‘Red Dwarf: Back To Earth’ – This Weekend’s Essential Viewing

No one could have seen this coming, but here it is. Thanks to comedy channel Dave, Lister, Rimmer, Kryten and Cat are reunited on the small screen once more, ten years after they last graced our screens.

‘Red Dwarf: Back To Earth’ is to be shown in three parts over Easter bank holiday weekend, though watching it in its entirety tonight suggests it’s more a feature-length movie broken into parts, than half a regular ‘Red Dwarf’ series.

‘Red Dwarf: Back To Earth’ preview clip


Originally intended as a series of credible inserts for a channel best known for well- judged repeats of shows like ‘Top Gear’, ‘…Back To Earth’ rejuvenates the Red Dwarf series with modern day production values amid enough in-jokes to keep obsessive fans happy. Without giving too much away, the plot is similar thematically to ‘Back To Reality’ from series 5, when the crew wake up to discover the past four years have been merely a computer game. No Dwayne Dibley this time, though.

In sharp contrast with the distinctly apolitical original shows, the new episodes feature the odd topical reference – Kryten even alludes to the credit crunch at one point. There are also a ton of references to Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’, the film that inspired series creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor to put pen to paper in the first place.

After last night’s advance screening I spoke to Chris Barrie, who plays hologram Arnold Rimmer. He said the best thing about reviving the series was the ability to exploit modern technology, something that was sorely missing from the famously rickety original sets.

“It’s strange not hearing the laughter of a real audience, but it’s great making use of the latest CGI technology,” said Barrie. “If it was available at the time the older episodes were made we would have definitely used it”.

To reveal any specific plot details would be ruinous in the extreme. Suffice to say that anyone who considers themselves a fan of the “small rouge one” should be keeping a good eye on Dave this Easter weekend.


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