Cast Assemble For Read-Through

The Red Dwarf movie script is given the out-loud test at the first official read-through.

23 March, 2001

On Thursday, March 22nd, the established cast and crew of the Red Dwarf movie assembled at Shepperton Studios' Orson Welles Building for a live read-through of the script - tentatively titled, yes, you've guessed it, Red Dwarf - The Movie. And was there throughout - taking pictures and generally bothering people.

Keeping their usual watchful eye on the proceedings, co-directors Ed Bye and Doug Naylor settled in to listen to Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn, Chloë Annett and Norman Lovett - plus Mac McDonald, returning from his successful appearance in series VIII - try out, for the first time, the lines of the upcoming film. Aside from the main cast, several of the film's key behind-the-scenes players were in attendance.

Cast Assemble For Read-Through Cast Assemble For Read-Through

Getting such a busy cast together in one room actually proved to be a difficult task. Early concerns were that Danny's current appearance in Blade 2: Bloodhunt - which will be shooting in Prague - might render him unable to attend. But both he and co-star Robert Llewellyn - who is currently in the midst of his Channel 4 series Scrapheap - managed to clear spaces in their schedules just in time.

Norman Lovett meanwhile is, unfortunately, not pictured - and with good reason. The comedian recently suffered a broken nose and has just undergone corrective surgery - his plastered nose giving him the look of an auditionee for Chinatown.

The first read-through went by in a zippy couple of hours - halting only occasionally for drastic bursts of laughter - with the stage directions being read by Ed Bye. A break for lunch allowed stomachs to be filled before returnees took their seats to work on some of the key dialogue sequences.

Cast Assemble For Read-Through Cast Assemble For Read-Through

Throughout proceedings, additional roles were filled by three fabulous actors. Richard O'Callaghan (who is currently appearing in God Only Knows in the The Strand) and Angela Pleasance (who, having just returned from filming in Rome, is due to start work on the new Steve Coogan series) and Rupert Bates. Fans will remember Rupert from his myriad roles in Red Dwarf... as well as his Mr Flibble Talks To interview, where he wasn't afraid to embarrass Ed Bye with his tales from their days at the BBC!

The recording was also video-taped for reference, with Ed joking to the throng that 'We won't be using the footage... unless we really need to. Actually, that's an idea - let's do it here!' Doug followed up on the rules of the building: 'There is a smoke detector and it'd be really great if at the end of the read through we don't have to wade out of the room...'

Twice during the reading - with an astounding reverence for Red Dwarf traditions - a line of dialogue was followed by utter silence, then a slow realisation as all eyes fell to Danny. When the lines arrived, they inevitably got a healthy laugh - better late than never!

Cast Assemble For Read-Through Cast Assemble For Read-Through

The classic mis-read of the day has to belong to the following line of dialogue, which clearly gives an impression of where Rupert Bates' mind really was: 'Go flight. Give me a go/no-go for lunch...'

The feedback from the day was overwhelming, with congratulations all round - especially to the author of the script. Meanwhile the sight of the entire Red Dwarf cast trying out a brand-new Red Dwarf story was enough to make this correspondent's spine go all tingly. The cast are now massively keen to turn the words into pictures and left the studios eager to return for the shoot.

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