TV Review: Red Dwarf XII, Dave

Top marks to Dave for breathing new life into Red Dwarf, which returns this week for its twelfth series. The first episode, Cured, finds our mismatched crewmates setting off in Starbug (note the old school ignition key) and meeting up with various historical tyrants – Hitler, Stalin, Messalina and Vlad The Impaler – who have been brought back to life. 

The Red Dwarf gang doesn’t need to be scared though. Professor Telford (Adrian Lukis) explains that they have been cured of their evil tendencies. In fact Lister (Craig Charles) even gets the chance to play guitar with Hitler (Ryan Gage, who was Alfrid in The Hobbit and Louis XIII in The Musketeers), who seems to have returned as a slightly camp rock fan (I notice he doesn’t appear to be sporting any swastikas - I’m guessing Dave didn’t want to offend anyone?). 

There are some lovely moments from writer Doug Naylor here as the plot pans out and things are not quite what they seem. Some of the gags are a bit obvious - you can see a Rupert Murdoch swipe light years off – but other touches are neat and imaginative, particularly when the crew get into a sticky patch and are confronted by their own worst fears. 

It certainly feels like the cast is enjoying themselves and the veteran foursome look like they’ve never been away. Danny John-Jules has great fun as Cat and can still twirl impressively like James Brown, Robert Llewellyn (Kryten) and Chris Barrie (Rimmer) are on good form and, well, Craig Charles gets to jam with the Fuhrer. His musical scene is a little too long, but let’s face it, it’s not every day you get to rock out with the leader of the Third Reich. 

Watch online now here. Series airs on Dave from Thursday, October 12 at 9pm. 

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