When I first discovered that Red Dwarf would be returning for a new series in 2012 the first thing I asked was, “would it be filmed in front of a studio audience?” I have followed Red Dwarf since the age of 12 and after reading, ‘ The Making of Red Dwarf’ I aspired to some day watch my favourite show being filmed. After series 6 aired I organised a Red Dwarf fan club at my school (That’s my school tie pictured on the left) in the hope of making up the numbers for a coach trip to see next series being filmed. But unfortunately as any fan of the show would tell you series 7 didn’t happen for another four years and when it returned it wasn’t filmed in front of a studio audience. Never the less this aspiration to see the show being filmed had stayed with me ever since… I had almost given up on it until the rumours of a new series began to circulate. Then it was confirmed, there was to be a new series and it was to be filmed before a studio audience!
Not wanting to miss my chance I signed up with various web sites that distributed tickets for audience based shows. And after several months of deleting endless streams of e-mails promising front row tickets for The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and Dancing on Ice (shows that I have absolutely no interest in) The filming dates for Red Dwarf were made public and one of them was on my birthday! I quickly requested two tickets for the 13th of January and impatiently waited 3 days to find out if I could finally realise the dream and see Red Dwarf being filmed I couldn’t! The show was fully booked. My heart sank.
I thought all was lost until a friend of mine informed me that he had a spare ticket and invited me to a recording on the 16th of December! I was overjoyed and eagerly accepted his kind offer! Merry Christmas Arfon I thought, your luck is on the up! Not only was I able to see the show being recorded but on the first night too! All I had to do was be at Shepperton studios for the 16th of December no later than 5:30pm as admittance would not be given after that. So I highlighted and underlined the date on my calendar and counted down the days! A murmur in my car caused some concern and so we opted to hire a car for the 5 hour drive to London, no easy task as cars are in high demand in the run up to Christmas, after countless web searches and telephone calls we found one and booked it! The trip was set, pick up car, drive to London, realise childhood dream, and catch up with family and friends, a great weekend just before Christmas!
On the 16th we made our way to pick up the car, filled in all the paperwork and embarked on our journey that came to abrupt stop after only 45miles. SNOW, or so we were told… we couldn’t see much around in fact we only saw it on mountaintops along the way. But it seemed that snow had closed off the A55! 2 hours later, we were still there! We eventually started making our way forward but very, very SLOWLY the GPS that had previously told me that we would arrive at Shepperton at 3:00pm was now telling me that we would arrive at 5:15! Then the time slipped away to 5:30 we were then diverted into Cheshire and joined an endless queue of traffic… 5:45 the final blow came when the traffic report on the radio warned of similar conditions on the M6 (our next route) the dream was over… I had no chance of making it in time for the recording. And after a few stop and starts I reluctantly admitted defeat and turned the car around.
My ambition to see Red Dwarf being recorded had been dashed. The opportunity to hear the lines that Red Dwarf fans would be quoting in 2012 being uttered from the actors’ mouths for the first time had been stolen from me. The 13 year old me, that organised that Red Dwarf fan club in school all those years ago melted away like the snow that was blamed for all this (The disappointed 31 year old me blamed the people who’s job is to prevent this sort of thing happening!) Thankfully the ticket was offered to someone else so it didn’t go to waste but poor Beth had to listen to my bitter ramblings all the way home.
Daily Post’s account of the snow related ‘chaos’ on the A55
no mention of Red Dwarf X though…
no mention of Red Dwarf X though…
2012 after gritting my teeth over Christmas hearing the successes of other fans that managed to get to the recordings I was granted another shot! Thanks to a very dear friend who managed to arrange some tickets for the recording of the series finale on January 27th! This was to be my one and only chance to realise the ambition! The same arrangements where made as December only this time round we travelled to London the day before! I’m pleased to report that the plan paid off we arrived safely and saw the show being recorded and I absolutely loved it!! Unfortunately, I am prohibited to divulge anything about the recording as they are quite concerned about spoilers and loosing viewers so I can’t actually go into real detail about the sets, story and acting. But I will tell you this, the effort, pain and anguish that I have just shared with you in this account was worth it I highly recommend that you watch it when it airs later in the year. Congratulations to all involved in the making of the show and my sincere thanks to all involved in allowing me to realise this ambition of mine!
© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.