Comic actress Sophie Winkleman has joined the Red Dwarf cast on set for the filming of a key role in Back to Earth. Shooting began on D stage of the Shepperton studios on Monday, with the full cast in attendance for a shoot of just over two weeks. A former writer/performer with the Cambridge Footlights, Sophie is perhaps most familiar to TV comedy fans as Jeremy's sometime squeeze Big Suze in Channel 4's award-winning series Peep Show. As you can imagine, we're jolly excited. Not only has Sophie played Big Suze in Peep Show she has also appeared as the older sister Susan in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. As such William Hill have given odds of 2:1 that she will be called Sue in our new Red Dwarf episodes. Of course that's not true.
The popular British comedy will return with a brand-new two-part special this Easter. The new series, which has been commissioned by British digital channel Dave, will reunite the original Red Dwarf crew 21 years after the sci-fi show first took off on the BBC. Red Dwarf: Back to Earth will kick-start a special Easter weekend, dedicated to the comedy, in which Dave - played by Craig Charles--will finally fulfill his life-long ambition and touch down on his home planet. Charles will be joined by Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn reprising their roles as Rimmer, The Cat and the android Kryten respectively. The show, written and directed by co-creator Doug Naylor, will be followed by Red Dwarf: Unplugged, an episode giving viewers the chance to see the cast "as they've never seen them before." The episode will be shot entirely without sets, special effects or autocue. The thought of such an unconventional set-up seems to be cause for concern for the show's starts, with Llewellyn saying recently via Twitter: "I think it's safe to say we are all bricking it regarding the no holds barred [episode]. Should be fun though." Concluding the channel's weekend of specials will be Red Dwarf: the Making of Back to Earth, which will give a behind-the-scenes look at the new production. The show, set on a mining ship in space, first aired on BBC2 in 1988. It lasted for 52 episodes over eleven years winning an international Emmy for its sixth series. Source here
New specials? Proper information? After all the rumours? Oh smeg yes. As announced by Robert Llewellyn for Grant Naylor Productions this week at the UKTV seasonal press launch, the project is a short series of brand new specials to celebrate the 21st birthday of Red Dwarf. Doug Naylor will be masterminding the four half-hour instalments, and the regular cast will all be reprising their iconic roles. They are being made by GNP for UKTV's free-to-air channel, Dave - our new best friends! Red Dwarf repeats on Dave - including an anniversary weekend run - have picked up remarkable numbers since the channel was reborn on Freeview, and it's becoming clear to all concerned that the show is picking a new, third generation audience. With the usual involvement from Red Dwarf partners BBC Worldwide, you can also expect international broadcasts to follow (and, we'd imagine, a top-quality DVD release in the fullness of time). "It's very new news to me - I really only fully heard the details yesterday," Robert told comedian/host Michael McIntyre. "We're doing four new shows with the original cast. Two of them are going to be, like, proper episodes of Red Dwarf. One of them is so exciting I've been asked not to say anything about that because other people will steal the idea - and it is a great idea, quite challenging for us as performers. And the other one is a kind of behind-the-scenes-y... the truth. There's been so many rumours and gossip about Red Dwarf, about whether there's going to be a movie and whether we all get on, all those things... The downside for me, which is just dawning on me now, is I've got to do the 'rubber' thing again, which I haven't done for ten years." The shows will broadcast sometime in 2009 and, if successful, could pave the way for further Red Dwarf TV projects. Thanks to movie and broadcaster wrangles, Grant Naylor haven't been in a position to produce new Red Dwarf since Series VIII went out to audiences of over eight million in 1999. This exciting development suggests a new and shiny future for everyone's favourite sci-fi comedy. To be kept in the loop as we cover the new production, register your email address with reddwarf.co.uk. The Boys from the Dwarf are back!