As Series XII draws close, this week has a lot for us to cover again, with this week seeing a teaser trailer, new images, an SFX feature, UKTV Live, comments on the future and more. So let’s get cracking.
So let’s start with the SFX feature. Largely made up of an interview with the cast, there were still a few points of interest. As the magazine is still available for purchase we won’t replicate the whole content here, but it features several pictures from the series (some which appear later in this article). The cast largely avoid addressing Series XII in detail, but Danny does make the following comment in answer to whether he would like to see the Cat race explored:
We kind of delve into that topic. I won’t say how far, but we delve into it in series XII. Not in the guise that you’re talking about, but you will see!
Aside from this, Doug provides the following teasers for each of the episodes in Series XII.
|Episode||Three Word Teaser|
|Cured||Stranded / Evil / Jamming|
|Siliconia||MILF / Krytenified / Clean-off|
|Timewave||Criticism / Pink / Scar|
|Mechocracy||Revolt / Election / Glasses|
|M-Corp||Good / Bad /|
|Skipper||He / Is / Back|
All of which should put to rest any question of which episode synopsis is linked to which title. Which also puts us on a perfect footing to start linking footage to episode titles.
WELL HOW CONVENIENT. Yes, in what we had assumed may well be the big update for this week, Friday saw the release of the teaser trailer for Series XII with the following tweet:
— Red Dwarf (@RedDwarfHQ) September 15, 2017
Even in such a short clip there’s a lot to digest. So let’s go through shot by shot.
We start with the flyby we all became very familiar with in Series XI. Nothing new to see here, other than the slow piano version of the theme tune, mimicking the sort of trailers that Sci-Fi franchises such as Star Wars tend to do to death these days.
The next shot meanwhile presents us with what seems to be a brand new, saucer shaped ship beaming something aboard. A close up of the shot appears to show that it is Starbug being pulled aboard, but also that it appears to have something attached to it, pulling it in rather than it being some form of tractor beam. This also appears to be a CGI shot rather than a model, but with the lines blurring on Series XI to the extent that one certain episodes we couldn’t tell which was which, we couldn’t be certain. Either way though, it looks rather nice.
Next up we have a mechanoid holding a pole aloft. It’s hard to make much more of it than this, though one thing that is clear is that this isn’t Robert Llewellyn. While we know there are many actors appearing as mechanoids in this Series, it seems to be fairly likely that this is the Lister mechanoid we have seen previously.
While the last shot presented us with something we were expecting, this one is quite the opposite. Here we have a particularly Blofeld-ish looking version of Rimmer rising up in a smoky room with a scar across his face in the shape of an R or a P. It seems too precise to be a coincidence though what the significance of the letter is remains to be seen, and which episode this is from remains a mystery. It is notable however that this Rimmer doesn’t have an H on his forehead.
If the this version of Rimmer put us in mind of James Bond, this shot then goes to cement that, with Lister strapped down and a laser beam going up his jaffas.
The location is unknown, but the skutter-ish device projecting the laser beam was previously seen in the Series XI deleted scenes for Can of Worms as part of the personality tuck machine:
Given that was aboard Starbug, could this also be set on the ship as well? Either way, it has apparently been set to ‘automatic castration’.
Meanwhile back on Red Dwarf we have Rimmer and Kryten in the science room doing some fine wobbling-about-a-bit as the ship quakes. Nothing amor to note here other than that the science room seems largely unchanged from Series XI. And there’s a fruit bowl.
As the trailer draws to a close, we have Rimmer in his Series I costume in a grey/blue version of the corridor set. While not a direct recreation of the sets from Series I, combined with he costume it appears to be the effect the production is going for, and in all honesty, we’re fine with that. Aside from the expense, we’re not sure how those sets would have held up on tv today, and given we’ve seen so many different parts of the ship, we can easily fit this in should we feel the need to.
This also provides us with our one section of dialogue in this teaser, with Rimmer asking ‘When is this? Where am I?’
Given that this seems to be in Skipper, we can assume that he has skipped either in dimension or into the past. Either way, it brings him into a reality where Holly is still active on the ship.
Which brings us to Norman Lovett and his response of ‘It’s Monday, and you’re in a corridor’. All of which is a very Holly-esque line, not to mention much more of the response we would have expected from him in Series I-II than VIII. We’ve been at pains in the past to point out that trailers for Red Dwarf rarely lead with the best jokes, and the show often doesn’t clip well for these sorts of affairs, but this line works very well as a teaser wrap up. We’d also point out that while the lighting on Holly is still very different fro what we are used to, he looks much better here than in the photo released last week.
The final part of the teaser shows the ship passing by the camera, with the Series XII logo over the top. Or should we say a Series XII logo over the top. Yes, this is a new one on us. We’ve already seen the logo for Series XII both in images and on merchandise, but this is a further variation with the top of the A and the bottom of the W cut off in rather an ugly manner. Fingers crossed this isn’t the version that gets used on the final episodes.
Aside from that, it simply states that the series is coming soon, though as anyone keeping up with the news will know, it actually starts on October 12th.
Well, sort of anyway, as The Official Site went on to explain.
Aside from all the teaser excitement, the Friday update over on The Official Site also presented us with 4 photos, some of which had also appeared in this month’s edition of SFX.
All four shots present us with the four leads in different locations. On the first two, we don’t have much to add, other than once again pointing out that the first shows us the slight redesign to the bunks for Series XII, and that the second appears to be from Timewave given that there is what appears to be a pink policeman behind them. The second and third photos also show the crew in different corridors, but both of these appear to be a redressing of the corridor set used on Series XI as a guest set in Samsara, Officer Rimmer and Krysis.
The final shot here though is the most interesting, as it appears to show us a redesigned Starbug mid-section. While different from the one we know, the big give away here is the table, with the green top and legs both keeping with the design of the one seen in Series VI:
It’s not the first time we’ve seen this set, with it having appeared in Can of Worms in the reshot opening sequence:
In that episode it wasn’t clear if this was the mid-section or upper deck, but the table would seem to indicate the former. The redesign here is of course somewhat in keeping with the look of the midsection of Blue Midget in Series X, which provides for some nice continuity.
One interesting thing to note is that in Can of Worms, the cast enter from the right of the set. Therefore, if this is the midsection then it means that the cockpit is likely also to the right, and what we are seeing here is the crew sitting around the table on the opposite side to the one they would have done in prior Series. Whether deliberate or not, this does mean that while the background we are seeing is something new, it’s on a wall of Starbug that we haven’t seen previously, and could therefore quite easily be considered to be what it has looked like all along.
If on the other hand this proves not to be the case however, you’ll recall that in Can of Worms the set was labeled as Starbug 18, meaning that this is just a different version anyway, and any internal differences can be explained away as easily as those in the cockpit.
Series XII to air on UKTV Play from October 5th
Aside from these photos though, the site also went on to detail further how Series XII will be broadcast, specifically in relation to UKTV Play:
The show will air exclusively on Dave and Dave HD on Thursday nights, beginning Thursday 12th October – but you can watch it before it’s on Dave as episodes will preview on the UKTV Play on-demand service every Thursday starting from 5th October.
There are a few things to say on this front. Firstly, when this was confirmed we received various tweets from fans disappointed that it would be broadcast first on the on demand service. We understand this point of view, and it could certainly be argued that when each episode was eventually broadcast on Dave, it was slightly more anticlimactic than it would otherwise have been as most of us has already seen it.
However, in the main, we don’t feel it diluted discussion of the episodes, but rather changed the time frame. We understand that it doesn’t have to be this way, but as we’ve stated on this site before, the reason it is being done at all is because of the show’s status as a flagship programme for Dave, thus drawing attention to their on demand service. It’s something that we’ve just come to adapt to, and in fact for some of us on this site allowed us to stay on top of episodes when we would have had to miss them for a lot longer due to other commitments. In reality, to expect that this method of release wouldn’t be followed again after Series XI was probably unrealistic.
Our only hesitancy comes in two parts. Firstly, as with Series XI, it does strike us as a shame that a show filmed in HD is first released in a non HD format. For Sky customers, this wasn’t such an issue, with the episodes available to download in HD at the same time they appeared on UKTV Play, but for anyone not using that service, HD was not available until broadcast. It wouldn’t be the biggest issue on many shows, but given the effects nature of Red Dwarf, the dip in quality on initial viewing does feel like a bit of a loss.
The second and larger issue comes with the dates the episodes will be released. Last year, we fell into the schedule of an episode airing on a Thursday and then the next episode streaming on the Friday, providing at least a bit of separation between the two. With Series XII however, it seems that those days will now be one and the same, and it’s unclear as to when on each Thursday the new episode will be released.
It’s not uncommon these days for the next episode of a show to be available immediately after the present one has finished, and while it makes it harder for us to cover the series, that’s our issue and not UKTV’s. What we would be more concerned by however is the prospect of the episodes being released before the TV airing of the previous episode. To be clear, we’d be surprised if this was the case, but obviously as a result we’ll be eagerly awaiting confirmation as to what time each episode will be available.
Doug on the future of the show at UKTV Live
Right back at the start of this week, UKTV’s annual showcase, UKTV Live, took place at Claridges. Red Dwarf XII was naturally one of the shows that was focused on, with industry attendees present for a panel with Craig, Chris, Robert and Doug discussing the series with Katherine Ryan.
Never a site to worry about being magnanimous (or accurate) in their coverage, Digital Spy once again chose to present their coverage of the event as some kind of private audience with the cast in a race for clickbait. Their write up did however relay Doug’s comments on the question of the future and what we might expect to see once Series XII has aired:
“I mean, we’re all up for doing more,” Robert Llewellyn (aka Kryten) told Digital Spy.“There’s nothing confirmed.”
“They want more,” series co-creator and chief writer Doug Naylor added. “It’s just a question of working out schedules and everything.”
“Being successful and critically acclaimed kind of vindicates the decision,” Craig Charles said of the revival’s huge success.
“Because there’s a legacy there, and you don’t want to f**k the legacy up. I didn’t want to go back to some shite.”
“And I think we’re like that with every series,” Naylor continued. “We don’t want to overstay our welcome, but equally, if it’s being well-received, you know, we’ll do more.”
All of which leaves us more or less exactly where we expected. It does mean however that the prospect of seeing a new series air in the show’s 30th anniversary year in 2018 is looking increasingly unlikely however.
Aside from the prospect of a thirteenth series, the question of whether a Christmas special would ever be likely was also addressed:
“Basically, because the show is quite expensive to make, it has to fit in with DVD schedules, and generally the BBC want to release it for Christmas,” co-creator Doug Naylor explained to us. “So to do a Christmas special is quite tricky. And because it gets very – I mean, who knows? We might do one, but it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to, ‘Let’s have Christmas and a Christmas tree and presents.”
Now the idea that Red Dwarf can’t lend itself to a Christmas idea is one we’d dispute, specially given the large amount of the first two novels devoted to Lister’s It’s a Wonderful Life fantasy in Better Than Life. However, the other element that Doug mentions is clearly more of an issue. From a commissioning standpoint, a Christmas special also isn’t likely to be top of anyones considerations.
Given that a normal episode can be repeated at any time of year while a Christmas episode has a more finite window for scheduling, it’s easy to see that the preference would be to film a series without devoting a recording to a Christmas themed edition. Given the expense of filming a series of Red Dwarf, it also seems unlikely that such a special would ever be mounted if not during the production of a full series.
All of which is not to say it’s not something we’d like to see. Many of our favourite sitcoms have had christmas specials that we enjoy watching back each festive season, and naturally it would be nice to include Red Dwarf in with these. But given the restrictions on producing one, it’s not something that we’ll ever be disappointed if we don’t see.
Classic T-shirt returns to the official store
And finally, just as we did last week, we conclude this week’s news roundup with news of new merchandise. Well, new-old merchandise anyway, as it was confirmed that a classic t-shirt design has been resurrected and made available in The Official Store:
— Red Dwarf (@RedDwarfHQ) September 15, 2017
One of the most familiar designs of the 90s run, the t-shirt has had the standard logo on the sleeve added, but would seem to not have the back print from the original design. One thing is for certain though, and that’s that the return of this design is not due to Skipper seeing a return for the character in Series XII, with Doug having stated at UKTV Live that “It’s about quantum skipping, rather than Ace Rimmer.” Whether other classic designs will be resurrected remains to be seen, but we will certainly be expecting to see a variety of new Series XII merchandise appearing over the next coupe of months.