A cartoon character called Mugs Murphy was specially created for the show. Although he was only seen in "Me2", Lister wears a Mugs Murphy T-shirt with the phrase 'D-D-Don't Shoot!' written on it throughout the first two series.
Robert Llewellyn uses a Canadian accent to play Kryten. He considered using a Swedish or American accent before settling on Canadian. Llewellyn discovered the accent while spending time in Vancouver, British Columbia; which he describes as being a cross between Scottish and American.
As of 2013, the series is technically still in production, 25 years after it debuted. This makes it the second-longest running science fiction series of all time, behind Doctor Who (1963). Due to the erratic nature of British TV scheduling, however, only 10 series have been produced.
BBC Visual Effects destroyed their only model of Red Dwarf for a sequence in the fifth series episode "Demons and Angels", where Kryten's triplicator sets off a chain reaction that destroys the ship. The production team made sure that all model sequences required for the current series were completed beforehand. The ship doesn't appear in the sixth series (the running plot being that of Red Dwarf having been stolen) and only appears in the seventh series as archive footage from earlier episodes. It wasn't until the eighth series that a computer-generated version was used.
Alan Rickman was first choice for the part of Rimmer, while Alfred Molina was considered for Lister, but it was decided that it might prove difficult to get these two successful movie actors to return for further series if the show became a success, so the idea was dropped.
The plot for the aborted feature film spin-off would be set in the distant future and Red Dwarf would be hunted by Homo Sapeinoids, a fearsome combination of flesh and machine, that have taken over the solar system and wiped out the human race and destroyed space freighters that left Earth, one by one, until Red Dwarf was the only space freighter that remained.
The design of the Cat's pink suit from the first series was copied from an old black suit belonging to Danny John-Jules' father, who got married in it. John-Jules brought it in after deciding none of the designs provided were really appropriate for the character.
Grant and Naylor originally sent the pilot script to Craig Charles because they wanted his opinion on the Cat. They were concerned that the character would appear to be a racist caricature. Charles liked the character and asked to audition for the part of Dave Lister.
After falling out with Gareth Gwenlan, Head of BBC Comedy (he was opposed to the show, saying "You can't have a sitcom in space. There's no settee."), creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor decided to use Gwenlan's surname as one of the show's made-up swear-words.
Rob Grant makes a cameo appearance in "Backwards" - he is the man with dark glasses, smoking. Doug Naylor makes an appearance in "Krytie TV" as the man in the old black and white film. Ed Bye makes a cameo appearance as Death in "Only the Good".
Robert Llewellyn has made four appearances in Red Dwarf without his Kryten make-up. He played Jim Reaper in "The Last Day", a human Kryten in "D.N.A.", Bongo in "Dimension Jump" and the Data Doctor in "Back in the Red: Part 2".
According to Craig Charles, because the cast had very little acting experience prior to the first series, the characters are mostly based on their real personalities. Charles states that he is slovenly is real life, Danny John-Jules really does own a large amount of clothes, and Robert Llewellyn really is neat and carries a lot guilt. The only similarity that Chris Barrie has to Rimmer is his interest in cars.
Originally, Holly was supposed to be a voiceover character. But Norman Lovett protested and insisted on being shown on camera. Holly was changed to a disembodied head on a computer screen. Shots of Lovett were added to already completed scenes in the first series.
Production on the seventh series was delayed for three years. In 1994, Craig Charles was arrested on a rape charge and held in prison. Rob Grant decided to end his partnership with Grant Naylor and leave the series. Chris Barrie was busy starring in The Brittas Empire (1991). Charles was later acquitted, Naylor hired new writers, and Barrie was convinced to return to the series.
Grant and Naylor worked on the radio comedy show 'Sons of Cliche'. The show broadcast in November 1984 has a section talking about a student who made a exam planner that covered 4 weeks but took 3 of them to make it. In his exam he wrote 'I am a fish' a few hundred times, jitterbugged across the floor and collapsed. Apart from the dancing both ideas were used for Rimmer.
Chris Barrie decided to reduce his involvement with the series after the sixth season. He was disappointed with the series' increasingly chaotic schedule and he was also starring in The Brittas Empire (1991). He agreed to appear in four of the eight episodes in the seventh season. Barrie returned as a full-time cast member in the eighth season.
Although it is never identified as such, it is clear (at least to science fiction fans) that Red Dwarf is powered by a ramscoop, a staple technology of speculative fiction that permits spaceships traveling at sufficient speed to collect sparse interstellar hydrogen atoms as an essentially unlimited fuel sources.
Grant and Naylor produced a 1983 BBC Radio series titled "Son of Cliché" which featured a recurring sketch titled "Dave Hollins: Space Cadet". Chris Barrie was a voice actor on this series. The sketch became the basis for "Red Dwarf". Dave Hollins was changed to Dave Lister.
For the recordings of the first series, the producers dragged in the customers of a local pub to fill the audience for the laughter track; a far cry from Series 8 where often over 200 fans had to be turned away. Unexpectedly, the audience's laughs actually drowned out the stage sound during live tapings.
Rob Grant and Doug Naylor were disappointed with the cheap uniform-gray color scheme that dominated the first two series. From the third series, Mel Bibby was brought in as production designer and redesigned the sets.
The breakout of the Gulf War caused a change to the running order of the fourth series. The original opener "Meltdown" was replaced with "Camille", as it was felt that the former's anti-war message was not appropriate.
Chris Barrie initially decided only to appear in two of the eight episode in the seventh series, but was persuaded to double his commitment and appear in four, although in these two additional episodes he only appears in flashbacks and dream sequences. He returned for all of the eighth series.
As with all other series, the seventh series was shot on videotape. But it was subsequently treated with an experimental "filmizing" process, to give the illusion that it was shot on film. This technique has since become common on British comedy and drama series, with varying acceptance by fans. It was also applied to series 1 and 2 for their "re-mastered" re-releases, but this, along with the models being replaced with CGI, prove unpopular with the fans, and has been dropped for subsequent video/DVD re-issues.
Rimmer's inability as a hologram to touch things is made explicit more often in the early episodes, which show instances of him passing through objects and people and vice-versa. The concept of the light bee (a small flying unit that projects Rimmer's hologram around it) was introduced in the series 4 episode "Meltdown", but it's not until the series 6 episode "Legion" that Rimmer is converted into a "hard-light" hologram and is able to touch things on a permanent basis. Although various previous episodes he is shown being able to touch or be touched through certain circumstances, such as being in a computer game (Better Than Life), going aboard a hologram spaceship (Holoship) or even briefly becoming alive again (Timeslides). Some instances where he makes physical contact with things could be plot holes because it's not explained how it's possible. In "Meltdown" he rides a motorbike, in "Justice" he is able to wear the robotic boots in Justice World, and in "Polymorph" somehow the mutant is able to attach its sucker to Rimmer's forehead to suck out his anger.
According to Doug Naylor, he originally did not want Craig Charles for the role of Lister because he did not like Charles' performances on Saturday Live (1986). But Charles gave the best audition and Naylor found him likable in person.
In the show's original concept Lister was described as 41, Holly was female, and Lister was to have spent seven billion years in suspended animation rather than a relatively short three million. The original number of crew members was to have been 129 rather than 169, though this too was later revised during the course of the series.
Rob Grant and Doug Naylor went to the same school and named some of the initial characters after fellow pupils, Rimmer was named after a prefect and Kochanski was named after a bully. They also witnessed another pupil fainting during an exam, which Rimmer does in the first episode.
Chloë Annett's PVC costume in the seventh series was inspired by Emma Peel's costume in The Avengers (1961). The costume was very uncomfortable for Annett and would warp under the hot studio lights so Kochanski's costume was changed for the eighth series.
When the show first started, the purpose of Kristine Kockanski was merely as the object of Lister's lust. Later in the series, Rob Grant and Doug Naylor decided that this attitude was somewhat immature on Lister's part, and rewrote the continuity so that the two had had a brief affair shortly before the radiation leak.
David Ross, who originally played Kryten in the character's first appearance, was unable to return to the role when Kryten became a regular character because he was appearing in the play "A Flea in Her Ear" and was unavailable. He was replaced by Robert Llewellyn.
In the back-story behind Red Dwarf being lost in the middle of deep space - When the radiation leak wiped out the entire Red Dwarf crew, Holly had to pilot Red Dwarf out of the solar system to prevent the radiation from contaminating the planets.
In the novel "Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers" by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, Lister first met Rimmer on Mimas, which Rimmer, posing as a Space Corps officer with a false mustache called 'Christopher Todhunter', got a ride aboard Lister's hopper to a brothel in the Red Light District and Rimmer inspires Lister to join the Space Corps, with the intention of boarding an Earth bound ship, so Lister can get home back to Earth and go AWOL once arriving on Earth.
In Series 3, the model effects crew added a miniature TARDIS from "Doctor Who" to the set of the Starbug landing bay. Even though it was well hidden, the shot of the TARDIS in the Starbug landing bay was not used to avoid confusion or copyright. However, it is seen in a quick shot in Demons and Angels (#5.5).
After co-creating and co-writing the show for five years, Rob Grant left before the seventh series. This was apparently due to a large falling out with fellow co-creator Doug Naylor. As a result, new writers were hired to co-write the seventh and eighth with Naylor.
In the novel "Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers" by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, Lister became a member of the Red Dwarf crew, when Lister ended up on Mimas, after a drunken birthday "Monolopy-Board pub crawl" and he takes advice from Arnold Judas Rimmer to join Red Dwarf, so he can get off Mimas and get a ride back home to Earth.
Die hard fans of "Red Dwarf" had wrongly assumed Only the Good (#8.8) was the final show and that there would not be any more seasons of "Red Dwarf" because of the caption at the beginning of the closing credits "The End. The Smeg it is!" Doug Naylor decided to stop the show to focus on a feature film version, which was abandoned and the show returned a decade later with the 3-part special "Back to Earth" and the 10th season aired 3 years later in 2012.
In Timeslides (#3.5) Kryten says "We can go back to Dallas in November 1963. Stand on the Grassy Knoll and shout "Duck!"." In Tikka to Ride (#7.1), Rimmer, Lister, Cat and Kryten travel back in time to Dallas in November 1963.
In Future Echoes (#1.2) The Old Lister future echo has a robotic right arm. In Epideme (#7.7) Lister looses his right arm when he is infected by the Epideme virus, which is rebuilt by Kryten's Nanobots in Nanarchy (#7.8). If The Nanobots hadn't rebuilt Lister's right arm, the future echo would had been accurate.
Norman Lovett decided not to return again as Holly for Series 9 and 10 and it was decided that Holly would go offline. In the back-story, during the 9 years between Only the Good... (#8.8) and Back to Earth. Holly went offline because Lister flooded Holly's data-banks due to leaving a bath running for 9 years, without turning him off.
In an interview in a documentary about the show. Chloe Annett said that her version of Kochanski was "from a nice middle class background and been plunged into this abyss of hideousness and desperately trying to find some sanity order into this chaos."