Red Dwarf returns to UK screens for a special feature length episode. Smeg Heads rejoice. The Boys from the Dwarf put in a classic performance.
Red Dwarf leapt onto UK screens in 1988. The spoof sci-fi show proved to be a low budget success for the BBC over eleven years and eight series. Despite gaining over 8 million viewers for the opening episode (that figured halved by the finale), the eighth series would be the last to air on the BBC in 1999.
A decade later the show was revived by another British station, Dave. The smaller channel, dedicated to British comedy, created a three-part series called ‘Back to Earth’. A further three six episode series were then produced by the channel. Each episode averaging over a million viewers. But by the final three episodes of Red Dwarf XII in 2017, that figure dropped into the hundreds of thousands. Red Dwarf appeared to have lost it’s appeal and lacked the magic of earlier series.
With a change of tact it was announced that Dave would forgo the usual six episode format for a thirteenth season of Red Dwarf. The channel instead opted for something fans have been waiting for, for over thirty years. A Red Dwarf film… of sorts.
Not exactly the cinematic outing we’d perhaps hoped for. Instead ‘Red Dwarf: The Promised Land‘ is a feature length episode.
Perhaps bolstered by the current lock-down imposed as a measure against the spread of Coronavirus? The show felt like an event. Similar to the anticipation an eleven year old me felt, eagerly waiting a week for the next episode.
What a return to form! ‘The Promised Land’ is a huge dollop of silly fun. Each of our favourite characters is present. Dave Lister, the last human left alive. Rimmer, his holographic superior. Kryten, a sarcastic mechanoid, and The Cat. A life-form evolved from the ship’s cat when the rest of the crew perished. Even Holly, the ships subnormal computer returns, thanks to a found backup floppy disc.
Pursued by a ruthless band of cats knows as the Ferals, the crew must adapt to fast changing circumstances. Slapstick, toilet humour and idiocy ensues. The boys from the Dwarf are back and in fine form.