Episodes

Writing

Casting

Production

Costumes

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Aftermath

With so much time between (hurried) production and the eventual put-back broadcast in October, a great deal of 'spoiler' publicity was generated in 1993. The Psirens script appeared in the Primordial Soup scriptbook, which had originally been intended to arrive at the same time as the series.

Plot details for the series, including episode endings, were revealed in some publications... although this actually worked to the show's advantage - the endings to Rimmerworld and Out of Time having altered since their recording. The destruction of Starbug came as a massive shock to viewers who, quite frankly, had stared in similar amazement at Back to Reality the season before.

The writers also attended the second Dimension Jump weekend with a copy of Gunmen of the Apocalypse under one arm, a collection of outtakes under the other and a gift for the departing Club chairman under another - leaving them one hand between them to open doors and suchlike.

The video wowed fans with its production values, the outtakes video (originally compiled for cast and crew amusement only) eventually evolved into the Smeg Ups tape complete with newly-filmed Kryten introductions, and the Club was taken over by the helpless-to-say-no Steev Rogers.

The question of who stole Red Dwarf was left unanswered at the end of the series, and soon fan opinions were rife. The most fascinating was the return of a season I plot idea where Talkie Toaster commanders the ship for his own purposes. Elsewhere, people thought they had the conclusion to the Starbug destruction sorted - surely they were in another unreality bubble? Red Dwarf being Red Dwarf, nobody should have been surprised to discover that second-guessing the show never works!

Following the success of series VI - a massive 6.26 million audience peak - the BBC lurched into a full screening of the show's entire run (nicknamed 'From Here to Entirety'). It was the first time series I had received a repeat, although the run was not quite complete - Psirens was removed and Gunmen was slightly edited due to the then-current (and since disproved) legal wranglings facing Craig Charles.

Rumours of a 'Making of' documentary (made impossible by the short production time) and a Christmas special (made impossible by the triple complications of The 10%ers entering production, Craig's troubles and Rob Grant's departure) abounded, but it would be 1997 before new Red Dwarf was back on the air.

In the interim, the Smegazine - rather unfairly - folded (it was sidelined by publishers Fleetway in favour of other magazines, despite consistent sales) and Robert Llewellyn released his latex-and-all account of production 'The Man in the Rubber Mask'. The book told the unique story of Robert's time encased in rubber for an SF sit-com, including anecdotes from seasons III to V, as well as the US pilot. Hattie Hayridge would later bring her own fascinating perspective to the story in the Red Dwarf segments of 'Random Abstract Memory'.

But these were not the only Red Dwarf books published, and when 'Last Human' made it to the stands it came as quite a surprise. Not only did the cover not match the early pre-publicity of 'The Last Human' (which, complete with 'The', promised a starscape cover featuring a tiny, lone Starbug) but one author was conspicuous by his absence.

Rob Grant had decided to go solo and try other, non Red Dwarf, non Grant Naylor projects. The writers were under contract to provide a third Red Dwarf novel, and Doug Naylor took on the burden.

When the two had spoken about the novel previously, the suggestion was that 'The Last Human' began immediately after events from 'Better Than Life'. Rob had expressed an interest in telling that story, so - given that two novels following the same backwards storyline would have been akin to whipping a deceased stallion - Doug began his story after Lister's recovery from the backwards universe.

Last Human featured a dynamic, Starbug-based narrative akin to the sixth season, but with the notable inclusion of Kochanski - in this reality, a capable and commanding woman very much in love with Lister. (The book also included some fabulously twisted asides on Rimmer's resentment of this female officer.) Aside from the new dynamics - an evil Lister, cyberhell, new GELFs and Rimmer's long-lost son - sections were based on DNA, Emohawk and Legion.

Rob Grant's 'Backwards' novel arrived much later, and to similar critical success. It took the backwards logic to superb extremes of plot construction, then followed through with sections based on Backwards (no surprise there), Dimension Jump and Gunmen - the latter adaptation being remarkably similar to its TV version, with the addition of some amazingly vivid violence.