Thursday, October 4, 2012

The boys from the Dwarf are back! By @cheezypeas

 "This is an S.O.S. distress call from the mining ship Red Dwarf. The crew are dead, killed by a radiation leak. The only survivors are Dave Lister, who was in suspended animation during the disaster, and his pregnant cat, who was safely sealed in the hold. Revived three million years later, Lister's only companions are a life-form who evolved from his cat, and Arnold Rimmer, a hologram simulation of one of the dead crew. Message ends."

It only seems like yesterday that Red Dwarf came to life. The show itself was born from a 1980's radio show Dave Hollins: space Cadet which writers Rob Grant and Doug Naylor created. Both writers were heavily influenced by the fantastic Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy, Alien and Silent Running to name but a few. Having both worked on the funny and satirical Spitting Image they put all these elements together and the Red Dwarf concept was born in 1983.

However, Red Dwarf had major problems becoming more than just a pilot script. Initially the BBC rejected the script, claiming science fiction comedy wouldn't be popular enough to generate reasonable viewing figures. In 1986 money budgeted for another show that was scrapped became available and BBC North finally accepted the script, but the troubles getting to screen wasn't over yet.

During 1987 an electrician's strike halted production, and it was uncertain if rehearsals would continue. Thankfully the pilot episode The End, was finally broadcast 15th February 1988.

The plot was original with a lot of funny twists. In the late 22nd Century, a spaceship named Red Dwarf is on a mission to mine alternative energy sources in space. In the pilot episode we meet Dave Lister and Arnold Rimmer, two technicians who have to work together and hate each other. Lister (fondly known as a space bum) gets into trouble for having a pet cat on board and as a punishment is put into stasis until the ship gets home. whilst Lister is in status Rimmer (a class 1 anally retentive Smeghead) is asked to seal a drive plate and fails miserably, subjecting himself and all the crew to lethal radiation exposure.

Lister is released from stasis by the ships humorous computer Holly (IQ of 6,000, acts like he has the IQ of a sprout), who kept him there for 3 million years until the radiation was at a safe level to live in. Lister cannot believe that he's the only one left despite Holly reiterating numerous times the infamous line "Everybody's dead Dave". Holly also drove the ship into deeper space to prevent radiation leaking to inhabited planets. Holly brings back Rimmer as a hologram to keep Lister company (which he despises) and they discover his pregnant cat survived and over the years evolved into a race half cat, half human with a lot of vanity!

This unusual crew of mismatched survivors then go on a mission to get back to Earth. They have a lot of funny encounters along the way. They save a service mechanoid from a crashed space ship called Kryten who is built "to serve". Lister works on making Kryten a free spirit, in conflict with Rimmer who wants him as his slave.

"Ah Mr Rimmer Sir, may I add you are a Smeeeee Heeeeeeed!"

Cue lots of hilarious adventures with time distortions, parallel universes, polymorphic creatures and holoviruses.....

Polymorph, hilarious episode & the first to announce a warning of 'frightening scenes' in the opening titles!

Gunmen of the Apocalypse

Quarantine "Mr Flibble's VERY cross!"

In series 7 the crew encounter a parallel universe where Lister finds Christine Kochanski, the first Console officer he fell in love with before the disaster. she ends up stranded in their universe and continues with their adventures. I have to admit, although Chloe Annett was nicer looking than Claire Grogan's original Kochanski I preferred the original feisty one!


.....New Kochanski, which one is your favourite?

Series 8 saw Red Dwarf reconstructed by nanobots, including all the original crew. The gang are placed in the 'brig' (ships jail) for bringing aboard kyrten and the cat. This was a love or hate series (I didn't get on with it as it felt like they didn't have any original ideas left) At the end of this series a metal eating virus goes on the rampage, with everyone abandoning ship, leaving the gang behind & Rimmer beating up death himself.

Rimmer: "Not today matey!"

Mirroring the wonderful Doctor Who, Red Dwarf at this point in 1999 had a long break. It had encountered conflict with both Grant & Naylor parting company before series 7 as co-writers due to irreconcilable differences.

Thankfully like Doctor Who, books and other media were available about the "Crimson short one", a fan club and also a regular convention called Dimension Jump, which I still haven't got round to attending due to the expense :-( Also a catchy song called Tongue Tied was released as a single....

"Girl you make me tongue tied....!"
Doug Naylor brought the series back in 2009 with Back to Earth; a three parter which is also known as series 9 for the Dave channel. With a Blade Runner feel to it, the mini series was widely enjoyed but then all went quiet again, accept for a lot of rumours about a film.

Then the news we all wanted to hear. After negotiations with Dave channel, it was announced in 2011 the boys from the Dwarf would be reunited and back to our screens for a 6 episode series in 2012.

This show is very dear to my heart and I may or may not have had a bit of a crush on Chris Barrie when I was a teenager!

umm, yeah, well I do have strange tastes in men!

So all you fellow Dwarfers, are you ready and excited for tonights episode? Its wonderful to have such a funny and well loved Sci-Fi show back on our screens. I shall be reviewing each of the new episodes on here, then reviewing all of the series from the beginning (or should I say, The End!)

Boys from the Dwarf say "watch it, smegheads!"

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