15 Mind-Blowing Facts You Didn't Know About Red Dwarf

Uncover more than a dozen of Big Red's best-kept secrets....

With production on an eleventh and twelfth series only weeks away, Red Dwarf fever is heating up with tickets for the live studio recordings harder to come by than a clean pair of Lister's socks. Over 14,000 people have applied to be in the audience this time around which proves the enduring popularity of a show that started life nearly 30 years ago as a low-budget space romp. It's come a long way from series one when producers had to drag punters from a nearby pub to help record the laughter track. Since then Kryten and Kochanski have been re-cast and Rimmer has become human again while Lister found himself drinking in the Rovers Return for a bit while he waited for someone at Dave to pick up the phone. But there are plenty of things you don't know about Britain's best-loved comedy sci-fi show. For example, what was Dave Lister originally called? Which other character was named after a butler? Who really blew up Red Dwarf? What happened in the lesser-seen Christmas special? Read on for all these answers and more.

15. Alan Rickman Auditioned For Rimmer

During 1988 Alan Rickman became world famous for his portrayal of Die Hard villain Hans Gruber - but he nearly became second technician Arnold Rimmer. Before the first series of Red Dwarf aired on BBC2 several high profile names had auditioned for the role of an anal hologram with a filthy surname, including the man who would later become Professor Snape. In fact he auditioned for Lister too, despite initially not wanting to have to read any lines but ultimately the role went to someone else - Alfred Molina, who already had a Hollywood credit to his name having played a temple guide in the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Back then he wasn't afraid of snakes but seemed to struggle with the character of Rimmer in early Red Dwarf scripts, particularly the conceptual, half-finished episode called Bodysnatcher, which was used to audition both actors. Eventually Molina dropped out and was replaced by a young smeghead doing voices on Spitting Image, Chris Barrie.
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