when we can fall behind all over again.

‘Qualifications: GCSE, Technical Drawing. Failed’

First up were the teaser shots of the screens from the Series XII bunk room. Well, we say the Series XII bunk room, but given that various bits filmed in this version of the set cropped up in Series XI and various promotional images used in the Series XI game and more, it’s kind of a loss title now.

We do however get a proper up close look at some of graphic designer Matthew Clark’s designs for the new series, including various little references snuck into design that will almost certainly not be visible in the final show, so it’s great to have them here. Of particular note are a reference to Delorians, the description of the pillars on the ramsccoop as pylons and the previously unmentioned artificial grave.

It’s only a small teaser, but does go someway to show that while the look of XII will be similar to XI, it won’t be identical. Considering both were filmed back to back, it’s nice to think that this series will still have some visual identity of it’s own, and the design and details shown here are a lovely edition to the design of the set.

The Men in The Rubber Masks

Perhaps the most notable recent reveal has been this image from the ‘everyone is Kryten’ episode, as well as the article on TOS about the tribulations the cast underwent in donning the angular rubber balaclava, presumably while Robert Llewellyn enjoyed a massive sense of schadenfreude.

There’s a lot to take in with this one so let’s work through it point by point.

Starting with the most ball achingly tedious, one thing that should be given some particular degree of credit here is the makeup work. In all honesty, after 11 series, the phrase ‘look how good the Kryten make up looks’ shouldn’t really be a statement that carries any particular interest or insight. But it’s never been plain sailing on that front, and between the somewhat off Back to Earth eye makeup and the witch’s nose of Series X, the makeup here continues to be as on point as it was in XI, and the fact that we can get such an up close picture with the joins not being overly visible is a testament to the quality of the work.

This of course neatly brings us to the look of mechanoid Rimmer, Cat and Lister. Considering the heavy makeup job, it’s somewhat astonishing how much of the individual looks and personalities of the characters still come through. This seems to work particularly well on Chris Barrie, whose make up is so good that any unfamiliar viewer could be easily forgiven for assuming that his was the original design. What’s more, a tweet from Doug suggests that it won’t just be the main cast getting rubbered up for this episode, with 30 actors all in mech makeup.

But what of the story implications? It’s certainly a talking point, just as it has been ever since Doug first alluded to wanting to do this story. It’s also what makes this picture such a perfect early promotional tool, as whatever surprise is lost by revealing the look of the mechanised cast early on is easily offset by the increased interest in the series, and this is only born out by the attention it received online and in print.

It’s impossible to read any plot into this, but for what could early on have been considered as a gimmick concept, the more we hear about this episode the more we are excited. Of course, any fears over a gimmick are somewhat silly anyway, especially when you consider that you could take an episode like Gunmen of the Apocalypse and describe it as ‘we’re going to do an episode where everyone is a cowboy’ for a similar effect.

Whatever the plot holds for us though, it certainly seems that the episode will be visually striking, and even early on we’d wager that it will be one of the most discussed episodes of the series among the wider audience just for the unusual nature of the idea.

‘Oi, you robbing bastards, that’s our tandem!’

Series XII news is something we’re all braced for now, with a steady flow due to hit from now until the series airs. More unexpected news for the wider Red Dwarf world however came from comedy writer Andrew Marshall in the following tweets:

While details are unknown beyond these tweets, this is very interesting indeed. Andrew Marshall is a comedy writer of some pedigree, having worked on the likes of The Burkes Way and Howard Goodall theme tuned 2.4 Children. While we could bang on endlessly about the lack of an available DVD of the latter, we’ll settle for now with saying that we very much enjoy his work, and while we are completely unsure what a Grant/Marshall team up might look like, we’re certainly very intrigued to find out.

The mention of it being a Sci-Fi series may seem something of a given, but for us here at Gazpacho Soup it’s an equally intriguing aspect. While it’s the genre we and most of you reading this will associate Rob with, since Red Dwarf he’s only truly dabbled fully in it twice; once in the form of his Sky series The Strangerers and then in his first non-Dwarf novel, Colony.

We here on this site are particular fans of this novel, and while not perfect, there’s certainly a great deal of really good stuff in The Strangerers too, so the prospect of anything even vaguely in they vein certainly has our interest. Considering it’s been 11 years since the release of Rob’s last book we’re equally pleased at the prospect of him working on something new. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for anything further on this.