Series 5 Episode 6 26th March 1992
The Red Dwarf investigates a ocean ship, The Esperanto, where they find the ship’s crew have all committed suicide and they are attacked by a sea monster called The Despair squid. Only to wake up and find they are not who they are and they’ve been playing a artificial computer game for four years.
Once voted best ever Red Dwarf episode by the fans, this episode also saw Red Dwarf win its first International Emmy.
It was also the last appearance of Hattie Hayridge as Holly. Hattie’s career with Red Dwarf has continued though with voice over’s on computer games and commentaries on DVD’s. She has written stand up comedy for the likes of Jasper Carrot and Lee Evans, and is herself a touring stand up comic. In July of 2009, she had to post in the commentary section of the episode on film website IMDB to inform fans she was actually still alive after rumours had surfaced she had passed away.
In the “Reality” world the four, now as there alter ego’s charmless nerd Duane Dibley (Cat), Cyborg Traffic Officer Jake Bullet (Kryten), homeless outcast William Doyle (Rimmer), who is the half-brother of Lister’s character Fascist Police Chief Sebastian Doyle must try and work out who they are. When Jake Bullet takes a human life to save a young girl, the police become involved. The cop in question was played by Twin Peaks star Lenny von Dohlen. Dohlen played Harry Smith in David Lynch’s weird tale of a young girls murder in a sleepy little town, and has gone on to have parts in CSI Miami, Psyche, and more recently horror flick Choose. Lenny has just finished filming “White Camellias” with Cybill Shepherd.
When the next group of players enter to play the “Red Dwarf Game” Julian Lyon’s Rimmer and Scott Charles Bennett’s Kryton are joined by David Lemkin to play the part of Cat and John Sharian wants to play the Lister character in the game. Joining them is Anastasia Hille as the new Kachanski in the game world.
David Lemkin has amongst his credits The Bill, and 90’s favourite Drop The Dead Donkey.
John Sharian has had a very successful career post Dwarf. After starring in Jimmy Nail’s Crocodile Shoes, Sharian has gone on to feature in The Fifth Element alongside Bruce Willis, and has had a recurring role as Joe Brock in CSI Miami. Most recently Sharian has been filming Disconnect with Jason Bateman about a group of people looking for a human connection in a wired world.
Red Dwarf was Anastasia’s big break and she has gone on to be in 1998’s Big Women, as Clare in 2006’s series Tripping Over, Katherine Vandemeer in The Awakening and has just started on our cinema screens as Ravenna’s mother in Snow White And The Huntsman.
Probably the most famous name to us that appeared as a bit part character in Back To Reality is Game operator Timothy Spall. Spall has lit up both the small and the big screen for three decades. From Auf Wiedersehen Pet to this years The Syndicate, from “Wormtail” in the Harry Potter films to new production Sinbad, Spall continues to play a huge role in the future of film and TV.