Red Dwarf Panel at MCM Manchester Comic Con

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In 1987 in the old BBC building on Oxford Road, Manchester, a comedy set in a spaceship was being made, one that would gain a huge cult following over time. A whole 27 years later and the Red Dwarf cast are finally back in the show’s home town.

Paying a visit to the MCM Manchester Comic Con were Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Robert Llewellyn (Kryten), Hattie Hayridge (Holly) and Judy Pascoe (Mechanoid Camille). Before any of them had even opened their mouths there was a sense of warmth and good humour from them. Especially when Chris Barrie stopped and performed a silly bow for Robert Llewellyn.

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(Photo taken during Sunday’s panel by Daniel Morgan)

As you can imagine for a show with ten series and years of history, there was a lot of reminiscing about some of their past shenanigans. If they were stories that had been told a hundred times before, there was no sense of it as the cast answered questions with enthusiasm and had the whole theatre laughing along with them.

It helps that the actors share an enthusiasm for the show with the fans. Chris and Robert praised the excellent scripts by Doug Naylor and Rob Grant. In fact, Chris explained that the reason why he worked on a relatively small number of projects was because he didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t as good as Red Dwarf. A sentiment shared by Hattie.

Of course there were some more recent stories to share. Red Dwarf enjoyed yet another revival on Dave in 2012 for series ten. Judy expressed her amusement at seeing everyone performing once they were “old and fat” and said they were much funnier because of it. Which then spurred the others to share their mild frustration at the fact that Danny John-Jules has barely aged at all.

“Danny wore costumes in series ten that he wore in the first series. They still fit. Guess how much Chris and I hate Dan.” – Robert Llewellyn.

Conversation turned to Danny again when the subject of the horses in the episode Gunmen of the Apocalypse came up. Chris  especially had difficulties with them, saying they were even less reliable than British motorcycles. Robert remembered someone saying, “There’s no steering wheel or handbrake”, and Chris asked, “Where’s the clutch?” As if that wasn’t bad enough, they recalled Danny shouting, “Yeehaa!” which scared the horses and sent them running towards the motorway.

A particularly good question had the cast being asked which scenes caused the most trouble because it caused them to laugh so much. The first thing Hattie could think of was Kryten’s groinal attachment, which brought an instant smile to everyone’s faces. Robert recalled the time Kryten wished Kochanski a “Happy Period”. Chris recalled corpsing quite a lot during some of the early series.

red-dwarf-02When asked if there were any elements of their characters reflected in themselves, Chris replied, “Absolutely not,” and then went on to explain how occasionally his own words might be overheard and then put into the scripts. Robert told the story of Craig Charles ordering the hottest curry known to mankind and revealed that Danny John-Jules has a clothes collection to rival Cat’s.

As the panel continued we were treated to the cast humming the Red Dwarf theme tune; Robert revealing his wishes for a Red Dwarf themed episode of Scrapheap Challenge (with Chris Barrie on one team and Craig Charles on the other), and Chris had the theatre laughing at his spot-on impression of Kenneth Williams. Actually, it has to be said that both Chris and Robert relished any chance to put on a voice and slip into character.

There was also the news that an eleventh series of Red Dwarf is in the works, but it might not happen as soon as we’d like!

“We don’t know if it’s a wibbly wobbly thing or a swirly whirl thing but it’s definitely looming.” – Robert Llewellyn (discussing Red Dwarf series 11).

As amazing as the other panels were at MCM Manchester Comic Con, it’s unlikely that any of them had the audience laughing and smiling quite as much as they did during this one. Every cast member had an incredible sense of humour and were determined to think of the best answers possible. (And it has to be said that the fans thought up some really interesting questions!) Watching them was an absolute pleasure and there’s nothing quite like spending time getting all nostalgic over one of your favourite shows.

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