DVD
Red Dwarf
The Bodysnatcher Collection

Starring: Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn, Hattie Hayridge and Norman Lovett
BBC DVD
RRP: 49.99
BBCDVD2346
Certificate: 12
Available 12 November 2007


It you thought that you couldn't get anymore blood out of the
Red Dwarf stone, think again as the BBC present you with the four disc The Body Snatcher Collection...

Disc one contains The End: The Original Assembly which is the first episode of the show before it was seriously revised, replacing two-thirds of the script, after watching it you can understand why. The audience reaction to the show is muted at best, mostly because at this point the show is frankly not very funny, the cast, who obviously haven't yet got a handle on their characters, deliver their lines in a flat and lifeless way. The show has a commentary by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor.

Bodysnatcher is another try at the first show that was never made. The script was finally finished in 2007 and is presented as a set of storyboards with Chris Barrie performing all the vocals. The show also has a commentary by Grant and Naylor as well as an extended audio version. Barrie does a great job at simulating the voices of the original actors.

It's Cold Outside is a seventy minute, documentary about the making of the second series with contributions by the main cast and creators. To complement this there is The Beginning, another seventy minute documentary about the genesis of the show. Fans of the show will love this stuff as it is full of the minutiae and insights of the show's creation and its difficult continuation.

Disc two has the re-mastered versions of Series One, including The End, Future Echoes, Balance of Power, Waiting for God, Confidence & Paranoia and Me2. All of the episodes have a text track which points out the changes that have been made and the first and last episodes have a commentary track. If that wasn't enough there is a twenty-one minute documentary, Re-Dwarf, about the re-mastering of the show and the reasons behind this - basically they were so naff in a number of areas that the show would generate no overseas sales.

However, rather than just tarting the show up, they went back and completely re-imagined the show altering pace and changing some of the gags. If that was not enough for you the disc also contains bonuses in the form of a picture gallery and the slightly more interesting Red Dwarf Mobicode, which is the show in an animated form. There is only a single clip and in truth is more of an advert. Whether you enjoy the re-mastered episodes is going to be a very personal choice, there will be those that feel precious about the originals and so will hate any changes. For the average watcher the changes go a long way to making the show less dated and more amusing.

Disc three contains the re-mastered versions of Series Two including Kryten, Better than Life, Thanks for the Memory, Stasis Leak, Queeg and Parallel Universe. Once again all the shows come with an on screen text to point out where the show has been improved and commentaries on Kryten and Better than Life. The disc also contains four deleted scenes and for a bonus you get Raw FX Footage, which is a compilation of the CGI, including stuff that never made it into the show; a history of the Tongue Tied song; Original Model Shots; and Grant and Naylor's interview with Alan Titchmarsh, which also has a commentary.

On the fourth, and last, disc we get the re-mastered versions of Series Three which includes Backwards, Marooned, Polymorph, Bodyswap, Timeslides and The last Day. Once again each show has text which highlights the changes and Polymorph and Bodyswap have commentaries. On the Bonus side we have some original 8mm film and the two promos for the re-mastered editions. There is also four - Dad, Lister's Father, Infinity Patrol and Rimmer's Dummy - lost script extracts which are presented as storyboards with Chris Barrie once again doing a fine job providing all the vocals.

Well, what can one say except that this collection offers a hell of a lot of bang for your buck. Sure some of the stuff has been available elsewhere; however it still represents a pretty comprehensive package of the first three series with two hundred and fifty minutes of commentaries, five hundred and thirty minutes of actual show and three hundred and forty minutes of bonus material. It is, without a doubt, the most complete retrospect that I think I have seen for any show and deserves a high mark for that if nothing else.

Charles Packer

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£37.49 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
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£39.99 (Play.com)
   
£37.99 (HMV.co.uk)
   
£35.93 (Asda.co.uk)
   
£35.93 (Thehut.com)

All prices correct at time of going to press.