The Pearl Poll Results

Ladies and gentlemen, on the occasion of Red Dwarf‘s thirtieth anniversary, we invite you to join us, if you dare, in a journey through the Top 73 episodes of all time, as voted for by YOU. This is the biggest such poll we’ve ever undertaken, both in terms of the amount of episodes it covers, and the number of people who took part. A huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who submitted their rankings. In return, our gift to you on this special day is several thousand words of analysis to go alongside the full results. Get comfortable.

How will Series XI and XII, still so fresh in people’s minds, compare to the older episodes? Will Series X have maintained its good performance from 2013, or has the novelty worn off? Can Series VII or VIII finally improve their reputations? Is there such a thing as “the bubble” any more now that the number of episodes made after Rob left outnumbers those made before? It’s finally time to find out.

Once more, we’ve used our tried and trusted scoring system to crunch the numbers. It’s weighted in favour of giving more points to episodes within each correspondent’s Top 10, and in particular to everyone’s all-time favourite. With twelve more episodes to rank since 2013, the only variation is all the scores have had 12 added. First place is now worth 92 points, second gets 86, third gets 82 and so on, all the way down to 72nd place getting one point, and absolutely nothing for finishing 73rd.

So the points totals are going to get pretty high, considering that 313 people took part, an increase of 37.28% since 2013’s Silver Survey. Interestingly only around a fifth of the people who took the Pearl Poll also did so five years ago, although admittedly our methodology for that is just to compare email addresses, so it could be inaccurate. In terms of demographics, 74.12% of participants told us they were male, a disappointingly low 15.65% are female, 2.88% identified as other, and the rest didn’t disclose.

Unsurprisingly, the majority (73.16%) came from the United Kingdom, with the USA and Australia being the next most popular, and participants coming from as far afield as Thailand, the Czech Republic, Venezuala and the Isle of Man. The youngest voter was 12, the oldest 61, and the average age of those who answered was 32 years and 11 months. We also asked when people became a fan of the show, with the most common response being during the original six series:

And finally, following a thorough promotional campaign which must have been extremely tedious for anyone who follows us on Twitter, we managed to attract participants from all across the Red Dwarf fandom, with only 52.72% of voters having found the poll as a result of being a G&T regular. 29.39% found us through Twitter (largely thanks to support from @RedDwarfHQ and @TORDFC), 6.39% through various Facebook groups and the rest from other assorted parts of the internet.

But enough about the people – on with the results. Information is presented in much the same way as the Silver Survey, with banners indicating each episode’s position, its points total, how many times it was placed top or bottom of someone’s list, and how much it’s moved in the chart since 2013. Do remember that there are twelve extra slots in this table though, so pretty much everything at the lower end will be several places down by default. Full results of all previous wide-ranging polls, including those conducted by the Smegazine and Better Than Life back in the day, can be found in the Silver Survey article.

Enough of this chitter chatter. Let’s get on with revealing the very surprising news of which episode is in last place…

73. Pete (Part Two)

Down 12. 2233 points. Bottom: 69. Worst Series VIII episode.

In an ever-changing and increasingly uncertain world, it’s good to know that some things are set in stone. The Pope’s a Catholic, bears shit in the woods, and Pete (Part Two) is the worst episode of Red Dwarf. As usual, not only is it bottom of the pile in terms of points, it was also put in last place more often than any other episode, with 22.04% of correspondents in agreement. This is at least an improvement on its 2013 performance, in which 29.38% of voters put it in last place. At this rate, it might start to see its reputation improve by around the fiftieth anniversary. But I doubt it.

72. Pete (Part One)

Down 12. 2821 points. Bottom: 11.

And naturally, the other Pete is never too far away. It’s interesting that these two always end up side by side, as it’s clear that Part One isn’t quite as disliked as Part Two – despite being second bottom in the rankings, it was only put in last place by 11 people, which is the joint-fifth highest amount. It’s position in penultimate place is pretty secure though – it’s just under 600 points clear of 73rd and just over 600 points shy of 71st, which are the biggest margins in the bottom half of the list.

71. Back In The Red (Part Three)

Down 12. 3466 points. Bottom: 9.

Yep, Series VIII’s reputation doesn’t look to have improved very much in the last five years. In fact, the bottom three are lined up exactly how they were in the Silver Survey – technically, they’re all down twelve places, but in real terms it’s very much as you were. Last time round, the bottom five were all from Series VIII. Will that be the case again?

70. Timewave

New entry. 3601 points. Bottom: 57. Worst Series XII episode. Lowest new entry.

No, because we have our lowest new entry already. No real surprise that this is considered the worst of the twelve new episodes, but seeing it placed quite so low – only just scraping into the Top 70 – emphasises just how much it stands out against the rest of the Dave era, especially considering the Silver Survey’s lowest new entry was a comparatively healthy 46th of 61. It was put in bottom place by 57 people, which is the second highest number behind Pete (Part Two). You normally expect the newest episodes to get a bit of a boost in fan polls due to their freshness. This does not bode well for Timewave‘s long-term prospects.

69. Back In The Red (Part Two)

Down 12. 4033 points. Bottom: 6.

This was judged to be the fourth best Series VIII episode last time, but it’s slipped a relative position this time round to wind up in the bottom half of the series. Multi-part stories never do particularly well – a lot of people tend to group them together when submitting their rankings, which makes it easier for the far more prevalent standalone episodes to rise through the clutter.

68. Only The Good…

Down 10. 4531 points. Bottom: 5.

This one has effectively swapped places with the aforementioned Back In The Red (Part Two), making it the first episode to see its position improve since the Silver Survey. Twelve people put it on the bottom of the pile last time, but only five people do so today. Mind you, someone put it as the best episode in 2013, but they’ve either changed their mind or disappeared completely in the meantime.

 

67. Krytie TV

Down 13. 4916 points. Bottom: 28.

Similarly, Krytie TV has dropped the solitary pole position it gained last time, and has picked up an additional eight bottom places to boot, giving it more than all but Pete (Part Two) and Timewave. It all adds up to a notable drop in popularity in the last five years. It’s still apparently the third best episode in Series VIII, but last time it was ahead of two from Series VII. It means that VIII accounts for six of the bottom seven positions – there are only two from this series left, and yet we’ve got all but one XII episode still to come.

66. Back To Earth (Part Two)

Down 14. 4970 points. Top: 1. Bottom: 9. Worst Back To Earth episode.

And the third “series” to show up is none other than Back To Earth, and there is much that is intriguing about this particular placement. Part Two was in the middle of the three last time, which means it’s now slipped below Part One. Nevertheless, it’s the lowest placed episode to have been picked as somebody’s favourite, meaning it’s also the first on the list to be have been picked both top and bottom. If it wasn’t for the points boost given by that one voter, it could well have fallen behind Krytie TV, in addition to the couple of VII episodes it beat last time.

65. Beyond A Joke

Down 10. 5215 points. Bottom: 7. Worst Series VII episode.

And here’s the first of those VII episodes, which has improved its relative position overall (was sixth bottom, now ninth bottom), but fallen below Nanarchy to take the dubious honour of being the worst from Series VII. Given that it’s taken this long for VII to turn up, its overall performance is already looking slightly better than normal, and it could have been even better considering the next few places are quite close, with the next episode…

64. Back In The Red (Part One)

Down 13. 5231 points.

…just sixteen points ahead. Our bottom ten is completed with a seventh episode from Series VIII, whose already less than stellar reputation has taken even more of a battering this time around. The series opener remains the second favourite of the run, and is the lowest placed episode that nobody picked as the overall worst. It’s one of only three episodes in the entire list to be neither top or bottom of anyone’s rankings, and obviously the lowest placed of those three.

63. Back To Earth (Part One)

Down 10. 5257 points. Top: 1. Bottom: 7.

Escaping from the bottom ten is Back To Earth (Part One), which was one place behind (Part Two) last time, but is now three ahead. A lot of people really struggle to separate the three parts of this story – more so than with the Back In The Reds and Petes, due to the prevalence of the Directors Cut version – and this could account for it overtaking (Part Two), given that people tend to plonk them together in numerical order if they can’t split them.

62. Back To Earth (Part Three)

Average points for multi-part stories

  • 1. Back To Earth – 5192.33
  • 2. Back In The Red – 4243.33
  • 3. Pete – 2527

Down 13. 5350 points. Bottom: 24. Best Back To Earth episode.

It’s mixed results for Back To Earth overall – only one ep in the bottom ten this time, but the best performing part of the three is judged to be the twelfth worst episode of all time, dropping a place from the Silver Survey. It’s been overtaken by two episodes from VII in the last five years, with Timewave being the only episode from the Dave era to end up lower than the entire mini-series that kicked it off. It retains its position as the best of the three parts, although strangely it’s the only one that nobody picked as their all-time fave. It also still performs badly in terms of overall last places – the fourth most, which is at least an improvement on last time. Overall, Back To Earth is judged to be better than almost all of Series VIII, but even at its best it’s beaten by all but two outliers from the other ten series.

61. Nanarchy

Down 5. 5367 points. Bottom: 4.

Only narrowly ahead of Back To Earth (Part Three) is Nanarchy, which did a hell of a lot better than last time – it’s dropped by a mere five places overall, and that’s actually a big swing in the right direction given that eleven new episodes are still to be slotted in. As previously mentioned, it’s no longer at the bottom of the Series VII pile, and it’s also overtaken two from Series VIII and the entirety of Back To Earth for good measure.

60. Duct Soup

Down 10. 5686 points. Bottom: 11.

It narrowly made the Top 50 last time, and now it’s narrowly made the Top 60, which means it’s round about the same in comparison to its lower-table counterparts from the last poll, other than having overtaken Back To Earth (Part Three). It’s still the third worst from VII too, and has gone from having the fourth most bottom places to the joint fifth – Timewave still the only new episode to have made its presence felt among the usual suspects at this end of the table.

59. Dear Dave

Down 13. 5810 points. Bottom: 6. Worst Series X episode.

A drop of thirteen places with eleven new episodes still to go means that Dear Dave is only very slightly worse off than last time, with the last five years proving that unpleasant attitudes towards women are no barrier to electoral success. The worst episode of Series X was deemed better than all but four from VII and VIII last time; now it’s behind six of them, plus all but one ep from the subsequent two series.

58. Epideme

Down 10. 6255 points. Bottom: 2.

Overtaking Dear Dave, but otherwise relatively similar to last time, is Epideme. It maintains its position as fifth placed within its series, and therefore still the best episode which doesn’t feature Chris Barrie, but it’s still true that all the VII eps that do feature him are judged to be better than all the four that don’t.

 

 

57. Can of Worms

New entry. 6268 points. Bottom: 4. Worst Series XI episode.

Just thirteen points ahead of Epideme comes the lowest placed episode from Series XI, in what is only our second new entry. It’s no mean feat to have held off for this long – the worst of XI is deemed to be better than fifteen of its preceding episodes, along with the worst episode of Series XII, which it beat by a whopping thirteen places. It’s also a good couple of places above Dear Dave, which was similarly ahead of fifteen older episodes when it made its polling debut; Timewave‘s performance now looks so bad as to be classified as a statistical abnormality.

56. Entangled

Down 12. 6864 points. Bottom: 2.

Now that there’s only ten new episodes left to place, that drop of twelve places amounts to a slight tumble in real terms, with Entangled having been overtaken by two episodes from Series VII. It’s still classed as the fifth best from Series X, which is now performing worse than its Dave stablemates overall, although with a gulf of nearly six hundred points, Entangled is well clear of Can of Worms.

55. Ouroboros

Average points for Series VII episodes…

  • With Chris Barrie – 9354
  • Without Chris Barrie – 5630.75

Down 8. 7149 points. Bottom: 2.

Here’s one of those VII episodes to have overtaken both Entangled and Dear Dave, as part of a trend which has seen the much-maligned 1997 series improving its standing within the rest of the post-bubble era. With three of the eight eps still to be placed, the fourth best of the series is ahead of eighteen other episodes, whereas last time it was only fourteen.

54. Blue

Down 9. 7703 points. Bottom: 1.

Ah, but here’s the third best episode of VII, comfortably ahead of Ouroboros, but still behind all but seven episodes from the Dave era (and three of them are Back To Earth). Still, it was already ahead of Dear Dave last time, but has overtaken Entangled now to continue the series’ very slight improvement, and close a little ground on the best placed episode of Series VIII…

53. Cassandra

Down 10. 8059 points. Bottom: 2. Best Series VIII episode.

…which is once again Cassandra, finishing in the exact same position as it did last time if you take the new episodes out of the equation, and therefore holding its own amidst the rest of the series sinking to new depths. It does mean however that with 52 episodes left – which you’ll recall is how many episodes there were before the show returned in 2009 – the whole of Series VIII falls outside of this second, much more permeable bubble. While we’re yet to see any of the original 36, two thirds of the Dave era have made the Top 52, dislodging all but two episodes from the post-Rob-but-pre-Dave era that was Series VII and VIII.

52. Siliconia

New entry. 8251 points. Top: 1.

Oooh, here’s another new entry, and XII gets its second episode on the board before XI does. The One Where Everyone’s Kryten perhaps didn’t live up to the hype given that it’s only the fifth best in its series, but then it is a very comfortable eighteen places ahead of the worst, as well as five ahead of the worst from XI. One person loved it enough to put it in first place overall, making it the third lowest episode to have that honour.

51. Samsara

New entry. 8963 points. Top: 1. Bottom: 2.

And here’s another new entry, continuing the pattern of the two latest series taking it in turns to drop into the list. Bring Series X into the fold as well, and that’s two each from the three full Dave series so far, with two thirds from each making it into the Top 50. In terms of the relative performances of XI and XII, note that there’s a gap of over seven hundred points between this and Siliconia. On the other hand, while Samsara matches that episode with its solitary first place finish, it also racked up two bottom places.

50. Krysis

New entry. 9511 points. Bottom: 1.

And taking us into the Top 50 is yet another new entry, with Krysis breaking ranks to put XI behind XII for the first time, in terms of episodes remaining. This spate of new entries seems to indicate that there’s something of a default position for a new episode to enter the pantheon – with the odd exception, you can pretty much expect any Dave episode to be better than the vast majority of Series VII and VIII, although we’re yet to see how many (if any) have penetrated the original bubble, with only half of Series XI still to make an appearance.

49. Cured

New entry. 9821 points. Bottom: 1.

Parity between the two newest series has been restored with our fourth consecutive new entry, as now XII has similarly reached the halfway point. This also means that it’s now Series X which is doing the best of the Dave series so far, given that it’s still got four episodes to unleash, although we won’t get a full picture of their comparative worth until we see how high the best examples from each series can reach.

48. Waiting For God

Down 7. 10070 points. Top: 1. Bottom: 4. Worst Series 1 episode.

Here we go, BROKEN BUBBLE ALERT. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the lowest placed episode of the original 36, which for the second survey in a row has come out as Waiting For God. Last time, there were only five episodes above it, and this time there’s twelve, of which six are new entries. Precisely half the episodes of the two latest series are classified as better than the worst of the original run, along with four from X (as per 2013) and two from VII (that’s one more than last time). Series 1 is once more the first to suffer a loss from the bubble, but how many more will miss out?

47. Fathers & Suns

Down 7. 10155 points. Top: 1. Bottom: 1.

Still one place ahead of Waiting for God is Fathers & Suns, which showcases both the best and worst elements of the Dave era, and so aptly sits pretty much slap bang in the middle of its eighteen regular episodes (ignoring Back To Earth). Once again, it maintains its position within the series, and its appearance means that the mini-league of Dave series is level once more – that’s half of each run accounted for. It’s been overtaken by one episode from VII in the last five years, continuing X’s so-slight-as-to-be-barely-perceptible dip in form.

46. Twentica

New entry. 10358 points. Bottom: 3.

New entry alert once more, and this time it’s Series XI that blinks first, with the opening episode judged the third best of the run. It’s comfortably above Waiting For God, but still ten places off the promised land of the Top 36. With only five new entries still to go, we’re going to have to start seeing a lot more older episodes dropping down before we can finally stop talking about there being a bubble.

45. Stoke Me A Clipper

Down 3. 10624 points. Top: 2. Bottom: 1.

But one older episode that’s on its way up is Stoke Me A Clipper, which has beaten off seven new entries and overtaken both Fathers & Suns and Waiting For God since 2013. Your mileage may vary as to what part of the chart constitutes the turning point between “most bad” and “least good”, but a handy indicator is that of the six episodes thus far to have been placed both first and last on people’s individual lists, this is the first one to have gained more tops than bottoms, and thus if Stoke Me A Clipper were a Crystal Maze contestant, it would have successfully secured the pony-trekking holiday in Ullswater.

44. Officer Rimmer

New entry. 10873 points. Top: 1. Bottom: 1.

That’s now six new entries in the last nine places, and the conclusion seems to be that the vast majority of the latest episodes are almost as good as the original series, but not quite. What’s more, the thus far fairly even distribution of the Dave series is now completely out the window, with just one episode from Series XI still to come, while we’re only half way through both X and XII. Having quickly established that none of its episodes were among the very worst the show has produced, there’s only one chance left to break into the bubble.

43. Mechocracy

New entry. 10955 points. Top: 1. Bottom: 1.

Make that seven new entries out of the last ten. Three quarters of the last two series have now been accounted for, and we’re still not into the Top 40. A lot of the speculation after the polls closed was around whether XI and XII would spell the end of the bubble, but it seems that outside of our own little bubble, the wider fandom doesn’t agree. Interestingly, the Dave era fared much better among correspondents who found the poll via G&T itself, with our regulars putting Mechocracy into the Top 36. While the overall performance of the newer episodes might be a tad disappointing so far, it’s worth noting that four of the nine we’ve seen so far have been at least one person’s favourite ever.

42. Trojan

Down 12. 11019 points. Top: 1. Bottom: 1.

Here’s a bit of a shock – with only three new episodes to slot in, Trojan is down twelve places, which is effectively a drop of nine, by far the biggest we’ve seen so far. It made the Top 30 last time, beating eight from the bubble in the process, but now it’s dropped below all but one of those, and been overtaken by our last remaining VII episode, and one of its own seriesmates. It’s now only the third best episode of Series X, and is the first major victim of second survey syndrome, having perhaps batted above its average in the Silver Survey due to its newness.

41. Balance of Power

Down 6. 11193 points. Bottom: 2.

It’s only the second episode of the first 36 to make an appearance, and it’s another that’s dropped a few places in real terms, bursting out of the bubble for the first time. There were only two post-1993 episodes ahead of it last time, and now there’s six. As well as the three new ones, it’s been overtaken by one each from VII and X, although it is one of the many episodes that Trojan whizzed past on its plummet down the table. Nevertheless, it’s now the second worst episode from Series 1, which has taken up two positions outside the Top 40, while we’re yet to see anything from Series 2 to VI.

40. Emohawk – Polymorph II

Down 1. 11501 points. Top: 1. Bottom: 2. Worst Series VI episode.

Ah, but here’s the first of that group to place, just scraping into the Top 40. Series VI becomes the sixth series to make an appearance, but Emohawk has done slightly better than last time in relation to the rest of the bubble – it was the second lowest of the original 36 in 2013, but has now overtaken Balance of Power to become only the third lowest. Still the bottom episode of its series, but deemed to be better than three quarters of XI and XII.

39. Give & Take

New entry. 11618 points. Bottom: 1. Best Series XI episode.

It was a little while before we saw any Series XI episodes on the list, but while we’re still three places away from the promised land of the Top 36, here’s the highest ranking episode. Give & Take becomes the third lowest “best” episode of a series, and that includes Back To Earth, plus it’s ended up lower than two eps from XII. It’s a shame for Series XI that its best effort wasn’t good enough to break the bubble (although it did place higher than three eps from said bubble), but it’s worth noting that the points in this section of the table are incredibly tight – only 71 points separate the five episodes from 35th to 39th.

38. M-Corp

New entry. 11633 points. Top: 1. Bottom: 1.

Our penultimate new entry is the second best episode of Series XII, which means yet more disappointment for those hoping to see the end of the bubble. It’s frustrating for your humble statistician too, as both this and Give & Take spent virtually the whole voting period above the Top 36 threshold, only for a late surge of entries on deadline day to push them out when it really mattered, thus making the narrative of this poll much less interesting than it could have been. What’s interesting to note is that the G&T team put M-Corp in 33rd, as did people who became fans during the wilderness years, while G&T regulars put it in 34th. If the demographics were skewed just very slightly differently, it would be a whole other story.

37. Confidence & Paranoia

“Middle” episodes over the years

  • Smegazine ’92: Marooned / The End
  • BTL ’94: Bodyswap / Marooned
  • BTL ’97: Justice / Out Of Time
  • BTL ’99: Out Of Time
  • G&T ’08: Terrorform / Better Than Life
  • G&T ’13: Meltdown
  • G&T ’18: Confidence & Paranoia

Non-mover. 11662 points. Bottom: 2.

The last to miss out on the luxury of the bubble is our first official non-mover – plenty of the less good episodes are in the same position if you’re counting from the bottom, but now that there’s only one new entry to take care of, the year-on-year comparisons are looking much more meaningful. That said, Confidence & Paranoia has made some gains on its previous performance, overtaking Balance of Power to become the fourth best of Series 1, and only the fourth lowest from the original 36.

So here we are at the fabled cut-off point, and while the bubble hasn’t been popped quite as emphatically as some were predicting, there is at least one more post-1993 episode in there:

Our final XII representative joins the one from VII and two from X that made it last time (although it’s a different two from X now), with an extra episode from Series 1 missing out to make way. The next big question to answer is just how high these four renegades can climb, especially that one remaining new entry.

36. Parallel Universe

Down 2. 11671 points. Top: 2. Bottom: 1. Worst Series 2 episode.

Dropping a couple of places in the last five years, but still desperately clinging on to the Top 36 by a margin of just nine points comes the lowest placed episode from Series 2 – just III, IV and V yet to be accounted for now. It’s in the same position relative to the rest of the bubble as it was last time, but it’s been overtaken by an episode each from VII and X, as well as the new entry, with only Trojan going in the opposite direction. It’s the lowest placed episode to feature Hattie Hayridge, meaning that all 19 of her episodes are safely in the bubble, which is only the case for 10 of Norman’s 22.

35. Lemons

Up 3. 11689 points. Top: 3. Bottom: 2.

The first episode to improve its actual final position is Lemons, perhaps the biggest success story of the Pearl Poll so far. It was only considered the third best episode of Series X in the survey that came hot on the heels of its broadcast, but it’s now swapped places with Trojan, which has had wildly contrasting fortunes. While we suspect the lack of a freshness boost is to blame for Trojan‘s decline, Lemons has bucked the trend by improving with age, breaking into the bubble for the first time, and beating three more 1-VI episodes than it managed in 2013.

34. Tikka To Ride

Up 2. 11940 points. Top: 4. Best Series VII episode.

Also improving its standing is the best episode of Series VII, which rises two places to consolidate the seat in the bubble that it scraped into last time. Tikka‘s rehabilitation is consistent with the general trend for the series, which has seen its worst episodes put some extra distance between themselves and the bottom, and its best episodes reaching higher than ever before. After more than two decades, there’s still no end in sight to the debates that rage every time the series is mentioned, but this is at least some vindication for its advocates.

33. The Beginning

Down 7. 11965 points. Top: 1. Best Series X episode.

That’s five of the twelve series now fully accounted for, as 2013’s highest new entry drops seven places, and out of the Top 30. For all of the gains made by Lemons, between this and the aforementioned decline of Trojan, it’s a downward trajectory for Series X overall, struggling to match the impact it made last time in the face of twelve new episodes and five years’ worth of familiarity. But still, The Beginning itself stands out as a highlight of the Dave era, finishing above all but one of its fellow post-1993 efforts and seeing off eleven of the twelve newcomers.

32. Rimmerworld

Up 1. 12480 points.

Another entrant from Series VI comes and joins the party, which means that we’ve now seen three from 1, one from 2 and two from VI, before any from what I’ve just decided to refer to as The Officers Quarters Years. It’s one of only three episodes to be nobody’s most or least favourite, and is the middle-ranking of those three overall. Its position within the bubble is unchanged from last time (the sixth lowest), but it’s now above all but one post-1993 episode, having overtaken both of the Series X entries that beat it in 2013.

31. Skipper

Biggest gaps between highest and lowest episodes

  • 1. Series XII – 39
  • 2= Series 1 – 37
  • 2= Series VI – 37
  • 4= Series 2 – 35
  • 4= Series VII – 35
  • 6= Series III – 26
  • 6= Series V – 26
  • 6= Series X – 26
  • 9. Series IV – 24
  • 10. Series VIII – 20
  • 11. Series XI – 18
  • 12. Back To Earth – 4

New entry. 13153 points. Top: 2. Bottom: 8. Best Series XII episode. Highest new entry.

And there we go – the highest new entry is Skipper, and while it’s comfortably been classed as the best episode since 1993, it’s missed out on the Top 30, which is a disappointment considering that the Silver Survey’s highest new entry, The Beginning, made it as far as 26th. As with a lot of the better eps from the last few years, G&Ters and more recent fans seem to like it more than average, with people who became fans during the Dave era even putting Skipper in their collective top ten.

However, as a wise man once said, the problem with democracy is that every silly bastard gets a vote. As well as getting two “best episode ever” votes, eight people put Skipper in last place, which is the ninth highest amount. It seems that some – not many, but some – of the people who took part really don’t like the new episodes. A handful of those people just ignored whichever series they have no time for, dumping each episode at the bottom of the pile and only doing a proper order for the rest. This has resulted in Skipper, the most recent episode to air, picking up a few last places by default.

This is the downside of our efforts to include as many Red Dwarf fans as possible. New episodes aren’t as important to everyone as they are to us, and there’s a sizeable number of people who simply don’t care about them either way. It’s annoying, but their views should be reflected too, and their inclusion in this poll makes it far more representative of the wider consensus, beyond us nerds at the extreme edge of fandom. Those who just dumped a series or two in chronological order have given a disservice to Skipper in particular, but it probably only amounted to a few dozen points that it missed out on, which wouldn’t have been enough to take it higher.

Aaaanyway, on with the countdown, in which there are no new entries left to place, meaning that our Top 30 consists solely of episodes from the first six series – but in what order?

30. Camille

Episodes that nobody picked as the best or worst:

  • Camille
  • Rimmerworld
  • Back In The Red (Part One)

Up 2. 13319 points. Worst Series IV episode.

Series IV is the latest series to break ranks, so it’s only III and V that we’re waiting for now. Camille was the lowest placed from IV last time too, but it’s up a couple of places overall; having finished just below the halfway point in 2013, it’s now seen off all the newcomers and overtaken two other Dave era eps to break into the Top 30. It’s also the highest placed episode not to be anyone’s fave or worstie – all twenty-nine of the episodes still to come are on the top of at least someone’s list.

29. Meltdown

Up 2. 13495 points. Top: 1. Bottom: 1.

Meltdown has kept pace with its Series IV counterpart, also moving up two spaces at the expense of Trojan and The Beginning. Last time round it was at the exact middle point of the poll at 31st of 61, but the net effect of twelve new entries is that it’s now comfortably in the top half, with Confidence & Paranoia now the median Red Dwarf episode, back in 37th of 73.

28. The Last Day

Down 3. 14001 points. Top: 1. Worst Series III episode.

Back in the Silver Survey, Series III was the last to make an appearance on the leaderboard, but The Last Day has dropped three places to hand that particular crown to Series V, having been overtaken by two episodes from that series, along with one from Series IV. It’s stuck with the mantle of lowest placed III episode, but it now ranks more favourably against modern Dwarf – last time round it only beat The Beginning by four points, but now it’s clear of the Dave era by 848 points and three places.

27. Demons & Angels

Non-mover. 14043 points. Top: 6. Bottom: 1. Worst Series V episode.

All twelve series are now accounted for, and there were just 42 points making the difference as to whether III or V would have the highest-placed worst episode. Despite being our second non-mover, Demons & Angels has been overtaken by a couple of episodes in the last five years, having itself leapfrogged The Last Day and The Beginning to compensate. One of the ones it dropped below was also from Series V, which means that Demons & Angels is now classified as the worst of its run for the first time.

26. Bodyswap

Down 3. 14127 points. Top: 3. Bottom: 1.

Also faring worse within its parent series is Bodyswap, which is now the fifth best from III instead of the fourth. It’s dropped three places overall, being overtaken by an episode each from IV and V, as well as one of its brethren. Last time round, the entirety of Series III was in the Top 25, but now two of the six have dropped out of that particular arbitrary bracket. A slight dip in III’s popularity overall thus far, but there’s still only Series 2 and V that have more episodes in the running, with five each.

25. Terrorform

Up 3. 14136 points. Top: 3.

It would appear that Series III and V are now taking it in turns, resulting in a slightly nauseating green and aqua striped pattern to emerge on the page. But it was a close run thing, with only nine points separating Bodyswap and Terrorform, which is another episode to have made notable gains in the last five years. It was the lowest ranked of V last time, but is now two places above Demons & Angels, having also overtaken Bodyswap, The Last Day and The Beginning.

24. The End

Down 2. 14313 points. Top: 12.

Having shed three episodes before we got to the bubble, it’s been a while since we’ve seen Series 1, but here’s where it all began, with The End dropping two places to settle at number 24. For a lot of people, the show never got better than that first episode, with the debut gaining the sixth highest number of first places overall. Nevertheless, it’s been overtaken by instalments from Series III and IV in the last five years, leaving just two episodes left from the initial series, with 23 places still to fill.

23. Psirens

Down 2. 14386 points. Top: 1. Bottom: 1.

Here’s another episode that’s been overtaken by the same two episodes, as Psirens once again finds itself one place above The End. Again, there’s quite a gap between this and its next lowest seriesmate, but we’re now halfway through the six episodes of Series VI, which is a milestone that we’re yet to reach for 2, III, IV or V. While easily outperforming all the post-1993 series, it seems that Series 1 and VI are the most likely of the Grant Naylor series to contain less popular episodes, but then we have been in the “which truly excellent piece of television is the most excellent” section of the poll for quite some time now.

22. DNA

Up 7. 14393 points. Top: 1.

Rising seven places, DNA is the highest climber of them all, even taking into account the effect of the new entries on episodes towards the bottom that improved their relative ranking. It may have only beaten Psirens by seven points, but it’s also overtaken The End, Terrorform, Bodyswap, Demons & Angels, The Last Day and The Beginning, and has only been beaten by episodes that also beat it in 2013. It’s still only the fourth best of Series IV, but its charge up the table continues the run of every Series IV episode so far having improved on its Silver Survey performance.

21. Timeslides

Up 3. 14828 points. Top: 1.

It’s another climber, which is now four places ahead of Bodyswap, which it was one place behind in 2013. Having also overtaken Psirens and The End, it’s missed out on the twentieth place by 181 points, which means that despite becoming the fourth best episode of its series, that series will still only have half of its episodes in the Top 20. In fact, the episodes comprising the Top 20 are exactly the same as they were in the Silver Survey, although not necessarily in the same order.

We could have just copied and pasted the graph from last time, but for the record, here’s how the Top 20 lines up:

20. Kryten

Non-mover. 15009 points. Top: 3.

Oh, so maybe the Top 20 could be in the same order as last time, as Kryten is our third non-mover. Parallel Universe‘s earlier dropped places means that there’s more distance between Series 2’s worst and second-worst episodes than before, and it’s retained its dominance of the Top 20, providing an impressive quarter of the list. And having been the highest placed episode not to be anyone’s favourite last time, Kryten has now made the top of three people’s lists. Plus, David Ross’s cameo in Mechocracy means that it’s no longer the lowest placed episode to feature him.

19. Stasis Leak

Non-mover. 15031 points. Top: 3.

And here’s our fourth non-mover, with Stasis Leak slotting in alongside its stablemate once again, meaning that it’s now Series V which has the most episodes remaining. The margin is a lot closer this time round, with Stasis Leak just 22 points ahead of Kryten, as opposed to over a hundred in 2013. This is despite the general trend for larger gaps this time around, especially now we’re this high in the table – more episodes means that there’s more points up for grabs at the top than ever before.

18. Me²

Down 5. 15077 points. Top: 2. Bottom: 1.

That’s a big drop for Me², which was a healthy six places ahead of Stasis Leak in 2013, but only beat it by 46 points this time. It’s been overtaken by an episode each from Series 2, III and IV, and two from Series V, which means that there’s only one from the first series still to place, and we’re still miles away from the Top 10. It’s not been a good showing for Series 1; three episodes outside the bubble, and the two that have made it so far both losing ground on their Silver Survey performance.

17. Backwards

Up 1. 16237 points. Top: 8.

Here’s the first beneficiary of Me²‘s slip-up, with Backwards rising one place but otherwise on a par with its previous showing. Still the third best episode of Series III, but now only separated from the fourth by four places, thanks to Timeslides‘s resurgence, and still some way away from the second. It also means that Series III is now the first of the 2-V mini-bubble to drop a fourth episode – only two episodes await their place, while V is looking like the daddy of them all with twice that amount still to play with.

16. Better Than Life

Down 2. 16392 points. Top: 10.

Series 2’s consistent performance thus far takes a very slight wobble, with Better Than Life falling two places, losing out to an episode from IV and two from V, while overtaking only Me², this section of the table’s whipping boy. Nevertheless, those that like it really seem to like it, reaching double figures in terms of first place finishes, giving it the joint-eighth highest amount overall.

15. Justice

Up 1. 16463 points. Top: 4. Bottom: 1.

The third best episode of Series IV has leapfrogged Better Than Life to move up one place, having also overtaken Me² but fallen behind an episode from Series V. All of which means that Series V and VI are now the only ones to have more than two episodes still to be placed, with Series IV now level with 2 and III but ahead of Series 1.

14. Out of Time

Down 2. 16569 points. Top: 10.

Aww, Out of Time is never going to reach the heights of our 2008 mini-poll, undertaken only by the G&T team members of the time, in which it finished second. The five current G&Ters have it the silver medal in our little league this time too, but not everybody loves it quite as much as us – although ten first places is the joint-eighth highest, and not to be sniffed at. But on the main list it’s been overtaken by two episodes from Series V, which is dominating the upper echelons with four episodes still to place, while 2, III, IV and VI have two apiece, and only one from 1.

13. Holoship

Up 2. 16974 points. Top: 10.

Here’s one of those Series V episodes though, and it too has ten first places to its name. Having overtaken Out of Time, Better Than Life and Me², it’s another improved placing for Series V – only Demons & Angels has failed to rise in the rankings so far, and that was a non-mover. However, Holoship has fallen behind in the inter-series rankings, having been overtaken by one of its siblings to slip to fourth, behind…

 

12. The Inquisitor

Up 5. 17214 points. Top: 5.

The Inquisitor, which is up five places, the joint-second highest amount, leaving Holoship, Out of Time, Justice, Better Than Life and Me² in its wake. It’s now the third best-placed episode in the imperious Series V, which has had least had the good grace to shed two episodes before we reach the Top 10, bringing it back on par with the majority of the bubble series. Even so, it was already the best series overall in the Silver Survey, and now it’s on course to further extend its lead.

11. Future Echoes

Down 4. 17319 points. Top: 6. Best Series 1 episode.

Only one episode from 2013’s Top 10 has dropped out in 2018, but it’s a significant one. With the exception of Confidence & Paranoia, a non-mover, every Series 1 episode is worse off than it was five years ago, with its best episode suffering the ignominy of missing the Top 10, setting the series apart from the rest of the bubble. Having been overtaken by an episode from Series III, two from IV and one from VI, Series 1 loses its sole representative from this stage of the Silver Survey, with Series IV picking up the scraps to double its own delegation. But interestingly, the five series that are still in the race have a completely even distribution of contenders, with two episodes each still to come.

10. Dimension Jump

Down 1. 17507 points. Top: 3. Bottom: 1.

Staying inside the Top 10, despite dropping down a place, is Dimension Jump. Last time out it was ninth, and was the highest ranking Series IV episode, but it’s now been overshadowed by its last remaining stablemate, which has entered the Top 10 and then some. Furthermore, it’s inexplicably someone’s least favourite episode this time around, but then a whopping 51 episodes made the bottom of at least one person’s list, leaving only 22 to escape that fate. Dimension Jump is one of 23 to have been placed both first and last.

9. Polymorph

Down 1. 17762 points. Top: 9.

Polymorph is also down one place, losing out to that renegade climber from Series IV, but still the second-best episode in Series III. Last time it only beat Dimension Jump by one point, but there’s a much healthier margin of 255 now. So far, three III episodes have dropped since 2013, two have climbed and one is still to place, but the gains it’s made in terms of points could well see it rise in the series-by-series rankings, which are coming up later in the article.

8. Legion

Up 2. 17998 points. Top: 5.

The first member of the Top 10 to improve its position from last time is Legion, which has overtaken Polymorph, Dimension Jump and Future Echoes, whilst only being overtaken once itself. It’s only the second Series VI episode to rise so far, and now only 2 and V have more than one episode left to place. Nevertheless, Legion remains the second best episode from Series VI, and has consolidated its position in the Top 10, having only just made it in 2013.

7. Thanks For The Memory

Down 2. 18114 points. Top: 26.

Two places is a long way to fall at this stage of proceedings, and Thanks For The Memory is slipping further away from its personal best of third place in the 2008 G&T-only mini-poll. Most notably, it’s now only the second highest episode from Series 2, with one of its neighbours among the two that have overtaken it. Nevertheless, it still has a lot of big fans, with 26 people placing it first on their lists, which beats all but two other episodes. It’s not quite enough to stop it dropping out of the Top 5 though, or to stop V being the only series left to have more than one ep remaining.

6. White Hole

Highest climbers since 2013

  • 1. DNA – 7
  • 2= White Hole – 5
  • 2= The Inquisitor – 5
  • 4= Timeslides – 3
  • 4= Terrorform – 3
  • 4= Lemons – 3

Up 5. 18162 points. Top: 11. Best Series IV episode.

Ah, here’s that newcomer to the Top 10, and it’s done so well that it’s only just missed out on the Top 5. White Hole has risen above Thanks For The Memory, Legion, Polymorph, Dimension Jump and Future Echoes to finish sixth, and wrestle the Best Of IV crown from Ace Rimmer’s astonished head. It’s the fifth highest “best” episode of a series, above that of Series 1 and all of the post-bubble ones. The leap of five places is the joint-second highest undertaken by any episode, and the eleven first-place finishes is the seventh best.

5. Queeg

Up 1. 19005 points. Top: 9. Best Series 2 episode.

And Series 2 is the second series so far to have a new best episode, as Queeg takes its place in the Top 5 for the first time ever. Thanks For The Memory is the episode it’s replaced, which means that the series-by-series composition of the Top 5 is the same as it was last time. In fact, as Queeg is the only episode to have penetrated the final five, that means that the even more specific Top 4 contains all the same episodes, but will they be in the same order?

4. Quarantine

Non-mover. 19833 points. Top: 25. Bottom: 1.

So far, yes, as Quarantine maintains its position just shy of the podium, to remain the second best episode of the colossus that is Series V. Our fifth non-mover is also in fourth place in terms of picks as all-time fave, one of only five to get more than 20. Looking through the tables generated by separating out results according to various demographics, it’s most popular among women and people who became fans during the Dave era, both of whom put it second, while people who became fans during the 94-96 gap have it as low as seventh.

3. Gunmen of the Apocalypse

Non-mover. 20308 points. Top: 22. Bottom: 2. Best Series VI episode.

An palpable air of anti-climax begins to generate, as we welcome yet another non-mover. Honestly, it’s so frustrating – I swear that Gunmen was ahead of Marooned for virtually the whole time the poll was open, and had opened up a commanding lead following the retweet from @RedDwarfHQ that brought a flurry of non-G&T regulars to the party. It wasn’t until the last day that the last-minuters put things back how they were last time, and so Gunmen‘s form is still yet to match its heyday of the 1994 and 1997 Better Than Life polls, which it topped. Interestingly, those who became fans between 1994 and 1996 fans put it ahead of Marooned, and the 1997-99 gang even go as far as to put it first, echoing the consensus of the time they discovered the show. Shockingly, two people deemed it to be the worst episode of all time, meaning it does at least take the title of best episode to have been placed both top and bottom.

2. Marooned

Non-mover. 20411 points. Top: 33. Best Series III episode.

And so Marooned is the seventh of what is inevitably eight non-movers, and ended up a healthy 103 points clear of Gunmen following that final day recovery. Interestingly, it’s only third on the list for both men and women, but those that didn’t answer the gender question or identified as “other” contributed enough points to let it keep the silver medal. Unsurprisingly, it gained the second highest number of first place finishes, with the extra seven it had over Gunmen playing a big part in securing its usual position.

So the state of play as we enter Red Dwarf‘s fourth decade is that despite twelve new episodes in the last five years, and a lot of swapping around lower down the list, things are very much as they were at the very top, with the four best episodes in 2013 all staying in place in 2017. Before we get on with announcing the least surprising champion since Celtic winning the Scottish Premier League, or Ant and Dec getting Best Presenter at the National Television Awards, let’s keep this party pumping with some more secondary statistics, starting with the list of episodes ordered by most top or bottom placements:

Top 10 First Placed Episodes

  • 1. Back to Reality – 57
  • 2. Marooned – 33
  • 3. Thanks for the Memory – 26
  • 4. Quarantine – 25
  • 5. Gunmen of the Apocalypse – 22
  • 6. The End – 12
  • 7. White Hole – 11
  • 8= Better Than Life – 10
  • 8= Holoship – 10
  • 8= Out of Time – 10

Top 10 Bottom Placed Episodes

  • 1. Pete (Part Two) – 69
  • 2. Timewave – 57
  • 3. Krytie TV – 28
  • 4. Back To Earth (Part Three) – 24
  • 5= Duct Soup – 11
  • 5= Pete (Part One) – 11
  • 7= Back in the Red (Part Three) – 10
  • 7= Back to Earth (Part Two) – 10
  • 9. Skipper – 8
  • 10. Beyond A Joke – 7

Six of the Top 10 are the same by both metrics (though only three are in the same position), with The End, Better Than Life, Holoship and Out of Time gaining more first place finishes than QueegPolymorph, Dimension Jump or Legion to nudge them out of this alternative Top 10. Down at the bottom, seven of the worst ten episodes match up, with Duct Soup, Back To Earth (Part Two) and Skipper taking the places of Back In The Red Parts One and Two and Only The Good… It’s notable that Timewave only had twelve fewer bottom places than Pete (Part Two), but was 29 ahead of its nearest rival, Krytie TV.

Next up, let’s have a look at how male and female participants voted:

Male Top 10

  • 1. Back to Reality
  • 2. Gunmen of the Apocalypse
  • 3. Marooned
  • 4. Quarantine
  • 5. Queeg
  • 6. White Hole
  • 7. Legion
  • 8. Thanks For The Memory
  • 9. Polymorph
  • 10. The Inquistor

Female Top 10

  • 1. Back to Reality
  • 2. Quarantine
  • 3. Marooned
  • 4. Gunmen of the Apocalypse
  • 5. Thanks for the Memory
  • 6. Dimension Jump
  • 7. Better Than Life
  • 8. Polymorph
  • 9. Backwards
  • 10. Queeg

The men’s Top 10 is largely the same as the main results, except with Marooned and Gunmen swapping places, along with Thanks For The Memory and Legion, plus Dimension Jump dropping out of the Top 10 at the expense of The Inquisitor. Whereas with the women, nothing matches except for the very top spot. Better Than Life and Backwards rise into the Top 10, in place of Legion and White Hole, all the way up from 16th and 17th respectively in the main survey. Down at the other end:

Male Bottom 10

  • 64. Back To Earth (Part One)
  • 65. Beyond A Joke
  • 66. Krytie TV
  • 67. Back To Earth (Part Two)
  • 68. Only The Good…
  • 69. Back In The Red (Part Two)
  • 70. Timewave
  • 71. Back in the Red (Part Three)
  • 72. Pete (Part One)
  • 73. Pete (Part Two)

Female Bottom 10

  • 64. Duct Soup
  • 65. Back In The Red (Part One)
  • 66. Beyond A Joke
  • 67. Nanarchy
  • 68. Krytie TV
  • 69. Only The Good…
  • 70. Back in the Red (Part Two)
  • 71. Back in the Red (Part Three)
  • 72. Pete (Part One)
  • 73. Pete (Part Two)

It seems that women are better disposed to Back To Earth to men, with two of the three parts falling into the male bottom ten, and none in the female one. Duct Soup, Nanarchy and Back In The Red (Part One) only appear on the female list, with the latter completing the set for that story, and Timewave is only in the male bottom ten, having escaped to eleventh bottom among the women.

For our next trick, let’s examine how the Top 10s vary depending on when each participant first became a fan of the show:

15th Feb 1988

  • 1. Back To Reality
  • 2. Queeg
  • 3. Quarantine
  • 4. Marooned
  • 5. Better Than Life
  • 6. Legion
  • 7. Gunmen of the Apocalypse
  • 8. White Hole
  • 9. Polymorph
  • 10. Justice

1988-1993

  • 1. Back To Reality
  • 2. Marooned
  • 3. Gunmen of the Apocalypse
  • 4. Quarantine
  • 5. Queeg
  • 6. White Hole
  • 7. Thanks For The Memory
  • 8. Legion
  • 9. Future Echoes
  • 10. Dimension Jump

1994-1996

  • 1. Back To Reality
  • 2. Gunmen of the Apocalypse
  • 3. Marooned
  • 4. Future Echoes
  • 5. Dimension Jump
  • 6. Thanks For The Memory
  • 7. Quarantine
  • 8. Legion
  • 9. Out of Time
  • 10. White Hole

1997-1999

  • 1. Gunmen of the Apocalypse
  • 2. Back To Reality
  • 3. Quarantine
  • 4. Marooned
  • 5. Legion
  • 6. Out of Time
  • 7. Queeg
  • 8. White Hole
  • 9. Dimension Jump
  • 10. Future Echoes

2000-2008

  • 1. Back To Reality
  • 2. Marooned
  • 3. Gunmen of the Apocalypse
  • 4. Quarantine
  • 5. Queeg
  • 6. Thanks For The Memory
  • 7. Polymorph
  • 8. Holoship
  • 9. The Inquisitor
  • 10. White Hole

2009-present

  • 1. Back To Reality
  • 2. Quarantine
  • 3. Marooned
  • 4. Gunmen of the Apocalypse
  • 5. Queeg
  • 6. Polymorph
  • 7. Me²
  • 8. Holoship
  • 9. Dimension Jump
  • 10. Skipper

The 1988-93 list is closest to the main one, unsurprisingly as it’s the largest of the six groups, but they all have their subtle and interesting variations. The 1997-99 bunch are the only ones not to choose Back To Reality as their favourite, opting instead for Gunmen. Generally speaking, the earlier you became a fan, the more likely you are to have some of the older episodes among your faves, although the same principle doesn’t seem to extend to those who joined after the bubble, who still won’t include anything from VII onwards. The exception to all of these trends are the Dave era converts, whose list contains the biggest range of episodes, and even includes Skipper in the Top 10.

Just for fun, let’s have a look at how the G&T regulars, the ones most likely to have made it this far in the article, voted:

G&T Regulars Top 10

  • 1. Back to Reality
  • 2. Marooned
  • 3. Gunmen of the Apocalypse
  • 4. Quarantine
  • 5. Queeg
  • 6. Thanks For The Memory
  • 7. Legion
  • 8. White Hole
  • 9. Out of Time
  • 10. Holoship

G&T Regulars Bottom 10

  • 64. Dear Dave
  • 65. Beyond A Joke
  • 66. Back In The Red (Part One)
  • 67. Only The Good
  • 68. Krytie TV
  • 69. Back In The Red (Part Two)
  • 70. Timewave
  • 71. Back In The Red (Part Three)
  • 72. Pete (Part One)
  • 73. Pete (Part Two)

Well, the most extreme ends of each table match up with the main one, although your discerning G&Ter prefers Out of Time and Holoship to Polymorph and Dimension Jump. At the other end, us lot just can’t stand Dear Dave, bringing it five places closer to the bottom, but we’re showing signs of easing up on Back To Earth, the second part of which escapes the bottom ten as a result.

And finally, it’s time to look at the series rankings, effectively the Constructors’ Championship of Red Dwarf polling.

Top 12 series by average points

  • 1. Series V – 17477
  • 2. Series III – 16227.67
  • 3. Series 2 – 15870.33
  • 4. Series IV – 15556.5
  • 5. Series VI – 15540.33
  • 6. Series 1 – 13272.33
  • 7. Series XI – 9598.5
  • 8. Series X – 9583.67
  • 9. Series XII – 9569
  • 10. Series VII – 7492.38
  • 11. Back To Earth – 5192.33
  • 12. Series VIII – 4411.25

Series V has extended its lead at the top over the last five years, while Series 2 and III have swapped places, with the latter now taking silver. The next two on the list have also changed over, with Series IV pipping VI to fourth spot by the narrowest of narrow margins. Series 1 is still sixth, although with a sizeable points gap separating it from the rest of the bubble. Not much change in the bottom three, while Series XI and XII enter the list either side of X, with the three full Dave series all scoring very similar points averages. XII has come out of the worst of the three, but that’s entirely thanks to Timewave being such an outlier- if you were to remove it from the equation, the average of the five remaining episodes is 10,762.6, which would put it comfortably above the other two.

Blimey, after all these stats, you’re probably in need of a bit of a recap of the actual episode results so far. Luckily, just as I was writing this paragraph, a portal from another dimension opened up in the Polling Department here at G&T Towers, and through it fell a Scotch E-120 video cassette. It was unlabelled, but I’ve digitised it and uploaded it to YouTube, so let’s take a look what’s on it:

Cor, that was handy, if a little chronologically confusing. You heard that generic 1988 Top of the Pops style voice-over – let’s not pretend that we didn’t all know before the vote had even opened that the officially-appointed Best Ever Episode Of Red Dwarf is once again…

1. Back To Reality

Non-mover. 22662 points. Top: 57. Best Series V episode. Obviously.

Ranking every episode of Red Dwarf is a simple game. Hundreds of fans chase their opinions around for a few weeks, and in the end Back To Reality wins. Smegazine 1992, BTL 1999, G&T 2008, G&T 2013 and now G&T 2018. It’s done it again, and this time with a margin of over 2000 points. It’s won by virtually every metric. 24 more first-place finishes than its nearest rival. Top according to the G&T team, and the G&T regulars. The favourite episode of both men and women. No matter when you became a fan, it’s your favourite episode (unless you became a fan during Series VII and VIII, as we’ve already noted). If anything, it’s performed even stronger than ever before, and it’s also helped Series V strengthen its grip on the title of best series. Back To Reality is simply a phenomenon.

As indeed is Red Dwarf itself, still going strong after thirty years. Still popular enough to attract millions of viewers to a digital channel to watch brand new episodes. Still relevant enough to gather three quarters of a million followers across its official social media channels. Still adored enough to sell out conventions months in advance. Still special enough to compel over three hundred people to spend hours rating each episode in turn, and a man in his thirties to take a week off work to write up the results. Red Dwarf has a hold over its fans in a way that few other comedies can manage, and it shows no signs of stopping.

There are three generations of Red Dwarf fans in some families now. Those who watched in the 80s and 90s with their mums and dads are now having children of their own, and putting them in Mr Flibble themed bibs, or turning up at their schools wearing “Twat It” t-shirts. There are people in the world who only exist because of Red Dwarf, their parents having met thanks to a shared love of the show. And as long as fans old and young are here to watch, they’re going to keep making it, of that we have no doubt. We’ll see you back here in another five years, and another five years after that, and so on forever, because Red Dwarf will never die. Happy anniversary, folks. Here’s to the next thirty years.


The Pearl Poll was brought to you by Ganymede & Titan. Words and main image: Ian Symes. Development and design: Jonathan Capps. Pie Charts: Danny Stephenson. The video was produced by Ian Symes and Danny Stephenson, with very special thanks to Duncan Newmarch. A huge thank you to everyone who took part. For further celebrations, catch up with our LIVE 30th Anniversary DwarfCast.

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115 Responses to The Pearl Poll Results

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  1. Hooray! Here’s to the next 30 years indeed.

    (And Timewave did bloody well, considering.)

  2. i put timewave right at the bottom! i agree with most of the servay though i would have all of series 10 ubove 8 and i think back to earth 1 and 3 are a bit low, but OPINIONS BLAH

  3. also kind of surprised that siliconia is the second lowest in seriees 12

  4. THE EPISODE WHERE RIMMER HAS LOTS OF SEX IS IN POSITION 69 HUR HUR HUR.

  5. M-Corp wuz robbed.

  6. While I’m not remotely expecting anyone actually sit down and do it (I’m not insane), I am very curious to see how much the results would change if any entries where post-Grant episodes had been dragged onto the list in order were treated as spoilt ballots. I suspect the same phenomenon that has seen Skipper fall out of the bubble is also responsible for Tikka’s rapid ascent and M-Corp’s weirdly low placing.

  7. I must congratulate whoever chose the photos for the video rundown, by the way. The ones for Dear Dave and Krysis made me laugh out loud. And it’s always nice to see Hitler.

  8. Morning. Sitting down for a big fat read with a beer milkshake. Thank you. See you on the other side to tell the largest ever amount of red dwarf consensus how right & wrong you are, with nodding clapping and ranting as is the way.

  9. Just kidding. Love you lots. Happy Birthday Red Dwarf!

  10. While I’m not remotely expecting anyone actually sit down and do it (I’m not insane), I am very curious to see how much the results would change if any entries where post-Grant episodes had been dragged onto the list in order were treated as spoilt ballots.

    Agreed. It is kind of not entering into the spirit of things.

  11. I’m only at 65 and already I’ve had one “really?!” moment – Beyond a Joke the worst of VII?! Absolutely no surprises until then, though.
    I do think Back to Earth would fare -slightly- better were the Director’s Cut considered the official version.
    Can of Worms gets quite the unfair beating on here, but honestly I’d struggle to really place it much higher. A testament, I think, to the fact that (if you ignore the few episodes which are -utterly- shite), most of Red Dwarf is actually rather good.
    Some slight mumbles at how certain XI’s and XII’s are below certain I’s, and a few other mumbles as we climb higher, but nothing egregious, really.
    Stoke and Tikka deserve more love. Lemons deserves less.
    Give & Take > Confidence & Paranoia.

    Also, nice “an palpable” in your Gunmen writeup ;)
    I’m sure you have some bizarre reason to list the series’ roman numerals only from III onwards.

    That video is fucking hilarious, nice one.

    Cheers to everyone for a brilliant poll, it must have taken fucking ages to collate all the information and write all those WORDS.

    Also, an enormous HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the show I’ve been the biggest fan of for the longest time x

  12. G&T Admin

    That video is probably the greatest thing this site has ever created, and I can say that because I did fuck all towards it.

  13. The video was splendid! My heartiest congratulations to the chef.

    Phil shouldn’t have been allowed to submit Holoship ten times though.

  14. The numerous Hitlers made me laugh out loud.

    Hitler has appeared as a guest character the same number of times as Ace Rimmer (I think?! I originally typed “more times than” but my brain is faulty this morning)

  15. That video is probably the greatest thing this site has ever created, and I can say that because I did fuck all towards it.

    The custom continuity announcement alone would have made it the greatest, but the rest was alright too aye? Thanks Ian. Thian.

    A few small surprises in there, I expected a few XI and XII episodes to be a little higher (especially Give & Take) but I really can’t complain as I was too lazy to finish my rankings.

    Lovely stuff all round.

  16. Didn’t see the video as I’m on my work laptop and it’s blocked. Just watched it on my phone. Fan-fucking-tastic, guys!

  17. The pictures in the countdown video are funnier than the entirety of series 8 (plus Timewave). The picture for Dear Dave is particularly amazing. After the Blade Runner poster turned up for Back to Earth Part 2, I expected the illustration for Part 3 to be Blade Runner 2049. I don’t get the M-Corp one.

    I kind of wish those video images had been used to illustrate the article itself. Did you consider doing that but decide against it? (The repeated use of a certain image might have made G&T come across as a very different sort of site in Google search results.)

    Also: who is classed as a “G&T regular”? Just the site staff contributors, or people who found the poll through G&T, or anyone with an email address matching their commenting account?

  18. I don’t get the M-Corp one.

    I didn’t too until I read your comment and I suddenly got it – It’s a transparent image, since everything turns transparent in the episode

  19. >Also: who is classed as a “G&T regular”?

    If memory serves, weren’t we asked when we filled out the poll?

  20. Oh wow, that didn’t turn out like I thought at all. It looks like a ton of people voting on nostalgia alone. The Dave era deserves better than that!

    Would really really love to see the results of just G&T voters though. Pretty please?

  21. Great poll and the results weren’t bad either.

    I would bemoan how Twentica, Give & Take and Skipper didn’t crack the top 30 but I can’t be arsed.

    Happy Birthday G&T!

    Lots of love from all at HMP Holloway x

  22. I didn’t realise so many of the electorate were twats, so I’d have voted differently. Can we have another poll?

  23. Bravo to the G&T team for putting this together – hugely entertaining and really well done. That video is amazing.

    I’m slightly peeved at the folks who didn’t bother ranking the post-Grant eps but just dumped them all at the end. Fair enough if someone doesn’t like post 1993 at all and genuinely rates all of VII-XII as running best to worst in broadcast order but I struggle to think that’s terribly likely and certainly not in great numbers. Feels like a few folks going “I can’t be arsed doing this properly” has skewed the results out of shape.

  24. I didn’t get the Dear Dave one, it looked like a quarry? Might have been a pile of shit.

    The arguments for and against “spoilt ballots” are interesting, I’m conflicted between it not being fair on more recent episodes and it being more representative of popular opinion

    And obviously nostalgia plays a factor into the results which can never be absolutely removed, and it’s debatable as to whether it should be

  25. Feels like a few folks going “I can’t be arsed doing this properly” has skewed the results out of shape.

    And I know I sound like a NewRedDwarfMoaner (ooft – topical humour!) but there you go.

  26. I didn’t get the Dear Dave one, it looked like a quarry? Might have been a pile of shit.

    The arguments for and against “spoilt ballots” are interesting, I’m conflicted between it not being fair on more recent episodes and it being more representative of popular opinion

    Slag heap!

  27. I didn’t realise so many of the electorate were twats, so I’d have voted differently. Can we have another poll?

    Are you advocating tactical voting? Come come now.

  28. “the average age of those who answered was 32 years and 11 months. We also asked when people became a fan of the show, with the most common response being during the original six series:”

    That’s a lot of under 8s becoming fans!

  29. >Are you advocating tactical voting? Come come now.

    No, I was making a satirical comment about referendums like Rory Bremners.

  30. Slag heap!

    Oh I get it now! Funny.

  31. >That’s a lot of under 8s becoming fans!

    Yes, it’s the unknown variable of people being inclined to lie about their age, but also claim they’ve been a fan since the original studio recording of The End.

  32. People just dumping the Dave era at the back could simply be “I haven’t seen these” though.

  33. People just dumping the Dave era at the back could simply be “I haven’t seen these” though.

    One of the aspects of the poll was that you’d seen every episode, I’m pretty sure.

    The arguments for and against “spoilt ballots” are interesting, I’m conflicted between it not being fair on more recent episodes and it being more representative of popular opinion

    ‘Series VII-XII are bad -> worse in chronological order’ isn’t a popular opinion though, is it? I thought the problem was people who didn’t bother ranking them at all. Hence Skipper being worst on eight lists.

    Anyway, I’m having A Really Bad Day and that video gave me three minutes of absolute joy, so thank you so much for that.

  34. People just dumping the Dave era at the back could simply be “I haven’t seen these” though.

    Wasn’t it in the rules that people had to have seen every story to be eligible to submit? Otherwise, the scoring method punishes unseen episodes.

  35. Not a particularly shocking ranking overall, but still pretty interesting!

    – Perplexed that Part 2 is considered the worst episode of Back to Earth. For me, it’s so clearly the best that I didn’t even need to think about it. (It’s the only episode with a decent concentration of jokes, for a start.) Guess people just REALLY took against all the meta Corrie stuff.

    – Disappointed to see that nothing from the Dave era broke the top 30. As far as I was concerned, the Grant Naylor bubble was truly broken. Around a third of my top 36 were Dave era, and M-Corp even made my top 5.

    – Series XII in particular performed worse than I expected. Timewave (Time Wave) was obviously going to drag it down, but the other 5 episodes combined (M-Corp and Skipper especially) make it comfortably the best Dave era series in my book.

    – A small part of me really wanted to see Back to Reality knocked off its pedestal, just for a bit of excitement, but it was obviously not going to happen. Despite thinking this, I still couldn’t bring myself to place it lower than 2nd. It’s just that good.

    – I see NOBODY supported me and my CORRECT choice of The Last Day as the best episode ever. I couldn’t even lift it to being the second worst of Series 3… oh well. :P

    – Why is Confidence & Paranoia Top: X, Bottom: X? It’s either a mistake or I’m ignorant of a really brilliant joke.

    Anyways, lovely work, G&T! Bring on the anniversary Dwarfcast, and then, in 5 years, the… err… Jade Judgement! Yes.

  36. >That’s a lot of under 8s becoming fans!

    That seems like a normal age to become a lifelong Red Dwarf fan to me. Maybe you need to have the right parents / the wrong parents.

  37. The banners for XI & XII episodes show correctly on my mobile, but on my PC they’re fluorescent purple and transparent respectively.

    Also, I just managed to spell “fluorescent” correctly through guesswork.

  38. G&T Admin

    A hard refresh should sort that out.

  39. >Perplexed that Part 2 is considered the worst episode of Back to Earth. For me, it’s so clearly the best that I didn’t even need to think about it.

    Yes, agreed. I pretty much hate BTE, but I think the more bearable stuff is certainly in Part 2. The meta stuff hasn’t got completely nonsensical, and the stuff on the bus with Lister looking at pics of Chloe Annett, and talking to the two kids, is as interesting as the story got. Noseworld and Rimmer killing Katerina are shit, mind.

    >Guess people just REALLY took against all the meta Corrie stuff.

    That’s Part 3.

  40. Great job guys.

    I re-watched a lot of episodes to do this poll, and I sat through the entirety of series 8 and Back to Earth. That’s fucking dedication for you.

    Whilst these are amongst the worst of Dwarf, what I noticed when I watched them, was I laughed a lot more than I expected to during series 8. Yet BtE was nearly completely laugh-free.

    How the fuck Back to Earth wasn’t bottom I have no idea. You’re all wrong dammit. We need a re-vote ;)

  41. Congrats guys. I don’t often say this (I probably said it in the Silver Survey comments, so set your Five Year Alarm [which you will be doing anyway] because I’ll probably say it again in your 35th Anniversary ‘Coral Countdown’ or whatever you’ll call it), but thanks. We all hate and mercilessly rip the piss out of each other, but I know we all appreciate the hard work you’ve put into this poll, and the site in general. A proper little community that only exists because the boy Symes wanted his own little corner of the interwebs to talk about wanking in. Cheers peeps.

    Oh, and Red Dwarf.

  42. I’ll probably say it again in your 35th Anniversary ‘Coral Countdown’ or whatever you’ll call it)

    The Coral Canvass surely?

  43. Coral Consultation.

  44. Coral Cuestionnaire

  45. Coral Cloche, surely?

  46. So skipper topped all of the Dave era? Well that’s Good because I totally agree.

  47. Coral Cloche, surely?

    We have a winner.

  48. I didn’t realise so many of the electorate were twats, so I’d have voted differently. Can we have another poll?

    It’s Brexit all over again.

  49. “the average age of those who answered was 32 years and 11 months. We also asked when people became a fan of the show, with the most common response being during the original six series:”

    >That’s a lot of under 8s becoming fans!

    You’re comparing the mean value of age with the mode value of when they became a fan. A number of younger respondants would skew the mean age downwards, but as long as there’s still less young’uns than older fans, the mode value would remain the original six years.

  50. I swear that’s Peter O’Hanraha-hanrahan doing the countdown on the video.

  51. Can someone hint me towards 58 & 25 in the awesome video please? I love the look around you reference and some were funny for the lateral thinking element. who is the genuine voice over continuity announcer? Genius guys loved. it.

    As for the poll broadly agree, understand the wider show opinion. Skipper pushes the buttons of bubble nostalgia. Its not getting as much love for originality though its clearly doing a better sequel feel than the plummetting Emo Hawk which is a similar sequel fan service thing. Still its nice as we sit at 30 that skipper was the last episode aired and its making a warm and fuzzy feel right now.

    Im happy Duct Soup my nemesis is 60 to the wider opinion. I will give it that for the one funny gag in the extended.
    I would still rather endure the worse bits of Timewave, Pete farce, and the slow bits in back to earth over the dullness, pointlessness and illogical soup of total bucket of water wetness, of that show and most of the chris barrieless shows.

    Shame about Trojan. Poor Howard / Mark Dexter. Lemons is just famous/memorable as the jesus one, and i think Trojan is being over shadowed by The beginning having similar themes.

    I’m the furthest out of sync on M-Corp I think. That show is far more “Meh” to me than nearly the entire universe of fans.
    When I’ve more time I will compare the rest. The originality factor of some parts within the Dave era is sadly overlooked, but I still love the 20 twenty here as the cream.

  52. >Why is Confidence & Paranoia Top: X, Bottom: X?

    Looks like it should be Top: 6, Bottom: 4 unless I’ve counted wrong. Both seem a bit high.

  53. Pleased VII fared slightly better this time and that VIII and Timewave are where they belong. Did think BtE would be lower though! Disappointed that the best of XI and XII weren’t higher up; I felt Skipper, M Corp, Mechcracy and Twentica were all worthy of being placed much higher!

    I guess with new episodes some people will rank them higher for freshness and others will rank them lower because they simply aren’t the classics they’ve always known and loved, the latter seems to be more the case this time round and I’m sure in time when all episodes are older and classic in their own right that things will take a different shape.

    Gutted that I won’t be able to be there for the podcast later but just want to say happy anniversary to Red Dwarf and a huge thanks to everyone at G&T for putting the poll together and all your hard work which really does make the Red Dwarf experience even more awesome! ❤️️

  54. Given that I didn’t participate in the poll, like in any democracy I feel that I’m not owed an opinion on this, but fuck it … there’s a lot here I agree with, and a lot I don’t.

    For starters Timewave should be given a special ranking outside the top 73, kinda like Zone 9 for Watford on the TFL map.

    And, this is probably me suffering from the “it’s new” fever … but if I had taken part, Cured would have been top for me. It’s certainly best of the Dave era and I genuinely love it, should have made it higher than it did.

    As for everything else, this is why I didn’t participate. I would have ranked all of series 7 and 8 at the bottom in an arbitary order, with maybe the exception of Tikka to Ride making it a little further up the list somewhere, and everything else would have been me just having a wild guess about how I felt about the episodes on the day.

    Seriously, hats off to those that can and have the patience to rank 73 episodes of a more or less consistently good TV show

  55. give & take and M-corp should both be in the top 36 escecially m-corp, lemons is great but for me it doesnt top g&t and m-corp

  56. Looks like it should be Top: 6, Bottom: 4 unless I’ve counted wrong. Both seem a bit high.

    Ah, it’s been stealthily updated! Confidence & Paranoia was 2 people’s worst episode ever, and nobody’s favourite.

    A tad harsh, perhaps.

    >Guess people just REALLY took against all the meta Corrie stuff.

    That’s Part 3.

    Oh, of course, yes, the Corrie set was the Part 2 cliffhanger! I guess people just didn’t like the slide into meta-narrative in general? Or the whole Rimmer being a murderer thing.

  57. > Oh, of course, yes, the Corrie set was the Part 2 cliffhanger! I guess people just didn’t like the slide into meta-narrative in general? Or the whole Rimmer being a murderer thing.

    Maybe it’s because all the jokes are in episode 2 that it fared so poorly. Episodes 1 & 3 and the story heavy episodes, and when people think of BTE they think of the story because that’s what BTE centres around. So when it comes to rankings, it’s easier to remember those elements than the jokes in what is essentially the middle 2nd act.

  58. >Guess people just REALLY took against all the meta Corrie stuff.
    That’s Part 3.
    Oh, of course, yes, the Corrie set was the Part 2 cliffhanger! I guess people just didn’t like the slide into meta-narrative in general? Or the whole Rimmer being a murderer thing.

    part two is definatly weaker than 1 and 3 but id usually talk about bte as the directors cut which i really enjoy, just rewatched it last night so all the positives and negative are kinda fresh in my mind, and i really think the middle section is slightly boring, rimmer pushing Katerina infront of a fast moving car i am not offended by cus well holograms, i thought it was a good gag.

  59. Until I rewatched it recently I honestly couldn’t remember which episodes of Back To Earth featured which bits. I actually like the first episode quite a bit, and ranked it at 54, several places above parts 2 and 3, neither of which really work as they should, for me.

    They were at 59 and 60, above seven episodes of VIII, five from VII, and Timewave.

  60. Excellent job on the poll. The results are horrid. As I predicted, I was the only person to put my top episode top. I think we deserve to see the rankings that would have resulted with the foul ballots thrown out, as they were completely against the spirit of the entire exercise. I intend to call in later to express how much that fuck you, especially anybody whose top 36 were the original 36 because that’s just incorrect and I can say this because I’m objectively right. I can’t watch the video now, I’ll try later, and I’m looking forward to it. I absolutely think that even once Red Dwarf completely ends, there need to be at least two polls, one regarding the newest episodes as new entries and one where every episode is old.

    Anyways, I’ll see you all for the Coral Spit-on-her-Wrist.

  61. I’ll be dead in the cold cold ground before I recognize Backwards as part of the Top 36.

    And I don’t care what the poll says, Series XI should’ve broken well into the bubble.

    Really I’m just regretting my decision to spread the poll in a Facebook fan group I’d left for its rabid stupidity. Those people are going to vote for the ones they grew up on no matter what.

    If I pretend the results were a direct result of them, then I can take responsibility and imagine that we would’ve gotten exactly the results we wanted if I hadn’t.

    I’d actually like to see a full list of the Dave-convert responses. Those are bound to be interesting, because they won’t feel the same attachment to the original 36/52 episodes that we do.

  62. – Perplexed that Part 2 is considered the worst episode of Back to Earth.

    – Perplexed that Back to Earth Part 2 is considered the only episode not worthy of being included in that massive graphic with captures from all the other episodes.

  63. Hey, I do wish we’d had a little more analysis by nationality of respondent. Do certain episodes work better in Britain than elsewhere?

  64. I agree with most of the poll. The results aren’t surprising. I think you managed to get a good cross section of participants across the fandom. The video of the TOTP chart rundown is ACE! The pics for each episode were hilarious, I’m glad I wasn’t drinking my coffee while viewing it. Excellent in-depth analysis too.

    Happy 30th Anniversary everyone! Here’s to many more years of Red Dwarf :-D

  65. Excellent job on the poll. The results are horrid. As I predicted, I was the only person to put my top episode top.

    Don’t leave us in suspense, flanl3! Which one was you?

  66. > Can someone hint me towards 58 & 25 in the awesome video please?

    The Epideme one is Carmen, the opera. I don’t get Terrorform either. That whole video is excellent. Well done guys, and great job on the write-up, Ian.

  67. Still don’t get the love for VII. Truly painful to sit through, like watching a much loved pet dying from a horrible wasting disease, with the soul departing the flesh half-way through. Duct Soup is the worst episode of anything ever; the Kryten/Head-Swop Kochanski dynamic being the naffest thing the show ever did, and at its most excruciating here.

    V>IV>III>II>I>VI>X>XI>XII>BTE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Hitler>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Hitchhiker Movie>>>>>>>>>>>>>VII.

  68. VII i feel like is a series that had alot going against it, whether it was chris leaving, the rubbish CGI ect ect.

    VIII is the one that had no excuses.

  69. Great job on the survey and video. Thanks for all your hard work.

    I’m shocked that nothing from XI/XII made even the top 30. I had three XII eps in my top ten (Cured, Mechocracy and M-Corp) and while I didn’t expect them to rank that high in the final results I expected at least one or two from XII to make at least the top 20. It’s an outrage, etc.

    Not surprised at Timewave’s ranking. It’s a shame that BTE didn’t rank higher. I’m surprised at how high Tikka to Ride got, even though I kinda like it. I’m fascinated at which episodes some people chose to rank as the worst of the lot. I can understand why a lot of the episodes would be someone’s top episode, but why would the likes of Quarantine, Justice or Dimension Jump be at the bottom?

    Happy Birthday, Red Dwarf!

  70. Duct Soup is the worst episode of anything ever.

    You didn’t watch the Twin Peaks revival then? But apart from that I totally agree with you. Yes it is.

  71. Great as always!

    I do think a recount is in order however – submitting a poll where only half (or an incomplete portion) of results have been put forward should count as a spoiled result, as it is the entire survey is invalidated by counting votes that are incomplete as they skew everything towards the classic era. It’s not going to knock Back to Reality of its top spot (I doubt 6 atomic bombs could do the job at this point) but XI and XII were a collection of good episodes and shouldn’t get victimised by Seventh Day Advent Bubbleists.

  72. I remember when Series 8 was voted the 2rd best series by fanclub members back in 1999-2000.

    30% V
    18% VIII
    14% VI
    11% III
    10% VII
    8% IV
    4% II
    2% I

    There was also a top 49 episode poll thing and Pete got to a generous 17th place.

  73. Excellent job on the poll. The results are horrid.

    Yeah, huge kudos to the G&T team for putting this together – it’s super impressive and really in-depth.

    But sigh… we’ve just had two (mostly) excellent series of Red Dwarf back to back for the first time since 1993, both of which were well recieved and had episodes that were frequently held up as at least holding their own with the glory days and then… some folks didn’t bother to rank them properly (or even watch them at all maybe – which would be against the rules).

    Not moaning that my favourites newbies weren’t rated (bar Back To Reality my favourite classic stories didn’t rate all that well either). Just annoyed that there seems to have been be a prejudice about giving the newer ones a fare rating (or any rating) from some participants. It leaves a bad taste.

  74. I’ve introduced Marooned on BBC2 and I love a good number 2. Er, just thought I’d share that with you.
    Happy birthday Red Dwarf, please come home.

  75. Some of the new entries deserved to do better, a lot better in some cases. I’m also a bit dismayed about Series 1. On average I ranked it just over 10 places higher. And I agree BTE Part 2 is the best of the three.

    Replace White Hole with Me² and the G&T Regulars Top 10 is the same as mine. Not in that order though.

  76. It may be a little unfair to say votes are abit prejudice since thats a BIG assumption that alot of people have gone out their way to put the newer ones to the bottom rather than judge the 70 something episodes from honest opinion.

  77. Series V did way too well, Series I did way too poorly, but other than that, eh whatever. The Dave era is still about where I placed it regardless.

    I do have to agree that not ranking all of the episodes does kind of violate the whole “all that we ask is that you’ve seen every episode, and that your rankings are honest and considered” clause though.

  78. Thank you very much for doing this! I share in your disappointment Ian, that the overall results were more predictable than one might have hoped and it’s certainly frustrating that people didn’t even bother to rank over half of the episodes produced. Some say it is reflective of a certain subset of the fanbase but hey, they still could have ranked the first six series as the Top 36 and then had a go at ranking the rest from shit to least shit.

    Not that anyone cares but I just looked at my rankings and I think that somewhere between 55 and 60 Red Dwarf episodes are Good.

    Justice was my #1
    Pete Part 1 was my #73
    6 Dave era in the Top 36
    Highest Dave era was M-Corp at #24
    Back to Reality was my #5
    According to my list V>VI>IV>II>III>I>XII>XI>X>BTE>VII>VIII. I’m honestly surprised that 1 came out better than XI and XII.
    Cassandra is no way near as good as this poll makes out.

  79. I remember when Series 8 was voted the 2rd best series

    Is “2rd” code for “turd”?

  80. It is nearly criminal not to rewatch the show before rating. I know that, strictly speaking, that wouldn’t make sense as a participation criterion, but it definitely made my rankings feel a lot more honest.

  81. > Can someone hint me towards 58 & 25 in the awesome video please?

    The Epideme one is Carmen, the opera. I don’t get Terrorform either. That whole video is excellent. Well done guys, and great job on the write-up, Ian.

    Ah thanks. Blimey Carmen is obscure. Had to reverse image search 25, it’s James Last.

  82. It may be a little unfair to say votes are abit prejudice since thats a BIG assumption that alot of people have gone out their way to put the newer ones to the bottom rather than judge the 70 something episodes from honest opinion.

    We’re not talking about people who rated the first 36 over the following 37. This is the problem:

    A handful of those people just ignored whichever series they have no time for, dumping each episode at the bottom of the pile and only doing a proper order for the rest.

    If there’s a clear pattern that shows no attempt at ordering the episodes, then it’s staggeringly unlikely that that person has actually judged the episodes fairly.

  83. Justice was my #1
    .

    justice was also my number 1, i will defend most of the dave era with a few exceptions (dear dave, samsara and timewave) i am happy with the top 5. and of course great job on the survey and the borderline tideous amount of write up!

  84. Judging by the episodes that reached bottom of the pile I’d say these were the episodes I noticed most were not fond off so I don’t see how many could have voted going in blind to the new shows

    Or do you mean people just didn’t bother ranking them?

  85. Or do you mean people just didn’t bother ranking them?

    For me, primarily not ranking them (though going in blind would be miserable too).

  86. On Back to Earth Part Two:
    “It’s the lowest placed episode to have been picked as somebody’s favourite … if it wasn’t for the points boost given by that one voter, it could well have fallen behind Krytie TV, in addition to the couple of VII episodes it beat last time.”

    That one voter was my brother’s girlfriend. I knew getting her perspective included would shake things up.

  87. Christ, the parallel universes this poll must have thrown up.

  88. There are a number of Dave era episodes that stake a claim to penetrating “the bubble” in my view so I’m surprised not to see them perform better. Episodes like Give & Take for example give many of the “classic era” episodes a run for their money.

    You would like to think that the sort of person who would spend time doing a survey like this would have at least seen them all yet from the comments it seems to be a general consensus on here that some of the newer episodes have been hard done by… which is strange when you consider it’s a G&T survey so therefore you would expect it to fall in line somewhat with the general consensus of site regulars. Then again, each to their own and I guess there are a lot of people out there that simply don’t accept Red Dwarf post 1993 and have their mind closed to the possibility we could occasionally be getting new stuff that’s sometimes as good as – or in some cases better than – the old stuff. In my opinion, from X-XII we definitely have seen that.

    Hell of an effort putting this together, well done y’all

  89. Yes, I would have liked to have seen Give & Take and maybe Officer Rimmer, as well as Siliconia in the top 36. Give & Take especially I think is among the greats.

  90. Christ, the parallel universes this poll must have thrown up.

    How many permutations are there? That’s how many universes that have been spawned, plus 1 in which the poll wasn’t conducted at all.

  91. One universe for each and every possible combination of episode and ranking, one where the poll never took place, one for every possible draw. Theoretically one for each and every individual decision on each and every individual episode by each and every individual participant, one for each universe in which each and every participant either did or did not participate. One for whether or not you decided to scratch your balls between rankings. Add to these potential universes where Rob never left, where Rob stayed and Doug left, for where it was only Rob from day one, where Robert Llewellyn wrote the show and Rob Grant played Kryten, one for the universe where everybody really is Kryten….

  92. The one where Norm got his ball back, the one where it was never taken away, the one where David Ross wasn’t legit, the one where Patrick Stewart called his lawyer…

  93. >TMaybe you need to have the right parents

    The right nobby background!

  94. Truly brilliant video, guys. The choices of pics are brilliant esp the treble fuhrer and the sheer cheek of those shitting VIII Dibbleys.

  95. >Episodes like Give & Take for example give many of the “classic era” episodes a run for their money.

    >… new stuff that’s sometimes as good as – or in some cases better than – the old stuff.

    I enjoy watching Give & Take as much as some of the series IV/V episodes that it’s a throwback to, but if something’s only “as good,” and repeating things from 20+ years ago, to me that’s not enough to earn it a place among episodes of similar or even slightly lower quality that have decades of formative nostalgia and respect for their vintage, originality and iconic look and feel. Those are steep hills to climb, especially when it’s something I’ve grown up on, and it’d take something bloody spectacular to break my top 20 (my fave Dave is currently at 30, so I’m only 1 position more open-minded than average).

    We weren’t required to be objective about it, just to pick our faves and worsties. On the flip-side, series VII and VIII are such time-honoured villains that it really takes a Timewave for me to consider a new episode bad.

  96. which is strange when you consider it’s a G&T survey so therefore you would expect it to fall in line somewhat with the general consensus of site regulars.

    They do give the percentages showing how its only roughly 50% that, and 50% wider social network etc advertised endevour and on the podcast said that only 8 were included but may have clearly not seen the full show due to ranking lower full series in order, and other more obvious spoiled ballots were removed.

  97. The one where Norm got his ball back, the one where it was never taken away, the one where David Ross wasn’t legit, the one where Patrick Stewart called his lawyer…

    thats the plot of skipper two

  98. I hope the other 16 people to put their top episode top come out of the shadows and admit it. We can all band together. Form a gang.

  99. It may be a little unfair to say votes are abit prejudice since thats a BIG assumption that alot of people have gone out their way to put the newer ones to the bottom rather than judge the 70 something episodes from honest opinion.

    It’s a little overly idealistic to assume that anyone besides the hardcore fans have actually thought out how any given episode stacks up against the rest. Many fans in social media circles don’t like anything outside of Series III-VI and VIII, and are casual enough that they might not necessarily be able to place a given episode from the Officer’s Quarters Years in the correct series.

    We have to assume to at least some people who voted weren’t even sure which titles were which episodes outside of their go-to favorites, which I’m going to guess is the case with at least some of the people who left the Dave era in chronological order.

    It’s a catch-22; the hardcore fans on G&T are a microcosm of the Red Dwarf fandom, but the majority casual fans won’t necessarily have put the time and thought into their votes be able to even accurately reflect their own opinions. And that’s not a slam on them, we’re definitely the weirdos in this situation.

  100. Weirdos are the ones that actually answer polls though surely?

  101. Weirdos are the ones who would turn in a poll of their opinions with answers that they didn’t mean for any reason but being intentionally facetious.

  102. Many fans in social media circles don’t like anything outside of Series III-VI and VIII, and are casual enough that they might not necessarily be able to place a given episode from the Officer’s Quarters Years in the correct series.
    We have to assume to at least some people who voted weren’t even sure which titles were which episodes outside of their go-to favorites, which I’m going to guess is the case with at least some of the people who left the Dave era in chronological order.

    But I do not understand what possessed these people to even take part, and I don’t mean that in a snobby not-as-big-a-fan-of-Red-Dwarf-as-me way but a simple do-not-meet-the-entrance-criteria way: if you cannot differentiate the episodes, and have an opinion on all 73, you shouldn’t be voting. (And that opinion doesn’t have to be absolute: if I did the survey again, my top 8 would be unchanged, my bottom 5 would be unchanged, and everything else could well end up in different slots. But it does need to be there, otherwise we get the silly situation where three of the best episodes of Red Dwarf get penalised because they happen to be the last three episodes chronologically.)

    I really enjoyed the X-Files back in the day and have seen every pre-revival episode, but aside from my absolute favourite episodes if you presented me with a list of X-Files episodes I would have no idea what happened in many of them from the title alone, nor would I really be able to offer much of a ranking to those episodes without going back and revisiting them. So I would not have the audacity to go and vote in a massive poll of X-Files episodes where I was asked to rank every episode. I would vote in one where I had to choose my Top 10, or similar, but to ruin a poll with an uneducated opinion – I just wouldn’t bother.

    You may argue that ruining polls with uneducated opinions is largely what has happened over the last couple of years…

  103. I think the problem is that even if people don’t come close to meeting the criteria for the poll, they still think Their Opinion Matters.

  104. It’s a little overly idealistic to assume that anyone besides the hardcore fans have actually thought out how any given episode stacks up against the rest. Many fans in social media circles don’t like anything outside of Series III-VI and VIII, and are casual enough that they might not necessarily be able to place a given episode from the Officer’s Quarters Years in the correct series.
    We have to assume to at least some people who voted weren’t even sure which titles were which episodes outside of their go-to favorites, which I’m going to guess is the case with at least some of the people who left the Dave era in chronological order.

    Rating 36 episodes alone is tough so if you go into to something like this you really need to be dedicated to making the effort.

    The Dave era didn’t make my top 36 but i did rate them as stressfully and as honestly as i could.

  105. Talking of terrific character moments, that bit in The End where Lister is clearly disgusted by his chicken soup, but continues to eat it anyway, is brilliant. Such a small moment that really tells you something about this man, and embarrassingly something I can absolutely relate to.

  106. Parallel Universe and Rimmerworld are the only eps I can see as possibilities to fall out of the bubble five years from now. In the event that two Dave-era episodes managed to do so, however, that would mean the equivalent of an entire series was now outside the bubble.

    The most significant changes I can see here are Stoke Me a Clipper is now placed ahead of one of the original 36, meaning there are now *two* VII/VIII episodes that manage that, and Lemons managing a notable improvement on its 2013 ranking – I think some of the XI & XII episodes will follow its lead next time round.

  107. Stuff I’d kick out of the top 20 –

    Stasis Leak (sorry)
    Queeg (yeah, I know…)
    Legion (the last 10 minutes of it just piss me off)
    Me2
    Quarantine (sacrilege? nah, I just prefer the rest of V to this)

    To be replaced with –

    Terrorform (always been one of my favourites)
    Out of Time (goes without saying)
    Timeslides (bloody love this one and always will)
    The Beginning
    BtE pt.3 (I genuinely love all of BtE, but the last part in particular, so fuck you and your pet tortoise)

    Other contenders for the top 20 –

    Bodyswap
    Meltdown
    M-Corp (it’s a gnat’s wing away from an out-and-out classic)
    Trojan
    Tikka
    Cassandra (why the hell is it so far down the poll??)
    DNA
    The Last Day

  108. Btw Den of Geek put Can of Worms as number 20 in their top 20 list………… Either somebody is out to wind up fandom OR they just….simply……..enjoyed the episode…..more than……..every other episode of XI/XII which clearly piss on it from a great height, yes even Timewave. Fair enough if they liked it, but top 20…?? REALLLY.

  109. I genuinely enjoy Can of Worms, despite the many levels on which it falls short. But anyone who ranks it as the 20th best episode is fucking mad.

  110. Can of Worms has some very funny parts – primarily the birthing scene, the hunt for/stand off with the captor in the space station, and the mexican stand-offs. It’s a fucking mess though.

  111. Never understood the hate for Can of Worms. But yeah, top 20 is taking the piss.

  112. I like Can of Worms on a comedic level. It definitely falls apart enough, plot-wise, for it to be a LONG way from top 36 though.

  113. I just can’t stand what Doug did with the Cat in that episode as while he is dumb in previous series he has never been THAT dumb to the point of duane dibbley levels of wingy and awkward.

    And the mind tuck machine was there to put certain things into motion but i dunno whether it deserved the screentime it got just to get to that point.

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