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Put It All On Eight - by Andrew Ellard

6 January, 2006

It's big, it's orange, and it's out on March 27th. It's Red Dwarf VIII on DVD - three discs of digital delight, and the culmination of four years' hard work, financial wrangling and, okay, blackmail.

Wanna know what you get for your hard-earned? Aside from eight excellent episodes, that is? Read on!

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Cast Commentary Featuring Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn, Norman Lovett and Chloë Annett - plus Mac McDonald.

Feature-Length Episodes Back in the Red (which is also 'Xtended' with several new scenes) and Pete presented as full-length stories.

Disc 1

Comedy Connections BBC1's retrospective on Red Dwarf, told by the people who were there, and featuring rare archive material.

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Disc 3

"The Tank" Original Documentary A 90-minute look at the making of Series VIII, featuring cast and crew interviews plus never-before-seen footage.

Deleted Scenes An hour of deleted and extended moments.

Smeg Ups A compilation of outtakes and fluffs.

Trailers Original Series VIII Star Wars parody trailer and episode two broadcast trail. Plus the Children in Need charity sketch and a compilation of PBS idents/fundraisers recorded especially for American broadcast.

Storyboard Sequences A picture-in-picture comparison of key effects scenes with their original storyboards.

Super Models Alien effects veteran Bill Pearson discusses his years of creativity aboard Dwarf.

Raw FX Footage A compilation of filmed model FX and CGI created, respectively, by Special Effects GB and Chris Veale.

"Fight!" Featurette Wherever they go, the Dwarfers are always annoying someone...

Isolated Music Cues Here you'll find the opening and closing themes, as well as Clement Ishmael's Blue Midget dance track.

"Dave Hollins" Radio Sketch A chance to hear an original Son of Cliché radio sketch that led to the creation of Red Dwarf.

Photo Gallery A massive collection of production images and artwork.

Weblink Link to... well, here.

Subtitles English subtitles for episodes and extras.

Easter Eggs Several bonus extras are hidden within the DVD menus - can you find them all?

So what have we got? Well for a start there's the most chaotic cast commentary ever! All the main players are there, plus Mac McDonald who only leaves the booth for Krytie TV (cos he's not in it). It's a huge and enthusiastic affair, and once again we remain grateful that each cast member has such a distinctive voice - there's no confusing Chris with Craig, Craig with Norman, Norman with Chloé, etc. etc.

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The commentary also features one of my favourite moments, with the gang wishing a huge and fond farewell at the end of the final episode. Once again, it's just a little sad to realise that this is, for now, the end.

The feature-length episodes are exciting, too, and make both Pete and Back in the Red significantly more enjoyable. Especially in the case of BITR, with its interwoven story threads and ten minutes of additional scenes.

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Then there's Comedy Connections - the Red Dwarf special detailed here. Ever since it was broadcast on BBC1 fans have been asking if they'll be able to own the documentary that interviews every key Dwarf player, including the often-elusive Rob Grant. Well, now you can - 2 entertain divvied up the dough to bring this remarkable retrospective to DVD.

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Visual effects get a decent look-in, too, with some fascinating raw effects footage culled from both Special FX GB's model shoot, and Chris Veale's CGI. Bill Pearson also provides some great rare images, and joyful backstage anecdotes, with his Super Models featurette - complete with newly-filmed skutter!

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Finally a real highlight - the PBS sketches. Ten minutes of material featuring the main cast, in costume, on the set, in character. It's Red Dwarf material rarely seen outside of the original US broadcasts in 1999! Also included is a killer montage of the gang performing channel idents for dozens of Stateside stations, often given a little twist by some terrific Craig Charles improvisation. ("Where's that then?") Along with the Children in Need sketch, it's a whole load more genuine Dwarf.

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And that's before we mention the deleted scenes - you'll have to wait a little longer for those...

More DVD Details will follow soon...

The upcoming Red Dwarf DVD releases are as follows:

Region Location Series Date
1 America VII January 10, 2006
4 Australasia VII OUT NOW
2 UK/Europe VIII March 27, 2006
1 America VIII May 2, 2006
4 Australasia VIII March/April 2006

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