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Dusty Bits - by Andrew Ellard

29 June, 2007

Oh boy, oh boy. What joys lie among the Red Dwarf rushes! Little behind-the-scenes glimpses have become par for the course on the DVD documentaries, and we've got some lovely stuff this time around.

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Want to see them setting up and detonating Confidence and the Mayor of Warsaw? Want to hear the cast complaining while buried up to their necks in sand? Or Danny and Doug's accidentally-recorded 'Have a word with Ed, man' conversation in the Stasis Leak hotel? Want to see skutters, erm, wander into the wall? Now you can.

We've also pulled the Tony Hawks interview from our Series III/IV DVD archive. Tony was an important part of the Series I shoot, and we've got some rare footage of the man himself, on-camera, performing his Series I audience warm-up. In a violently bright sparkly green suit.

You can also see remastered rushes - check out Norman Lovett's hairpiece, a rod puppet Rimmer doll used for the 'ejector seat' gag, and original footage that proves once and for all that the 'CGI skutters' added to The End: Remastered were not, in fact, computer-generated at all!

The real surprises, though, have come from a second attack at the archive. With newly-acquired skill - and, frankly, some lucky breaks with poorly-labelled tapes - we've managed to locate a few missing-presumed-dead deleted scenes for the very first time.

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Paradise Beach, Better Than Life. Who knew this existed?! Special effects dude Andy Bowman showed up at GNP one day with a photo album, kindly offering his pics for use on the DVD. Alongside the 'under construction' skutter shots were the pictured images of Danny and Craig on a location/set that never made the final show. A set we'd never even heard of.

It turns out the entire 'golf course' scene from Better Than Life was originally intended to take place in a tropical plant-filled beach location. But Rhyl was just too damned cold. The tropical plants were buffeted by high winds, and the cast, in their vests and shorts, struggled to speak through chattering teeth.

A cut was called mid-shoot and the scene was later re-written and re-mounted. But the first half - the half that was filmed - is available for your viewing pleasure. Plus we nabbed some 'freezing Craig' rushes for the documentary that'll make you shiver on your sofa.

Sauna, Bodyswap. Another discovery that dropped chins to the floor. Tracked down at the end of an ancient VHS marked 'Polymorph' and eventually traced to its original source tape, this is Robert Llewellyn's oft-mentioned first day on the show - presumed lost forever.

It shows Robert, with a quite different accent, talking to Rimmer-in-Lister's-body and serving him a meal. Disappointingly, the rushes don't show the infamous moment where Robert was electrocuted by the FX team's trick lighter apparatus, secreted on his gloved finger and used in the final scene to light candles - but you can't have everything.

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Also missing was Chris Barrie's voice. Although present on the recording day to act as a voice guide for Craig - the characters had, by this scene, swapped bodies and the actors were impersonating one another - Chris' off-mic delivery wasn't picked up clearly enough to be used for dubbing. And with Craig sometimes mouthing, rather than speaking, the words, the scene was destined to remain incomplete.

That was until Chris went out of his way to motor down to Shepperton. Heading over to change a line in Bodysnatcher - something you'll find out about in the writers' DVD commentary - Chris kindly ran through the lost lines for us. Before even seeing the scene, his delivery was almost identical to his test-read on the original shooting day. What a pro.

A scene filmed in 1989, dubbed in 2007. This DVD has a real time-travel quality to it, doesn't it?

Gordon, Better Than Life: Remastered. Actor Phil Philmar (seen as a weatherman in GNP's The 10%ers) was brought in to reshoot the role of ship's computer 'Gordon' - complete with an extra gag or two - but the footage went unused when it came out a little long and awkward to fit into the original scene. Not that such things prevent us from showing you how it how it might have looked.

And finally we have this little oddity: among his own Remastered reshoots, Norman Lovett recorded five extra Holly gags. Intended as possible alternatives for certain episode introductions, these, also, never made the cut. We present them here for the first time.

Deleted scenes from the remastered production? How weird is that!

More DVD Details will follow soon...

Red Dwarf: The Bodysnatcher Collection will be out in the UK on October 22nd.

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