"Red Dwarf" was launched onto British TV screens in 1988 and after winning cult status, the show swiftly achieved major international success. A never-increasing army of fans, including such luminaries as Stephen Hawking
and US President Bill Clinton, evidently attracted by its clever storylines, witty dialogue and superb characterisation. A science-fiction comedy set in the distant future, "Red Dwarf" tells the story of the last living human being, a "laddish", curry-loving Scouser played by Craig Charles, and his non-human companions--an odious hologram (Chris Barrie), a guilt-ridden android (Robert Llewellyn) and an evolved Cat with a vanity complex (Danny John-Jules).
Presented here are the full eight scripts from series eight, a series that saw "Red Dwarf" back on form after the disappointing seventh. The crew were finally back on board the Red Dwarf spaceship and the indispensable character Rimmer returned for the entire series ("If only I hired a smarter lawyer. Instead of the brain-dead, pompous, stupid-haired git I ended up with." "You defended yourself, Rimmer."). In a departure from The Red Dwarf Scripts--Primordial Soup, a collection of scripts from previous series, Red Dwarf VIII is bound in a hardback, annual-style glossy format and the change is reflected by the more expensive price tag. However, this does mean we also get storyboards, sketches, 200 never-before-published colour photographs and plenty of extra scenes cut from final transmission. In addition, there are witty anecdotes about the making of the series, not to mention much ranting and whinging about the show's budget, by co-creator and series writer Doug Naylor.
Ultimately, publishing comedy scripts, no matter how well-written, is a risky business. Without visual action or comic delivery, in this case the impeccable talents of Barrie, Charles and Llewellyn, they often lose their sparkle and the words "cash-in" may justifiably be muttered (especially as the series is being re-broadcast on the BBC at the time of publication). But as with Blackadder: The Whole Damn Dynasty, these scripts effortlessly survive on paper and sceptics will perhaps amaze themselves at how entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny simply reading the dialogue can be ("I'm having you melted down, made into a 1,000 Tamagotchis--then I'm gonna starve them to death one by one!"). Although most fans would rather see a new novel, Red Dwarf VIII will go some way to satisfying the ravenous appetites of Red Dwarf's legions of followers, who will undoubtedly label it "smegtastic". --Robert Brookes