|Written By||Rob Grant & Doug Naylor|
|Guest Star(s)|| Mac McDonald as Captain Hollister |
Robert Bathurst as Frank Todhunter
Mark Williams as Olaf Petersen
Paul Bradley as Chen
David Gillespie as Selby
Robert McCulley as George McIntyre
Clare Grogan as Kristine Kochanski
|Previous Episode: Dave Hollins: Space Cadet|
|Next Episode: Future Echoes|
"The End" is the pilot episode of science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf, which was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 15 February 1988. The episode introduces the main characters and sets up the story backbone of the series. On the mining ship Red Dwarf, Dave Lister is placed in stasis for refusing to give up the whereabouts of his forbidden pet cat. When he emerges from stasis, three million years later, he discovers that everybody has died from a radiation leak.
The episode was written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, directed by Ed Bye and starred Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules and Norman Lovett. The script was rejected by the BBC three times before it was given the go ahead three years later. An electricians strike at the BBC prevented filming and production on the series halted, only going ahead after the dispute was resolved.
The broadcast episode differs greatly from the originally filmed version. Grant and Naylor felt that scenes from the episode did not work, so with a spare filming slot additional scenes were added and previous scenes filmed again. Gaining over five million viewers on its first showing, the episode is considered as one of the best from the first series by fans. It was later remastered, along with the rest of the first three series, in 1998.
On the mining vessel Red Dwarf, Dave Lister (Craig Charles) and Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie) go about their daily routine of maintenance. Rimmer takes the maintenance duties very seriously while Lister would rather be slobbing around and drinking with his ship mates Petersen, Selby and Chen. But it is not always about slobbing and drinking, he has a plan which he tells his pregnant cat Frankenstein. When he gets back to Earth he is going to start a farm on Fiji and bring the only true love of his life, Kristine Kochanski (Clare Grogan). Rimmer on the other hand is more concerned with his career and prepares for his latest engineering exam by copying notes and equations onto his arms and legs.
Captain Frank Hollister (Mac McDonald) soon finds out about Lister's non-quarantined pet and demands he hand over the animal. Since Frankenstein would be "put down" for a biopsy, Lister refuses and is taken to the stasis chambers to carry out an 18 months sentence of suspended animation, where he will cease to exist until revived. Meanwhile Rimmer's scribbled notes on his arms have blurred due his sweating body, so he promptly mashes his ink stained hand print onto the examination paper, salutes the seated examiner and faints.
Revived three million years later by Holly (Norman Lovett) - the ships ever increasingly senile computer — Lister is dismayed as he is told that the crew are dead — killed by a lethal dose of Cadmium II. Rimmer then appears, whom Holly has resurrected as a hologram — he cannot touch or feel anything. Rimmer quickly blames Lister for the accident stating that if he was there to help, the faulty drive plate would have been repaired. As they continue arguing along the corridors they bump into a graceful looking humanoid and both run off. Holly explains to them that the creature is an evolved cat — descended from Lister's pregnant cat Frankenstein, which was safely sealed in the ship's hold during the accident.
The creature catches up with them and quickly pulls out a miniature iron to flatten a crease on his sharp suit. As it soon becomes clear that they pose no threat to each other Lister makes the creature Krispies and calls him Cat (Danny John-Jules). Through discussing Frankenstein with the Cat it becomes apparent that Lister is the catkind god "Cloister the Stupid" who would lead them to the promised land "Fuchal". Lister states that it is him "Lister the Stupid" and he will lead them to the promised land. Lister tells Holly to plot a course for Fiji, "the slime's coming home."
- The original script for the Red Dwarf pilot was actually written in 1983 but kept getting passed over by BBC executives and never got on its feet until 1987.
- Todhunter states that Rimmer has made 247 complaints against Lister, these were; 123 counts of insulting a superior technician, 39 counts of dereliction of duty, 84 counts of general insubordination and 1 count of mutiny (Lister jumped on Rimmer's toe)
- In the opening titles, the man in the space suit painting the letters of Red Dwarf is Craig Charles.
- Holly's character was originally intended to be just a voiceover, and the entire first series was filmed without any vision of his head. After some lengthy complaining by Norman Lovett, the crew reshot many scenes where Holly is present. However, some scenes included only inserts of Holly, like in Balance of Power where Lister is addressing Holly by looking at the ceiling, even though he is on the viewscreen.
- Originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on the 15 February 1988 in the 9:00 p.m. evening slot. The episode gained an impressive 5.1 million viewers from its first showing, which was respectable for a post watershed BBC2 programme. The BBC had also received letters from viewers regarding the quality of the series as a whole. An audience Appreciation Index score of 80 (out of 100) was also seen as a sign that the series had done well. Co-creators/writers Grant and Naylor were so embarrassed by the first series that they had requested that the BBC not repeat the episodes as they felt that a it would harm the following series. The video release of the first series was held back, making the first release of the series — featuring "The End" on tape one and "Confidence and Paranoia" on the second tape — hotly anticipated. Series I episodes performed poorly in a Red Dwarf Smegazine poll. This was perceived to be because fans had not seen, or had forgotten, the episodes — Series I not being repeated until 1994. However, the episode was considered as the best from Series I.
- The remastering of Series I to III was carried out during the late 1990s. Changes included replacement of the opening credits (re-instating the original idea of the one shot pulling away from the ship), the picture has been given a colour grade and filmized, new computer generated special effects of Red Dwarf flying through space, and visual, audio and scene adjustments. Changes specific to "The End" include bluescreen elements added to the opening scene with skutters - small maintenance robots — placed in the foreground of Rimmer and Lister. Silhouettes of the crew's heads were added to the foreground of George McIntyre's funeral scene. Background noise was added to the soundtrack to give the impression that the ship was busy with a full crew onboard. The George McIntyre funeral scene was trimmed down, with shots that did not work removed, and a new shot of the canister leaving the ship was inserted. Music and sound effects have been added to Cat's entrance, with hissing noise added when he tries to frighten Lister and Rimmer. Cat evolution images inserted when Holly explains to Lister that Cat has evolved from his pet cat Frankenstein.
- During McIntyre's funeral, a 1968 recording of Bill Haley & His Comets performing "See You Later Alligator" is heard. Ironically, around this same time an episode of Doctor Who ("Delta and the Bannermen") was supposed to use a Haley recording of "Rock Around the Clock" but that production couldn't afford the licensing fee, so a staff musician recorded a new version instead.
- In the original broadcast version, watch closely after Lister's brief flirtation with Kochanski and as he walks to Hollister's office. You'll see Clare Grogan is suddenly sitting rather low and awkwardly in her chair for no apparent reason. A scene cut from the episode (but included in the Series I DVD deleted scenes) had Lister playfully cause Kristine's chair to go down to the floor. According to an on-screen notation prior to the deleted scene, an unidentified party involved in shooting the scene felt it was inappropriate so it was cut.
- Lister: Just suppose I did have a cat, sir, just suppose. What would you do with Frankenstein?
Captain Hollister: I'd send it down to the medical centre and i'd have it cut up and tests run on it. Lister: Would you put it back together when you'd finished? Captain Hollister: Lister, the cat would be dead.
Lister: So with respect, sir, what's in it for the cat?
- Rimmer: Lister, is that a cigarette you're smoking?
Lister: No, it's a chicken.
- Lister: ...I'm just saying, y'know, if you can't pass fair and square, why bother?
Rimmer: Well, you would, Lister, because you've got no ambition, no drive, your perfectly content to be the lowest rank on this ship.
Lister: I'm not the lowest rank on this ship! What about the laboratory mice, if I tell those mice to do something they gotta jump to it. "Yes, Mister Lister, sir. Eeh eeh eeh.".
- Rimmer: Lister, D, 3rd technician. Offence - Obstructing a superior technician by humming, clicking and being quiet.
- Lister: The only reason they don’t give this job to the service robots is that they’ve got a better union than us!
- (refering to Rimmer taking the Engenering exam)
Rimmer: I only failed by the narrowest of narrow margins.
Lister: You what? You walked in there, wrote "I am a fish" four hundred times, did a funny little dance and fainted!
- Todhunter: Rimmer, Lister...
Rimmer: Yes Sir.
Lister: Yo, Todhunter, get down!
Todhunter: Indeed. Now, er, Rimmer - I'm just going through Mcintyre’s artefacts and I see that you have filed two hundred and forty seven complaints... against Lister.
Rimmer: Yes Sir.
Todhunter: That’s one hundred and twenty three counts of insulting a superior technician, thirty nine counts of dereliction of duty, eighty four counts of general insubordination and one count of mutiny?
Rimmer: Yes Sir.
Todhunter: Mutiny, Lister?
Lister: I stood on his toe.
Rimmer: Maliciously and with intent to wound.
Lister: It was an accident!
Rimmer: Lister, I put it to you - How is it possible to stand on one small toe by accident? You didn't stand on my toe at all - you stood on my entire foot, thereby obstructing a superior technician in the pursuit of vital duty.
Lister: The 'vital duty' was to snap my guitar in half!
Rimmer: Whereupon you leapt from the top bunk onto the whole of my right foot...
Todhunter: Alright, that's enough.
Rimmer: Had there been a crisis situation, Lister, I would have had to perform my duties hopping, clearly putting the ship at risk - clearly therefore mutiny!
Rimmer: However I am not a vindictive man so I don't intend to apply for the death penalty.
Todhunter: There are one hundred and sixty nine people aboard this ship and you Rimmer are over one man. Why can't you two get on?
Lister: You see, I try Sir - I'm not an insubordinate man by nature. I try and respect Rimmer and everything but it's not easy because he's such a Smeg Head!
Rimmer: Did you hear that, Sir? Lister, do you have any conception of the penalty for describing a superior technician as a Smeg head?
Todhunter: Oh Rimmer - You are a Smeg Head!
- Lister: Bye George - That was George!
Rimmer: Really? I thought it was Mary, Queen of Scots.
- Lister: How long was I in Stasis?
Holly: Three Million years.
Lister: THREE MILLION YEARS? I've still got that Library book!
- Cat: How am I lookin'? I'm lookin' nice! I'm lookin' better than nice! I'm lookin' dangerous! Ow! Dangerous, yeah!
The episode was written in 1983 during a stay at a cottage in Wales belonging to Doug Naylor's father. Almost a mile up a mountain the writing duo team of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor spent day and night writing. Almost finished the pair had a near fatal accident during nightfall when their car veered perilously near the edge of a cliff. The script was not finished as expected as they spent the next day rescuing the car.
Grant and Naylor passed the completed script to their agent Paul Jackson, whom they had worked for on Three of a Kind and Carrot's Lib, and John Lloyd, whom they worked with on Spitting Image. They both came back saying that they loved it, with even talk of them doing a co-production for the series. However, the task of dealing with the production rested with Jackson who had trouble convincing the BBC who went on to reject the script three times. Grant and Naylor were keen to have the series done on the BBC as they felt the extra 3 minutes of non-commercial time would be invaluable. It would take another three years before the series was accepted by BBC North West.
When casting auditions started Norman Lovett was the first member of the cast selected, but had originally auditioned for Rimmer. Grant and Naylor thought otherwise and offered him the role of Holly, who at this stage was just a voice-over part. Danny John-Jules came in and impressed everyone with his audition for the Cat. Craig Charles was sent the script for his opinion as there were concerns over the Cat character coming across as racist. Charles was also being considered for the role. However it was later decided that Craig would be better suited auditioning for the role of Lister, who was initially described in the script as in his early forties. Chris Barrie later auditioned for both the Lister and Rimmer roles. A previous collaborator with Grant and Naylor, Chris had worked on their radio show Son of Cliché. Bigger named actors like Alan Rickman and Alfred Molina had also auditioned but were not considered — as they would unlikely stay for a series run. Paul Jackson's initial plan was for the show to run like The Young Ones, two series and that was it.
The character of the first hologram seen on screen, George McIntyre, was intended to be Australian to fit into the idea that the ship was international, but the actor, Robin McCulley had problems with the accent and decided to make the character Welsh instead. The episode featured a host of guest stars and extras, most uncredited. As well as featuring Mac McDonald as Captain Hollister and Clare Grogan (she changed her name to C. P. Grogan because of an equity clash with another person with the same name) as Kristine Kochanski, Robert Bathurst appeared as Tod Hunter, Mark Williams as Petersen, Paul Bradley as Chen, and David Gillespie as Selby.
The episode, and the series, almost never happened due to an electricians strike at the BBC in 1987 which prevented filming and the project was shelved. Filming eventually went ahead after the industrial action was resolved. Filming a scene with the Frankenstein cat caused problems when it came to trying to get the right shot. The cat would not stay still long enough, would not look at the photo of Fiji, and kept scratching Craig Charles' leg and even ran away. But what caused the biggest headache was that Lister's underwear was not quite covering his parts. Grant and Naylor later considered covering the offending part electronically, but went for an inferior take instead.
The opening theme tune was written by musician Howard Goodall. With its classical music style it parodied Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Goodall also wrote the lyrics for the end credits theme tune, which was sung by Jenna Russell. The intention here was to match the lyrics to Lister desire to go to Fiji, especially regarding the "goldfish shoals nibbling at my toes" line.
For the opening credits and exterior shots a Red Dwarf model ship had to be built from scratch. Peter Wragg was the Visual Effects Designer of Red Dwarf; Wragg also had a large part in set building and was the chief model maker. Wragg had previously filled a similar role in British television series; such as Thunderbirds Are GO, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and Doctor Who. The opening effects shot features a dissolve from Lister painting the ship to a full model shot of the city-sized vessel traveling through space. Originally it was supposed to be one long take but it proved too difficult to mesh together with a small budget and lowly special effects of the day. The model of Red Dwarf itself measured about eight foot long from scoop to engine.
With a seventh episode slot left over at the end of production, Grant and Naylor decided to go back and re-shoot certain scenes and drop others that they felt did not work. Scenes removed include Lister ejecting the crew members' canisters into space and Rimmer conducting his own eulogy. One of the more drastic changes was the ship's computer, Holly. Initially shot as a voice over, Norman Lovett had convinced the creators to have a disembodied head on screen. The Holly scenes from the first three episodes were re-edited to feature the newly shot lines with the head of Holly. Altogether, approximately two-thirds of the broadcast episode was composed of reshoot footage.
Set Designer Paul Montague gave the ship interiors a grey submarine look. Walls, floors, bunks, cans and even cigarette packets were coloured grey. The "Welcome Back George MacIntyre" reception featured bright red plastic chairs, which had to be covered up with jackets to avoid harsh clashes of colour.
- Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers - the first Red Dwarf novel features an expanded version of events from this episode and builds on the backstory as well as featuring new stories not seen in episodes.
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at The End (Red Dwarf). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tongue Tied, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.|