Stoke Me a Clipper
|"Stoke Me a Clipper"|
|Red Dwarf episode|
Ace Rimmer to the rescue
|Episode no.||Series 7
|Directed by||Ed Bye|
|Written by||Paul Alexander and Doug Naylor|
|Original air date||24 January 1997|
"Stoke Me a Clipper" is the second episode of science fiction sit-com Red Dwarf Series VII and the 38th in the series run. It was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 24 January 1997, was written by Paul Alexander & Doug Naylor and was directed by Ed Bye. It was the first episode to involve a writer other than co-creator/writers Grant or Naylor.
Ace Rimmer, Rimmer's (Chris Barrie) better looking heroic alternate self, from Dimension Jump and Emohawk: Polymorph II makes a rescue attempt on a captured princess. Although he succeeds in rescuing her, Ace takes a fatal bullet hit. Meanwhile on Starbug, Lister (Craig Charles) is tired of taking cold showers, nearly using all the water supplies in the process, so he goes into the artificial reality machine with his book of cheats. He challenges the King's best knight so he can win the honour of spending a day and a night with the Queen of Camelot. Using his cheat codes he defeats the knight, claims his prize and with one last cheat the Queen's chastity belt falls freely to the ground. Lister and the Queen then proceed to make love, with an interruption by Lister asking for whipped cream from the astounded crowd and King.
Ace transports into Starbug's dimension and reveals that he is dying and wants Rimmer to replace him as Ace. He also tells Rimmer of the Ace secret — the fact that alternate versions of Rimmer from countless dimensions have all taken the reins to be Ace. Now Ace must train Rimmer to succeed him and keep the legend going. After encouragement from Lister, Rimmer decides to accept the offer and begins his training. With the help of Lister, Cat (Danny John-Jules) and Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) , Rimmer succeeds with his training and when Ace dies, he dons Ace's outfit and says his goodbye to the crew before leaving Starbug.
Going solo for Series VII had worried Doug Naylor. To help him with the writing duties he hired a small group of writers. Paul Alexander, a Jasper Carrott writing regular, was the first one to help out. This was a new situation to Naylor having previously had control over every script. He would however re-write and edit each script to make them fit into the Red Dwarf's creative pedigree.
This episode featured a large number of famous guest actors. Scottish-born Hollywood movie veteran Brian Cox played the Medieval English King while British comedy actress Sarah Alexander portrayed his French Queen. English actor Ken Morley portrayed the German commander Captain Voorhese. British television actress Alison Senior portrayed Princess Bonjella. Andy Gell also appeared as a Soldier. The crocodile used in the episode is credited as being named Allison, supplied by London Zoo, despite the fact that it is clearly a rubber prop. The medieval scenes were staged with the aid of the Mediaeval Combat Society and the Plantagenet Medieval Archery and Combat Society.
Chris Barrie had decided to leave the series at this point, and had committed to four more episodes, but was written out in the second episode anyway, allowing more time to develop Kochanski's character, who would be arriving in the next episode. This episode marks the original Rimmer hologram's final 'real' appearance in series VII, with his other appearances taking the forms of flashbacks and dream sequences. In Series VIII Chris Barrie would portray a resurrected human form of Rimmer. He would reappear as a hologram in Red Dwarf: Back to Earth.
In popular culture
In years since, an animated gif image of Ace Rimmer riding the Crocodile out of the Nazi plane has become well associated with the online internet meme known as "Interior Crocodile Alligator", which is derived from a very bizarre line in freestyle song ("SLAB Freestyle") by rap artist Chip Da Ripper.
Cultural and historical references
The name "Stoke Me A Clipper" came from Ace Rimmer's catch phrase, "Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast", but because of Rimmer's incompetence he says it wrong and it comes out as the title.
There is also a very clear reference to the James Bond film Goldfinger in a conversation similar to the one when James Bond is on Goldfinger's trap. In the scene, Bond asks Goldfinger "You expect me to talk?" to which he replies "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die". In the episode, Ace asks the German captain "You expect me to concede?" to which the captain replies "No Mr. Rimmer, I expect you to die!".
"Stoke Me A Clipper" was liked by some critics. DVDActive called it "one of the funnier episodes of the series [with] some good laughs". DVD Verdict stated that "some of the scenes are very moving, especially when you consider that Barrie was, supposedly, never coming back." Sci-Fi Online on the other hand, felt that the episode starts well but then seemed to forget to be a comedy, instead "embarking upon a Jedi-style training mission."
- "BBC - Programme Catalogue - RED DWARF VI - STOKE ME A CLIPPER". BBC. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
- "Red Dwarf Series VII Writing". Red Dwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
- Cast and Crew | Series VII | Guide | Red Dwarf, www.reddwarf.co.uk, retrieved 11 May 2013
- "Red Dwarf VII (UK - DVD R2)". www.dvdactive.com. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "Red Dwarf: Series 5-8". www.dvdverdict.com. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "DVD Red Dwarf Series 7". www.sci-fi-online.com. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
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