Red Dwarf is blasting back onto our TV screens later this month – and the sci-fi comedy’s new adventures will have something meaningful to say about the contemporary world, according to writer Doug Naylor.
Episode one of Red Dwarf XI is called Twentica and takes the show’s regulars to an alternative history on 1950s earth where technology and science have been outlawed by a hostile alien invasion force. Human inhabitants are forced to pursue scientific endeavour in secret.
“It is quite interesting and relevant,” Naylor said at a special screening. “The horror of a society that represses science, I feel, is quite contemporary.
“There’s a lot in this series that is of the moment, that is about big issues.
“Because it’s set in the future you can play with so many ideas, that is why [Red Dwarf] doesn’t ever look dated. You can look back on some of the comedies that were made in the same year we started in 1988 and they really start to feel their age. But because we are set so far in the future it doesn’t affect us so much.”
The show’s new six-episode run will also contain out-and-out comedy of course, as the crew of Lister (Craig Charles), Rimmer (Chris Barrie) Cat (Danny John-Jules) and Robert Llewellyn (Kryten) return to action.
One episode sees Cat takes time off from being in love with himself to fall in love with a female Cat with a secret.
In another, Lister wakes up to discover a deranged droid has stolen some of his body parts, while Kryten has a mid-life crisis that makes him consider leaving the Dwarfers for a younger crew.
Red Dwarf first aired on BBC2 in 1988 and ran for eight series before it transferred to Dave in 2009.
Asked how long the series could run, Naylor joked: “We will run it into the ground basically, until we are so old and sad we can’t get out of bed.”
Speaking at the same Q and A panel, Chris Barrie chipped in: “[It will end] when I have to wear a toupee and can’t get a side-parting, that’s the time to hang up.”
Craig Charles added: “We wouldn’t want to come back fat and old and do a bag of shite. We want it to be as good as it possibly could, as good as the old days.”
Red Dwarf XI returns to Dave on 22nd September. Fans can watch the show on UKTV Play the week before
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.