Complete Guide


Space Corps Database
Your complete guide to the characters, ships, gadgets and, erm, diseases in Red Dwarf.

Red Dwarf: Series I

It was a script rejected by everyone at the BBC for three years.

It starred a poet, an impressionist, a dancer and a stand-up comic.

It changed the face of TV comedy, and became a global phenomenon.

Red Dwarf began life as a series of sketches on the Rob Grant and Doug Naylor radio sketch show, Son of Cliché. The sketches - 'Dave Hollins: Space Cadet' - took their inspiration from 'realistic' sci-fi films such as Alien, Dark Star and Silent Running. And, in turn, Red Dwarf would do the same.

Written predominantly in a Welsh cottage owned by Doug Naylor's father, the pilot episode was eventually passed to producer Paul Jackson, who - after much passing around, including an offer from Film Four that the writers refused - found a home for the show at BBC North under the auspices of Peter Ridsdale-Scott.

Auditions soon followed. Craig Charles and Chris Barrie dominated throughout as a simply killer combination. Norman Lovett - who had originally tried out for Rimmer - was offered the voiceover role of Holly.

Danny John-Jules, arriving famously late for his appointment, stood out immediately - partly by his dedicated research (reading Desmond Morris's book 'Catwatching'), and partly because he showed up in character, wearing his father's 50's-style suit.

Recording of the episodes must have felt jinxed, as an electricians' strike almost killed the show before it was even filmed. After the first episode was rehearsed, the strike made it impossible to record the programme. Pressing on, the team rehearsed the second episode, Balance of Power . Again, the strike persisted and nothing ever went to tape.

Eventually it became clear that Red Dwarf had missed its window. But the ever-persistent producers campaigned for a second chance, and the show was remounted.

That was 1987. Series I would be shown from February 1988. Over a decade later, Red Dwarf would still be going strong - electricians or no electricians.