The Lost Episode

Best Extra Ever? - by Andrew Ellard

8 July, 2005

Time for a shaggy GELF story. Just a quick one.

Back in 1996, when Red Dwarf VII was in production, various writers were invited to submit storylines for the series to ease the load on the newly-divorced (from writing partner Rob Grant) co-creator Doug Naylor. A lucky few were invited to write scripts from those outlines. And most of those scripts were, after rewrites, filmed.

Except one.

The script was Identity Within. The author was John McKay, and the story revolved around the Cat finally getting his end away before death takes him. Scripts were given to the cast, rewrites performed by Blue writer Kim Fuller, and the whole thing might have been filmed... if it hadn't been way too expensive to shoot.

The Lost Episode: The Script

So out went female cat Ora, evil beast Zural, a marketplace teeming with GELFs and a grotty boozer in deep space. In their place, Doug Naylor penned Duct Soup - no big sets, no major guest characters, and certainly not a pub scene populated like a Star Wars cantina.

Chris Barrie at Shepperton

Why are we telling you this? Well, hopefully the pictures will have given you a clue...

On the morning of Monday, May 9th Chris Barrie came to Shepperton to record a reading of the script in preparation for its use on the Series VII DVD. For three hours Dwarf sound supervisor Jem Whippey recorded the lost episode - known around here as 'IDW' - complete with stage direction, character voices and awkward GELF speak.

Chris worked from the first draft of the script, keeping this as close as possible to McKay's original intentions. Handily, this is also the only version to feature Rimmer - which offered Chris an excellent chance to get back into character.

Chris Barrie at Shepperton

Anyone who's heard the talking book chapters on the previous discs will know just how good Chris is at performing as Lister, Cat and Kryten, and it was a joy to hear him going at it full-pelt (that's another GELF pun, by the way).

Subsequently Jem was to be found locked in The Shed with the audio files, editing the best takes together and adding key music and sound effects. The final version has background sound very much akin to the Dwarf TV series, along with the odd bazookoid blast and Starbug woosh. The top moment so far, though, is a scene described as having 'Mission: Impossible-style music' and includes the Cat banging his head and falling over a lot. It's comedy heaven on the ears!

IDW Logo

This is just the beginning, though. We've also had a storyboard artist working day and night to produce images that will run alongside the finished audio. These will be edited together, including the odd camera move or zoom, to create a fully-fledged 'almost' episode of Red Dwarf!

Could this be the best bonus feature ever? It's certainly up there. You can discuss the merits right here on the Red Dwarf Webboard.

More DVD Details will follow soon...

This extra - and a great many others - will feature on the Series VII DVD, available to pre-order shortly from the Red Dwarf Shop.

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