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rdd posted:
I would have thought the 7th series of Red Dwarf, in which Chris Barrie left the series for four episodes, was widely regarded as the worst. (Or Back to Earth maybe).

One particularly Blackadder repeat I vividly remember was on the night of the 1997 UK general election, in which they aired the election themed “Dish and Dishonesty” from Blackadder the Third. Guest star the late Vincent Hanna.

Personally, I can rewatch much of Series 7 but always completely skip 8. For all its faults, Series 7 still had elements of the original premise to it - they were all still stranded, alone, and most of the series is very Boys (and Girl) from the Dwarf centric. Rimmer is missed, of course, but arguably Kochanski shook up the dynamics in a good way and her inability to fit in with the 3 other characters is played for laughs, which works. Series 8 on the other hand is a completely different show, and a bit of a mess. It feels crowded as it’s suddenly filled to the brim with characters (new and old) and the Boys from the Dwarf are largely diminished to prisoners with no control over their destiny. IMO “Cassandra” is the only episode in that series which bears any resemblance to Dwarf past and that’s because for a large portion the main characters are on another station away from the rest of the crew.
I think the thing with the modern Red Dwarf are the actors are now way too old to pull off their characters convincingly, I loved the original run, last couple of series were the weakest, high point series 5, the latter post 2009 were just ok, but had lost the heart of the first series completely and the cast just seemed to be going through the motions.

For the first time I’ve also felt this about Ant and Dec, In this last series Of I’m a celeb it’s the first time watching them for a while and their patter felt a bit flat and tired, like they too can’t really play their own characters with the same enthusiasm.
Problems started to set in for Red Dwarf with Series 5, as there was a major problem with their director. Ed Bye was unavailable to direct Series 5, as he was busy working on his wife's programme at the time, and so without any proper research into her previous directing work, the Red Dwarf team had Juliet May come in and try to take over.

Sadly Juliet has numerous problems, from not understanding much about sci fi, to actually not understanding some direction phrases such as P.O.V. which Craig Charles recounted in the Series 5 documentary. All this led to friction with the production, and she was dismissed half way during the series, with Doug Naylor and Rob Grant the writers taking over directing.

That was the start of issues with the series, which then festered right through to Series 7, when Chris Barrie had issues with production, and much preferred the filming process of the Brittas Empire, and so quit during Series 7. He would have left the series fully, but they persuaded him to stay for two full episodes and a few flash back scenes.
Red Dwarf has also been treated as some form of black sheep by the BBC, and to an extent, UKTV are doing it too. The show was famously not popular behind the scenes at the BBC, there were no posters advertising it in the corridors of TV Centre like other hit shows were, they were always having budgets slashed and executives at the BBC giving them difficulties. Despite this, Series 8 was getting roughly 8 million an episode, BBC 2's highest ever rated programme and then when Doug wanted to bring it back for a series 9, the BBC told him they "weren't interested in that audience any more" and then launched a new space comedy shortly afterwards that died on its arse.

UKTV seem to not include it when they run promos of UKTV Play or just a "we have great comedy shows" ad, but they still include things like Taskmaster, some of the one series only efforts from other comedians and despite this, Red Dwarf got UKTV its highest ever audience figures ever as well. They have a golden egg and are content to just stick it in the back of a drawer instead of showing it off, its bizarre.

I do agree though that Series 7 was a struggle at times due to the changes in front and behind the camera, Series 8 was tolerable but mostly rubbish, Back To Earth was dreadful as far as I am concerned, Series 10 had a few glimmers of hope but fell mostly flat for me, and Series 11 & 12 tried a little harder and were a little better than 10, but still a long way off the shows glory days. The Promised Land was surprisingly funny in places, but the show is better when it just tries to be what it is as standard, a comedy and not a comedy drama. The casts performances are also nothing compared to how they were in the 90's, and neither are the costumes or sets, seeing as they haven't changed much in technically 4 series whereas before it used to change every series. I think they have said these 'movies' are how the show will continue until it eventually ends which doesn't fill me with joy as I think the show is awful when it goes for all dramatic episodes with the odd joke thrown in. We want to laugh, not yet another retcon of Rimmer's back story!
What was the space comedy which ‘died on its arse’?

What was the space comedy which ‘died on its arse’?

That would be Hyperdrive shown on BBC Two around 2006-ish
Losing one half of the writing team was what did for Red Dwarf after Series VI, if you ask me. It lost a lot of its wit.
Was clearly the better half as well going by the decline in quality.
Rob has written a new episode of Red Dwarf and there is a competition for fans to audition and take part in a live table read of the script over Zoom with Rob and some of the shows production staff. It will be the fans who will play the roles, not the main actors who are not involved in this. Just a bit of fun, but interesting to see Rob involved in the show again in some way. If anything I hope it leads to one more series (or "movie" if we have to) where Rob and Doug join forces to send the show off properly.

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