Eight series of the comedy were shown on the BBC during 1988 and 1999, with a special three episode arc being commissioned and shown on the UK channel Dave ten years after the series came to an end. This return to the Dwarf was clearly successful enough for the channel to go all in for another six episodes.
Craig Charles spoke to Real Radio this morning and revealed the news and according to a blog post by Llewellyn, said later,
I did a radio interview and it just sort of slipped out.
The interview in question was quoted in the Mail, with Charles offering a glimmer of hope to those who felt the latter series had come to a creative block, relying on garish CG and a loss of direction for the characters,
So they’ve just commissioned another series of Red Dwarf. We’re gonna film at the end of November, December and January.
And Charles promised it would only be done ‘if it’s still as funny as it used to be’.
We’ve gotta recapture the highlights like series 5 series six, that kind of stuff. If we can hit that mark then brilliant. There’s no point doing it if it’s a bit so-so.
Llewellyn’s post confirms the news and posits a very interesting question about keeping the rabid fanbase from spoiling the shows far in advance of their transmission.
So yes, we are making a new series, commissioned by Dave, not a special or a movie or a one of dooberry. A full 6 half hour episodes of a brand new series.
The previous Red Dwarf Back to Earth Dave specials were incredibly successful. For a Channel like Dave to get viewing figures which beat BBC 2 and Channel 4 combined was an unprecedented achievement which has never happened before or since.
The plan at the moment, and this could change, the plan is that we record the new series in front of an audience.
Certainly the fifth and sixth series were the high point for the show, with fans, writers and actors comfortable and eager to parody the sci-fi genre as well as being a much entry into it.
Doug Naylor, one of the show’s creators and main writer since Rob Grant left the team at the end of the sixth series, will return along with the main cast of Charles, Llewellyn, Danny John-Jules and Chris Barrie.