Red Dwarf: Series II
In many ways, a second series of a show is more important than the first.
A first series gives the show a start - a second can decide its entire future.
In May of 1988, with only two months since the broadcast of the first series' final episode, the cast and crew of Red Dwarf reunited for a second series.
Series II had been commissioned even before the first had been broadcast, and the writers became able to push the boundaries. Having gained the trust of the crew in the first series, Grant and Naylor began to have an influence on their own show that few writers had achieved.
At this point there was also talk of bringing in a new production designer to get away from the drab grey sets, but it would be another season before designer Mel Bibby was available to join the team.
After six episodes, it was already becoming clear that the Dwarf concept could go much farther. Alan Yentob asked if the crew could venture off their ship - exactly what the writers had been craving!
Thus Blue Midget was born.
The smaller shuttle, used in half the episodes of the second series, took the crew to lunar surfaces, crashed ships... and even to a duplicate Red Dwarf.
For the first time, Red Dwarf was given the time and funding for location shoots, enabling Lister and his crew to get off the ship. While season I spent most of its time alone with the core cast - or their hologrammatic doppelgangers - Series II showed us new characters, explored bigger concepts, and even took a stroll down a beach in paradise.
At the insistence of the creators, Red Dwarf II broke with BBC tradition and was shown without a repeat of Series I. Feeling let down by so much of the first series, Grant and Naylor shot straight in with the brand new season - stronger, more varied, and the foundation for Red Dwarf's future...