During all this, another tax incentive scheme fell through, and Naylor even received a rejection letter from Film On Four before they went under. “Then almost a year later, the person who had sent the rejection letter was put forward by our Australian co-partners, as a possible co-producer,” Naylor later recalled. “Suddenly, she loved the script! Go figure.” The BBC again rejected the movie because it wasn’t what they were looking for, and the British Film Council turned the film down because Red Dwarf: The Movie was “too commercial”. Naylor later added: “This from the people who brought you Sex Lives of the Potato Men, which they put nearly a million quid into, and that movie where the kid farts his way to the moon. Why did they put money into that?”
By 2005, Red Dwarf: The Movie was no closer to being made than it was in 2000. Naylor had told fans that he was “closer than ever” but nothing ever materialised. In 2008, UK channel Dave announced they had commissioned a three-part mini series titled Red Dwarf: Back to Earth which would reunite Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Robert Llewelyn and Danny John-Jules, and aired in 2009 and acted as the ninth series. In 2012 Dave aired Red Dwarf X and tonight sees the crew return for Red Dwarf XI, with Red Dwarf XII already announced for next year. So what’s next? Will Naylor return to Red Dwarf: The Movie? “Craig said something interesting to me which was if we were to do the film, he wouldn’t want to leave the TV series,” he told Den of Geek in 2012. “Because that’s where Red Dwarf really works best.” With all of the talk surrounding the next couple of series on Dave, it looks like Red Dwarf: The Movie will never get back to reality.
“The reason the movie didn’t get made was probably because we didn’t have the right people on our team trying to raise the money, and there was no-one there telling us we wouldn’t be able to raise the kind of money we were asking for unless we recast it with movie stars which I wasn’t prepared to do,” Naylor told Starburst Magazine in 2012. “I was told at one point to make the script more expensive, put in more VFX, make it cost £19 million. The theory was that the bank involved wouldn’t raise just a little bit of money – it had to be a ton of money to make it worthwhile for them – which turned out to be absolute nonsense. It took a lot of writing and re-writing. 35 drafts, I think all together. More expensive, even more expensive, a bit cheaper, even cheaper, a lot cheaper, now a bit more expensive. On and on and on. You look at the success of The Inbetweeners and if we’d done the Red Dwarf movie at the right time with the right budget, we’d have picked up an audience. No question.”
Red Dwarf returns to Dave tonight at 9pm
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the co-host of The Flickering Myth Podcast and Scooperhero News. You can follow him on Twitter @ThisisLukeOwen and read his weekly feature The Week in Star Wars.
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