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Those at the BBC can’t release these DVDs fast enough for me and the other legions of Red Dwarf fans. Finally series 3 has been released and this is a great thing as this is when it all started to come together. Indeed for some, this is the best series overall and so it is finally time we take a look at the green DVD box.

Red Dwarf - Series 3

The Series
This time the two disc DVD boxset is presented in a fairly unattractive green case made to resemble the green of Star Bug and again comes with the now standard accompanying pamphlet (12 pages) which includes a brief “Making Of” for each episode and a few mistakes to watch out for amongst other things.

The first episode opens with the following, in Star Wars scolling-up-the-screen-at-an-angle style, but far too fast to read. However thanks to DVD and an inordinate amount of spare time I have carefully copied it down for you all to enjoy. After doing this I realised I could have probably copied it from some fan web site, but at least I know this is exactly what is on the DVD for sure.

<table width=85% border="0"><tr><td>Three million years in the future, Dave Lister, the last human being alive discovers he is pregnant after a liaison with his female self in a parallel universe. His pregnancy concludes with the successful delivery of twin boys, Jim and Bexley. However, because the twins were conceived in another universe, with different physical laws they suffer from highly accelerated growth rates and are both eighteen years old within three days of being born. In order to save their lives, Lister returns them to the universe of their origin, where they are reunited with their father (a woman), and are able to lead comparatively normal lives. Well, as normal as you can be if you’ve been born in a parallel universe and your father’s a woman and your mother’s a man and you’re eighteen years three days after your birth. Shortly afterwards, Kryten, the service mechanoid who had left the ship after being rescued from his own crashed vessel, the Nova 5, is found in pieces after his space bike crash lands onto an asteroid. Lister rebuilds the ‘noid, but is unable to recapture his former personality. Meanwhile, Holly, the increasingly erratic Red Dwarf computer, performs a head sex change operation on himself. He bases his new face on Hilly, a female computer with whom he’d once fallen madly in love. And now the saga continuums. AND NOW THE SAGA CONTINUUMS… Red Dwarf III – THE SAME GENERATION – nearly.</td></tr></table>

In this episode Rimmer and Kryten crash land on an unknown planet planet after accidentally entering a time hole where strange things happen. However since they are so different to everyone else, they team up to form a successful comedy duo. Lister and the Cat are unaware of this however, and form a rescue mission in which they follow the hologram and the android in Star Bug. Unfortunately after managing to meet with the now famous duo, they realise that Rimmer and Kryten do not want to leave, but the Cat and Lister must convince them to leave. And what is this strange planet they have landed on? The whole episode is one long visual gag. Some great ones here with a great finale.

In order to evade several black holes, Rimmer and Lister jump into Star Bug and take a different course whilst Holly (now played by Hattie Hayridge) pilots the Red Dwarf. However they have a little accident and end up on a snow covered planet, with no contact with Red Dwarf. This episode is a mostly just Lister and Rimmer chatting about life and death, and with Lister trying to survive in the sub zero temperatures. It takes on a different turn to other episodes with less visual comedy and a lot more in the discussion and delivery. However the visual gags are not quite removed with a few classics including one with dog food, and one with a large wooden chest.

Red Dwarf - Series 3

Polymorph is an absolute classic episode and possibly the best one in the whole series. The episode starts out with a vessel in space with a hole in the side. This pans to the Red Dwarf which has a similar hole in its side. The main problem as we see in the first few minutes, is that the creature can change its appearance at will. After attacking Lister a huge proboscis extends from one of its mouths and it drains an emotion from him (consequentially explained by Holly). Some great lines come from this episode including the line that spawned a thousand t-shirts “Let’s get out there and twat it!” and “Give quiche a chance”.

This episode sees the ship threatening to destroy itself. The only way to stop it is for the Captain or Executive Officer to give the order. Lister being the only human, has his mind downloaded onto a tape and the EO’s mind implanted. After the incident, Rimmer realises that using this technology, he can have a body and so with Lister gaining a little weight and Rimmer manages to convince him that they should swap bodies. This involves Lister’s psyche being transferred into Rimmer’s hologramatic body, and visa versa. However, it is the first time Rimmer has touched, and eaten real food for a millennia, and so he sets about his new mission: to eat everything. Funnily enough, Lister is less than amused.

Lister is bored of all the futile games and pastimes he and the Cat endure. However Kryten discovers a mutated developing fluid which when used, makes photos and slides, real. That is, they move – just like in Harry Potter, but the crew of the Red Dwarf find that they can get inside these pictures and therefore explore all the photos they have on the ship. This is now a story about time travel, and how Lister wants to stop himself from ever joining the space core and at the same time, making himself rich so that he can live an almost normal life, back on Earth, but with buckets of money. This would mean that Rimmer would be alone on the Red Dwarf, which he is none to happy about.

The Last Day
Kryten has now been firmly established as a permanent member of the crew, and so what better thing to do than kill him off. As an old model, Kryten is to be replaced with the latest version - Hudzen. Kryten takes this termination date in his stride as he believes that all electrical units go to Silicon Heaven. Not wanting to just wave goodbye, Lister decides to throw a party for Kryters. The next morning, the replacement mechanoid arrives with the intention or removing Kryten from the ship, with force if need be. An excellent impression of Kryten, but Chris Barrie (who is a great at that sort of stuff) features near the start of this one.

This is the first series when it all started to be pulled together with a better budget. The characters were more developed and could expand on their personalities to greater effect as the audience is already familiar with each persona. The effects and set design is more vibrant and just, well, better than the previous two series. The stories are written and executed well and all this wraps up to be a great experience.

More of the same from the last series here. In short more colour, few MPEG artefacts and dodgy video effects. I suspect that this trend will be repeated throughout series four, five and even six, you see there is not a lot that can be done here other than the cleaning of the print (which is done) and carefully dropping it onto DVD. It was filmed with not particularly expensive stock, and that is something that is not going to change. It certainly does look better than the VHS recordings, as did the previous series, but other than that there is not too much to say. It looks like a TV show recorded in 1989 with a low budget. Decent black levels, and a little softness overall but nothing that really detracts from the 4:3 presentation; overall – acceptable verging on decent.

Red Dwarf - Series 3

Is there an echo in here? Well I am just about to echo my sentiments from the previous DVD. English Dolby Digital stereo sound is the flavour of the moment as expected and this is perfectly audible. To be harsh it could be suggested not that the episodes are a little quiet, but that the sound on the menus is a little loud. Other than that the audio quality and presentation is more than adequate for this DVD with the canned laughter again quiet enough so that it does not intrude too much into the snappy delivery of one liners.

The main extra that most people will be looking for, or rather listening for are the Commentaries however on this series, they just aren’t as funny as the previous DVDs. Hattie Hayridge just isn’t as funny as Norman Lovett – in fact didn’t even know what a DVD commentary was at the beginning of the recording. That’s not to say they do not provide some interesting and amusing “facts” but they just aren’t as great as the prior series. For instance, some amusing comments about Chris Barrie’s rather uncontrollable bouffant hair style. Apparently the cast called him Captain Emerald after his green suit and hat (after noting its similarity to Captain Scarlet). However there is too much silence or laughter at times, particularly in Polymorph where everyone just enjoys the episode although everyone likes the acronym hippy Rimmer invents - “Committee for the Liberation and Integration of Terrifying Organisms and their Rehabilitation Into Society”. Danny John Jules is quite quiet especially in the final episode, which is picked up on by the other cast who poke a little fun during the closing credits.

The meat of the extras are on the second disc. It is worth mentioning the menus which are again, animated well presenting a great Red Dwarf feel to them. Ok in some parts it does take a little long to get to certain areas but it is very well done. Even the menus look like they have a bigger budget on this DVD compared to previous ones!

First up we have two Trailers (click the monitor screen). The original series trailers have unfortunately been lost from the BBC archives and so this footage was cobbled together from rare VHS recordings of the original broadcasts, which means the quality is very low indeed. Nothing too special here but a nice inclusion to see how they used to advertise this hallowed program.

The series 3 Deleted Scenes (click the Tension Sheet) run for twenty seven minutes and are presented as they were recorded – that is, with no spangly effects or added sound. During the filming of The Last Day, Hattie Hayridge recorded eight jokes as possible episode openers which were never used. While the accompanying booklet states that they were cut to increase pace, it is more likely that they are just not funny. Also, it is easy to see her reading her lines which is a bit lame. A few other scenes which were deleted included an extended version of the Wilma Flintstone gag, an extended scene of Rimmer talking backwards and scene cut due to some shoddy special effects featuring the guys playing strip poker and Kryten trying use his head to bet with. Bear in mind, these are not Outtakes, but 26 Deleted Scenes so they aren’t funny mishaps – for that you will need to hunt down as always, the Smeg Ups. The full un-cut super sized Polymorph is great, however – what a monster!

Red Dwarf - Series 3

The Smeg Ups (click the dog food can) run for five and a half minutes are again, a collection of forgotten lines, swearing, props that fall over and the ubiquitous canned laughter. There are quite a few model shots of Starbug crashing, as it tries to exit the hanger. The bit with the Polymorph snout attaching itself to Lister is also amusing as is Craig getting told to “Sit down” when he is telling his life story. Not a bad selection at all.

There are five Galleries of photos (click the moving developing photo) which feature three courtesy of Paul Grant (two Produciton Stills (17 and 16 photos respectively) and one Behind the Scenes 16) as well as a gallery devoted to Models and Covers (27 photos) and one called Instant Snapshots (9 photos). These are almost all good shots since they are proper photos rather than grabs from a finished episode, all set to a photo lab background.

The eight minute feature A Tribute to Mel Bibby – Building a Better Universe (click the scrabble game) features the cast and crew from Red Dwarf talking about their friend Mel Bibby who recently passed away (2002) aged 54. He joined Red Dwarf on series 3 after not being able to join from day one and was responsible for creating the sumptuous sets and production design seen from this series onwards and is hailed as the man responsible for giving the series its distinctive design. The feature also includes the only recorded footage of Mel that exists talking about his designs for the Red Dwarf show. A nice tribute to a man with a great skill and pride in his work.

The Isolated Music Cues (click the guitar) are included for this series as they have been in the past. These include the Opening Theme, Main Theme, Cash, Dramatic (x6), Heroic Intro, Rock Guitar Instrumental, Party Time and finally Hudzen’s Theme.

Hattie’s DJ Diary (click the traffic cone) is a feature in which Hattie explains all over the course of nine minutes. After that is, everyone else explains to her how to use and which way to point the video camera. This was taken at the 10th Dimension Jump Red Dwarf fan club convention. Luckily someone with experience got to edit it. This is pretty funny with Robert Llewellyn and Chloe Annett laughing at Hattie’s lack of technical camera know-how. Some amusing fans are present and even two who are now a couple! And one nutter in a kilt who has the cast of the Red Dwarf crew tattooed on her back and left thigh. Now that’s commitment to the show! The fancy dress show is full of even more nut jobs with naked blokes, people dressed as Dwayne Dibbly and even someone dressed as the Blue Midget. It ends with Hattie in the shower singing the theme tune – a bit worrying!

The Model Footage (click Marilyn’s silver foot) show some of the raw footage created to establish Starbug in the show including various space shots, taking off and of course, landing as well as a few other model shots. This runs for seven minutes.

The entire episode of Backwards is also included as an extra. Why I hear you ask (since it is on the other disc) – well this time the entire episode is presented backwards. It is broken up into chapters so that it is easy to get to whichever part you need to decode. I finally know what the pub manager shouted at Kryten and Rimmer in the dressing room (“You area stupid square headed bald ..” I shan’t go on!).

The DVD again includes extracts from the audio book Better than Life read by Christ Barrie (click on the contents of the bottom bunk). The clips are from Marooned (ten minutes) and Polymorph (nearly ten minutes). Chris has a great voice - a lot of expression and that makes this a great little listen, especially when he impersonates Lister. My only gripe with this is that for some reason the pause and fast forward/rewind function has been disabled which makes it hard to stop and start the listening pleasure.

Food (click the mashed potato on the table) is a fun look at the various food stuffs the crew have eaten over the years with a montage of clips from all the series “That’s not chicken sir – it’s than man we found” and the famous “ALPHABETTI SPAGETTI!” This runs for three and a half minutes and is to the tune I Feel Good by James Brown.

Red Dwarf - Series 3

All Change is a feature which starts out with interviews with the cast/crew talking about the first and second series in relation to the third. This then follows up with a look at each episode in the series which is excellent. Each is an in-depth look at the way each episode was made, along with individual memories of the off screen traumas and antics that occurred during filming each wonderful episode. Craig is convinced he nearly died during filming Backwards as he got slightly stuck in the mud when he was underwater. Total running time including the introduction is around an hour and twenty minutes.

A quick mention for the accompanying booklet again that is again presented with the DVD boxset – well thought out with lots of useful information inside. Andrew Ellard wrote the content for this twelve page pamphlet and it is a useful addition to the set. You can read our interview with the man himself by clicking <a href=";s=13&c=15" target="RD">here</a>.

This DVD set is a must have for fans – particularly those wanting to complete the spine logo that all the series will complete when they are all available on DVD. For those new to the sitcom, it is a great way to get into it as the production values are much higher in this series than the previous two. The sleeve here however does not quite line up and I am waiting for a response to see if there will be anything done about this. There have also been reports of playback problems of the second disc in this set on older equipment. Depending on your model of DVD player, you will be entitled to a replacement DVD if it is causing you grief – find out by calling 0870 241 0624 and have the make/model of your DVD player to hand. For our friends over in region 4 land – you might be pleased to know this DVD is encoded for both regions two and four.