Complete Guide

Writing

Seasons I and II of Red Dwarf are unique for being the only two series to be first broadcast in the same calendar year. While the production turnover was definitely swift, the writers had been fortunate in as much as the first season had actually been written so long ago (production having been postponed by the electricians' strike) that they were ready to go with a fresh set of ideas.

Between the end of the first series and the start of the second, Rob and Doug realised that an empty mining ship did not, on it own, contain enough story matter for six more stories - and so Blue Midget was introduced. The small shuttle-craft was used in three of the six episodes, giving the show a broader scope.

Responding to another problem of the first series, the writers decided to give Rimmer a more detailed back-story. Rimmer's mean nature had left him unsympathetic, but in series II, Rob and Doug introduced us to the Rimmer family - three over-achieving brothers, John, Howard and Frank, a sex-crazed mother and a psychotic father. This was more than enough to explain Rimmer's nature.

Despite their misgivings, the duo also introduced - for a one-off appearance - a robot. They found the idea of a mechanoid character a cliché, but Kryten did allow the audience to see how Rimmer would fare with authority over someone else. (The answer, unsurprisingly, was rather badly.) Kryten was based on Kenneth More's The Admirable Crighton, and was given Lister's space-bike from series I to depart upon.

Kryten almost saw the continuance of the Toaster's role, with one draft of the script including a scene where the bread-obsessed appliance sings a duet with the Cat. Other cut scenes included Rimmer's over-use of a bell designed to summon Kryten, the first time Lister ever hears a vacuum cleaner, and a final line of dialogue about the departing mechanoid ("I think he's going gardening.")

Queeg's final section gave the writers another problem. Having written 80% of the episode, they spent a long time unable to come up with an ending! Eventually, Rob cracked it, and the 'April fool' section - complete with the 2001 spoof of Holly singing as he gets erased - completed the show. Queeg, by the way, is named after the character from The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk - although Holly's dialogue ("This is mutiny Mr Queeg") comes from Mutiny on the Bounty.

Having fallen in love with time paradoxes with Future Echoes, Rob and Doug wrote Stasis Leak - which again gives Lister's apparent destiny then works out how to get there. Only this time the future event is his marriage to Kochanski, so Lister is in no hurry to prevent apparent events from coming to pass.

Stasis Leak gave the chance to set up a possible future for the characters - complete with marriage and facial hair - though it was, in fact, Parallel Universe that tied up previous continuity threads with Lister finally falling pregnant with the babies he would be seen with in Future Echoes.