Published On: Sun, Oct 8th, 2017

Red Dwarf is back! The loved sci-fi comedy returns with a star-studded line-up


Red Dwarf GETTY/PH

Red Dwarf will air on Thursday, 9pm on Channel Dave

Many actors claim to suffer  for their craft, whether it’s performing daring stunts or hitting the gym for a big role.

But Robert Llewellyn has perhaps had it harder than most over the years. After all, the 61 year old has now spent three decades enduring painfully long sessions in the make-up chair – as much as five hours at a time – to transform into his robotic alter-ego, Kryten, in sitcom Red Dwarf.

“I think what I really need, at this point, is some quite intensive therapy! You do have to be slightly bonkers to do this job,” laughs Robert, who is unrecognisable without his latex mechanoid outfit.

“It’s got a lot quicker over the years. It used to be four or five hours and now it only takes two. Thankfully, I’m used to it after all this time.”

For fans, it’s a relief to hear that sweltering in a rubber suit has not put the star off returning for a 12th series of the cult sci-fi comedy.

The long-running show, which started on BBC2 back in 1988 and moved to Dave in 2009, follows the adventures of the last human alive, Dave Lister, and his friends, Kryten, Arnold Rimmer and Cat, stranded three million years into deep space.

The new run on Dave sees Robert reunite once again with his co-stars Danny John-Jules (Cat), as well as Craig Charles (Lister) and Chris Barrie (Rimmer), both of whom join him for our interview.

Red Dwarf XII comprises six new episodes, all recorded in front of a live studio audience, and has plenty of treats in store for aficionados.

The good ship Red Dwarf has apparently undergone some major changes – “yeah, we got new lights,” deadpans Craig – while Norman Lovett will be back as Holly, the ship’s computer, after 18 years away. 

Red DwarfPH

Rimmer (Chris Barrie); Lister (Craig Charles); Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) and Cat (Danny John-Jules)


I’d hate for there to be a final episode

Craig Charles


There’s a rumoured return of Rimmer’s much loved alter-ego, Ace Rimmer, and an exciting array of guest stars, too, including Call The Midwife’s Helen George, The Inbetweeners’ James Buckley and Johnny Vegas (the latter, apparently, as a policeman from a futuristic dystopia).

And interestingly for Robert, his fellow Red Dwarfers will finally get an insight into just how uncomfortable his costume is, when they are all transformed into mechanoids for a special episode. 

“The mask I wore had so much glue on it that I think I was glue sniffing for most of the day,’” says Chris, 57.

“Chris actually got ill wearing it. When I put the mask on, I thought, ‘Why am I crying?’ But I wasn’t – I realised I was just sweating out of my eyelids!” chips in Craig Charles, 53. “We had so much respect for Rob after that.”

The first episode, Cured, sees the Dwarfers come across a space station where the crew has developed a cure for evil, with some entertaining sequences.

 The new series marks the 30th anniversary of the comedy, but far from being bored of the show, Robert admits that he’s always excited to return, partly because of the long breaks they enjoy between filming.

“If we’d been doing it every year, maybe it would be different… time might have dragged. But we’ll do one or two series and then have a year off. We’ve all done a lot of other things in the meantime. It’s great to be back doing it again. I can’t remember life before Red Dwarf. We’re all really close knit. We’re like brothers,” he smiles. 

“We’ve known each for so long, and I’ve had a relationship with these guys unlike any relationship I’ve had with anyone else in my life,” Craig agrees.

“I’ve known them longer than I have my wife and children!”

Of course, the question on everyone’s minds now is whether the boys will return for more Red Dwarf. Could we see them back for a 13th, or even a 14th series in the near future?

“I’d hate for there to be a final episode,” reveals Craig.

Craig CharlesGETTY

Craig Charles stars in the new series, which marks the 30th anniversary of the comedy

“It’s one of those things where we’d just want to quietly sail off into the distance and not make too much of a fuss about it. The problem with writing final episodes is that they’re always disappointing.”

“There’s definitely a demand for more, though,” adds Robert.

“I’m sure we will be back. But we’d better hurry up; we don’t have long left at our age. 

“And particularly for me… You don’t want to be covered in rubber in old age. It really isn’t good for you!”

Red Dwarf airs on Thursday, 9pm on Dave.



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