Series co-creator Doug Naylor, who has been in sole charge of the franchise since 1997’s seventh series, said, "[We were] originally asked for more shows back in 2012 (...) but frustratingly it’s taken until now to get our ducks in a row and all the boys available at the same time. Now they are, we’re all absolutely delighted."
Craig Charles, who portrays Dave Lister on the show, has reportedly left his long-running role as Lloyd Mullaney on British soap opera ‘Coronation Street’ in order to better commit to the part.
"Lloyd has become a huge part of my life and I’ve had an absolutely fantastic ten years," the poet-turned actor told Empire Online. "...But I feel I owe it to my colleagues on Red Dwarf to join them in filming the new series and finding out what is in store for Lister and the others."
The BBC initially aired 8 series of Red Dwarf from 1988 – 1999. From there, Dave optioned the rights to the series and produced a three-part special entitled ‘Red Dwarf: Back To Earth’ in 2009. Fan reaction to this new series was mixed and many saw it as a creative miss-step. However, both viewing figures and DVD sales for the specials were strong and so Dave commissioned a new series, ‘Red Dwarf X’ in 2012. This time around, with the characters returning to the original ‘sit-com in space’ format, the fan reaction was much more positive, which left many fans hungry for more.
Although the viewing figures for Series X were not as strong as they were for the ‘Back To Earth’ specials, the series was still Dave’s highest rated show of 2012.
Since then, however, it’s been a long wait. Having said that, three years between series is nothing for fans of Red Dwarf. After Series III wrapped in 1989, fans had to wait until 1991 for Series 4. Then, after Series VI ended (on a cliffhanger, no less), viewers had to wait four years until Series VII kicked off in 1997. Two years passed before 1999 saw the release of Series VIII and from there it was a decade before Dave aired the three part special, ‘Red Dwarf: Back To Earth’. Even after that venture proved to be (financially, if not entirely critically) successful - it was still three more years before fans saw any new episodes coming their way.
The two new series will be shot back-to-back towards the end of this year and are being co-produced by Baby Cow Productions. Welcome back, Dwarfers, the slime’s coming home!