Red Dwarf’s central “posse” – Lister (Craig Charles), Rimmer (Chris Barrie), Cat (Danny John-Jules) and Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) – have been at the heart of the show for more-or-less its entire 32-year run.
But after filming six series of the sci-fi sitcom, as well as dividing his time between Red Dwarf and his other BBC sitcom The Brittas Empire, Barrie decided he needed a break from playing hologram Arnold J Rimmer and appeared in just a handful of Red Dwarf VII’s six episodes.
He returned for the show’s eighth series two years later, restored to series regular status, but speaking to RadioTimes.com to promote the DVD and Blu-ray release of recent special The Promised Land, Barrie insisted he doesn’t regret temporarily stepping away from Red Dwarf.
“I don’t really like to think about regrets,” he said. “I look back and think, ‘It was right at the time’. I’d just done a Brittas Empire series before it and kind of the last thing I wanted to do was go back in a television studio.”
He explained: “The Brittas Empire… any sitcom situation like that where you’re playing quite a reasonable sized part is always a fairly stressful sort of… it’s condensed, very hard work. I knew that Red Dwarf was always going to be pretty hard work [as well] and I just thought, ‘I can’t do this now’.”
Having taken a break, Barrie has remained on Red Dwarf as a regular ever since and says he’s now keen to keep Rimmer for as long as possible.
“There’s only Red Dwarf really that I want to do [now] so I’ll keep doing it for as long as I can!” he insisted.
Barrie also dropped hints as to Red Dwarf’s future, revealing that “there’s something” in the works following the ratings success of feature-length special The Promised Land.