Red Dwarf returning to television with new three-episode special

ExclusiveThursday 16th May 2024, 3:11pm by Jay Richardson

Red Dwarf. Image shows from L to R: Cat (Danny John-Jules), Rimmer (Chris Barrie), Lister (Craig Charles), Kryten (Robert Llewellyn). Copyright: UKTV
  • Red Dwarf is returning, with filming on new episodes beginning in October, to air next year
  • The cult sci-fi sitcom last aired on Dave in 2020 but rumours about a revival have been circulating for months
  • "Yes, we are making more. I can't believe I've agreed to do it, I'm insane. I'm much too old" Robert Llewellyn has said

Red Dwarf is returning for a new special next year after half a decade away from television screens, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

Filming on the feature-length instalment, which are set to be spread over three 30-minute episodes, begins in October, with Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn all returning to the sci-fi comedy, which last aired on Dave in 2020. However, the title, plot details and the channel the new episodes will broadcast on have yet to be confirmed.

Rumours of a Red Dwarf revival have been circulating online for months due to the cast's indiscretions at various fan conventions.

But Llewellyn yesterday confirmed the show's return on his YouTube channel, saying: "We knew we were going to do more Red Dwarf and we're actually now doing it in the middle of October to the middle of November this year. A 90-minute special, three half-hours.

"So yes, we are making more. I can't believe I've agreed to do it, I'm insane. I'm much too old."

Llewellyn had previously disclosed that all of the core cast are returning, with him reprising his role as service mechanoid Kryten, Charles back as the slobbish Dave Lister, Barrie as uptight hologram Arnold Rimmer and John-Jules as The Cat, a creature that evolved from Lister's pet feline.

"We've all agreed to do more" he told his channel a fortnight ago. "We're not going to do a new series but we're making something and it should be fun."

Red Dwarf. Image shows from L to R: Rimmer (Chris Barrie), Lister (Craig Charles), Kryten (Robert Llewellyn), Cat (Danny John-Jules)

Speaking in November at a BFI event, Red Dwarf co-creator Rob Grant revealed that he was developing a series prequel, featuring a young Rimmer and young Lister, which he is writing with 2point4 Children creator Andrew Marshall, with whom he previously worked on the Radio 4 show Quanderhorn.

"I can't say too much, but it's a prequel and we're very excited about it" Grant told Radio Times. "Hopefully we'll see it soon!"

However, Grant and his Red Dwarf co-creator Doug Naylor only settled a lengthy legal dispute last year, allowing them to work on separate projects with the characters. Naylor has written all of the Dave-era episodes without his erstwhile writing partner.

Grant and Naylor issued a joint statement at the time their dispute was resolved, saying: "Moving onwards and upwards, Rob and Doug hope to launch separate iterations of Red Dwarf across various media, working again with the cast and other valued partners, and the wish each other the very best."

Red Dwarf ran for eight series on BBC Two between 1988 and 1999. The Back To Earth specials, subsequent three series and The Promised Land then aired on Dave from 2009 to 2020.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo in December, Charles said: "We're in talks with the BBC and UKTV to do another series of Red Dwarf. It hasn't been on the BBC for so long but now they're in talks with UKTV to do a co-pro that will go out on Dave and the BBC."

However, BCG understands that Red Dwarf is not set to air on the BBC under current plans. The corporation's commercial arm, BBC Studios, holds a majority stake in Red Dwarf production company Baby Cow, and owns UKTV outright. All 74 episodes to date are currently available on the iPlayer platform.

UKTV declined to comment.

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