Red Dwarf
Site Search
Search for
Advanced Search

Red Dwarf


  • Alfred Molina and Alan Rickman were originally intended to play Lister and Rimmer respectively. However they were unable to commit to appearing in more than one series. Lee Cornes also auditioned for the role of Rimmer (he later guest starred on the show), as did Hugh Laurie. Robert Bathurst, Norman Lovett and David Baddiel auditioned for the role of Lister.

  • Chris Barrie (Rimmer) originally auditioned for the part of Lister.

  • Aware that "sci-fi" could be taken to mean "expensive", the series was initially pitched with the suggestion that Red Dwarf's interiors could be shot in the BBC canteen.

  • After falling out with Gareth Gwenlan, Head of BBC Comedy (he was opposed to the show, saying "You can't have a sitcom in space. There's no settee."), creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor decided to use Gwenlan's surname as one of the show's made-up swear-words.

  • Two pilot episodes were made for a never-produced American version of the series, to be called "Red Dwarf - USA." In the first pilot, the cast included Craig Bierko (Lister), Chris Eigeman (Rimmer), Jane Leeves (Holly), Robert Llewellyn (Kryten), Hinton Battle (Cat), 'Elizabeth Moorehead' (Kochanski), Michael Heintzman (Munson) and Lorraine Toussaint (Capt. Tau). The second version of the pilot recast Terry Farrell as Cat, and Anthony Fuscle as Rimmer. The show's failure to be sold allowed Leeves to join "Frasier" (1993) and Farrell to join "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (1993)

  • Robert Llewellyn is the only member of the British cast to appear in the failed American pilot, Red Dwarf (1992) (TV), however Chris Barrie was offered the chance to reprise Rimmer in the same series.

  • Signs in the hallways of the Red Dwarf are in English and Esperanto.

  • Although it is never identified as such, it is clear (at least to science fiction fans) that Red Dwarf is powered by a ramscoop, a staple technology of speculative fiction that permits spaceships traveling at sufficient speed to collect sparse interstellar hydrogen atoms as an essentially unlimited fuel sources.

  • Parallels have been drawn between the second season episode "Thanks for the Memory" and the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode "Clues", produced two years later. Both stories are based around the crew of their respective ships waking to discover they are missing time and set about recovering their memories - only to discover they were better off not knowing.

  • The "Ganymede Holiday Inn", as featured in the episode "Stasis Leak" is in fact the Crowne Plaza Midland Holiday Inn, Manchester.

  • The song "Tongue-Tied", featured in the episode "Parallel Universe", became a hit for series star Danny John-Jules.

  • During the recording of "Backwards", actor Craig Charles very nearly drowned when he got his foot stuck in mud when filming a sequence that called for Lister to be seen emerging from a lake.

  • The episode "Backwards" sees the Red Dwarf crew visit a version of Earth where time runs in the opposite direction. As a result - all the guest cast have their lines reversed. One sequence involves the owner of a pub allegedly chastising Kryten for starting a fight. In fact he actually says: "You are a stupidly square-headed bald git, aren't you eh? You, I'm pointing at you, but I'm not actually addressing you. I'm addressing the one prat in the entire country who's actually bothered to get hold of this recording, turn it around and actually work out the rubbish that I'm saying. What a poor sad life he's got!"

  • The scroll at the beginning of the first episode of season 3, "Backwards", explains all the changes from season 2, but goes by too fast to read. This is what it says: "Three million years into the future Dave Lister, the last human being alive, discovers that he is pregnant after a liaison with a female self in a parallel universe. His pregnancy concludes with the successful delivery of twin boys, Jim and Bexley... Lister returns them to the Universe of their origin... Kryten, is found in pieces after his space bike crashed into an asteroid. Lister re-builds it but is unable to recapture its former personality. Holly, the increasingly erratic Red Dwarf computer, performs a head sex-change operation on itself and becomes Hilly."

  • Monty Python star Graham Chapman was cast as a TV presenter in the episode "Timeslides" but died shortly before recording. Director Ed Bye cast his wife, Ruby Wax, instead.

  • In "Timeslides", the bassist and drummer in Lister's band Smeg & The Heads are played respectively by Jeff Walker and Bill Steer, members of now-defunct Liverpool grindcore band Carcass.

  • In the episode "The Last Day", we learn of the morning that Rimmer spent on the Samaritans switchboard - when he drove all five callers to suicide, despite one being a wrong number! "The Brittas Empire (1991)" features one Gordon Brittas (also played by Chris Barrie) who had a similar experience, right down to the wrong number.

  • The breakout of the Gulf War caused a change to the running order of season four. The original opener "Meltdown" was replaced with "Camille", as it was felt that the former's anti-war message was not appropriate.

  • The script for the episode "DNA" reveals that the title means "Do No Alter".

  • Director Ed Bye was taken ill during the recording of the episode "White Hole", so producer Paul Jackson directed the studio session himself. He received no credit.

  • Many of the model effects shot for the episode "Holoship" were removed during editing, as the story overran by eight minutes.

  • The Self Loathing creature from "Terrorform" was based on an unused design from "Doctor Who (1963)".

  • BBC Visual Effects destroyed their only model of Red Dwarf for a sequence in the Season 5 episode "Demons and Angels", where Kryten's triplicator sets off a chain reaction that destroys the ship. The production team made sure that all model sequences required for the season were completed beforehand. The ship doesn't appear in Season 6 (the running plot being that of Red Dwarf having been stolen) and only appears in Season 7 as archive footage from earlier episodes. It wasn't until Season 8 that a computer generated version was used.

  • "Demons and Angels" was directed by Red Dwarf newcomer Juliet May. After recording this story, May decided that Red Dwarf was not for her. Writers Rob Grant and Doug Naylor stepped in to direct the remainder of the season.

  • Season five saw a large increase in viewers for Red Dwarf, so the BBC requested that season six open with a special "introductory" episode for new viewers. This was eventually achieved with a five minute sequence where Lister, suffering from amnesia, was reminded of the key elements of the series by Kryten.

  • In the season six story "Legion" Lister has his appendix removed, despite mention of his already having had it removed in season two's "Thanks for the Memory". This was later explained in the Red Dwarf novel "Last Human" which said that, due to a freak of nature, Lister had two appendixes.

  • After co-creating and co-writing Red Dwarf for five years, Rob Grant left the show before season 7. This was apparently due to a large falling out with fellow co-creator Doug Naylor. As a result new writers were hired to co-write Series 7 and 8 with Doug Naylor.

  • Production on the seventh series was delayed by three years, while actor Craig Charles fought rape allegations. He was later found not guilty.

  • Actor Chris Barrie initially declined to appear in season seven, but was eventually persuaded to film four episodes. He returned for all of season eight.

  • Season seven was the only season not to be filmed before a studio audience. This was to allow greater freedom in camera positions and set design.

  • As with all other seasons, Season 7 was shot on videotape. But it was subsequently treated with an experimental "filmizing" process, to give the illusion that it was shot on film. This technique has since become common on British comedy and drama series.

  • The opening titles were omitted from "Duct Soup", because the episode was overrunning and titles were considered "expendable".

  • According to the book "The Red Dwarf Programme Guide" by Chris Howarth and Steve Lyons, the tank used in the series 7 episode "Beyond A Joke" had previously been used in the James Bond film GoldenEye (1995). The number shown on the tank, 343, is the same in both.

  • As of 2004, the series is technically still in production by the BBC, 16 years after it debuted. This makes it the second-longest running science fiction series of all time, behind "Doctor Who" (1963). Due to the erratic nature of British TV scheduling, however, only 8 seasons have actually been produced of the series, with gaps of sometimes several years between seasons.

  • Chris Barrie starred in both this series and "The Brittas Empire" (1991) at the same time.

  • Craig Charles later hosted Robot Wars.

  • Robert Llewellyn later hosted Scrap Heap Challenge.