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Interactive Images - by Andrew Ellard

9 January, 2004

Red Dwarf IV is out in the UK on February 16th. Mark a space in your diaries, set your alarm clocks... and try not to be too jealous of our American cousins who's release for Series III and IV is due on the earlier date of February 3rd! (Available for pre-order right now in the USA RD Shop.)

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As the fated day approaches, can exclusively bring you this sneak peek at the animated menus that form the basis for the Series IV discs. As with Series III, the traditional science room/drive room/medi-bay/whatever location houses the main options, with scene selection off in a locker room overlooking Starbug's hangar.

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The highly-attentive amongst you will have noticed that each locker for the third series episodes contained objects from the relevant episode. This theme is continued with Series IV - despite the image being on-screen for barely a second. (Has anyone spotted them all?) This level of detail is a credit to Deluxe Digital's hard work and dedication, and we're looking forward to working with them again on the next menus - can these things possibly get any better?

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Disc 2 houses the bonus features, as you'd expect, and the virtual bunkroom set has again been strewn with objects from the series. Kryten's spare heads move and mumble, Lister's curry steams, and Talkie... well, that little git never shuts the hell up.

All-new documentary Built to Last, will (as usual) be housed on the main menu. The decision to do this has been partly to acknowledge it as the 'main' feature on the disc - both in terms of content, and its lengthy running time of 75 minutes - and partly to avoid over-clogging the bunkroom menu.

Once again, the documentary will have a sub-menu allowing quick access to the chapters. Want to get the behind-the-scenes skinny on the Dimension Jump episode? The doc has been handily split into ep-by-ep sections for your bite-sized ease of use. (It's also water resistant and has not been tested on animals... unless you count the editors.)

Still on the menu topic, steps have been taken to avoid the small number of fans with problematic machines having any difficulties accessing the wealth of bonus material. A simpler 'text menu' has been created in parallel with the more animated bonus screen for quick and easy use. This will ship as standard on Series IV. (News on the Series III replacement disc, currently nearing completion, will be posted shortly.)

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So, what does the future hold for Red Dwarf's DVD menus? Well, it's almost certain that Series V will continue the current theme of drive room/bunkroom/locker room, augmented with items from the series. If you'd like to make any suggestions, post them on the Webboard - we are listening!

As for Series VI, we've already conferred with Doug Naylor on the coolest possible Starbug-based concept and interesting ideas abound. For more details, you'll just have to wait until later in 2004...

Finally, here are a couple of images from the BBC's Series IV DVD ad campaign. Aren't they lovely?

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You can pre-order Series IV right now from the Red Dwarf Shop.

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