From The Depths

Archive Material - by Andrew Ellard

27 May, 2005

The joy of working on DVDs for Series VII and VIII is that, by this time, the production team for the show had begun recording what they were doing. Dwarf was 'a big deal', plans on the backs of beer mats had gone out the window in favour of concept drawings and storyboards. Affordable camcorders had finally been placed in the hands of anyone who wanted one. Sadly, this never led to a 'behind the scenes' documentary being mounted at the time... but the titbits we do have are pretty tasty.

Ed Bye and Danny John-Jules

Firstly, we have Chloë Annett's audition tape and - once she'd nabbed the role - hair tests. Was the baseball cap really a serious consideration?! Plus some bright spark actually took a camera along to the location scout for Series VIII, so you'll get a look at what some of the location interiors really look like.

Then there are snippets of the cast readthroughs for Back in the Red and Cassandra. The team were recorded on audio cassette as they ran through the early drafts of the scripts, and messed about in between. We'll be including two or three of the tastiest chunks. Next, captured on camcorder, there's Danny John-Jules blocking and rehearsing the Blue Midget dance sequence on the studio floor with choreographer and former Queeg Charles Augins.

Danny Dancing

All of these will be incorporated into the appropriate documentaries - we simply don't have disc space for the entire collection in the raw! - but one child of the camcorder generation that will get its own featurette is Robert Llewellyn's Video Diary.

You may have seen some of this footage on Robert's site, and we'll be including this, plus the best of the rest. Sadly, he only shot a little here and there, with the bulk of the material coming from filming days for Jane Austen World and Duct Soup shoots. But even these few minutes give an entertaining insight, and certainly deserve a place on the bonus disc.

Jane Austen World

Apart from these, of course, we've once again trawled the regular rushes tapes from each episode for interesting and illustrative moments - everything from the real 'Dallas' location of Tikka to Ride to the waterlogged (and re-mounted) medieval shoot on Stoke. We'll even see the full form of Terry Fisher, the man hired to be Lister's bulked-up body in Nanarchy. An embarrassment of riches indeed. Well, Chloë certainly blushed a lot.

All the stops have been pulled out for this, our final crack at Dwarf DVD, and the work so far suggests it will not disappoint. It's worth it just to hear Norman Lovett welcomed back into the readthough room after a nine-year absence!

More DVD Details will follow soon...

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