Well I never thought I’d be writing this. Yes, we have entered another era of Red Dwarf.
With a schedule from Mars, a new format, a new attitude and, for some of us, a new waistline, things were obviously going to be tough. Besides having to juggle two kids, a funeral, community service and a court appearance, I was expected to be early and funny. I was both…ish.
I found it a real pleasure to be back with he guys, ripping on each other at every given opportunity. My first attack happens as I enter the dressing room. Robert Llewellyn (‘The Guilty One’) is sitting in the chair having his mask stapled on. I furnish him with the following quip: “You’re looking really young”. Of course he would - the mask hasn’t changed for ten years!
Craig looks like a schoolboy. His first slap comes in the hotel lift on the way to my room so that he can get his head down for a while. “The two black guys are early, I see”. Craig continued to contaminate my room with his tobacco smoke and sleep - simultaneously!
We had a production meeting where we met some more old men and women who were willing to risk what little there was left of their careers to be on the Red Dwarf team. Then it was on to the Corrie set.
I was ordered on set first thing in the morning, looking like a Latin Loin, I had my new costume, which just rocked, a bit like me in those Cuban heels. Hair, teeth, make-up. I’m ready. We get down there and they’ve locked the keys to Carbug inside. I wait and wait…until I finally I get to do my bit. Sit in the passenger seat while a member of the art department - insured to drive the car and so doubling for Lister - drives me around Coronation Street. That’s showbiz!
On to Shepperton. The make-up department is the hub for us. Andrea Finch is like a soul sister to the boys who gives as good as she gets and sometimes a little bit more. Norma (‘The Welsh Bird’) not only does me but she also does Chris Barrie, who by now has marched in wondering what the hell he’s doing in so early as he could have finished re-boring his car. I said to him that he shouldn’t worry about it because he could always bore me and he did… all day.
It’s great that a bunch of guys that are so different from each other can throw all their political leanings to one side and come together through thick and thin - in our case thick - and produce the pictures and the movement that go with the great stories of Doug Naylor, who looked really at home directing Red Dwarf solo this year.