Red Dwarf series XI filming began this past weekend, and the reports from fans have begun trickling in. As always, the production team urge audience members not to give away any spoilers, but we did get some brief set reports here and here, as well as a few teaser photos from the official #reddwarfXI Twitter Feed.

We don’t know much about the plot of what is presumably going to be the series opener, other than that it is an “all hands” episode (not focusing on one particular character) and doesn’t focus as much on tying together different sub-plots, instead telling a cohesive storyline with a few asides that almost look like it’s about to be wrapped up part-way through before a major plot twist sends it hurtling off in another direction.

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This episode featured off-set location footage from a night shoot in the forests of New Forrest (which contained at least one “genuinely scary” moment) and a power station in Southampton (which I’m guessing probably doubles for the interior workings of Red Dwarf based on the picture below). Overall, the the response from audience members seems to have been quite positive, with several people noting that it felt like a solid “classic” episode of Red Dwarf, in keeping with Series X but also hearkening back to IV and VI.

As for what we know about series XI and XII as a whole:

  • The four main crew members are back (of course), and Rimmer is still in full-on Rimmer mode, just in case you thought the final episode of Series X changed anything.
  • Starbug is back! But the cockpit area apparently looks different, and may polarize some fans. (Reading between the lines, it seems likely that the interior has been given a new green paint job to set it apart from the Red color scheme of Red Dwarf.) They may also have canabalized the Drive Room set from Series X to build it.
  • The Science Room is back, and seems to have taken over for the Drive Room as the second permanent set occupying most of the sound stage next to the Bunk Room.
  • The Medibay set from Series X (with that awful virtual Doctor) seems to have been replaced with a simpler set, more in keeping with Series III-VI (see below).
  • Cat has crazy hair and a pony tail, and Rimmer may be sporting a toupee.
  • The corridors look a little different this time.
  • Kryten’s mask is a vast improvement over series X, though his suit has been redesigned again and looks a little odd. Apparently, this was done to give Robert a bit more flexibility of movement.
  • The lighting has been changed, with a lot more use of atmospheric light and shadows. (Think series IV)
  • They’ve brought back the Bazookoids from Series III-VI.