Sci-fi fans are nipple-nut-spinningly excited to see Red Dwarf blast back onto our TV screens. Red Dwarf XI sees crewmates Lister, Rimmer, Kryten and Cat's continued adventures across deep space. Here's 11 facts you probably didn't know about the smeggiest sitcom in the universe…

1. Red Dwarf nearly didn’t take off! The show first aired on 15 February 1988 but the pilot script was written in 1983. The script was continually rejected by Gareth Gwenlan, then Head of BBC Comedy. He said: ‘You can’t have a sitcom in space. There’s no settee.’ Well, after 28 years, it’s sofa so good…

2. Red Dwarf is Britain’s longest running sci-fi series apart from Doctor Who.

3. Casting was complicated! Alan Rickman auditioned for the part of Rimmer. Alfred Molina was considered for Lister. Norman Lovett (Holly) originally auditioned for the part of Rimmer while Chris Barrie (Rimmer) originally auditioned for the part of Lister. Craig Charles (Lister) was offered the part of The Cat, but asked to audition for the role of Lister instead.

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4. Danny John-Jules showed up to audition as The Cat in character, wearing one his dad’s sharpest suits. The rest is history!

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5. Craig Charles and Chris Barrie admit they strongly disliked each other in real life at first. Of course, Lister and Rimmer kissed and made up in this memorable scene in series 7..

6. Red Dwarf’s main stars – Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn – were all born on a leap year (1964, 1960, 1960, 1956 respectively).

7. Kryten is based on a fictional butler in JM Barrie’s 1902 play ‘The Admirable Crichton’.

8. In 1989 Kryten’s rubber mask took seven hours to apply. It still takes several hours and remains hot and uncomfortable. Hats off to you, Krytie!

9. Red Dwarf owes it all to the pub The Aigburth Arms, in Liverpool. As students the show creator’s, Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, drank pints and wrote ideas on scraps of paper and beer mats.

10. Holly was originally intended to be a voice-over. After series filming started Norman Lovett re-shot scenes appearing as a disembodied head.

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11. A USA version of Red Dwarf features Robert Llewellyn as the only original cast member. Brit actress Jane Leeves, best known as Daphne in Fraiser, plays Holly. Watch this cringe-worthy clip:

 

Red Dwarf XI airs on Dave from 22 September 2016!