Complete Guide

Sets

Where Back to Earth had presented a glossy, bright reimagining of the classic bunkroom set, Series X moved in a different direction entirely. Although a rebuild and repaint of those previously-built sets, there was a deliberately darker, grimier aesthetic all over the ship - hammering home the image of the crew as a rag-tag band lost in the darkest depths of space.

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Incoming production designer Michael Ralph had always been most keen, as a viewer, on the exterior look of the ship rather than the lighter-coloured interiors - and so took a bold decision to redress the walls in a matching red, with dark floors and black-and-yellow "warning" trim and signage. Pipes and cables were exposed and emphasised, giving the impression that the crew had retreated to the deeper bowels of the ship.

But if there was still a brighter, cleaner part of Red Dwarf somewhere, it was well hidden - as the same aesthetic extended to the new Drive Room, the first such set since Series III-V's Science Room. This combined elements of the classic Drive Room with a layout inspired by the Starbug cockpit set - while the crew did not strictly-speaking pilot the ship from here, it nevertheless retained a sloping quality that gave the impression of "pointing" out from the front of the ship in the direction of travel.

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Both sets absolutely teemed with life, courtesy of an array of constantly-updating screens and LEDs. The bunkroom, as is now customary, included Lister and Rimmer's standard array of personal artefacts - photos, newspaper clippings, revision timetable - while Kryten was also given his own area in the kitchenette, where photographs of Camille adorned a small part of the wall. Robotic fish Lennon and McCartney also returned to the sleeping quarters for the first time since Series II, and a new central table replaced the elaborate "console" of Back to Earth.

Meanwhile, Lister's apparent taste for kitsch Americana was reflected in the red-and-chrome kitchen items and a garish new sofa set into a Cadillac replica. And in typical Red Dwarf fashion, disguised household items made up much of the set dressing: plastic crates in the corridor ceilings were a feature going back to Series III, while much of the wall detail was made from Ikea cutlery trays, and docking stations designed for laptops served as futuristic-looking door mechanisms.

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Laid out side by side, the two main rooms were separated by a corridor that also then extended out behind them. Shot from different angles, this "T"-shaped layout was able to be employed as a number of different corridors around the ship: a vending machine here, a fan there, and a sense of scale that far exceeded the actual size of the Shepperton K Stage was achieved. In a little easter-egg for fans, the high staircase at the far end of the studio also doubled as the exit from the ship's fabled "ram scoop" in Fathers and Suns.

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The final third of the studio, meanwhile, was reserved for the various guest sets that would be required throughout the series. These varied in size and scope depending on the episode - from the flight deck of the SS Trojan, to the BEGG hut, to the sparse yet menacing surroundings of the Simulant Death Ship - but the most inventive use of the area came in Lemons. The Indian market set was a magnificent example of what studio-based audience sitcoms can achieve with a little ambition - and viewers who hadn't been to the live recording would be hard-pressed to guess that the whole sequence was shot indoors, and in such a relatively compressed space.

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For The Beginning, it was finally time for the Dwarfers to be seen in a shuttle craft once more. Building a Starbug set would have been prohibitive - both in terms of time and money - and as a ship with a far more memorable and fixed look, demanded to be done right if at all. Blue Midget, however, had never really established a single iconic design in the same way - and so liberties could be taken in giving it a brand new one.

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The drive room set was hence redressed and repurposed - the new blue frontage suggesting an entirely different ship, while the remaining red elements gave a link back to its parent - and a small mid-section was also created in the rear area of the set. Decked out with mining equipment, this set served as a timely reminder of the ship's original mission. A favourite piece of detail here was Rimmer's "Battleplan Timetable" - constructed by the art department, but actually 'scripted' by Doug Naylor!