Monday 27 May 2024

RED DWARF to return (again)

It's been confirmed that Red Dwarf will be returning - yet again - with new episodes in 2025. The venerable British science fiction sitcom celebrated its thirty-sixth anniversary in February and a long-running rights dispute between co-creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor was settled last year, allowing both writers to continue working with the franchise (they worked on the show together for its first six seasons before splitting in 1993).

The new episodes will be helmed by Doug Naylor again, who has also helmed all of the episodes produced since 1993, and will take the form of a 90-minute special split into three 30-minute episodes for broadcast. With the cast now getting on a bit, there had been doubt over whether the show would return, with the 68-year-old Robert Llewellyn particularly reluctant to don the heavy prosthetics needed to play the android Kryten. But he notes that he was talked back into the role once more, for a possible last (?) hurrah.

Rob Grant has also confirmed that he is working on a new project called Red Dwarf: Titan, a prequel set before the events of the original show with Lister stuck on Saturn's titular moon when he runs into the officious Arnold J. Rimmer. The prequel explores their relationship before they wound up on the mining ship Red Dwarf and its fateful radiation leak which killed the entire crew (bar Lister). This project is being developed as both a novel and a TV show, possibly for streaming. The project may involved the original cast introducing or framing the story, which would obviously need to be recast with younger actors. This might be a crucial moment in determining if the franchise has a long-term future. The premise (four people stuck on a spaceship three million years in the future and thousands of light-years away) does not easily allow for spin-offs, and so far the producers have resisted recasting any of the lead roles (aside from Kryten, who was played by a different actor on his very first appearance, with Llewellyn taking over for the second).

Red Dwarf originally aired six seasons on BBC2 from 1988 to 1993. Two additional seasons were produced in 1997 and 1999 before a long hiatus, caused by problems in trying to get a feature film off the ground. The show returned on comedy channel Dave for a one-off special in 2009, followed by new, full seasons in 2012, 2016 and 2017. Another special aired in 2020.

The new Red Dwarf episodes will shoot in October for transmission in 2025.

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