The hit BBC SF sitcom Red Dwarf is to return to television screens at Easter to celebrate its 21st anniversary. After the BBC rejected writer and co-creator Doug Naylor's request for a new, ninth season the satellite/cable channel Dave stepped in. A new two-part story is being filmed entitled Back to Earth and sees the Red Dwarf crew finally return home after three million years in deep space.
Whilst all of that is encouraging, it was a surprise to learn that the budget is extremely tight. Red Dwarf's huge success on the BBC meant that the latter seasons had very high budgets by the standards of the day, and the news that the new specials are so cash-strapped they cannot even afford Norman Lovett to return as Holly is rather worrying. Also, despite rumours that Rob Grant might return to help write the specials, it's been confirmed that Doug Naylor is again flying solo on this project. This is again not very encouraging, as the last two Grant-less seasons of Red Dwarf were the weakest the show ever did. The two specials will be followed by an interesting improvisational Red Dwarf episode featuring the cast working without special effects, sets or autocues and a behind-the-scenes look at the series and its return to television.
Whilst all of that is interesting, I cannot help but feel that Red Dwarf has had its day, and hope that the new specials resolve the outstanding plot points and close the door on the series for good.