A Thousand Words

Text Tracks and Galleries by Andrew Ellard

31 August, 2007

One thing that Red Dwarf DVDs have never included is a trivia text track - a set of on-screen subtitles providing interesting nuggets of information as you watch the episodes. Classic Doctor Who gets them, so does Spaced, but we always felt... well, that the commentaries, documentaries and booklets pretty much covered all the bases.

A Thousand Words

Not this time.

The Bodysnatcher Collection includes all three remastered series - and we've taken this as the perfect opportunity to document what, exactly, has been changed.

The 'What's Different?' text track will be available on-screen throughout all eighteen episodes, explaining each and every significant difference between the remastereds and the originals.

Some may be obvious - CGI model shots, cut lines, added sound effects - but you'll also learn about some of the more subtle changes. We'll note the addition or removal of frames to a shot, for example, or a bit of character redubbing you might not have noticed. (You'll be surprised where this occurs.)

A Thousand Words

Still, if all this is sounding a little dry, don't worry. Despite being informative, there's a certain irreverent style to the track - it doesn't take itself too seriously. It's the kind of text track that, when it gets bored, starts trying to play rock-paper-scissors with you. Think of it as a present-day version of Holly.

We've also taken the chance to incorporate some direct quotes from the remastering notes list - the collection of changes Doug Naylor and Ed Bye drew up when planning the remastered project.

This includes ideas that were dropped during the three-series production - extra filming that could never have been afforded, for example - as well as the most interesting ideas for Series IV. Want to know what was being considered for the remastering of this series before plans were shelved? You'll find it all right here... along with a few nuggets of previously-undisclosed Dwarf series trivia.

A Thousand Words

Still, if a text track paints 23,000 words (approx.), why not up the count, poetically speaking, with an image gallery?

We have design drawings from the remastering production, of course - Red Dwarf and Blue Midget concept art, along with great pictures of the BBC Vis-FX models - but things get even more interesting as we head further back in time.

A Thousand Words

We've been constantly amazed by the discoveries this DVD production has allowed - the rare items from Series I and II that have, finally, come to light. And when it comes to pictures, some real doozies have emerged from the shadows.

Dona DiStefano - already entertaining as hell in the Series I and II documentaries, telling tales from the studio floor - has uncovered continuity Polaroids of the cast during the filming of Series II.

A Thousand Words

Peter Tyler has proffered his Series I Red Dwarf model shoot stills. And effects artist Andy Bowman has chucked in a few behind-the-scenes studio, location and skutter-development photos. (You can finally see what a skutter looks like naked!)

Best of all, though, are the images you'll be seeing from the Series I rehearsals. Series III photographer Paul Grant was there in the early days, watching cast and crew work, capturing the atmosphere in a mass of gorgeous black and white images. Images that, at last, we can bring to you.

A Thousand Words

Finally, Paul's little-known brother - Red Dwarf co-creator Rob Grant - has also lent us a few of his own candid shots from the pre-strike Series I rehearsals. These colour pictures show why Rob stuck to the writing and let his brother take the snaps, but they do reveal Alexandra Pigg in the role of Kochanski, and Son of Cliché actor Nick Maloney originally playing the role of ship's hologram McIntyre.

When even the subtitle tracks and image galleries are exciting, you know you have a special DVD.

More DVD Details will follow soon...

Red Dwarf: The Bodysnatcher Collection will be out in the UK on October 22nd, and in Australia in December.

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