To celebrate the beginning of Red Dwarf season 12, we sat down with the entire crew – Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Robert Llewellyn and Danny John Jules – as well as creator Doug Naylor, to get the inside scoop on every single episode.
But be warned, if you've managed to avoid the official synopses and any images / trailers for the new series…
...Then what are you doing here? Seriously, why did you click on this? If it was by accident, then go away because there are POSSIBLE SPOILERS (it's an oral history of the making of season 12, after all).
But for everyone else, don't worry – you're safe. There are plenty of surprises / fan-pleasing moments this season, and we won't ruin any that aren't already out there.
So, settle back, crack open a can of your favourite chilled vindaloo sauce, and go behind the scenes with the boys from the Dwarf...
Episode 1 - Cured
In 'Cured' the Dwarfers come across a ship where the crew have developed a cure for evil, testing it on some of history's most notorious figures, including Adolf Hitler...
Danny John Jules: "Hitler came in the show with a suitcase that said 'upstaging', so I knew what was coming, I said, 'There's no point in fighting it'."
Robert Llewellyn: "He was brilliant."
Craig Charles: "His name's Ryan Gage. If we rehearsed like he rehearsed, we'd be funnier."
Robert: "This guy really put the work in, he was brilliant."
Chris Barrie: "How many times did he rehearse picking up the Zippo?"
Robert: "He did that for hours and hours, we'd be having lunch and he'd be trying every possible variant."
Danny: "We've always had great guest stars, people come in and assume the position."
Robert: "From my experience, when I joined, you all knew each other really well by then. I remember it being awkward for about a minute when I walked in, then it was no big deal."
Craig: "That's because the three of us are really good actors."
Robert: "I heard you whispering, 'How the f**k do we get rid of him?'"
Craig: "To be fair, we still don't f**king like you."
Chris: "You're still the new boy."
Episode 2 - Siliconia
In Siliconia, for the very first time, the rest of the crew discover just how it feels to be Kryten when they're arrested by the Mechanoid Intergalactic Liberation Front… But how did Robert Llewellyn feel about his fellow Dwarfers having to sit in the makeup chair?
Robert: "I really felt for them, because I know what it's like. It was not fun, it's not something you'd wish on anyone, really."
Craig: "It was horrible. I've been putting Robert down for 20 odd years, 'Oh, just stop complaining, you've got a couple of books out of it, jog on'. But it was really horrible."
Danny: "We all got sick from that episode. It was a culture shock, physically, because you've got this head on and you can't get rid of the sweat. It seemed to just stay on you, and because of the English climate, every time you walked outside, you'd be cold."
Craig: "And then trying to act with the idiosyncrasies of Kryten, the mannerisms he's got."
Danny: "It's a real head-f**k."
Chris: "It's physically more demanding than just doing normal facial expressions. You've got to do a lot of work to get the mask to move. I was ill at the end of the first day, then the second day, the second mask was covered in glue, so I spent the whole day sniffing frigging glue!"
Craig: "He thought it was the weekend, and he was at home!"
Chris: "For the record, no. I only sniff Best Bitter."
Episode 3 - Timewave
Timewave sees the boys discovering a ship where criticism is illegal...
Doug Naylor: "Criticism is such a potent thing now. We're living in an age where there is such vicious criticism for everything. So I thought it's not so illogical to ban it, but of course that's not the solution either, because you'd be living in a society where everything is completely shit as a consequence."
Craig: "I'm starting to believe we're losing our sense of irony as well, you can't be ironic anymore – people are offended so easily by comedy, by irony. 'I didn't mean that, I meant the opposite!' 'Well, you said that…'"
Danny: "It's worse when you're on a job. Working on Red Dwarf, if you're not doing the lines, you're slagging each other off and taking the piss. One gag on Death in Paradise and you can hear a pin drop. You go, 'Oh, that was a shit take' and woooof. 'Oh shit, I forgot I'm not on Red Dwarf'. Everyone's taking it personally."
Craig: "You get that in the written media as well, you make a gag that's obviously an ironic gag, and it'll be reported as a factual statement."
Chris: "Anyone these days who says anything negative, you've got to have subclauses after it."
Episode 4 - Mechocracy
The Cat struggles to choose between Kryten or Rimmer when the ship's machines revolt, which sees the show go political...
Doug: "It was written long before both elections, it was written before Brexit, before Trump."
Danny: "We've been in political scenarios going back to the Gulf War, when they didn't show the episode of Chris doing his General Patton."
Doug: "'Meltdown'. It's because we were criticising war, and when we're at war that isn't a good idea. If you say war's a bad thing, you're done."
Danny: "Doug, a Brexit story on Red Dwarf would be classic."
Robert: "It would be quite fun."
Danny: "The Gelfs on one side, and someone else on the other. Rimmer would be in his absolute element, wouldn't he?"
Chris: "The negotiations, yes."
Robert: "The negotiations are the hysterical thing now, it's such an extraordinary mess."
Episode 5 - M-Corp
Lister discovers a simple update of the ship's latest software could be a matter of life or death… As the image suggests, Craig Charles spent quite a lot of time in the makeup chair...
Craig: "I look like that every Sunday morning, we filmed that on a Sunday morning, no special effects, no make-up – that wasn't too much make-up, that was me with no make-up."
Robert: "I was outside the front door when Craig came out of the studio, and it was that three-second beat where someone you've known for a long time comes out and you don't know it's them. He caught the corner of my eye, and I thought, 'Poor f**k! I won't stare at him, because it's cruel!'"
Craig: "I spent five and a half hours in the makeup chair for a 90-second shot, thanks for that."
Robert: "It was a good look, I think you looked handsome."
Craig: "When I get to 170, I probably will look like that."
Episode 6 - Skipper
Rimmer decides to leave this universe in search of a parallel one where hopefully he isn't such a massive loser...
Doug: "There was a real end-of-term feel about the show, there was a great energy."
Chris: "For me, the great moment of the show was Holly appearing and the audience's reaction, which brought a new meaning to 'riding a laugh'."
Doug: "We had to cut it down in the edit, it was too long."
Chris: "Cut to Norman, cut to me, cut to Norman, cut to me. How much of that can you do?"
Craig: "But it did go on forever."
Speaking of going on forever... technically, the last episode of the season could double-up as a show finale. Is 12 the end for the series?
Craig: "I'm not ready to go out like that, I want to do some more."
Doug: "I agree, I agree."
Robert: "There's definitely more in the pipeline."
Chris: "There's more gas in the tank."
Robert: "I like the phrase – and I've said it unintentionally when people have asked – 'If we're still alive, yeah'. I didn't mean it like that, but, actually, 'If we're still alive!'"
Craig: Last of the Summer Dwarf!
Red Dwarf XII is on Thursdays at 9pm on Dave from Thu 12 Oct, with episodes available to preview on UKTV Play.
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