The boys from the Dwarf are back! It’s been two-and-a-half years since their last screen outing, but Lister (Craig Charles), Rimmer (Chris Barrie), Cat (Danny John-Jules) and Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) are all set to return in spectacular style in new feature-length episode Red Dwarf: The Promised Land, airing Thursday, 9th April at 9pm on Dave.
But how do the sci-fi sitcom’s 12 previous series, aired on BBC Two from 1988 to 1999, and on Dave between 2009 and 2017, all stack up? Ahead of The Promising Land airing, RadioTimes.com is on a mission to discover fans’ ultimate series ranking…
Vote for your favourite series below, from Red Dwarf I to Red Dwarf XII. The poll will close on 1st April, after which we’ll be revealing the definitive order as chosen by you. (If you’re after a reminder of what happened in each series, you can also find that beneath the poll.)
Red Dwarf I
When a radiation disaster wipes out the rest of the crew of the mining ship Red Dwarf, slobbish technician Dave Lister is left the lone survivor. His only company? A fashion-obsessed creature evolved from his pet cat, a hologram of his deceased bunkmate Rimmer and the senile super-computer Holly (Norman Lovett).
Red Dwarf II
The crew begin venturing out into space using shuttle ship Blue Midget, encountering the service mechanoid Kryten, experiencing the total-immersion game ‘Better Than Life’ and travelling into a parallel universe where they encounter their alternate (female) selves.
Red Dwarf III
A soft reboot for the series, Red Dwarf III saw Kryten become a permanent addition to the crew, with Hattie Haydridge replacing Lovett as Holly and the gang exploring deep space in transport vehicle Starbug. Along the way, they’re transported back to a version of Earth where time runs backwards, Rimmer and Lister become marooned on an ice planet and they encounter the space-changing mutant Polymorph.
Red Dwarf IV
A heroic version of Rimmer from a parallel dimension, “Ace” Rimmer, makes his debut this series, while the Dwarfers also meet the pleasure GELF Camille and visit a planet populated by “wax droids” of famous historical figures.
Red Dwarf V
Rimmer goes mad after being infected by a holo-virus, the boys are sentenced by time-travelling android judge The Inquisitor and discover that their lives aboard Red Dwarf might actually all be a dream as they head ‘Back to Reality’.
Red Dwarf VI
In a huge shake-up for the series, Red Dwarf itself was written out of the show (the ship goes missing) along with Holly, with Starbug becoming the gang’s new chief vehicle.
In series six, they meet telepathic monsters the Psirens and the super-intelligent lifeform Legion, have another run-in with a Polymorph, step into a Wild West virtual reality game to combat a computer virus and face the end of their lives – in more ways than one – in dramatic finale ‘Out of Time’.
Red Dwarf VII
After a four-year break, Red Dwarf returned, though Chris Barrie departed the show after two episodes and was replaced by Kochanski (Chloë Annett), a still-living version of Lister’s old flame who originates from a parallel world. The mystery of Red Dwarf’s disappearance is also resolved, as Kryten discovers that his nanobots were responsible for it going missing and has them rebuild the ship… and revive the entire crew.
Red Dwarf VIII
The final Red Dwarf series to air on BBC Two, series eight saw the show return to its roots, with Red Dwarf, Rimmer, and the original Holly all returning, while the show also went back to being filmed in front of a live studio audience after the previous series had ditched the format.
The series saw the gang thrown into jail by Red Dwarf’s captain for ‘hijacking’ Starbug and ended on cliffhanger as a genetically engineered virus all but destroyed the ship and Rimmer was forced to stare death in the face (and knee it in the balls).
Red Dwarf: Back to Earth
10 years on, Red Dwarf returned – this time on Dave – for a three-part miniseries, Back to Earth, which involved a meta storyline in which the gang return to Earth in 2009, only to find that they are actually fictional characters in a TV series called Red Dwarf…
Red Dwarf X
In 2012, Red Dwarf returned for its first full series in 13 years, with Dave filming six new episodes in front of a live audience. In this series, Rimmer is unexpected reunited with his brother Howard, the gang end up stranded in Britain in 23AD and both Lister and Rimmer have to face up to some serious and unexpected daddy issues.
Red Dwarf XI
With Craig Charles resigning from a regular role on Coronation Street, two series of Dwarf were produced back-to-back to air on Dave in 2016 and 2017. The first of these, the show’s eleventh run, saw the boys visit an alternate Earth where technology is banned, while Lister had his kidneys stolen by an insane medical droid, Kryten had a robotic midlife crisis and Cat fell in love, though all was not quite as it appeared…
Red Dwarf XII
In the most recent series, the Dwarfers meet a resurrected Hitler, Stalin and Vlad the Impaler – now cured of all evil – and must contend with Red Dwarf’s machines going on strike, their minds being transferred into droids and what happens when Rimmer uses a Quantum skipper to skip his way across the multiverse.
Red Dwarf: The Promised Land airs Thursday, 9th April at 9pm on Dave – check out what else is on with our TV Guide