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Parallel Universe (Red Dwarf)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Parallel Universe"
Red Dwarf episode
Red dwarf series ii group.jpg
The crew use the Holly Hop Drive to go back to Earth, but instead are transported to a parallel universe
Episode no.Series 2
Episode 6
Directed byEd Bye
Written byRob Grant & Doug Naylor
Original air date11 October 1988 (1988-10-11)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
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List of Red Dwarf episodes

"Parallel Universe" is the sixth episode of science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf series two,[1] and the twelfth in the show's run.[2] It premiered on the British television channel BBC2 on 11 October 1988. Written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by Ed Bye, the plot involves the Red Dwarf crew travelling to a parallel universe where they meet alternative versions of themselves. This marked the final appearance of Norman Lovett as Holly, although he would return years later at the end of Series VII and then for the whole of Series VIII. The episode was re-mastered, along with the rest of the first three series, in 1998.


Holly invents a new drive system called the "Holly Hop Drive", declaring that it can theoretically get Red Dwarf back to Earth in an instant. When Arnold Rimmer, Dave Lister and Cat decide to use the new system, it transports the ship into a parallel universe, and in proximity of a parallel version of Red Dwarf. Onboard, Rimmer, Lister and Holly encounter their female counterparts – Arlene Rimmer (Suzanne Bertish), Deb Lister (Angela Bruce) and Hilly (Hattie Hayridge) – discovering that in this universe, women are the masters and superior gender, while men fought for equal rights. Cat, expecting to encounter his female counterpart, is shocked to find it to be actually a male dog-like humanoid named Dog (Matthew Devitt).[3]

Holly and Hilly reveal that they need a day to repair the Hop Drive, leaving the two groups to decide to socialise in the disco for the night. Lister and Rimmer are soon put off by their counterparts – the former criticising Deb on her qualities despite sharing them himself, and the latter resisting Arlene's overbearing sexual advances – while Cat and Dog disagree on dance techniques. Despite this, Lister has sex with Deb, but is shocked in the morning when Arlene points out that men in their universe get pregnant, rather than women. After Holly and Hilly confirm this, Lister becomes horrified that this universe's rules will ensure this. After he, Rimmer, Cat and Holly return to their Red Dwarf and universe, Lister conducts a pregnancy test. As he waits for the results, Holly speculates that this might be the answer to how he saw a "future echo" of himself with twin boys, to which Rimmer delights in how he recalled Lister's response to finding it out and the results eventually coming back positive, much to Lister's dismay.[4]


Tongue Tied

For time reasons, "Parallel Universe" was shown without its opening credit sequence, and was originally shown with no episode titles at all,[5] although the introduction sequence would later be added in the remastered version.[6] Instead the viewer was led straight into the Cat's song dream scene, where the Cat performs the "Tongue Tied" song, with Rimmer and Lister on backing vocals. The "Tongue Tied" lyrics were written by Grant and Naylor and the music was produced by Howard Goodall.[7] The dance sequence, which was choreographed by Charles Augins (who appeared in the previous episode, "Queeg"), also had to be trimmed down.[8] It proved very popular and later spawned a single release credited to the Cat,[7] reaching No. 17 in the UK Singles Chart in October 1993.[9]


Rimmer meets his alter-ego
Rimmer meets his alter-ego

To keep costs down existing shots of the Red Dwarf ship were matted together to give the appearance of two of them. This enabled the crew to use the finances on other model shots.[10] The scenes would later be recreated for the remastered version using CGI.

This was to be Norman Lovett's last appearance as Holly[11] until his brief return as the character in Series VII and full return in Series VIII some ten years later.[12] After the end of Series 2, Lovett decided to leave the show. Having recently married and settled in Edinburgh he felt the travelling from Edinburgh to production locations in London and Manchester would prove problematic, so Lovett decided not to come to rehearsals any more – there was a conflict with the producers, and Lovett was let go. Plus there was the promise of Lovett's own TV show, I, Lovett, taking off at the time.[11] Hattie Hayridge had appeared as Hilly, Holly's female counterpart, in this episode. Producer Paul Jackson had seen her on Saturday Live and suggested her as a replacement for Lovett.[13] This is also the only Red Dwarf episode that doesn't have its title come up at the beginning.

Angela Bruce played Deb Lister, Suzanne Bertish played Arlene Rimmer and Matthew Devitt played the Dog.[14]


The episode was originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 4 October 1988 in the 9:00 pm evening slot.[15] The episode was considered the best from Series II according to a readers' poll in Red Dwarf magazine, with 5.6% rating.[16] Series II was met with great critical success, even with average viewing figures of around 3 million, so a third series was very likely.[17]

The song "Tongue Tied", which features in the Cat's opening dream sequence, was received so well that it was later released as a single. It was re-arranged and re-recorded by Danny John Jules (under the name 'The Cat') and released in October 1993. It reached number 17 in the UK charts.[18] A video to accompany the release which starred Danny John-Jules as some of his Red Dwarf alter-egos, including Duane Dibbley, was also produced. It was based around a storyline written by Danny John-Jules and featured music videos for some of the remixes, with guest appearances from the rest of the Red Dwarf cast, along with Clayton Mark ("Elvis" in "Meltdown") and Charles Augins (Queeg 500 in "Queeg").


The remastering of Series I to III was carried out during the late 1990s.[19] Changes throughout the series included replacement of the opening credits,[20] giving the picture a colour grade and filmising,[21] computer generated special effects of Red Dwarf[22] and many more visual and audio enhancements.[22] Changes made specific to "Parallel Universe" include the addition of video and sound effects of Red Dwarf jumping into the parallel universe. The shots of the twin Red Dwarf ships side by side have been replaced with the new CGI versions. Video and sound effects of Red Dwarf jumping back into its own universe were added.[23]


  1. ^ "British Sitcom Guide - Red Dwarf - Series 2". Retrieved 24 January 2008.
  2. ^ " - Parallel Universe summary". Retrieved 24 January 2008.
  3. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 58.
  4. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 59.
  5. ^ "Red Dwarf Deries II Production". Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  6. ^ "Red Dwarf Series II Remastering". Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  7. ^ a b Interview: Howard Goodall, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  8. ^ "Red Dwarf Deries II Music". Retrieved 7 January 2008.[dead link]
  9. ^ CAT | Artist | Official Charts
  10. ^ "Red Dwarf Series II Effects". Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  11. ^ a b Interview: Norman Lovett, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 9, November 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  12. ^ "Back in the Red part 1 cast and crew". Retrieved 24 January 2008.
  13. ^ "Red Dwarf Series II Casting". Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  14. ^ "Parallel Universe cast and crew". Retrieved 24 January 2008.
  15. ^ "BBC Programme Catalogue - RED DWARF - PARALLEL UNIVERSE". BBC. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  16. ^ Red Dwarf Smegazine Survey Results, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  17. ^ "Red Dwarf series II Aftermath". Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
  18. ^ " - UK Top 40 Chart Archive, British Singles & Album Charts". Retrieved 19 December 2007.
  19. ^ "Remasters of the Universe". Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  20. ^ "Red Dwarf Series I Remastering". Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  21. ^ Remastering Crew (2007). The End Re-Mastered DVD Commentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset Red disc: BBC.
  22. ^ a b Remastering Crew (2007). 'Re-Dwarf' Documentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset Red disc: BBC.
  23. ^ Remastering Crew (2007). Parallel Universe text commentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset, Blue disc: BBC.


External links

This page was last edited on 30 April 2021, at 22:08
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