Another series, another jump in ratings. Red Dwarf V peaked at over six million viewers and - along with the video releases - saw a massive leap in the show's fan base. The brand new Red Dwarf Smegazine was launched, comprised of a blend of SF journalism, interviews, comic stories and quizzes. 1992 was also the year of the very first Dimension Jump - the Red Dwarf weekend organised by the Official Fan Club.
The writers, meanwhile, made their play for America, working with Universal and producer Linwood Boomer to make Red Dwarf USA. Chris Barrie and Robert Llewellyn were both invited to reprise their roles, but only Robert went over - although he remained nervous of the massive long-term contract that had put Chris off.
Robert was joined by Andrea Pennell - the woman who would regularly encase his head in rubber - and the whole project took on eerie echoes of its originator. The sets were almost identical to (albeit bigger than) the current UK season's own, and the script was an adaptation of The End with just a whisper of Future Echoes thrown in for good measure.
The script actually proved to be a bone of contention. Rob and Doug were unimpressed with the draft that greeted them and set to writing their own version. The cast were eventually asked which one of the two (unlabelled) scripts they preferred - and the British boys won hands down... although this didn't put an end to executive interference during production.
The cast of Red Dwarf USA saw a more heroic Lister (Craig Beirko), an underused Rimmer (Chris Eigeman), a female Holly (Jane Leeves) and a Cat who, as it turned out, was actually much in tune with his UK original (not surprising really - he was played by Hinton Battle who shared Danny's musical theatre background).
When the pilot failed to set the world alight, Rob and Doug tried one more time and constructed a kind of teaser - a lengthy trail of what was to come. The teaser was filmed in a glorified garage and directed by Rob and Doug, it combined footage from the UK episodes with the new cast's delivery of existing dialogue. That cast included replacement Rimmer Anthony Fuscle and a female, danger-seeking Cat (Terry Farrell). Sadly, this too failed to impress and the writers returned to England.
The video release of Red Dwarf V ignored the running order in order to maximise episodes which were considered the most popular. Back to Reality and Quarantine were those episodes, and each headed the bill on their relative tapes.
BBC Video's opinion of Back to Reality proved to be well-founded. In 1995, BBC2 ran an audience vote to pick the top episode for broadcast over Christmas. Back to Reality took pole position, and a special introduction was filmed featuring Craig Charles as Lister - complete with Christmas decorations, beer milkshake and the results written on his lunch.