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Red Dwarf rockets back – Liverpool Echo

 

A quarter of a century after its debut, Red Dwarf is back for a tenth series. Susan Griffin catches up with the original cast on set and finds out how the middle-aged crew are faring

AFTER a decade’s break, apart from a one-off special three years ago called Red Dwarf: Back To Earth, the legendary sci-fi sitcom is returning for a tenth series.

“We’ve gone back to doing it in front of a live audience, which really helps, and it’s gone back to being a relationship-based comedy about the way the four of us interact,” says Liverpudlian Craig Charles, 48, who plays Dave Lister, the last human in the universe.

To the uninitiated, Red Dwarf is one tough sitcom to describe.

Set upon the titular spaceship, it’s a pastiche of science fiction that boasts mind-bending storylines, complex dialogue and four strange characters.

It’s lunchtime on the set of Red Dwarf, based at Shepperton Studios, and former West Derby comprehensive School pupil Craig, dressed in a white vest and long johns, is explaining how his Coronation Street bosses allowed him time off to shoot the series, when two of his co-stars arrive.

First in is Danny John-Jules, 52, who plays Cat. He’s wearing a typically flamboyant suit, and while the fangs have been removed, his hair remains styled in Cat’s magnificent quiff. He’s followed by Chris Barrie, 52, wearing Rimmer’s blue uniform – though the glistening H that usually sits slap-bang in the middle of his forehead is nowhere to be seen.

Like Craig, they’re thrilled to be filming in front of a live audience again: “Well, the show was created in that guise,” says Danny, recalling the early recordings at BBC Manchester.

“And it’s kind of important because we’re all show-offs,” adds Craig.

“Speak for yourself,” jokes Chris. “No, we like the audience and they love us when we make the odd mistake.”

Suddenly the door opens and a robotic version of Noel Coward walks in. It’s fellow co-star Robert Llewellyn, 56, dressed in his smoking jacket and clasping a man’s clutch bag – but with Kryten’s robotic facial prosthetics still in place.

“You look like such a Thespian, have you got a pipe?” inquires Craig, prompting laughter from the group.

Written and directed by the show’s co-creator Doug Naylor, who studied at Liverpool University, this series begins with the Dwarfers’ mining ship still creaking though the wastelands of unchartered deep space.

Over the six episodes, Lister grapples with the problem of being his own father and gets involved in a love triangle with snack dispensers; Kryten and Cat become quantum entangled, forcing them to do everything in unison; while Rimmer receives an SOS distress call from an old foe and is suddenly faced with the dilemma of his life.

“So far, it’s all gone really well,” says Craig. “The scripts are excellent, really good stories and they’re standalone episodes, so you can miss the first one and still enjoy the third one.”

Red Dwarf X begins on Dave on Thursday, October 4, 9pm.




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