Red Dwarf returns: Craig Charles quits Coronation Street to return to comedy sci-fi series

What will be a loss to soap stalwarts will be a gain for sci-fi fans

Neela Debnath
Monday 04 May 2015 10:02
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Craig Charles as Dave Lister, Robert Llewellyn as Kryten and Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer
Craig Charles as Dave Lister, Robert Llewellyn as Kryten and Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer

He’s spent a decade in Weatherfield but now Craig Charles is walking off the cobbles heading back into outer space as he leaves the soap.

What will be a loss to soap stalwarts is a gain for sci-fi fans as Charles reprises his role as the self-confessed “bum” Dave Lister on Red Dwarf.

The 50-year-old actor from Liverpool has played the role of the philandering Lloyd Mullaney, the owner of a cab firm on Corrie since 2005.

Charles issued a statement in which he said, "I have had an absolutely fantastic 10 years on Coronation Street and I will be very sad to leave. Lloyd has become a huge part of my life and I have made some amazing friends with whom I will always keep in touch.

"But I feel I owe it to my colleagues on Red Dwarf to join them in filming the new series and finding out what is in store for Lister and the others. I would love to return to Coronation Street at some point in the future."

Craig Charles as Dave Lister, Robert Llewellyn as Kryten and Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer

Actors Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn will also be returning to their roles as Lister’s hapless fellow crew members on board the Red Dwarf.

The show followed the exploits of Lister, Rimmer, Cat and Kryten as they travelled on various adventures through space and time.

The cult comedy sci-fi series originally ran from 1988 to 1993 and 1997 to 1999 before a 10-year hiatus when the show was taken off the air.

The sci-fi programme has been broadcast in 25 different countries and has won Emmy and British Comedy Awards.

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Red Dwarf briefly returned for a mini-series in 2009 called Back to Earth. The three-episode special saw the characters return to Earth only to discover they are part of a TV show called Red Dwarf.

Things got even more post-modern and meta-fictional when the Red Dwarf crew actually visited the set of Coronation Street to find actor Craig Charles and track down their creator.

The band plays television theme tunes like the opening to Red Dwarf

Back to Earth ended up drawing in an audience of around 2.6 million. It was a combination of the success of Back to Earth and endless repeats of Red Dwarf on Dave that a new series was commissioned by the channel. Red Dwarf X was broadcast in 2012 and proved a hit with fans and led to a revival of the show.

The news comes just a day after TV channel Dave announced that the programme had been renewed for another two series that will be aired in 2016 and 2017.

Production on the new two series is due to start this autumn.

Additional reporting from Press Association

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