Episode Orders

Here we are, then; an article detailing the different orders of Red Dwarf episodes, both broadcast and video. It’s pretty simple for the earlier and later series (although there are a few interesting snippets), but IV/V in particular can be a bit confusing. We deliberately haven’t put any recording or broadcast dates on here as it would be a bit too cluttered; besides, that info is easily avaliable on Time Hole. Obviously, the recording order (like the recording dates on Time Hole) is based on the main studio recording in front of the audience, and not on any OBs or pre-record days.

Red Dwarf Series 1

Recording Order Broadcast Order
The End The End
Balance of Power Future Echoes
Waiting for God Balance of Power
Future Echoes Waiting for God
Confidence & Paranoia Confidence & Paranoia
Me² Me²

As you can see, the broadcast order is exactly the same as the recording order, apart from one change – Future Echoes came out so well that it was moved up from fourth episode to second, to attempt to keep viewers. The video release has exactly the same order; but despite Waiting For God being the first episode on the tape, the release was entitled Confidence & Paranoia in order to avoid confusion with a certain other BBC sitcom.

The dropped script Rob Grant speaks about in the introduction to the scriptbook Son Of Soup (“The story involved Rimmer trying to cope with his death by going insane, and trying to construct a new body for himself by stealing bits of Lister while he was asleep”) was apparently the second show in the series. As the oft-told tale goes, when this was dropped, the cliffhanger ending of CaP was changed from Kochanski being revived to Rimmer; and Me² was written as the sixth show.

Red Dwarf Series 2

Recording Order Broadcast Order
Better Than Life Kryten
Thanks For The Memory Better Than Life
Stasis Leak Thanks For The Memory
Kryten Stasis Leak
Parallel Universe Queeg
Queeg Parallel Universe

A couple of changes here; Kryten was moved round from the fourth show to the first, and the last two shows (Parallel Universe and Queeg) were swapped round. Possibly Kryten was moved to the first episode as it was so well-recieved. Parallel Universe is obviously designed to be the last episode of the series, so why it was recorded fifth is interesting. Perhaps it was actor availability – or maybe the script was simply finished first. We know that Rob and Doug had difficulty thinking up the ending for Queeg

Red Dwarf III

Recording Order Broadcast Order Video Order
Marooned Backwards Backwards
Timeslides Marooned Marooned
Backwards Polymorph Polymorph
Bodyswap Bodyswap Timeslides
Polymorph Timeslides Bodyswap
The Last Day The Last Day The Last Day

Well, this series got a good old shift around for broadcast, didn’t it? Backwards was chosen to go first, on the advice of Paul Jackson who knew a good hook (well, gimmick) when he saw one.

The changes to the video order are well-documented; Bodyswap and Timeslides were swapped round, as it was felt that Timeslides was a better title for the video; unlike what happened to the Series 1 release (actually released later than Series III), the episodes were actually swapped round on the tape itself, rather than just the video’s title being changed.

Red Dwarf IV

Recording Order Planned Order Broadcast Order 94 Repeat Order
Justice Meltdown Camille Dimension Jump
Dimension Jump Dimension Jump D.N.A. Justice
Meltdown Justice Justice Camille
Camille Camille White Hole White Hole
White Hole White Hole Dimension Jump D.N.A.
D.N.A. D.N.A. Meltdown Meltdown

The series that makes this article worth doing, probably. The order of episodes was always decided after the shooting of the series, partly in order to put out the strongest episodes first. An order was decided, with Meltdown being the first to go out, as Rob and Doug felt it was their strongest episode; but then the Gulf War put back transmission of the episode because of the anti-war message (erm, surely it would have been the perfect time to show the damn thing?), along with Dimension Jump because of Ace’s “war hero” character (which is fucking ridiculous). When a new order had to be arranged because of these reasons, Camille was chosen first because the first episode was airing on Valentine’s Day, and it seemed apposite.

Note that the video order is exactly the same as the original broadcast order; even though the second video is called Dimension Jump, White Hole is still the first episode on the tape. The original broadcast order is now deemed to be the “correct” one, despite the 94 repeat season following the original plan for the episodes, apart from airing Meltdown last, rather than first – in keeping with it apparantly being considered the weakest episode of the fourth series. Despite the fact that it isn’t; it’s fucking brilliant, and anyone who hates it is an IDIOT. (This Time Hole article reveals that that particular run was nicknamed “From Here to Entirety”, which is quite cute.)

Red Dwarf V

Recording Order Broadcast Order Video Order 94 Repeat Order
Demons & Angels Holoship Back to Reality Back to Reality
The Inquisitor The Inquisitor Demons & Angels The Inquisitor
Holoship Terrorform Terrorform Terrorform
Terrorform Quarantine Quarantine Holoship
Quarantine Demons & Angels Holoship Demons & Angels
Back to Reality Back to Reality The Inquisitor Quarantine

Again, a good old switcheroo here. Holoship was chosen to start the series – again, like Camille, there’s more emphasis on the love story than the SF, and so was a good way of bringing in new viewers – exactly like Camille.

Bizarrely, Juliet May chose to record the most complicated episode of the series, Demons & Angels, first – against the advice of Rob and Doug, who suggested The Inquisitor (and say that the reason she didn’t record this first was because she didn’t understand it). Despite some last-minute shooting by Rob and Doug after the wrap party, Demons & Angels was felt to be the weakest show of the series by Rob and Doug, and so was placed 5th – the traditional place for what you think is your worst episode. (Despite D&A being great.) Nobody cares if you’ve got a duff ep if you’ve had four great ones before it, and end the series with a blinder.

Originally, Back To Reality was meant to have broadcast first – indeed, it was the first script written. However, it obviously has more impact going out last, with even Paul Jackson wondering if they were changing the entire format of the show. Sadly, this is ruined somewhat in the 94 repeat and video orders, with the ep going out first. Why the 94 repeat order is so different is up for debate (why it wasn’t as originally broadcast, or even as originally recorded, I have no idea), but the video order is explainable – it was changed to make the release more commercial by titling the vids after the best-received episodes. Obviously, you’re going to want to call one of the vids Back To Reality, although thankfully the practice of naming videos after episodes has completely died out now, with complete series releases being the norm for sitcoms.

Red Dwarf VI

Recording Order Broadcast Order
Psirens Psirens
Legion Legion
Rimmerworld Gunmen of the Apocalypse
Gunmen of the Apocalypse Emohawk – Polymorph II
Emohawk – Polymorph II Rimmerworld
Out of Time Out of Time

With an arc running through this series (however vague), the broadcast order is necessarily similar to the recording order – the only change is that Rimmerworld was changed from third to fifth. This is partly because the “quite hideous thing that’s happened to Lister” ending (unplanned – it was originally intended to reveal this as a joke) leads itself into Out Of Time quite nicely – but we can perhaps speculate that with Rimmerworld perhaps one of the weaker shows in the series, it made sense to stick it next to last anyway.

Red Dwarf VII

Broadcast Order
Tikka To Ride
Stoke Me A Clipper
Duct Soup
Beyond A Joke

Sadly, we don’t know a huge amount about the recording of this series (it being more flexibly shot now there was no studio audience), beyond the fact that Duct Soup was written and shot last (to replace Identity Within) – and deliberately designed to fit into fourth place to give Kochanski some retrospective character stuff.

Red Dwarf VIII

Recording Order Broadcast Order
‘Back In The Red’ Part One/Two ‘Back In The Red’ Part One/Two
Cassandra ‘Back In The Red’ Part Three
‘Pete’ Part One Cassandra
Only the Good… Krytie TV
Krytie TV ‘Pete’ Part One
‘Pete’ Part Two ‘Pete’ Part Two
‘Back In The Red’ Part Three Only the Good…

Well, this would have been a straightforward tale, if the reshoots to expand episodes hadn’t occured. The only change would have been that Krytie TV would have been recorded last, after Only The Good….

Sadly, budget and scheduling problems got in the way. So, the two last recording sessions were taken up with expanding Pete and Only The Good. It’s interesting to note that whilst the decision to make BITR/Pete multi-parters obviously happened late on in production – otherwise, why would they both be the last two recording dates? – the script for the last episode Earth that was dropped (the famous “Dwarfer’s destroy Earth, and exchange insurance details with survivors”) was never written. And logically, there must have been another episode that was dropped somewhere – but we never even hear what that might have been about…


4 Responses to Episode Orders

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  1. > (This Time Hole article reveals that that particular run was nicknamed ?From Here to Entirety?, which is quite cute.)

    I also saw it described in TV listings of the time as “Red Dwarf: Genesis”.

  2. Meltdown is fairly weak compared to the rest of series III-VI but still a great episode.

  3. Ahh the 94 repeat of Series IV, the one I have on off-air copy. The only copy I had till DVD.

  4. Well, you have “Heartache” in place of “Blue” on the series VII list.

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