Red Dwarf: new series now 100% confirmed, due 2012

News Seb Patrick 11 Apr 2011 - 05:01

It's official: Dave has commissioned a new, six-episode run of Red Dwarf, which will be hitting our screens in the autumn of 2012...

In the two years since Red Dwarf was last on the air in the shape of the Back To Earth specials, there have been a number of false starts and sort of announcements regarding the show's further future. This past weekend, however, Dwarfers were finally given definite, official reason to celebrate, with confirmation that a full six-episode series has been commissioned by digital channel Dave for broadcast in 2012.

Speaking to fans at his first appearance at the Dimension Jump convention in over a decade, writer/director/producer, Doug Naylor, was able to announce the news mere minutes before Dave put a press release online stating the same. For the first time, both producers and broadcaster were able to jointly confirm that a deal has been struck for six thirty-minute episodes (full half-hours, airing in a 40-minute slot), with the only outstanding matter being the cast members signing on the dotted line. "However," joked Naylor, "they've already agreed to do it in principle, so if they don't do it we'll just sue them."

Anticipating various questions from fans, Naylor went on to explain that the series is currently planned to shoot between November 2011 and January 2012, before a scheduled broadcast some time around September 2012. He also tackled the ever-present studio audience question, admitting that his own preference is to shoot the new episodes in front of an audience, but that the final decision rests with Dave, which he therefore intends to try and convince.

The wording of Dave's announcement also settled a long-standing uncertainty over the show's series numbering, confirming that Back to Earth is now considered the ninth series, as the new episodes will be known as Red Dwarf X.

Naylor later commented in a Q&A session that the 'nine years later' gap left between the end of Series VIII and the specials would likely be explained in some way by the new series, but more likely later on in the run than at the beginning. He also hinted that a return for the character of Holly could be on the cards, although refused to be drawn on whether Norman Lovett, Hattie Hayridge or both might be involved.

In a later, more informal chat session with fans, Naylor elaborated further on possible story ideas currently under consideration, dropping some tantalising hints.

In particular, delving into the family backgrounds of the lead characters seems like it may be a recurring theme. He suggested that there were plans afoot for Rimmer's brother, Frank, to make an appearance in some way, while a mooted return to the 'Lister is his own father' concept from Series VII sounded so brilliantly head-screwy (and Steven Moffat-esque), we don't really want to spoil it here.

There was even the suggestion that Series X might, for the first time, feature an underlying story arc across its episodes. Certainly, the impression seems to be that Naylor is well ahead on plotting an elaborate and involving story for the characters' return. We can only hope that the quality of the comedy will be up to scratch as well.

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