Hello there! In lieu of anything especially Dwarfy happening at the moment, let me talk to you about 1970s post-apocalyptic drama Survivors. And while I could do 10,000 words on how the show transitioned from being shot on film to recorded on VT and why that was a good thing, a) That isn’t strictly within the remit of this website, and b) It would probably make you want to drown me in the nearest river. Even more than usual, I mean.

So instead, let’s do an old-style Observation Dome post and take a look at the Red Dwarf connection with the show. Specifically: Series 2 of Survivors contains no less than three Red Dwarf guest cast members as regulars. And the first time they all come together is in Episode 5, The Face of the Tiger.

First up, Denis Lill as Charles Vaughan, leader of the Whitecross community:

Denis Lill in Survivors Denis Lill in Red Dwarf

Then, John Abineri as Hubert Goss, shepherd and cunt:

John Abineri in Survivors John Abineri in Red Dwarf

And finally, Gordon Salkilld as Jack Wood, ex-carpenter and not cunt:

Gordon Salkilld in Survivors Gordon Salkilld in Red Dwarf

What a weird quirk of fate that the latter two both guest in Better Than Life. Anyway, if you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend the original 1970s incarnation of Survivors – I’m even going to link to a DVD price comparison website to give this piece a truly old-school feel.

As for other shows which have three people who have guested in Dwarf, Absolutely is the obvious one, with Morwenna Banks, Jack Docherty and Gordon Kennedy. A less obvious example is The Strangerers, which manages four: as well as Morwenna and Jack again, there’s Mark Williams and Sarah Alexander.

Here’s your challenge, then: is there any show which shares five actors or more with Red Dwarf?

32 comments on “Gunmen of the Post-Apocalypse

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  • Big Finish’s version of Survivors is really really good and doesn’t get rid of Abby/Carolyn Seymour after the first series.

  • >Here’s your challenge, then: is there any show which shares five actors or more with Red Dwarf?


    Jake Wood
    Paul Bradley
    David Gillespie
    Kika Mirylees
    Dominic Coleman
    Anita Dobson
    …and likely many, many more.

  • I should, of course, clarify: ALL IN THE SAME EPISODE.

    And TV, and fictional drama/comedy yeah ruling out in character appearances like comic relief/ dwarf night and chats shows etc.

  • > What a weird quirk of fate that the latter two both guest in Better Than Life.

    There’s an episode of Secret Army with John Abineri and Ron Pember, also in Better Than Life of course. RP is a regular in Secret Army though. Can’t think of any Red Dwarf guest stars from the same episode guesting in the same episode of something else.

  • Going from film to VT improved the show, really? Doctor Who switching to entirely VT just made the whole thing look a bit naff, but it does enable them to do more video effects I guess. I’m very slightly interested in why VT would make a show better.

  • Mark Williams
    Johnny Vegas
    James Buckley

    All in Comic Strip Presents: Red Top

    Bonus point that it’s got Red in the title?
    But loose a point for Catherine Shepard being in hyperdrive?

    Oh if only Richardson had cast mark dexter as his David Cameron.

  • Can I have a 5 in a film please John that’s been on TV. Or a least half a win for that.

    Richard Ridings
    Kerry Shale
    Denis Lill
    Mac McDonald
    Peter Elliot

    Feirce Creatures: 1997 John Cleese the fish called Wanda follow up.

  • I can equal your Strangerers for 4 for a TV episode, made by linked people.
    The first episode of Filthy Rich & Catflap the year before Dwarf, managed

    Lee cornes
    Rupert Bates
    Arthur Smith
    And Joanna Hargreaves

    Sadly Ron Pember & Chris Barrie don’t appear until later episodes, so it doesn’t hit 5, Ade appearing on board a Star Wars ship recently instead of the crimson short one.

  • Robot Wars.

    Craig Charles (who played Lister) was the presenter, and Sergeant Bash, Shunt, Sir Killalot and Cassius Chrome were all played by actors who also played Skutters in Red Dwarf.

  • This is all excellent. And yes, films definitely count.

    Short version as to why Survivors works extremely well on VT, rather than my 10,000 word opus: because with film, to me it always feels like you’re at a slight distance to the action, whereas with VT you feel like you’re in the room with the characters. And that works wonderfully with a series like Survivors, when being a little too uncomfortably close to things suits a post-apocalyptic drama where anybody can drop dead at any minute.

    And yet the series still manages to do its fair share of “painting with light”, as we might pretentiously say about film; especially with an episode like Series 3’s ‘Mad Dog’, where they’ve really got to grips with how to shoot location OB for drama.

  • Not that it competes with any of these, but since I observed it recently: series 3 of Detectorists shares two actors and a script editor/story producer with series XI of Red Dwarf.

  • Any points for Hattie Hayridge and Craig Charles guest starring in an episode of Canadian comedy/scifi series ‘Lexx’. The comical misadventures of the crew of a gigantic spaceship that consists of a lowly janitor, a dead man, a gorgeous sex obssessed being and a robot with personality flaws. Bonus points as it also has the late, great John ‘Jim Lahey is a Drunk Bastard’ Dunsworth cameoing as a prison guard.

  • Not that it competes with any of these, but since I observed it recently: series 3 of Detectorists shares two actors and a script editor/story producer with series XI of Red Dwarf.

    Trying to fathom this one out… Dan Tetsell and Kevin Eldon? Laura Checkley’s in Siliconia and s1-2 regular David Sterne was in Twentica too of course.

    Whenever the ‘three Absolutely members’ thing comes up I am contractually obliged to add that John Sparkes was the backup Kryten for III if Robert Llewellyn’s dates hadn’t worked out. Presumably using his Peppa Pig voice.

  • Yeah, Tetsell and Eldon. I forgot about the others, which is funny because I spent most episodes with them in noticing them. But yeah, so there are two series of Detectorists that share five people with two series of Dwarf.

  • I like how in the Lexx episode there appears, what I would take to be a little Dwarf reference where Hattie’s character mentions that one of the inmates is from a parallel universe and Craig replies to her with “and you aren’t?”

  • Isn’t Detectorists just one of the best things to be on the Beeb in the last 10 years? Toby Jones….what more can be said about the guy?? Even his dad’s brilliant, was in the League of Gentlemen Christmas special. Both he and Mackenzie Crook should be in Dwarf.

  • Just been watching Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, because what better way to kick off a bank holiday weekend? I’d remembered Mac McDonald is in it but Indira Joshi and Kerry Shale are as well.

  • I was amused to see the following pop up in the last series of It Ain’t Half Hot Mum when I watched it recently:

    Gordon Salkilld

  • The positioning of that caption over the cord on his jacket makes it look like “GORDON’S ALKILLD”.

  • I’d like it if Gordon Salkilld couldn’t remember Kenneth MacDonald’s name, and so referred to him as ‘the little Nobby one, down the front.’

  • Why does Gordon Salkilld look so different in every single screengrab of him? Does he regenerate?

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