EDGE Goes 90s: Red Dwarf

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It had its own language, it was the home of one of the first ever Bromances in televisual history, and it was set in space – three reasons why, if you have never seen Red Dwarf, you are missing out in an epic way. Red Dwarf charts the rather odd friendship on board the eponymous spaceship, between last ever human being in the universe Dave Lister (Craig Charles) and a simulated depiction of his bunk mate Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie), a relationship that is fraught from the beginning. Given that the ship’s computer, Holly, reincarnated Rimmer to keep Lister sane, they have the exact opposite effect on one another, each hating and loving the other in almost equal measures. They are joined on the spaceship by Cat (Danny John-Jules), a strange creature that has mutated from Lister’s cat, and by the second series, mechanoid Kryten.

In it’s 10 years of broadcasting, it received many awards, and attracted a cult following, which is hardly surprising given that it was self-referential, quirky and fun in ways you didn’t know existed. And in the nine fantastic series’ it is almost impossible to pick out a shortlist of highlights, though ‘DNA’ (1991) is certainly way up there.

In the former, Kryten is able to become a human, which results in much confusion about the functioning of the human body, including Kryten’s distress that his nipples can no longer adjust his temperature or tune the radio. He is also at a loss at the functioning of the male genetalia. As he approaches Lister with his concerns that his man(or robot)hood is not normal, and three Polaroid snaps to demonstrate, Lister’s face is an absolute picture, partway between disbelief and envy. “What were you thinking of at the time?” Lister says in evident shock, to which Kryten replies “I was just idley flicking throughelectrical appliance catelogue”. Witty yet simultaneously ridiculous, and most of all, not in the slightest bit too crude, Robert Llewellyn’s portrayal of a lost and confused mechanoid is 100% spot on.

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