Dwarf On Disc

A history of home releases... so far!

9 March, 2018

There's nothing that inspires collectors quite like an anniversary. And in Red Dwarf's thirtieth year, we wouldn't be surprised if some of you have decided to take stock of your collections, and try to figure out if there's anything you're missing - and if you are, to track some of it down.

Throughout the entirety of the DVD era, reddwarf.co.uk has been here to tell you about every release as it's happened, and catalogue its minutiae. But we could also forgive you for, over the past fifteen years or so, letting the odd one slip through your fingers. For that reason, we've decided to take a run through every home disc release that Red Dwarf has had to date - and point you in the right direction of where you can get hold of them if you've got any gaps on the shelf.

The following article covers the UK disc releases only - but see the Merchandise section for a full listing of international releases!

Dwarf On Disc

Series I (2-Disc DVD)

Released: 02.11.2002

Where it all began. Red Dwarf was relatively late in getting a DVD release as far as BBC comedy series go - but missing the initial rush of extras-free releases meant that the time could be taken to properly give the series the package it deserved. The first series set the template for a rich set of extras - including documentaries, cast commentaries, deleted scenes, smeg ups and music cues - along with a beautiful set of animated menus.

Key extra: Launching Red Dwarf, a documentary about the show's genesis

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Series II (2-Disc DVD)

Released: 10.02.2003

Budgetary restrictions on the first pair of DVD releases meant there was no original documentary included on Series II - but the Red Dwarf A-Z, from 1998's Red Dwarf Night, was a welcome inclusion. There was also room for the full, uncut Tongue Tied video - never before released in that form.

Key extra: Doug Naylor Interview - an exclusive chat with the co-creator

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Series III (2-Disc DVD)

Released: 03.11.2003

The second pair of releases saw a new set of menus - and a new type of lead documentary feature, with an increased budget thanks to the phenomenal sales of the first two sets. Fantastically in-depth, featuring interviews with key players both in front and behind the camera, these episode-by-episode run-throughs set a new standard for DVD documentaries about telly.

Key extra: All Change - An extensive retrospective documentary on Series III

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Series IV (2-Disc DVD)

Released: 16.02.2004

Just missing Red Dwarf's sixteenth anniversary by a day, the Series IV release continued along similar lines to Series III. And another Red Dwarf Night feature was included, in the shape of the classic Can't Smeg Won't Smeg.

Key extra: Ace Rimmer - A Life in Lame - Hattie Hayridge returns as Holly for the first time since 1992, in this retrospective feature

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Just the Shows, Vol. 1

Released: 18.10.2004

In between the first four series' individual releases and the next four, this boxset saw Series I-IV collected without their extras - providing the most cost-effective way yet to get a Red Dwarf fix.

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Dwarf On Disc

Series V (2-Disc DVD)

Released: 08.11.2004

An epic series demands an epic DVD release - and alongside the usual package of extras, Series V had a special "Fan Commentary", where lucky competition winners from this very website got to sit and chat about Back to Reality. And for the first time, the DVD was also released as part of a special Gift Set, with a Corgi model of Starbug.

Key extra: Dwarfing USA - A fantastic documentary about the making of the ill-fated US pilots, including never-before-seen footage licensed from NBC

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Series VI (2-Disc DVD)

Released: 21.02.2005

This time around, the Fan Commentary was on Gunmen of the Apocalypse, an episode that also had an extra feature on the DVD by way of Robert Llewellyn's Return to Laredo short. Documentary The Starbuggers, running to 75-minutes, also featured a wealth of never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage from Series VI's complex shooting.

Key extra: Howard Goodall: Settling the Score - The show's music maestro takes us through some of his hits

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Series VII (3-Disc DVD)

Released: 07.11.2005

With eight episodes to cover, the home release expanded to three discs - but the extra two episodes weren't the only reason. As well as including both the regular and "Xtended" episodes of VII, the DVD set included the winners of the Red Dwarf Fan Film Competition, a now 90-minute-long feature documentary, a newly-remastered version of Tikka To Ride, and - most excitingly of all - a brand new recreation of a previously-lost episode!

Key extra: Identity Within - The 'lost' episode of Red Dwarf VII by John McKay, presented in storyboard form and performed by Chris Barrie.

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Series VIII (3-Disc DVD)

Released: 27.03.2006

Another three-disc set, and another Gift Set - this time with a Skutter model which, unlike the aforementioned Starbug, was only ever available as part of this release. The BBC's Comedy Connections documentary was included as an extra, while Back in the Red was optionally presented in a new "Xtended" feature-length format. And the rarely-seen, specially-filmed PBS promo sketches were another welcome archive treat.

Key extra: Cast commentary - Always good fun, for Series VII the cast commentary was its most crowded yet, with all of Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn, Norman Lovett, Chloë Annett and Mac McDonald contributing. Chaos ensued.

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Just the Shows, Vol. 2

Released: 02.10.2006

Unsurprisingly, following the completion of the extras-laden sets for Series V-VIII, came this episodes-only version - making a neat companion piece to the Vol. 1 set.

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Dwarf On Disc

Beat the Geek

Released: 23.10.2006

Younger readers may not remember the concept of "DVD games", but we promise you, they were a thing in the Noughties. And our Red Dwarf one was pretty neat, frankly - a fun interactive experience that featured both Norman Lovett and Hattie Hayridge returning to play their respective versions of Holly. Plus, it came bundled with a competition to win £5,000 via our "Geek Chase" internet treasure-hunt. You can't win the cash any more, but you can still have a go at the game.

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The Bodysnatcher Collection

Released: 12.11.2007

What, you thought that just because we'd run out of episodes, we'd stop doing DVDs? Well, you reckoned without us finding the pretext to give you even more bonus stuff, by releasing the 1990s Remastered versions of Series I-III, in a new, absolutely massive package that featured tonnes of brand new documentary content, commentaries (for the first time) with Doug Naylor and Ed Bye, swathes of unearthed archive material... oh, and Bodysnatcher. The infamous, never-made Series I episode - with a brand new script polish by Doug and Rob Grant (who also teamed up for a commentary on the feature), and an animated performance voiced by Chris Barrie.

It was a pretty spectacular release, but sadly is no longer available to buy new, after a warehouse fire destroyed remaining stock and industry financial woes put paid to an immediate re-release. The fan clamour for a reissue has never gone away, however...

Key extra: The End: The Original Assembly - A newly-assembled cut of the very first episode, made up of footage from the original recording session, and showing how different an earlier version might have looked.

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Just the Smegs

Released: 19.11.2007

Long before DVD, Red Dwarf was getting in on the "bonus material" act with the two classic Smeg Ups and Smeg Outs video releases. These 1990s Christmas staples not only featured the famous out-takes, but also had deleted scenes, convention footage and lots of newly-recorded link material. See, we were doing DVDs before DVDs existed! And then we put them out on a DVD - combined with the tenth anniversary broadcast show, and out-takes from the seventh and eight series. This was also notable as the only Red Dwarf release on Sony's short-lived UMD video format.

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All the Shows

Released: 10.11.2008

Issued to celebrate the show's twentieth anniversary, this lavish big black box doesn't do a good job of fitting on a standard DVD shelf, but it does give you the most comprehensive package yet of Red Dwarf episodes - all 52 episodes that (then) existed, in their extras-free form.

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Dwarf On Disc

Back to Earth (2-Disc DVD and Blu-ray)

Released: 15.06.2009

The first Red Dwarf to be shot in high-definition was naturally the first Red Dwarf to get a Blu-ray release. But hardcore fans will have made sure to get both editions - as it's only the DVD that actually features as a prop in the very episode it holds, which was also the reason for the unusual and distinctive "Digipak" case. As well as the usual wealth of behind-the-scenes material - for the first time, shot for the home release while the show was being made! - Back to Earth also had a new "Director's Cut" feature-length edition.

Key extra: Doug Naylor commentary - A rare opportunity to hear the show's writer/director sitting down alone to talk about the show for an hour and a half!

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Dwarf On Disc

Just the Shows (Complete)

Released: 09.11.2009

As a good way to catch viewers who'd discovered the show with Back to Earth, this was a repackaging of the original two Just the Show volumes, but in a lovely new slipcase and at a lovely new low price. Can't say fairer than that, can you?

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Series I-IV (1-Disc DVDs)

Released: 07.03.2011

By the early 2010s, the original Red Dwarf releases were getting a bit long in the tooth - and while still largely available, the decision was made to get the shows back into shops afresh with new single-disc releases. The same extras-free sets as originally released in the Just the Shows boxsets, these "vanilla" releases came with the title Just the Show. They've since been deleted, however, and Series V-VIII were never released. So if you can catch them, they're a rare old addition to a Dwarfer's shelf!

Dwarf On Disc

Series X (2-Disc DVD and Blu-ray)

Released: 19.11.2012

The world of DVD production was a different place ten years after the original Series I release - but we still strive to make sure Red Dwarf fans get the level and quality of extras you expect from the show. And for the first release of the new decade, as well as all the usual deleted scenes, smeg ups and behind-the-scenes features, we even made sure to include old-style animated menus - and on the DVD, a reversible cover in the style of the Series I-VIII releases, for those of you who are really pedantic about your shelving. The DVD was also released in a HMV-exclusive steelbook, and in 2016 the Blu-ray was granted the same privilege in an extremely limited-edition, "red steel" set.

Key extra: We're Smegged - The epic, warts-and-all documentary telling the story of Series X's production.

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Dwarf On Disc

Series XI (2-Disc DVD and Blu-ray)

Released: 14.11.2016

All the chatter around the Series XI release seemed to relate to covers - with an incorrect version floating around the internet pre-release causing some controversy for apparently leaving off some of the main characters. The real version saw everyone present and correct, and another reversible cover - but the gorgeous limited-edition Blu-ray steelbook came with its own problems. The slipcase that came with the set inadvertently featured the working titles for Series XII's episodes printed on it - making it even more of a collector's item than it might originally have been...

Key extra: Behind the Scenes - Another comprehensive documentary, benefitting from being made alongside the series!

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Dwarf On Disc

Series XII (2-Disc DVD and Blu-ray)

Released: 20.11.2017

And so to our most recent release, with Series XII hitting shelves only four days after the series had finished airing on Dave - a somewhat quicker turnaround than the fourteen years between broadcast and DVD release of Series I! This time, in addition to the main behind-the-scenes documentary, there was a wider range of shorter featurettes looking at different elements of behind-the-scenes production.

Key extra: Lighting Red Dwarf: Then and Now - A lovely piece uniting Red Dwarf's past with its present, as Series XI/XII Director of Photography Ed Moore chats to the show's original Lighting Designer, John Pomphrey.

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Phew. So there you have it - that's a lot of Red Dwarf home releases to collect, and that's without us even getting into the VHSes!

But if you've got all of these on your shelf, does that mean your collection is complete? Well, all we'll say for now is, when it comes to Red Dwarf, we never like to say we've reached the end...

Dwarf On Disc

Browse the full selection of DVDs - from the UK and elsewhere - in our Merchandise section!

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