On the 32nd anniversary of its premiere, Villordsutch takes a look back through the history of Red Dwarf history to bring you the Top 5 special guest stars that have appeared in this smegging brilliant show…
5. Jenny Agutter, OBE (Psirens – Series 6, Episode 1)
Star of The Railway Children, Walkabout, Logan’s Run and An American Werewolf in London. Jenny Agutter appeared as Kryten’s creator Professor Mamet, though in truth she was a shape-shifting GELF (Genetically Engineered Life-Form) with a hankering for brains.
Jenny Agutter is to this day, even with her numerous acting achievements under her belt, still seen as a figure of lust. Though it is completely wrong to view any actor in this way, it doesn’t remove the memory of watching this episode – on its original airing – with my dad sat on the settee, suddenly barking, “That’s Jenny Agutter!”, as Professor Mamet appeared. He suddenly became transfixed to the screen, and in his world he was possibly uttering the words, “I do.”
If you want to listen to a short story involving Robert Llewellyn and Jenny Agutter in a Caravan, during the filming of this episode, pop over to audioboom here.
4. Timothy Spall, OBE (Back to Reality – Series 5, Epiosode 6)
Star of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Mr. Turner, The King’s Speech and more recently Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, Timothy Spall appeared in possibly one of the greatest Red Dwarf episodes ever (big words but it’s true) as a technician who derides the previous “Gamers” for not getting the full experience of the highly popular game that is Red Dwarf. The Red Dwarf Posse missed major points in the game including: Rimmer is actually a secret Space Corp Agent and Lister – the Ultimate Atheist – should have become God and jumped started the second Big Bang. With only 4% success rating they were quite rightly called, “Twonks!”.
Timothy Spall is remembered by an entire generation for his portrayal of the somewhat awkward Barry Taylor, but his C.V. spans numerous genres from horror, comedy, thriller, big budget films and small independent roles. However as said an entire generation will always remember him as a Brummie builder.
3. Craig Ferguson (Confidence and Paranoia – Series 1, Episode 5)
Star of How to Train Your Dragon, Brave, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Craig appeared in what can only be described as a classic slice of sci-fi with a real Red Dwarf twist. Dave Lister’s mutated Space Pneumonia causes numerous objects to appear and disappear, including falling fish and the Mayor of Warsaw from 1546 (who promptly explodes), and Lister’s Confidence and Paranoia both become physical beings too, with Ferguson taking on the role of Confidence.
Craig has wandered an interesting path throughout his life from growing up in Glasgow, to joining a punk band with future Time Lord Peter Capaldi (called “The Dreamboys”) to then moving to America and becoming a bouncer. All this before entering comedy and not only becoming and actor/writer and presenter, but also an ad hoc therapist. For anyone that’s watched his chat show you’ll understand his therapist moments. If you ever get 10 minutes alone I’d suggest having a wander through YouTube for a few of his interviews – the Robin Williams one is particularly fantastic.
2. Jane Horrocks (Holoship – Series 5, Episode 1)
Star of Absolutely Fabulous, Little Voice, and Corpse Bride amongst numerous other performances, Jane Horrocks appeared in Holoship as Nirvanah Crane. A well spoken holographic officer, who not only beds Arnold Judas Rimmer, but was also the post-person that shows our very flawed officer has a spark of something good inside of him after all.
Nirvanah Crane is truly light years away from the character known as Bubble, for which the United Kingdom – along with the rest of the world – would soon associate Jane Horrocks with. Already nominated for an Olivier Award in 1992, due to The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Horrocks was both a star of the West End and the screen with films such as Memphis Belle, Life is Sweet and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase on her list of things achieved.
1. Ainsley Harriott (Emohawk: Polymorph 2 – Series 6, Episode 4)
Star of Ready…Steady…Cook!, Cant Cook, Won’t Cook and Strictly Come Dancing, Ainsley Harriott appears in Emohawk, the episode that brings back the Red Dwarf favourites Ace Rimmer and Duane Dibbley. Though it’s the GELF’s – namely the Kinitawowi tribe – that are most recalled in this episode, as an arranged marriage is completed between the Chief’s (played by top 90’s Chef Ainsley Harriott) daughter called Ech-ech-ech-ech-ech-ech-ech-ech – who is the looker of the family – and Dave Lister for an Oxy-Generation Unit.
Ainsley Harriott may not be known outside the waters of the UK, however within our fair Island this TV chef is known for his exaggerated mannerisms, his friendly approach to cooking and a sprinkle of Percy Pepper. Ainsley has been a staple of our television now for near thirty years and he’s close to being a British institution. His appearance on Red Dwarf here under masses of latex, hair, a hat and a cloak meant that if you weren’t watching the credits, you would never have known this ratings puller was ever in Red Dwarf.
That’s our list of Top 5 Special Guest Stars that have appeared in Red Dwarf over the past three decades. Who do you remember making an appearance that you think should have been on this list? Let us know on our social channels or in the comments below…