Complete Guide


In a far cry from the days when all of Red Dwarf's effects would be entrusted to an in-house BBC team, Series XI saw the use of several different specialists across a range of disciplines - meaning that each team was best-suited to the task for different types of effects. The Magic Camera Company - returning to the show having worked on the earliest series - and the ever-present Model Unit were joined by newcomers Avis VFX and Millennium FX to each lend their skills to models, props, CG ships, character designs and prosthetics.

After the return of model shots to Series X - and a few hiccups along the way - the scope was expanded for the eleventh series. And we mean that quite literally: in addition to the "classic" Red Dwarf model first built in the late ‘90s and chopped/down refurbished in 2011, a brand new front section was built at a much larger scale, allowing for a much closer level of detail. Unlike the flat-panel "bigature" created for RDX, this model's angles matched those of the main ship exactly, allowing for more consistent camera shots.

Just as with the sets, however, what the fans were really keen to see was some more Starbug - after the fleeting use of the ship alongside Blue Midget in the previous series, RDXI required much more regular use of the classic model. But again, it wouldn't just be one model deployed - thanks to the wonders of 3D printing specialists Voxeljet, it was possible to create additional models, referred to affectionately as "Stuntbug", to cope with the dramatic crash sequences that would be required.

But the move back towards models didn't come totally at the expense of CGI - and for additional ships such as the research station in Krysis and the crashing Samsara, CGI from the VFX team of Howard Jones was deployed. Computer graphics were also used throughout the sets themselves, including a wireframe spinning model of Starbug to appear on that ship's screens - an homage to the Series VI set that was actually first created by members of the Red Dwarf fan club for use at the Dimension Jump conventions!

Two other beloved practical props from Red Dwarf past made welcome returns: new Bazookoids were designed and built by Mike Tucker and Nick Kool, combining the main chassis of the shorter Series VI "Mark II" versions with the long barrel of the Series III "Mark I" in an all-new hybrid.

And after their CGI reappearance in Back to Earth, it was finally time for the return of actual, physical Skutter models - no longer causing quite as much havoc and destruction with their radio controls as they had in the 1980s, but nevertheless sparking an argument between producers Kerry Waddell and Richard Naylor as to who would get to drive the blighters!

The multi-faced "Rimmer Beast" from Officer Rimmer was probably the most challenging practical effect to create - and surprisingly, was an entirely physical prop, made up of several performers all wearing prosthetic Rimmer masks. And the same episode's Captain Herring saw his bio-printed head go through several design concepts, before settling on one - with the eyes atop the head - that was deemed to be the funniest.