Red Dwarf
Series 6

Starring: Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 21 February 2005

Red Dwarf has been stolen and our intrepid heroes are hot on its trail. Starbug, unable to match its speed, has to take a short-cut to overtake it. Unfortunately this involves plotting a course through dangerous alien territory which is patrolled by rogue droids that despise humans. On their journey Rimmer creates a world populated by his clones, Lister gets married, Kryten becomes Sheriff in the Wild West, the Cat once again becomes Duane Dibley and they meet their future selves who want to kill them...

For me personally Series Six of Red Dwarf was the last decent series. It all went down hill a bit after this.

This series starts off with Psirens, which sees Jenny Agutter, Anita Dobson and Clare Grogan (Oops! I wrongly stated in an earlier review for Series Two that she didn't appear again - well slap my wrists!), all guest starring briefly. Lister and Co are lured into a trap by deadly Psirens - aliens that lure the crews of spaceships to their death by telepathic manipulation. The unwitting victims are suckered into letting their guards down so that the Psirens can suck their brains from their heads via a straw.

Legion sees Starbug land on what they think is a deserted space station in order to stock up with supplies. When they arrive they are surprised to be greeted by an artificial life form, known as Legion, who shows them the finest hospitality. It is only when Lister and the gang insist on leaving that Legion reveals he has other plans for them.

In Gunmen of the Apocalypse Kryten contracts a deadly virus, forcing his companions to enter his mind (via a virtual reality programme) in order to save him. When they arrive in Kryten's 'mind' they find themselves in a wild west town and must fight to defeat the virus (who have taken on the guise of a bunch of mean cowboys) in order to get home.

Emohawk - Polymorph II sees Lister and Co landing on a planet in order to acquire replacement engine parts from the ugly Kinitawowi tribe. The chief of the tribe (played by, believe it or not, the then unknown Ainsley Harriott) will give them what they want only if Lister marries his daughter. Ace Rimmer and Duane Dibley also return.

In Rimmerworld, Arnold Rimmer does the dirty on his crew mates and takes the only remaining escape pod when it looks like Starbug is certain to be destroyed. He can't steer the pod and ends up going through a wormhole (which causes Rimmer to shift into a different time stream) and landing on a barren planet. The crew of Starbug go to his rescue, but as Rimmer is in a different time stream it is 600 years before he sees his crewmates again.

Out of Time sees another Starbug materialise alongside Lister's vessel. It seems that a future crew, from 15 years in the future, need the present day crews help... and are willing to kill their younger selves if they don't get what they are after.

The episodes in Series Six all have their merits and to be honest there isn't a bad scene in the entire series.

The extras are pretty good on this release (certainly better than those on series' 1-4) and equally as good as for the Series Five release.

By far the most entertaining extra is The Starbuggers documentary. This 1 hour 14 minute feature takes us through the episodes in Series Six and includes interviews with cast and crew to give fans a glimpse behind the scenes. The scariest moment being an interview with the guy who played Lister's Kinitawowi bride in Emohawk - Polymorph II. He claims he was disappointed that he didn't get to snog Craig Charles with tongues. I don't care whether he was joking or not... I can't get that image out of my head now! I was surprised to learn that the majority of the script for Out of Time was still being written as the cast were preparing to record the episode in the studio - forcing them to read most of their lines off autocues.

There is also a fantastic featurette (29 minutes) on Howard Goodall which examines his work on the show as composer. It was interesting to learn that there were additional verses for the Red Dwarf theme which never got used as well as the fact that he submitted a backwards version of the theme tune to be included in the Series Three episode Backwards. Again, as with previous releases, there are isolated music cues, which are broken down into episodes.

There are also 43 minutes of deleted scenes (all of which have text introductions to explain why they were dropped from the final cut); 18 minutes of 'Smeg Ups'; a very funny sketch from the Son of Cliché radio show - which shows the early origins of Red Dwarf. In Return to Laredo (10 minutes) Robert Llewellyn goes back to the wild west town where they shot the exteriors for Gunmen of the Apocalypse.

The audio commentaries are as we've come to expect. There's way too much laughing, commenting on pointless things on screen and saying: "Oh! I'd forgotten that". In fact during the episode Emohawk - Polymorph II there's more laughing and long silences than there is actual commentary... almost. However, they do joke about the fact that they are getting on a bit and that they will look old when, and if, a movie ever gets produced. And Danny sings the theme to the Body Form advert but changes the lyrics to "Terror Form". They also discuss things that the general Red Dwarf fan won't understand at all - too many in jokes which usually revolve around taking the Mickey out of crew members. No one (apart from maybe the most anal of fans) will get these jokes. And why did they seem to have a problem with Clare Grogan? Danny also made me laugh as he continued to point out how all of the guest stars on the show have gone on to bigger and better things, while the main cast haven't.

There is another fan commentary (on Gunmen of the Apocalypse) which sadly isn't as good as the one recorded for Series Five's Back to Reality. Only one of the fans seemed to have bothered to do any preparation - and he got stick for it too by the other fans.

Other extras include raw model effects footage; trailers; and a photo gallery.

This is another winner of a release which Red Dwarf fans will want to add to their collection.

Darren Rea

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