Star of Red Dwarf Danny John-Jules has hailed the sci-fi sitcom for being way ahead of the curve in terms of diverse casting.
The series takes place millions of years in the future aboard a mining spaceship, where a crew of misfits encounter various strange phenomena (in-between winding each other up).
Jules plays The Cat, a humanoid creature evolved from an ordinary house cat and, as a result, is initially focused on sleeping, eating and grooming.
As a feature-length episode gears up to premiere on UKTV channel Dave, Jules spoke to Radio Times about the show’s legacy.
He said: “It was totally ahead of its time. All this rubbish they’re talking about diversity today makes me laugh through my teeth. Red Dwarf should have been held up as a bastion of diversity in television. Fifty per cent of its cast were black, you never had a person’s colour mentioned once – 32 years later and we’re still doing that.”
Decades since the show made its television debut, the four principal cast members are still on excellent terms.
Co-star Craig Charles added: “We’re all four very different people but when you stick us in a room it all just seems to click. I think these are the longest adult relationships I’ve ever had. I’ve known Robert [Llewellyn], Chris [Barrie] and Danny longer than I’ve known anyone else, including my wife. All our children were born when I was making the show.”
Red Dwarf: The Promised Land sees the crew go up against Rodon (Fleabag‘s Ray Fearon), the leader of a gang of feral cats who demands to be worshipped as a god.
The ambitious episode isn’t intended to be a finale, as Charles has expressed his willingness to return for more.
He said: “I’ll keep making them as long as people want to watch them and we’re having fun. I think I’d be sad the day I realised Red Dwarf had become a thing of the past.”
Red Dwarf: The Promised Land airs on Dave at 9pm on 9th April