Cut To Shreds

Footage Hunting - by Andrew Ellard

2 April, 2004

Thousands of cassettes are involved in the filming of a Red Dwarf series. Multi-camera shooting and a complex editing process racks up piles of tape and big bills... and retrieving the tapes a decade later, it turns out, racks up even bigger ones. Gulp - this had better be worth it!

Cut To Shreds

So it was that we've delved once again into the many delivery boxes in search of deleted scenes. Moments cut from Series V and VI of the show that would, at last, see the light of digital day on DVD.

First things first - make no mistake about it, these two series represent the juiciest pickings so far. More was written for Series V and VI (the same number of episodes, but far longer scripts) than before, leaving the writers the chance to use only the best material in the final cuts.

This means a lot of unseen footage. It's early days yet, but it could be that the Series V and VI DVDs feature 35-40 minutes of deleted scenes. That's twice the quantity of any previous release, and actually more than enough to build yourself an entire extra episode! Also included in both cases are likely to be a few 'alternate' versions of scenes - sequences that were re-staged and re-shot during production for various reasons.

Cut To Shreds

A couple of interesting points to note at this stage. Arguably the most successful episodes from V and VI are, respectively, Back to Reality and Gunmen of the Apocalypse - yet these are the episodes with the fewest removals. (The former did, however, include a '2D' bluescreen effect that never really made the grade.) Almost nothing was trimmed from Gunmen at all - presumably because the logistical nightmares of the script forced the guys to nail the details early on.

Still, these series also contain the longest Dwarf shows to date - Holoship and the marginally-longer Emohawk - Polymorph II, both of which required more than ten minutes cut to fit the half-hour BBC timeslot. Anyone who's read Penguin's Dwarf script books (Primordial Soup, Son of Soup and Scenes From The Dwarf) will have some idea of what kind of thing goes missing.

Cut To Shreds

In fact Scenes From The Dwarf contains a full-length version of Emohawk's cockpit scene. If you thought Rimmer's rant about hair length leading to military success was crazed in the episode, wait until you see it at full-size. There's also a killer gag - though the audience of the time don't seem to agree - where Lister has trouble telling port from starboard. In its full form (around triple the duration of the scene's final cut) this is probably the most protracted character and dialogue scene in the whole of Series VI.

As the scenes approach the edit, there's a shovel-wielding slapstick section from Inquisitor and a moment where Rimmer tries to cheer his crewmates up in Back to Reality that could be among the greatest losses ever. There's no doubt about it - the deleted scenes are going to be some of the hottest features on the next two DVDs.

More DVD Details will follow soon...

For more info on deleted scenes, plus all kinds of behind the scenes information, you could do a lot worse than check out the Time Hole.

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