Red Dwarf: Back To Earth!

Guest Blogger JJ Benson here reporting back on what was probably the coolest night of my year so far! Andy (my friend and camera man for the evening) and I got to meet and chat with the cast of Red Dwarf, one of our favourite TV shows. We were in a central London location for the brilliant press launch of the new three-part series. It will air on Dave this Easter; fans will be treated to the first batch of new episodes in 10 years. Red Dwarf: Back To Earth reunites human Dave Lister (Craig Charles), hologram Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie), feline evolved Cat (Danny John-Jules) and sanitation mechanoid Kryten (Robert Llewellyn).

If you don’t know your holoships from your Talkie Toasters, here’s a refresher of the series: it was about the hapless crew of the mining spaceship Red Dwarf. Set three million years in the future, it focussed on their attempts to return to Earth. It’s impossible to sum up years of craziness in a couple of sentences, but if you can catch any of the old episodes, you just might see why people were, and remain, obsessed with this show. In the Dave episodes, the remaining crew finally discover a way to return to Earth. However in true Dwarf fashion things don’t exactly go to plan.

The new episodes are written and directed by co-creator Doug Naylor. The show first aired on BBC2 back in February 1988, but took a three-year hiatus between series six and seven. Now let’s cut to the chase: is Red Dwarf: Return To Earth any good? Answer: Yes! I enjoyed it and felt that it worked within the world of Red Dwarf, though it is remarkably different. As Doug Naylor told us, they were pushing up the levels of quality in this one with better sets, camera technology and CGI. And it did look a lot better than those wobbly sets from the early days (although that kind of added to its charm).


The series really is more of a film and deserves to be seen in one sitting. Luckily, we got to view it in one unadulterated showing, but for those watching it on TV, it will be broken up into pieces and that may spoil the experience.

This was pretty much a big celebration and the night lived up to the hype with loads of press and stars mingling together. Everyone associated with this programme are just fantastic. They made time to talk to us (we even had a chat with Doug Naylor’s wife!) and – a real highlight for me – we ate duck rolls with Terry Pratchett. What a legend!

OK, I have to go to bed now as I have just got in from the after-party. The Red Dwarf team are right up there for the award of nicest people in the world – the only downside was that Craig Charles, who plays Dave Lister, was not there. He was busy filming Coronation Street but he did record a message for us all. We filmed the event for MSN so check back here for our video and you can get a flavour of a really memorable night.

Guest Bloggers JJ & Andy

Red Dwarf: Back To Earth airs on Dave – Friday April 10 at 9pm, Saturday April 11 at 9pm, Sunday April 12 at 9pm

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37 Responses to Red Dwarf: Back To Earth!

  1. steve says:

    whens the 2nd art was amazing to see after sooooo long

  2. Amy says:

    Was always a big fan of Red Dwarf (though it lost its way around series 6), but just don\’t think that the story works on earth.

  3. Amy says:

    Also – the CGI vs the \’wobbly sets\’? Give me wobbly sets any day. As soon as the CGI started appearing it lost its charm and I think that\’s a shame.

  4. Michelle says:

    I was really looking forward to the \’Back to Earth\’ episodes and I was a little disappointed. Don\’t get me wrong there were good bits, but I was especially disappointed to find they had just \’recycled\’ the despair squid episode. It came across as it had been done with minimal effort. And also, I od agree that the old \’wobbly set\’ added to the charm. It wouldn\’t be the same if it was cleaned and polished.

  5. Daniel James says:

    I would have had Holly back if I wrote the scripts. Why no Holly?? We wanted him/her back! That almost screwed it up!

  6. Stephen says:

    I did enjoy this Red Dwarf but it seemed to me that at first they where trying a bit to hard to be funny, then it eventually went back to the good old humour of the classic RD\’s

  7. Adrian says:

    I thought that this time out it wasn\’t up to scratch with the old programs, the laughs were VERY slow in coming and the acting didn\’t realy flow, have the actors just done this to make a few bob for their old age? Come on you can do better lads I will stick it out until the end to see if it improves. Maybe I just expected too much from a \’come back\’ show. Nice try but not quite on the button.

  8. Stephen says:

    I was so looking forward to this, Episode 1 was pretty poor, but I was willing to stick with it, but episode 2 was just so very bad I couldn\’t face Episode 3. They could have done so much with this, but they decided to squander it on a rediculous plot. What a waste of talent and time.

  9. alan gerrard says:

    It was okay I suppose. I would have preferred to take up from where the last series left off though and thought that the Coronation Street connection was more than a little lame. Okay so Craig Charles is now in Coronation Street there\’s no need to punish fans of Red Dwarf by having other members of the lame soap in the show. I was hoping for so much and for the most part it failed to deliver perhaps they should have left well alone this time as not everything has the same success that Dr Who has had.

  10. Jenny says:

    Was good perhaps not up to parr to the older stuff but I loved the star bug!! Didn\’t like the corrie tie in and nearly switched off but it wasn\’t too bad!

  11. Andy says:

    Agree with the CGI vs wobbly sets, I\’ll take wobbly any time! After watching episode 1 it felt like meeting up with a girl who you used to fancy when you were in Junior school only to find out that she\’s actually a bit of a minger. Also I found I actually missed the canned laughter of the old episodes, without it the jokes just seemed a bit flat! It felt to me as less of a standalone mini-series, more of a "Red Dwarf does Comic Relief" that\’s played out more for nostalgia\’s sake rather than trying to think of anything new. Very disappointed they just re-visited the dispair squid, how many times in Red Dwarf have we done the "it\’s just a dream/Computer simulation" theme. I hope a new series will be commissioned so that they can back get to what they do best.

  12. James says:

    I was pretty dissapointed with this, I thought it was a little sad how such great talents and a great show could be turned into an unfunny desperate plea for more episodes.The storyline was a rehash of Back to Reality from Season 5, which in 30 mins alone is a funny and classic episode from the series, it took them 3 episodes to stretchout this storyline with minimal laughs and tired dialogue. The bladerunner parody was ridiculous, parodies in comedy usually work best when they are subtle, instead of tearing out whole chunks of storyline and copying it scene for scene.As far as characters go everyone seemed on good form, although I found Rimmer to be out of character at some points, especially his "dancing" scene. Criticisms aside I\’d still like to see a series 9 & 10, not just because they kept asking for it throughout the new episodes. I think with some better writing (lets persaude Rob Grant to come back), and storylines, especially with actual jokes, Red Dwarf can be brilliant again, without us having to bang our heads on the screen.

  13. Stacy says:

    Ok so to be fair it could never have lived upto the classic episodes, we knew this as soon as it was announced. But you can\’t deny that they have managed to keep the chracters and the dynamics of the program absolutely spot on. In the first 5 or so minutes they had reastablished Rimmer as his normal uptight obsessive self with the certificate hanging, Lister as the disgusting one by ironing his sneezes (I never thought they could make him any more gross untill that moment which was pure genius!) The cat + a bright pink skintight cat suit…need i say more. Of course can\’t forget Kryten and his holiday to the broom cupboad on one of the upper decks!! Yeah it was a very basic re-hash of Back to Reality…but seriously red dwarf could never return to earth because that would be it really wouldn\’t it! No adventures or anything else. They have to keep the programme in space for the weirdness to work…How many funny adventures could they have on earth really?! I think the despair squid idea was fantastic especially because it was created by cat in the same way lister created him!! It kept you in touch with the older series. As soon as cat started singing \’i\’m gonna eat you little fishy\’ i couldn\’t help but laugh! Have to add as well so so glad that they didn\’t keep kochansky in it…because i think its the worst thing they ever did introducing her back into the programme! I really really hope that they create more series…this programme isn\’t to old yet, it could be as funny as it was like so many people have already said. I really enjoyed the 3 parter…and really really want a star bug car they are awesome!!

  14. helen says:

    Welcome back RED DWARF. Its been a long time coming, but why oh why did they have to use CGI, you almost killed it before it began. I have always prefered the original style of wobbly scenery it made it real,as the series progressed it became to unbelievable and too squeeky clean. Not to say i didnt enjoy it. Please can you give us back the old dirty lister as this was the best bit.(can we have more please.) Any plans for the next episodes???

  15. invisible says:

    I LOVED it!!! The whole back to earth thing was brilliant! i laughed my socks off! I really think it WORKED where as sometimes things that get bought back rarely do! Im looking forward to more, and its great to see the cast working together again.

  16. Ruth says:

    Absolutely loved it! Was a bit disappointed with the shiny new set, the old wobbly one was part of what made Red Dwarf Red Dwarf! Great storyline, the characters worked well together even after all this time and hopefully one day there\’ll be another reunion. Until then, I\’ll content myself with the re-runs! 🙂

  17. a says:

    There are so many talented writers out there, so why not give them a chance to come up with some story lines and let the old writer pack it in. The characters still work well together and i agree bring back the old sets as they are very much part of the Red Dwarf thing. I am sure the boys and holly would work together in the fuuture if the stories worked well. If i was a millionaire I would not hesitate to fund a new series. the BBC should be shot for letting it die.

  18. Deborah says:

    Finding myself in the unusual position of agreeing with every comment, good and bad!! It was great to see RD back again although I was a bit disappointed in the squid story. Still, I was in pieces with Rimmer and his "Something the size of God heading towards you" comment so it wasn\’t all bad 🙂 Would be ace to see a proper movie with the old set and laughs again, and definitely bring back Kochanski (although not with C. Grogan playing her, she does my head in!!!!)

  19. John says:

    The ratings were 2.4 million for episode 1 and 1.2 million for 2 and 3, so it looks like 1.2 million were disappointed. Still not a bad audience for Dave. I wanted to like it as I think the actors are all great people, but it felt like watching a student review and forcing tha laughs to save their faces.

  20. Karen says:

    god it was bad i love red dwarf and this just didnt do it for me the humour was crap!

  21. emma says:

    Red Dwarf Back to Earth was brilliant!! Had to watch it twice to get my head around the story but it was superb, I laughed like a drain! TV at it\’s best. Only thing missing was Holly shame I loved both him and her, either would have done. Nice to see Kochanski in there but a bit sad she wasn\’t sparring with Kryton again. I may be a Grandma now but the whole thing was a hit for me and I give it a big thumbs up!! Looking forward to the film.

  22. Tina says:

    I loved these episodes I thought they were very well acted, Craig\’s acting has really come on over the years. Who cares if he\’s in Corrie now? I didn\’t like the CGI sets, the charm was in the wobbly old sets, I didnt like the addition of Sophie Winkleman being the other hologram, I thought she was too serious and brought the mood down too much, and though I\’m English/Scottish/Spanish by descent, I found her broken English to be insulting when it was quite clear the character was highly intelligent therefore enough so not to use broken English when she was fluent in English. There\’s really no need to start sexing up Red Dwarf. It\’s sickly enough with the whole Lister/Kochanski thing.I also wish they had not brought back Kochanski, though in a minimal form. I never liked Chloe Annett as Kochanski, really did NOT fit the original Kochanski character well, was nothing like the old character because they made her a spoiled whiny litte girl and Claire Grogan doing it was never like that, they took away her Scottish accent, though they stuck with the idea of her being from the Gorbals (I live/work VERY close to there, that accent isn\’t something you\’re going to lose any time soon!) and Claire Grogan was just much sexier and complimented Lister much better. Looks don\’t always mean sexy. So it was sad to see Chloe back as Kochanski in the new episode, being even more of a spiteful b**** to Lister, gnawing away at his already raw emotions. I also really missed having Holly there! Almost as pointless as doing this without the original cast night have been! Of course I always loved both Hollys, but would have loved to see Norman Lovett back there, inventing crazy things. All in all, a good show for RD, but could have been so much better. Still going to buy the DVD though, because there was some really powerful acting in it. And the cast really are the nicest bunch of people on the planet. 🙂

  23. russell says:

    huge red dwarf fan but lucky if i even cracked a smile at these episodes. big let down!

  24. rosalind says:

    i love my Red Dwarf but these specials shown on Dave over Easter didnt do it for me at all not funny in the slightest . WAS it the original writers who wrote this series or not please let us know ….

  25. Unknown says:

    I watch ALLthe RED DWARFS on video for authenticity they are the only thing i use the VID for, HOWEVER the BACK TO EARTH TRILOGY will not be finding a place on my shelf. I was so looking forward to it but it was a total let down in fact it was piss poorand crappy I\’m upset.

  26. kelly says:

    i actually loved the specials.i thought the special effects were breathtaking,the script full of laugh out loud moments and the i was glad to see that the cast still had the old chemistry.even if you didnt like it,arent you glad the dwarfers are back??i know i am!!

  27. Gemma says:

    I loved the Back To Earth episodes, my son and I watched them all back to back. I\’ve been a fan since it started and my son, who\’s 7, has been a major fan since he was 2 and a half! He\’s got all the episodes on DVD and quotes them like anyone\’s business. I so hope there is a series 9 as it would be fantastic.I loved the way the cast have still got the old Red Dwarf magic and chemistry. Craig Charles\’ character Lister bought tears to my eyes when he visited the grave. It was so emotional. In reply to Courtney Vernall I can only assume that Rimmer died at the end of series 8 in the episode Only The Good, as the ship was exploding, and that\’s why he was bought back as a Hologram. Again I\’m only assuming that\’s why I don\’t actually know for sure.

  28. Jon says:

    I was so let down by this trilogy of new episodes. The acting was wooden and didnt gel, the storyline/plot was just awful and I don\’t think I laughed ONCE thru all 3 episodes. Gutted.

  29. Richard says:

    Red Dwarf WAS one of the funniest TV series ever. When Rob Grant left after Series 6 the show went downhill with each subsequent episode. Red Dwarf Back To Earth was awful. The only funny part that I remember was Kryten saying "confirmed" and the Psi-Scan showing "bit crap" in the first epsiode. Other than that, a complete waste of time. Either find some way to get Grant back on board, or kill the show and do something else.

  30. Louise says:

    I hate to say it, but I agree with the general opinion that it was pretty bad. I have watched Red Dwarf since it started, and I was so disappointed with the Back to Earth episodes. My 14 year old son, who having been forced to watch Red Dwarf over the years, has become a real fan, was also unimpressed. Let\’s hope that any subsequent series will be greatly improved.

  31. Tiffany Jayne says:

    i have to say that i thought the acting was a bit wooden to start but they soon got the old dwarf magic back, and having not worked together since the cliff hanger of season 8 i think they did pretty well for 4 " old" men trying to be older versions of the young funny men they once were, it was a good effort if slightly confusing, i wonder if they actually are in the alternate mirror universe or if they got back, roll on season 9 i need to know!!!!!!!

  32. Hannah says:

    well considering the red dwarf is nothin to me and i know nothing about it but by the other comments it loks like its a good tv series

  33. Elaine says:

    OMG I cant believe Ive missed this! How come there wasnt more advertisment about it. I had to read and re-read the date it was shown several times to finally understand I\’d actually missed this show. Any idea if its going to be re-run?

  34. marc says:

    i love red dwarf but………..back to earth special, hmmnnnn well lets just say i wasted precious time in watching it. what a load of rubbish thats putting it politely) cant believe the actors agreed to do this and ruin what has been a great string of series. put me off watching any more newbies by them………shame…………oh well.

  35. Laz says:

    Loved this special. Basically "Back to Reality 2", which is not a bad thing as there was both Polymorph 2 and Gunmen which can be classes as a Better than Life 2 due to the VR game. The exclusion of the laugh track did not matter to me, a number of episodes from series 7 do not have a laugh track, and truthfully, having no laugh track is much much better than having fake canned laughter. It would also not have mixed in with the more emotional scenes.Overall, past episodes can be classed as off the wall comedy, back to front, but this one see\’s the crew older, more emotional, and back on Red Dwarf on their own, for which the CGI and lack of laughter portrays very nicely.Oh and anyone who is uncomfortable with Sophie Winkleman\’s English during the episodes, in my view, are just not confident enough with their own identity. If you ever go to Russia, you will hear people talking in English like that.

  36. Nick says:

    I watched the new episodes and didn\’t laugh once. The first three series were brilliant and had depth and intelligence. Lister has now become Eddie Yates in space.

  37. Laura says:

    It was just awful….how does a hologram get fat?

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