Back in the distant 1990’s taking part in the creation of a Red Dwarf series was utterly engrossing. It meant 10 weeks when nothing other than scripts, lines, blocking, camera angles, timing, beats, moves, stunts and constant cast banter entered my boil-in-the-bag-brain.
It’s very hard, if not impossible to deal with any other information when you’re up to your rubber neck in all that 6 days a week.
Now of course we have access to constant data inputs from mobiles, Twitters, Google+’s, blogs, Facebooks, and everything else.
Interestingly the news is still not getting through to me.
Oh, but this is just a poncy actor spouting off like a luvvie.
Well, I’d like to point out that I have lived in the ‘real world.’ I’ve worked as a tree surgeon, been a shoemaker, worked on a dairy farm milking cows, a factory chicken farm ‘thinning out the birds’, done washing up in a restaurant, been a cyclist courier and a nude model for proper artists who do drawing and painting.
I know what hard work is like and I’ve never shied away from it. However when I’d finished slaughtering chickens, milking cows or lopping the branches off trees my life was pretty much my own. I was in touch with the state of the world, current affairs, the news, swings in public opinion, the changing face of society yadda yadda.
With a bonkers sit-com like Red Dwarf, when we go home at the end of the day, that’s when we start the really hard work. We are working to such a tight deadline that there truly isn’t enough time in the day to do everything. It is our job as the actors to ‘get off the book.’ i.e. know all our lines, and there are a lot of them, in a very short period of time.
At the start of each week I find myself sitting in some dark corner of the studio, head in hands, confident that this week, this week I am truly going to let the side down.
I am happy, even dare I say it, proud to report that once again, we got through it. Oh, we all fluffed plenty of lines, even the demon king of line learning, Mr Craig Charles stuffed up some Naylor-esque tongue-twisters, but in the end we got the show in the can. Or hard drive, cans are for film.
So, this morning, I discover that the poor people of Syria are still suffering, Tony Blair keeps getting richer and Cameron has put his foot in it with his Tourettes jibe. Oh yeah, and Dianne Abbot had a bit of a twitter fitter.
All that (except for Ms Abbot) had escaped me until this morning. To be honest, not being aware of the daily news churn makes you appreciate how ephemeral it all is. I firmly believe we do need to know all this nonsense, but when it passes you by for a few weeks it’s no great loss.
Anyway, essentially I just wanted to say that I now feel confident in predicting that the new series of Red Dwarf is going to be every bit as good as anything we have ever done in the past, if not better.
It’s turning out to be classic Dwarf, brilliant scripts, amazing sets, wonderful cameo roles, fantastic plots that tie into real scientific theories and ideas.
I predict series X could possibly cause a worldwide smeg- asm.