âI think it will happen, but it hasnât been commissioned yetâ?, says Red Dwarf writer Doug Naylor when asked if thereâs likely to be a Series XI following the successful debut of Series Xâs first episode last night. Naylor and the cast seem more confident than these cautious words suggest, and it sounds like theyâve all but put pen to paper on the new contract.
Questions over whether or not Holly, Kochanski or any of the others might make a comeback next time round are left open by Naylor, who frankly admits that he doesnât know: Â âwith Series XI, because I havenât written any shows, I canât tell youâ?. He does seem fairly certain, however, that the skutters, the little maintenance robots that spent their time flipping off Rimmer and watching John Wayne films wonât be making a comeback. “They just used to bash into the walls,” says Chris Barrie.
Having dealt with the future, Naylor and the others clear up the past: namely, what happened to the film, and what was the deal with Back to Earth, the bizarre self-referential mini-series?
Back to Earth, according to Naylor, was originally just supposed to be âsomething to celebrate the 20th anniversary, with the guys in costume introducing clipsâ? and consequently only had a tiny budget. Whatâs more, with no sets, not enough money for a live audience, and the original Red Dwarf models having had a âtragic accidentâ? falling off the top of the shelf, the series was âjust based on things we could getâ?. The guys admit that âit was not Red Dwarf in some senses, but it did the jobâ?. That job, it seems, was securing the backing for Series X.
Series X also accounts for a lot of the film, with scenes from some of Naylorâs 35 drafts making it into episodes 3 and 6. On top of that, we can also apparently expect a heap of âgreat guest starsâ?, though none it seems that could beat Jenny Agguterâs Series VI guest spot, which still had the boys salivating 19 years on. At the time, the mild-mannered Robert Llewellyn, the man behind Krytenâs mask (when it hadnât been stolen and âblacked upâ? by Danny John-Jules),allegedly ran into Charles dressing room exclaiming âHave you seen her legs!â?
Asked whether they thought they could recreate the magic so long after they last played the characters, Craig Charles said he got back in character as soon as he pulled the boots on, and reckons that Chris Barrie, who plays Rimmer, can switch it on whenever he wants: Â âgive him an H and he turns into an arseholeâ?. Barrie himself, however, attributes the continuing success to Rob Grantâs script which is âthe only script consistently where you open the first page and youâre laughingâ?.