Red Dwarf creator Doug Naylor and producer Richard Naylor talk XII
this may be a whole new series but that doesn’t mean you should expect Red Dwarf XII to take a radical new direction from last year’s XI – perhaps not surprising seeing as the two six-episode runs were filmed back-to-back. “a new production designer and art department was the biggest change for series XII,” says producer richard naylor. “there’s an added level of detail to the sets, and they had some new ideas about giving starbug a lived-in element that may have been missing from series XI. Kryten’s costume also got a slight little update.
“i saw some of the audiences comment that they felt these are slightly heavier science fiction episodes,” he adds, “a bit more out there. But it wasn’t deliberate. it’s just the way it worked out.”
following on from Kevin eldon turning up as a simulant last year, Red Dwarf XII rolls out more familiar guest stars from the world of tv comedy, with Johnny vegas and The Inbetweeners’ James Buckley taking a trip three million years into the future. there’s also a
return for original cast member norman Lovett as Holly.
“the reaction to all of the shows was very good,” recalls co-creator/ writer/director doug naylor, “but [when norman appeared] we had to shorten… it wasn’t a laugh. it was actually a sort of mad noise [from the audience] that lasted about 25 seconds which we’ve now cut down to about three!”
although the ship’s eccentric computer has been brought out of retirement, doug is wary of taking too many trips down memory lane. “Obviously we could bring back duane dibbley and ace rimmer, and polymorphs left, right and centre, and to a certain extent it would work,” he says. “But on the other hand, i don’t think there’s any point doing Red Dwarf unless you feel that you’re doing something you haven’t done. if the core of the idea is just a retread then i don’t think it’s going to work very successfully.”
we’re now in the position of having seen more new episodes in the last five years than we saw in the 15 before that, so possibly the biggest question facing Red Dwarf is whether we’ll see more after series XII has aired. “craig was possibly not quite sure what he was saying,” says richard, “but on the final show of series XII he said, ‘get doug to write some more and let’s keep going!’”
“i’m happy to do more if i’ve got the ideas,” adds doug. “But i don’t really know whether i’ve got the ideas until i start writing it. with XI and XII i did think there was enough there.”
One thing that seems extremely unlikely is a finale episode to send the boys from the dwarf into a glorious retirement.
“i honestly don’t think i could do it,” doug admits. “i don’t think i could make it and not be a blubbering mess – i don’t think i could put myself through that. and also i do take a lesson from Larry david on Seinfeld, who said that if he had his time again he wouldn’t make the very last show. He felt that was a mistake, because it’s never the show everyone wants. it’s impossible to do.”
ROUTE AND END UP WITH THREE PENSIONERS AND A SENILE DROID AT THE HELM? LLEWELLYN i thought it had a shelf life in 1989! it’s impossible to say now, because we’ve been doing this such a long time. BARRIE i think it all depends on doug really… LLEWELLYN and mortality. CHARLES we could be Last Of The Summer Dwarf.
LLEWELLYN we’re very close to that now! CHARLES One of the reasons the show is funny now is there’s still a youthful energy about the performances, it’s not world weary. JOHN-JULES with Last Of The Summer wine they all started old whereas we’ve grown with the show. CHARLES when i first started doing it, i didn’t have to push when i peed. LLEWELLYN it just happened, didn’t it? it just used to come out. CHARLES i used to make it over the wall. LLEWELLYN i have to lean on the wall to get anywhere near the wall now Kevin J
LOOKING AT EACH OTHER’S NON-DWARF CAREERS, IS THERE ONE JOB WHERE YOU THOUGHT, “I WISH I WAS OFFERED THAT?”
CHARLES Death In Paradise for me. five months of the year in guadalupe? it’s a nofucking-brainer. getting paid to go on holiday. LLEWELLYN yeah, it’s Death In Paradise. BARRIE it’s probably Death In Paradise. JOHN-JULES mine’s Death In Paradise too! CHARLES i would have liked to have done Tomb Raider as well. that was quite a cool
gig to get. BARRIE it was quite a cool gig. CHARLES if i’d made Tomb Raider that angelina/Brad thing might never have happened. it would be craigelina. Jem
DO YOU HAVE ANY RUNNING JOKES/IN-GAGS BETWEEN YOURSELVES AND, IF SO, ARE THERE ANY THAT ARE CLEAN ENOUGH TO SHARE?
LLEWELLYN “where’s danny?” JOHN-JULES in the morning it’s “where’s danny?” during the day, it’s “where’s craig?” “He’s out the back having a fag.” “where’s Bobby?” “He’s gone with him.” “where’s chris?”
LLEWELLYN “Buffing up a bit of walnut on the car outside.”
CHARLES “can we all be a little bit more professional please?”
JOHN-JULES craig is always on the phone booking another dJing gig.
CHARLES i always get robert to hand me a script so i can check a line, and then throw it on the floor. He’s fallen for that for 25 years. ruth Biggs
WHICH OF YOU WOULD BE BEST AT FLYING STARBUG?
JOHN-JULES chris would probably think that he would be the safest – infinity welcomes careful drivers.
CHARLES He’d be driving it with a flat cap and some driving gloves. BARRIE in my hands it might last the longest.
CHARLES i regret that my kids are old enough now to know that i’m not actually driving that spaceship. Later at my youngest daughter’s school they were asking the kids what their dads did, and she said, “my dad’s a taxi driver,” because of Coronation Street. she thought it was real! myles Hadley
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST SCENE TO REACH THE END OF?
BARRIE for me the scene i never thought i’d get through was in “twentica”, an 11-pager.
LLEWELLYN the one i always remember is when we did the synchronised one [“entangled” in series X]. i was looking at danny and i was thinking, “this will end, there will be a point in my life where i have done it, but i cannot see it because i’ve got no clue how we’re going to do this.”
JOHN-JULES we never ever got to the end of the scene in rehearsal, ever.
CHARLES i felt like that when we did “marooned” [series iii] because it was basically just a two-hander. the amount of dialogue we had... Bob’s vintage LegO
WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK OF THE RED DWARF LEGO IDEA CURRENTLY IN REVIEW WITH LEGO IDEAS?
JOHN-JULES we went past the target number of people it takes [for them to make it] but apparently after that there’s another stage
IF I’D MADE TOMB RAIDER, ANGELINA/BRAD WOULD HAVE BEEN CRAIGELINA
where you get a consultation, and a lot of it’s got to do with whether it’s suitable for the company… LLEWELLYN ...and children. CHARLES it’d be really good to be a Lego character. it would be nice to have something that’s slightly more plastic than our performances. rob Horrocks
YOU’VE ALL PLAYED VARIOUS ALTERNATIVE VERSIONS OF YOUR CHARACTERS, BE IT DUANE DIBBLEY, ACE RIMMER OR THE DOPPELGANGERS FROM “DEMONS AND ANGELS”. WHICH ALTERNATIVE VERSION OF YOUR CHARACTER WAS THE MOST FUN TO PORTRAY, AND WHICH WAS THE WORST?
JOHN-JULES all of mine have been a joy because i don’t think i’d get cast in those characters in a normal show – i can’t imagine that anyone would write duane dibbley as a standalone character.
BARRIE it’s great fun to play them all. rimmer with the anger removed – “Let’s put that on the backburner, shall we?”
CHARLES i still get the shakes about that character chris played in “demons and angels”. “and then i’m going to have you...”
JOHN-JULES i loved the sheet-wearing cult hippies in that episode.
BARRIE it sometimes comes down to what’s the most comfortable outfit to wear, and that one was pretty comfortable. the demon costume wasn’t. alex
WHAT DID ROBERT DO WITH THE BOGEY HE EXPERTLY CAUGHT IN THE OUTTAKES?
CHARLES He’s kept it, he’s got it in a little jar in his shelf! that’s one of the funniest smeg-ups of them all. JOHN-JULES i love the fact that the camera pulls focus to it. LLEWELLYN it was just a fluke, wasn’t it? James fraser
IF YOU COULD HAVE A CROSSOVER WITH ANY OTHER SHOW WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE?
the biggest thing on social networks is Doctor who, it’s just relentless. LLEWELLYN it would have been great if there were some daleks chasing us for no reason at all, and they go away and we don’t see them again. CHARLES i’d love Lister to beam into Star wars and think, “nah,” and beam back out again. Lynsey graham
GIVEN THAT GOD IS INFINITE, AND THAT THE UNIVERSE IS ALSO INFINITE... WOULD YOU LIKE A TOASTED TEACAKE?
BARRIE it’s twenty past ten, i’d love a toasted teacake. CHARLES i think talkie toaster should be back. there should be a little bit of talkie toaster in every episode, just a little cameo JOHN-JULES Just cut away to the shelf, there’s talkie toaster. “what the fuck is wrong with this lot?” that would be funny.
SFX thank you, chaps! JOHN-JULES we look forward to it looking nothing like what we’ve said!
Red Dwarf XII airs on Dave from 12 October.
Cheating at Go Fish is a disgrace!
One of these mechanoids is also an Inbetweener.
Holly’s not just any old floating head, you know...
Is this Dave’s plan for tying the guys into another series?
It’s time to recite some Shakespeare.
“Everyone back in the box until they need us the next time.”
Can’t a man eat his French fries in peace?
We’re not sure Johnny Vegas’s police uniform is regulation.