Home TV News More ‘Red Dwarf’ Could Be On The Way As Rights Dispute Resolved

More ‘Red Dwarf’ Could Be On The Way As Rights Dispute Resolved

by Dave Elliott
More 'Red Dwarf' Could Be On The Way As Legal Dispute Resolved

More ‘Red Dwarf’ Could Be On The Way As Legal Dispute Resolved

Some good news landed today for fans of the beloved British sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf, as it is announced the long-running legal dispute over who owns the rights to the property have been resolved.

‘Red Dwarf’ follows the crew of a Jupiter Mining Ship which is drifting through space. The crew are dead, killed by a radiation leak. The only survivors are Dave Lister (Craig Charles), who was in suspended animation during the disaster, and his pregnant cat, who was safely sealed in the hold. Revived three million years later, Lister’s only companions are Cat (Danny John-Jules) – a life form who evolved from his cat; Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie) – a hologram simulation of Lister’s hated dead bunkmate; And Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) – a neurotic Series 4000 serving mechanoid.

‘Red Dwarf’ was last on our screens back in 2020, however, since then, things have been rather quiet for the crew of the rouge short one. That was due to a legal case launched in 2021 between co-creators Doug Naylor and the company he co-founded, Grant Naylor Productions. For what happened, we need to go back in time a little…

The series was originally created by writing duo and childhood friends Rob Grant and Doug Naylor from a sketch called ‘Dave Hollins: Space Cadet’ on the Radio 4 series ‘Son of Cliché’  back in the mid-80s. The show eventually made it to air on the BBC in 1988, with the duo forming the production company Grant Naylor Productions in 1990 to manage ‘Red Dwarf’. The series continued on the BBC until 1999, and was later revived by UKTV’s Dave in 2009, where it remained until 2020, last airing the feature-length episode ‘Red Dwarf: The Promised Land’ in April of that year.

Rob Grant stopped writing on the show in the mid-90s after Season 6, however, Grant Naylor Productions continued under Doug Naylor, with Grant also remaining as a board member. However, in March 2020, Naylor alleged that he was removed from the board of the company, whilst the company claimed he had resigned. The company also claimed that they retained the rights to ‘Red Dwarf’, which resulted in (rather understandably) a legal action being brought against the company by Naylor.

“I have been excluded from Grant Naylor Productions, the company I co-founded and which bears my name,” commented Naylor in an interview with The Daily Mail at the time. “I want to make sure that I get back the rights to allow me to keep making Red Dwarf, the show I have been writing single-handedly for more than 20 years. It is bizarre and regrettable that Grant Naylor Productions and its other shareholders are trying to prevent me from doing so. I’m sure that Red Dwarf fans and the much-loved cast would agree.”

This caused UKTV to stall on any future ‘Red Dwarf’ projects from Doug Naylor, along with stopping Rob Grant from writing more ‘Red Dwarf’ books, whilst the legal challenge as to who owns the rights was sorted out. The reason for removing Naylor at the time is not clear, and will likely never be made public, in the same way that Grant’s reasons for stopping working on the show in the mid-90s were never completely clear.

However, today, Doug Naylor is listed, once again, as a board member of Grant Naylor Productions, with the company releasing a statement saying “Rob Grant and Doug Naylor are delighted to announce that the ongoing dispute over the Red Dwarf rights has been resolved. Moving onwards and upwards, Rob and Doug hope to launch separate iterations of Red Dwarf across various media, working again with the cast and other valued partners, and wish each other the very best. Smoke a kipper, Red Dwarf will be back for breakfast!!”

So, from that statement, we may assume we are back to the status quo, with Doug Naylor working on the TV series, whilst Rob Grant continues working on novels based on the property. However, it doesn’t explicitly say that, so it’s possible Grant could be involved in some tv projects, and Naylor could be working on other things as well, such as novels, audiobooks, video games, or stage shows. What it does say is there will be two iterations of ‘Red Dwarf’ – one led by Grant, and one by Naylor. This isn’t something new, as the previous novel versions of ‘Red Dwarf’ written by Grant rather diverge from the continuity of the tv version made by Naylor.

Whatever we get, it does appear that ‘Red Dwarf’ is back for more, and – speaking as a fan who has loved this series since they were a child – that can only be a good thing.

Whilst there is no official news on a new series yet, if you want to keep track of ‘Red Dwarf‘, you can add it via our Never Miss system, and you’ll be notified when it gets a UK premiere date.

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