Last Friday we finished recording the last episode of Red Dwarf X in front of an audience. What a lovely audience they were too, we were very grateful. Due to a build up of technical and logistical problems we were a little bit behind last week. One of the technical, or is that biological problems was that yours truly's eyes went all miximatosis like on Wednesday morning making the application of a full head prosthetic mask a bit awkward. That really stuffed things up. Add to that a load of promotional videos we had to make, hundreds of still photos of the cast in various locations and the fact that lovely Doug Naylor was fairly ill made the last episode recording something of a battle.
The truly amazing thing about Red Dwarf is the strength of the original idea and the resilience and mutual support of the cast. I think I can say that each of us have worked on many different productions in all manner of roles, but we all say without hesitation, Red Dwarf is the tough one.
Not just the cast with their wierd glue on teeth, hologramatic H's and woven in dreadlocks and obviously rubber head and plastic torso covering, the set builders, special effects supervisors, camera and sound crew and production staff all work incredibly hard over many weeks to create a series.
I've worked on dozens of other productions, both sit-coms and 'factual entertainment' shows, and none of them have been anything like as difficult to achieve as Red Dwarf.
If you think of your average sit com, a family live in a house, a lunatic runs a hotel, 4 students live in a squat, two rag and bone men live in a house. Basically they are about people who wear clothes and their most complicated prop is a kettle.
By stating this, I'm not saying Red Dwarf is better than any other sit-com, but I would wager it is a lot harder to make. We are reliant on so many variables, something that is two or three words in a script can take 2 hours to achive on camera.
However, this is not a moan fest, I'm really happy to have done another series as are the rest of the cast. Through all the hours of sweat and struggle, I haven't laughed as much or as hard since, well probably the last time we did Red Dwarf.
I think this is going to be an amazing series, each episode has all the best elements and classic Dwarfy moments, stinging one liners, wonderful visual gags and top quality banter. I can't say more yet, but there are lots of things (other than a live audience) that many long time fans of the show have asked for.
So, to re-cap, we've recorded 6 half hour episodes, they will be broadcast on Dave in the UK in September-October, they will be broadcast by many PBS stations in the US, broadcast in Australia, Japan and New Zealand, released on DVD and Blu-Ray, available globally, also on iTunes globally, also on Netflix where ever you can get it.
We are now girding our loins, inserting our overgrown teeth, smoothing our dreadlocks, applying our H's and donning some serious rubber for one more weeks filming, finishing all the fiddly bits, the pick up shots, the close ups of dongles going into dooberries and all the other faffing that we need to do to polish off a damn fine comedy series.