You were nobody in the nineties unless you watched Red Dwarf. The sci-fi comedy ran for eight series between 1988 and 1999 and is one of the many reasons that sci-fi fans have to be grateful to our illustrious BBC. Red Dwarf not only introduced the words smeg, smeghead, gimboid and goit to our vocabulary but also gave us some of the funniest and arguably profound sci-fi storylines ever.
The series covers the misadventures of a motley crew marooned upon a mining vessel in deep space, empty of all other life thanks to a radiation leak. There’s Lister, a dreadlocked, Liverpudlian bum and the only human on board; Rimmer, a hologram projection of a deceased crew mate, and all-round git; the Cat, a vain, humanoid creature evolved from Lister’s smuggled pet cat who seems to channel both Prince and James Brown; and Kryton: android, loyal servant and general dogsbody.
Filming for the tenth series has just ended and the new series will be broadcast later this year, so it’s the perfect time to rediscover the boys from the Dwarf. Being a horror fan, what always appealed to me about the show was that it could be really scary. So, here are my top five scary episodes of Red Dwarf:
5: Justice from series 4The boys pick up an escape pod from a prison ship which either contains the beautiful Barbara Bellini or a psychotic mass murdering simulant. It’s not hard to guess which it is, but before that the crew enjoy some time in “The Justice Zone”, a world where it is impossible to commit any crime as your actions are turned on yourself. The innocent have nothing to fear but unfortunately Rimmer is sentenced for the mass second degree murder of the crew of the Red Dwarf. The final, brilliantly scary scenes are played out as the crew try to escape from “Barbara”, a kind of cross between something from Mad Max and the Terminator in the depths of the Justice Zone.
Best line: HOLLY: ... all you have to do is hang around here for twenty four hours, then, if you turn around and find your limbs are scattered around Deep Space and your neck’s full of saliva, you can take it as read it probably wasn’t Babs.
4: Polymorph from series 3
A Polymorph, a shape changing genetic mutation that leeches negative emotions from its victims, finds its way on board the ship. The creature can become any object but its true form is a truly BBC budget busting alien that even Ridley Scott would not kick off set. Cue hilarity as the team are attacked one by one, Lister losing his fear, the Cat, his vanity, Rimmer, his anger and Kryton, his guilt.