Complete Guide

Production

Making twelve episodes back-to-back had never been attempted on Red Dwarf before, and although the initial block of six had gone well with relatively few hitches - thanks in part to new production partner Baby Cow - there was still trepidation over whether the momentum could be maintained after a short Christmas break.

Furthermore, the first episode to be filmed on returning - Siliconia - was possibly the most elaborate and expensive Red Dwarf episode ever made. With a huge number of guest droid costumes (and heads!) and extensive location shooting at the now-familiar Sunbury Pump House, it was no small undertaking.

The second episode, Timewave, was hampered during the usual rehearsal/pre-record week by illness to Robert Llewellyn - and although Craig Charles took great delight in telling the audience on the night about the specifics, we'll refrain from doing so here out of decorum. Technical issues with the climactic scene meant a longer-than-expected record on the night, too, but unlike during Series XI's Twentica, there was no overrun requiring its final scenes to be picked up at a later date.

One episode that didn't have a chance to properly shoot its final scene on the night, however, was M-Corp. But Doug and the crew didn't want to deny the audience the chance to see Lister and Rimmer recreating the opening scenes of The End - so performed a run-through of the scene anyway. Despite not featuring Lister in his Series I-style London Jets costume, however, the audience immediately picked up on the reference, and reacted accordingly - a reaction that was then able to be used for the re-shot scene.

The unexpected illness of Robert and some other cast members, however, did have a knock-on effect for the rest of the series: in order to be able to schedule the series' remaining pick-up scenes around guest cast, the series finale Skipper had to be moved from its Friday night slot to the following week instead - making for the first ever Red Dwarf audience night to be recorded on a Wednesday!

The complex nature of Skipper's plot meant that a higher than usual number of its scenes were pre-recorded and then played in to the audience - including the time-skipping scenes that made up much of the first half of the episode, and then to allow for the various costume changes that were required for the jumps between universes in the second half. But two all-important scenes - the return of Norman Lovett as Holly and Danny John Jules' performance as The Rat - were filmed live, ensuring that the all-important audience reaction was captured in the moment.

Despite some of the technical challenges, however, all involved in the production agreed that the decision to get two series in the can back-to-back had definite benefits - with savings in both cost and efficiency. Producer Kerry Waddell stated that by the end of the mammoth run, "We were so in our stride, and we'd all got so used to being together, that we started to feel like we were sad to finish!"

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