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What Could Have Been / Red Dwarf

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  • In the original script of the first episode, Holly is female. Additionally, Lister is forty-one years old and has a quite different personality: he was originally written as though his brain was fried by drugsnote , basically as an Expy of Reverend Jim Ignatowski; Lister's character as he appeared in the show was tailored to better suit actor Craig Charles.
  • What-Could-Have-Beens in casting include:
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    • Both Alan Rickman and Alfred Molina were considered for the role of Rimmer; Rickman was also considered for Lister. Ultimately, the producers decided that given their burgeoning movie careers, they might not be available for the full series. Molina was actually cast as Rimmer, but his constant requests for changes to the character didn't sit well with the writers – for example, he didn't want Rimmer to stay dead.
    • Hugh Laurie auditioned for Lister.
    • Originally Holly was going to be The Voice only, but Norman Lovett managed to coax them into making him a head.
    • Craig Charles got on board because producer Paul Jackson asked him to read the script, as they were worried the Cat might be seen as a racist character. Charles liked the character of Lister enough to audition. Grant and Naylor were initially not keen on casting him as Lister, because he had no acting experience and was very different to how they originally perceived the character. Being Mancunians, they were also unsure about having a Scouser playing the last human being in the universe. However, his audition won them over.
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    • Alexandra Pigg was originally cast as Kochanski before filming was delayed due to an electrician's strike and she had to drop out, being replaced by Clare Grogan.
    • One very early idea was to fill the crew with Dead Stars Walking — they didn't, mostly because it would have been too expensive, and partly because they were worried the audience would prefer a programme filled with stars, and revolt when they were killed off.
    • Sophie Aldred wanted to play the new version of Kochanski rather than Chloe Annett. In a column in Doctor Who Magazine she mentioned being "cheesed off" at not getting the role. Although she did decide she wasn't that bothered after Norman Lovett pointed out to her that she'd have had to snog Craig Charles, which she thought "would have been like snogging my brother".
    • According to Diamanda Hagan, [at 14:40] Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders were considered for Rimmer and Lister.
  • Had the special effects budget allowed it, Rimmer would have been monochrome, as he appears in the Smegazine comic strips. The technology at the time also would have required Chris Barrie being covered from head to toe in green paint. This eventually did get showcased in "The Promised Land" when Rimmer gets turned down to low power mode.
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    • Another idea they had was for Rimmer to be transparent, but that would have meant having Barrie film his scenes separate from the rest of the cast and would have ruined the comedic timing.
  • There was originally supposed to be more flashbacks in the style of Lister's one from "Balance of Power" to highlight Lister's loneliness, but they could never get everyone's schedules to line up.
    • It's also said that Grant and Naylor felt that multiple flashbacks would make the show too depressing and so they were cut.
  • The originally-planned second episode Bodysnatcher centred around Rimmer trying to create a new body from pieces of Lister's, such as his hair. The script was seemingly never finished, with jokes and ideas instead being cannibalised into other Series I episodes. A script reading by Chris Barrie, with an acompanying animatic, was released alongside Red Dwarf Remastered on The Bodysnatcher Collection with a new ending written by Grant and Naylor for the release.
  • "Confidence and Paranoia" was planned as the last episode of Series 1, ending with a hologram of Kochanski being activated and joining the crew as a regular cast member. (Note how Kochanski was prominently featured in Series I's publicity photos.) "Bodysnatcher" was then dropped, "Confidence and Paranoia" became the penultimate episode, the hologram in the box was changed to a duplicate Rimmer, and the new Series I finale "Me2" was written.
  • Mugs Murphy, the cartoon gorilla who appeared briefly in "Me 2", was originally going to be much more prominent, and Grant Naylor even considered an episode in which he would be brought to life.
  • A Deleted Scene from Series II has the Cat and the Toaster singing a duet. Sadly, the Toaster's lines were never recorded.
  • Howard Goodall originally composed a score for "Backwards" in reverse, which was sadly not used for the episode. There are also extra unused verses for the end credits theme on the series 6 DVD.
  • Graham Chapman was originally cast as the newsreader in "Timeslides", but died before filming started. He was replaced by Ruby Wax.
  • At the end of "DNA", Kryten was to remain human. Unfortunately for Robert Llewellyn (who was looking forward to not having to go through all the makeup), "DNA" was moved away from its position as the last episode of the season, so he was turned back for continuity.
  • "White Hole", based on a scene from the novel Better Than Life, was originally based on the "Garbageworld Earth" sequence. But then the producers realized how incredibly expensive that would be and based it on the "Pool with planets" sequence instead.
  • "Quarantine" had two different plot ideas. One every member of the crew get psi-powers. Lister got pyro-kinesis he used to cook hamburgers, Cat got mind control he would use make the rest of the crew worship him, Kryten got telekinesis he'd use to wash the clothes, and Rimmer got to see into the future...and find out he'd never get to be an officer. Another one involved the crew going into Holly's inner workings and discovering...a woman dressed in black, talking into a camera.
  • The Series VI finale "Out of Time" originally had an unambiguously happy ending where Rimmer, in an uncharacteristically heroic moment, saves the day by destroying the Time Drive and deleting the crew's evil future selves. A final joke, reprising the "foam moustache" reference at the beginning of the episode, was thought up on the day and quickly added in. Later, this was replaced with a cliffhanger ending.
  • To address the fact that the programme had never really had an episode that focused on the Cat, an episode titled "Identity Within" was written for Series VII which would have inflicted the Cat with a disease that could only be cured by sex and the crew was meant to visit a slave auction at a GELF colony to try and acquire a mate for the Cat. The episode was eventually cut due to budget problems, so in the end there was never really an episode that featured Cat as the main character. A similar idea of the Cat finding a potential mate was eventually used in the XI episode Can of Worms.
  • Clare Grogan would have returned to become a regular during Series VII had she not been tied up with other work commitments.
  • "Epideme" was originally intended to be played by Patrick Stewart until they decided to make him Laughably Evil and gave the part to Gary Martin.
  • This article [1] examins drafts of the scripts for series 7 [mostly prior to Doug Naylor's re-writes], noting several differences.
  • The Series VIII premiere "Back in the Red" was originally intended to be a one-hour special. It was expanded into a three-parter with reshoots.
  • The episode "Cassandra" was almost made as a two-parter. Conversely, the two-parter "Pete" began as a single episode titled "Captain's Office".
  • The final episode of Series VIII was meant to be an episode called "Earth", which was to be the second part of "Only the Good..." (at the time called "Every Dog...") and would have had the ship return to Earth using antimatter from the mirror universe, smashing through various historic monuments, before finally crashing, at which point Lister would swap insurance details with one of the few humans still remaining on Earth. They couldn't afford it.
  • The Series VIII finale "Only the Good..." had, at different stages, four different endings. The first one, which was written and shot, was an upbeat ending where the Dwarfers saved the ship and took it for themselves, flying right past the escape fleet. This was then rejected in favour of the second ending, which was a Downer Ending in which Rimmer went down with the ship. After Doug Naylor's two young sons objected and told him it was a horrible ending, a third ending was written in which Rimmer was rescued at the last minute by Ace Rimmer. Then, right before shooting, Doug Naylor came up with the final version of the ending: an ambiguous cliffhanger ending where an apparently doomed Rimmer sees a vision of the Grim Reaper... and knees it in the balls and runs away.
  • Early in planning Back to Earth was meant to be a two-part story, accompanied by a special called Red Dwarf Unplugged which would have seen the cast performing classic Red Dwarf scenes in front of a live audience. When they tried to do a run-through however, nearly everyone involved realized that the idea simply wasn't going to work, and since Dave had already commissioned three episodes from Grant Naylor Productions, it necessitated changing Back to Earth into a three-part story.
  • Series X was initially intended to have 2 weeks' worth of on-location shooting, 13 days of which had to be sacrificed in order to allow for the inclusion of a live studio audience for each episode. This also resulted in the cutting of two episodes that were going to use on-location footage heavily and feature a returning Kochanski as a prominent character.
  • "Samsara", designed as the budget-saving episode for the series, was originally meant to be set entirely in a lift on board the titular spaceship (and was at that point called "Lift Off").
  • In the second version of the US pilot, the Cat was played by Terry Farrell. That's right — Jadzia Dax as a catgirl. A catgirl in a skintight outfit, as well.
  • The Movie. Funding was impossible to get. Though the creators did want to fund it, wanted to replace the cast with well-known American actors, a huge no-no in the eyes of the cast, crew and fans.
    • If The Movie got made, Will Ferrell was considered to play Hogey the Roguey.
    • An early draft of The Movie, including Hogey, was adapted into the Red Dwarf X finale The Beginning.
  • There was supposed to be a third Grant Naylor penned novel until their partnership split. Naylor used the title for his solo novel, while Grant wrote his own novel. Grant was supposed to write another book following from the Sequel Hook at the end of Backwards, but hasn't penned anything since Fat.
    • For the books, there was apparently a chapter written explaining what happened to the survivors of the Cat race, but it was never used. Eventually, the series dealt with this with "The Promised Land".
  • Remastered versions of Series IV-VI were planned, but the extremely negative fan reaction to the remasters of Series I-III, along with weaker than expected sales of those versions, caused the project to be abandoned.

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