|Red Dwarf episode|
|Episode no.||Series 7|
|Directed by||Ed Bye|
|Written by||Doug Naylor|
|Original air date||7 February 1997|
"Duct Soup" is the fourth episode of science fiction sit-com Red Dwarf Series VII and the 40th in the series run. It was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 7 February 1997. It was written by Doug Naylor and directed by Ed Bye.
Kristine Kochanski (Chloë Annett) is having a hard time on Starbug with no bath, poor food, and squeaking pipes in her sleeping quarters. Dave Lister (Craig Charles) arranges for her to have a bath in his quarters, and finds some extra clothing for her - gestures that worry Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) considerably. But before she can bathe, an engine failure leaves the crew trapped in Lister's quarters, and the ship is on a collision course with a meteor shower. The only way to re-fire the backup generator is by going through the service ducts.
As they navigate through the narrow ducts, Kochanski helps Lister with his claustrophobia, while Kryten and Cat (Danny John-Jules) look for any hatches that they can use to get back into Starbug. After dealing with water flushing through the vents, and hurricane-force winds to dry the ductways, Kryten admits that he planned the whole situation. He adjusted the thermosettings so it would overload and locked them in Lister's quarters. They eventually exit the ducts but end up back in Lister's quarters. Kryten makes another admission - the doors to Lister's quarters aren't locked after all; he excluded them from the shutdown override in case anything happened. Lister goes off to steer the ship away from disaster, while Kochanski asks Kryten to repeat the squeak noises that the pipes make while repeatedly hitting his head with a spanner (which she had been doing earlier to the squeaking pipes).
The episode overran by three minutes, and had to be cut down. Rather than lose vital scenes, it was decided that the opening titles would be replaced by a caption slide, to save precious time. The scenes would be reinstated for the X-tended edition on VHS release. This is the third episode of Red Dwarf to forfeit the opening titles for the purposes of time and episode pacing (the others being series II closer "Parallel Universe" and previous series VII episode "Ouroboros").
Being the last episode written, and the fact that the series had stretched the budget at that point, "Duct Soup" turned out to be the 'bottle show', a cheap production script that replaced the initially more expensive story that was written, Identity Within.
In Series 7's bonus features, Craig Charles mentions one word has been dubbed over in the scene where he tells his story about him developing claustrophobia, as it turns out this word was left un-dubbed on the first VHS release of Series 7 and is, in fact, 'Fuck'.
Cultural and historical references
Lister's claustrophobia is only mentioned one other time within the Red Dwarf series, in the episode "Confidence and Paranoia" when Lister and his Confidence are outside in space suits. Any other time, though, Lister is shown in closed spaces, without any fear. When the Cat questions Lister as to why he's never shown any signs of claustrophobia in other instances when they've been trapped in small places, Lister responds he only 'sometimes' suffers with it, thereby avoiding a continuity error.
"Duct Soup" has received some mixed reviews. DVDActive complained that "the comedy is just not funny enough and, barring a few wonderful moments from the Cat, it's all a bit of a disappointment." Sci-Fi Online, on the other hand, called it "the best episode of the eight in this series" claiming that "as well as being a character study on a par with Series 3's Marooned, it boasts loads of great lines."
- "BBC - Programme Catalogue - RED DWARF VI - DUCT SOUP". BBC. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
- "Red Dwarf Series VII Production". Red Dwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-17.
- "Red Dwarf Series VII Writing". Red Dwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-17.
- "Red Dwarf VII (UK - DVD R2)". www.dvdactive.com. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "DVD Red Dwarf Series 7". www.sci-fi-online.com. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
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