Complete Guide

Casting

The insanely low budget of Back to Earth made itself known early, with casting choices limited by what could be afforded. While Doug hoped to have Norman Lovett, Mac McDonald and Chloë Annett appear in some form, early drafts lacked all three.

During this period, towards the end of 2008, Norman - who had been given dates to pencil in his diary in case his involvement could be worked out - insisted on a definite yes or no answer, was he in or not? As it stood, the Holly character wasn't in the script and so the answer had to be 'no'. Had the comedian held on, Holly might have made it back after all - while there was no room for Mac in the end, Chloë did make a top-secret return in the final shooting script, creating a gob-smacking finale.

Richard O'Callaghan, a friend of the production since he appeared at the Red Dwarf movie readthrough where he played a nutty rogue droid, finally appeared in the show proper as the Tyrell-inspired Creator.

Sophie Winkleman was announced early as Katerina, and the first revealed images of her as a hologram - taken by on-set photographer Ian Cartwright - gave off a real old-school Dwarf vibe. Coincidentally the Peep Show actress was in the papers at that time for her recent engagement to Lord Frederick Windsor.

Jeremy Swift took the scene-stealing role of sci-fi shop owner Noddy. Well-known Chinese actor Richard Woo played Swallow (styled after Blade Runner's Chew; the character's name in early drafts was 'Stew').

Also among the guest artists was Spitting Image alumnus Jon Glover, who had appeared in the Hitchhikers' Guide TV series years before wearing one of Rimmer's now-familiar badges on his cap. The eagle-eyed might have spotted Eurosport MotoGP commentator - and mate of Danny John-Jules - Julian Ryder as a bus driver.

But the most surprising appearances were by Coronation Street's Michelle Keegan and Simon Gregson. Simon, a close friend of Craig Charles since they started working together, had never acted in another show in his entire career - making his appearance in Red Dwarf a hell of a way to celebrate his 20th year in television.