Top 10 things you (probably) didn't know about Red Dwarf

Red Dwarf XI! Never IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD have Roman numerals been so exciting. Fact. And here are some more facts about the show to celebrate Red Dwarf coming back to Dave.

Red Dwarf XI

10. Would anyone like some toast?

It's one of the great "what ifs" of Red Dwarf. No, not what if Lister had a bath. What if David Ross - the original Kryten - had returned to the role when the mechanoid became a regular character? We'll never know, but here's a little known fact: Ross DID return to Red Dwarf, as the voice of the Talkie Toaster in series 4.

9. Taking Leeves out of Lovett's book

You may be aware that there was a US pilot of Red Dwarf back in the early 90s. Or you may have repressed this knowledge. It featured a Lister who looked like a Mills and Boon beefcake, and even the presence of Robert Llewellyn's Kryten couldn't redeem it. But guess who played Holly? None other than Jane Leeves, aka Daphne off Frasier. You may now repress that knowledge as well.

8. The Red Dwarf Christmas Special

A Red Dwarf Christmas Special? There was a Red Dwarf Christmas Special? Yes, and you can stop spluttering in confused outrage. The reason you very probably haven't seen it is because it was an animated short shown to subscribers of a mobile phone service. It featured the original cast members and involved their encounter with a deep-space Santa. You're glad you haven't seen it now, aren't you?

7. The episode that never was

Remember how Lister fell pregnant with twins, but that entire storyline - along with Kryten's return to the crew - was explained away in a rapid, Star Wars-style scroll at the beginning of series three? Bit of a cheat, really, but the programme makers hadn't originally intended to do it that way. The actual series 3 opener was to have been a full episode called Dad, showing all that stuff actually happen. But for various reasons they didn't make it, hence the scroll. So now you know.

6. Backing vocals

Backwards may be a one-joke episode, but it's a marvellous joke. Especially when you consider that, in the bit where the gang are being bollocked by the bar manager, the rant carries a secret message when you play it forwards. Namely: "I'm addressing the one prat in the country who has bothered to get a hold of this recording, turn it round and actually work out the rubbish that I'm saying. What a poor sad life he's got!"

5. Shooting the Gunmen

Need a new reason to find Janet Street-Porter annoying? Well how about this: she tried to kill Gunmen of the Apocalypse. A BBC bigwig at the time, she was appalled by the ambitious script and sent a memo to the production team ordering them to cease filming and do an episode that was less "stupidly expensive" instead. There was just one flaw: the episode had already been completed by the time the memo arrived. It went on to win an Emmy.

4. Parallel universe

Red Dwarf is very big on parallel universes. In fact, there's an episode called Parallel Universe. But if they do exist, then there's one in which Red Dwarf stars Alan Rickman and Alfred Molina. Yes, Snape and Doc Ock both auditioned to play Lister and Rimmer (or Rimmer and Lister, it's unclear which), but for various reasons it never came to pass. Just imagine that, eh?

3. Giving head to Holly

Believe it or not (and you should, 'cos it's true), Holly was originally intended to be a voice-over only. In fact, that's how they originally filmed the first few episodes, and it was only much later that they decided to go back and reshoot scenes with Norman Lovett actually appearing as a disembodied head (modelled on the world's greatest lover, according to Hol).

2. Those pesky Skutters

The Skutters are cute, aren't they? They're also psychotic, if on-set reports are to be believed. Proper little robots in reality, the skutters were cobbled together out of bits of radio-control cars and cardboard boxes. Unfortunately, they had a tendency to run out of control, attacking cast members without warning and even doing a mischief to Chris Barrie's nether regions during the filming of Future Echoes. No wonder Rimmer hated them.

1. Check this out, suckas

Every Red Dwarf fan loves Charles Augins. You do too. He's the guy who played the tyrant computer Queeg. But he contributed far more to Red Dwarf than that. Augins was actually the choreographer behind Tongue Tied - the celebrated song and dance sequence which kicked off Parallel Universe. Additional pointless fact: Augins also handled choreography for the David Bowie film Labyrinth.

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