Jane Killick – Stasis Leaked Complete: The Unofficial Behind The Scenes Guide To Red Dwarf (Book Review)

Stasis Leaked

(Article originally appeared on ‘Gazpacho Soup’ 01/09/12)

  • Published by: Elly Books
  • ISBN: 978-1-908340-06-1 (paperback), 978-1-908340-07-8 (ebook) (Kindle ASIN: B008YF1S6S)
  • Length: 326 pages (paperback)
  • Price: £8.99 paperback / £4.50 ebook (approx.)

These days, with the excellent Red Dwarf DVD range and various online resources, it’s sometimes easy to forget that when the show was on air in the 1990s it was the print medium that Red Dwarf fans went to in order to read up on their favourite show. Many a Dwarf obsessive will doubtless have owned books like the Virgin programme guide and many more will have collected the official Red Dwarf magazine; the Smegazine. One of the writers for said magazine was Jane Killick, who also wrote about the show for the likes of Starburst magazine, and it is her work for both publications that forms the backbone of this book.

Much like the long out of print programme guide, the book is made up of series and episode overviews. Each episode is covered with a basic cast and production list, synopsis, funniest moment and behind the scenes details, which are presented with some of the most interesting parts of the interviews she conducted with cast and crew interspersed throughout. These cover the entire span of the show, going right from the long inception right up to present day. Being that the book is released in the run up to Series X, its details of the series are unsurprisingly brief across 2 pages. It is therefore a nice to find that the Elly Books website will feature an update for the book covering Series X for a limited period after it has been aired.

Killick states from the outset that the book concentrates more on the BBC era of the show and this is fairly accurate, and although the more recent episodes are covered, the book is at its strongest when focusing on the show prior to Series VII. This is of course due in no small part to the fact that the Smegazine in particular was still being published, giving a greater amount of interviews and other material for Killick to source her quotes and behind the scenes information from. Additionally, it means that some articles from the magazine such as an examination of the lava effects in Gunmen of the Apocalypse are able to be transferred whole sale as an addendum to the chapter on Series VI.

As well as the show in the main, the book also takes some time to look at shows outside of the ten series like Can’t Smeg Won’t Smeg and missing episodes like Bodysnatcher. The most substantial of these are the chapters on the unmade movie and the failed US pilots. Due to the secrecy that still surrounds the former, the movie chapter reads more as a diary of the unsuccessful attempts to get it made, and does indeed close with a timeline. While it’s hard to gleam anything too revealing, (though some may be surprised at Doug’s initial idea to film with an audience,) it is interesting as a refresher of how long was spent trying to get the project off the ground before work began with Dave. Equally, while fans should be familiar with the story of the failure of the US pilots, the interview with Rob and Doug in their aftermath is required reading.

This is not to say the book is without error,and occasionally there are a few mistakes that have slipped through such as a reference to Talkie Toaster returning to the show in Series III rather than IV. It’s easy to see how they would slip through a proof read performed by someone that wasn’t fan of the show, but with the prospect of an updated edition at some point in the future I’m sure these will be rectified. However, it’s really the interviews and a chance to read direct quotes on a whole range of subjects that will be the draw for most readers of this book, and while such mistakes can be something of an annoyance they can be overlooked if what you are looking for is more than a recap of the documentaries from the DVDs.

Overall, it’s a book that really should grace the shelf of any Red Dwarf obsessive due to the collected quotes and interview pieces that really make this book an interesting work. Even those who have every issue of the Smegazine should find something to enjoy, thanks to both the inclusion of interviews from other publications and the basic fact that this work compiles the best of the Smegazine interviews in to one simple volume. Those that will doubtless gain the most from it though are fans that don’t have an entire back catalogue of the old magazine, but who, following the DVD range, are looking for further behind the scenes information direct from those involved; something that Killick’s work is suited to due to the wealth original interviews at her disposal. If what you want is a good grounding in the trials and tribulations of making the show over it’s near 25 year history, Stasis Leaked can easily deliver.

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