Complete Guide


With the mammoth task of producing two series back to back ahead, UKTV were keen to ensure that some of the issues that had beset the making of Series X were not repeated. And so it was agreed that this time around, Grant Naylor Productions would partner with another production company, to pool resources and better realise the show's vision.

Baby Cow Productions have been one of the foremost producers of comedy in the UK ever since their formation by Steve Coogan and Henry Normal in 1999. But not only was their heritage and experience a crucial asset - so too was the fact that they had as their Head of Production one Kerry Waddell. Kerry had first worked with Red Dwarf's creators back in the Son of Cliché days, and had served as Stage/Production Manager on the fourth, fifth and sixth series. Returning to the fold as Producer alongside Richard Naylor, the reunion was a warm and welcome one.

Due to the unavailability of Shepperton Studios this time around, production moved to the equally storied Pinewood - just a few doors down from the heavily guarded production of the next entry in the Star Wars saga. This point was not lost on returning warm-up merchant Ray Peacock, who made frequent attempts to goad audience members into a raid on the Millennium Falcon set.

The question of whether or not Red Dwarf should be filmed in front of an audience had been definitively answered by the tenth series - and so although the studio space was smaller (allowing for only 250 fans per night rather than 300) this vital component was retained for the regular Friday night recordings throughout November and December 2015.

In general, though, despite hugely increased ambition in terms of the stories, the back-to-back nature of the production meant that budget could be juggled, with elements common to both series freeing up resource for use elsewhere. While location shoots had been limited on the tenth series to heading just outside the studio, a trip to Fawley Power Station in Hampshire - perhaps the most naturally Red Dwarf-looking location in existence - gave Give and Take an especially spacious look.

As much as possible, scenes were filmed on the night to get the best possible interaction between cast and audience - even though this meant filming Starbug cockpit scenes out of sight of the seating, instead relaying everything through to monitors. Fortunately, however, when pre-recorded scenes were necessary, they were largely in the can in advance of the live nights - so there were no scenarios where audiences saw incomplete cuts or non-chronological scene orders.

The only major exception was the closing scene of Twentica - with director Doug Naylor deciding to call time at the 10pm curfew, rather than extending late as was normally the case, in order to allow the crew to wrap up and enjoy their end-of-series Christmas party!

With new sets, new costumes, new models, new effects and many new production crew members, the production of Red Dwarf XI was still subject to many of the ups and downs that come naturally to a complex TV series - but there was no doubt that the breathing space of the back-to-back production meant that problems such as the missing Twentica scene could be picked up on when production resumed in the new year.

Of course, the downside of running back-to-back meant that just when everyone could do with a break, it was right back to doing it all over again. But that's another story...