Future Echoes

Infobox Red Dwarf episode
name = Future Echoes

image_caption = A "future echo" of Lister's future self holding his two baby sons, Jim and Bexley.
number = 2
airdate = February 22, 1988
writers = Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
director = Ed Bye
guests = John Lenahan
Tony Hawks
series = 1

"Future Echoes" is the second episode of science fiction sit-com "Red Dwarf" series one,cite web | url =http://www.sitcom.co.uk/red_dwarf/series1.shtml | title =British Sitcom Guide - Red Dwarf - Series 1 | publisher =www.sitcom.co.uk |accessdate =2008-01-31] and was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 22 February 1988.cite web | url=http://catalogue.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/programme/NMRE757N | title=BBC Programme Catalogue RED DWARF - FUTURE ECHOES | publisher=BBC | accessdate=2007-11-27] Written by co-creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by Ed Bye.cite web | url =http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0684157/fullcredits | title =Future Echoes cast and crew | publisher =www.imdb.com |accessdate =2008-01-31]

The episode - which has the crew witnessing events from the future as "Red Dwarf" breaks the light barrier - was considered to be one of the better efforts from the first series,Episode Survey Results, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603] so much so that it has been credited, by the creators, as having saved the series.Episode Guide: Series 1 episode 2: Future Echoes, Red Dwarf Smegazine, volume 2 issue 2, June 1993] The episode was re-mastered, along with the rest of the first three series, in 1998, to appeal more to international broadcasters.cite web | url =http://www.sci-fi-london.com/news/article/1195080035/3/red-dwarf-the-bodysnatcher-collection | title =Sci-Fi-London Film Festival - The Bodysnatcher Collection | publisher =www.sci-fi-london.com |accessdate =2008-01-30]


Lister (Craig Charles) has decided, much to the annoyance of Rimmer (Chris Barrie), to take the Cat (Danny John-Jules) with him as he spends the remainder of the journey back to Earth in stasis. As Lister is shaving in preparation for stasis the ship jolts. Holly (Norman Lovett) explains that after three million years of constant acceleration the ship has just broken the light barrier. Reassuring Lister that everything will be alright Holly goes back to navigating the ship. Lister however starts seeing odd occurrences in the mirror; his reflection reels back in pain as he cuts his chin with the razor. Lister feels his own chin and sees no blood. Carrying on regardless he then sees the reflection of Rimmer racing up behind him. He turns and sees no one there. After discussing the occurrences with Holly it appears that they are experiencing "Future Echoes"; events that will occur in the future than can be seen in the present.Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 46.]

After the impact of an explosion rips through the corridors Rimmer tells Lister that he saw a vision of somebody die in an accident in the drive room. Due to the similar build and clothes he believes that it was Lister. Soon the drive room navicomp starts malfunctioning and Lister is the only person that can repair it. Lister boldly goes to the drive room to face his destiny the same way as he came into the world; kicking and screaming.Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 46.] Lister successfully repairs the navicomp system and there is no explosion. Rimmer doesn't understand it as believes he saw Lister die.Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 47.]

Another "future echo" appears as Lister and Rimmer enter their sleeping quarters. There lying on the bunk is an old Lister with aged grey dreadlocks. The old Lister tells them that it was one of Lister's twin sons, Bexley, that Rimmer saw die, and then tells them to go to the medical unit with a camera. As they race to the medical unit Rimmer asks how Lister would get twin sons with no women on board. Lister doesn't know but insists that it's going to be a laugh finding out. The door to the medical unit slides open and another Lister, of similar age, walks out carrying two crying babies and poses for the camera.Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 47.]


techniques were used as Lister talked to Rimmer's echo - just as the original Rimmer walked out the door. While Craig Charles interacted with Chris Barrie the first time, he had to then act with thin air. Where in fact, the finished shot would have Rimmer's echo walking in from the other direction and Lister trying to talk to him. This was achieved by shooting the scene with Charles and Barrie and then a separate shot of Barrie was added to the scene to follow on with the conversation with Charles.cite video | people =Remastering Crew | title =The Beginning DVD documentary | medium =DVD | publisher =BBC | location =Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset disc 1 | date =2007 ]

The skutters, the tiny, motorised, three-clawed service droids, were actual working models. They were made up of parts including old shoe boxes and the engines of radio controlled cars. Interference originating from the radios of a nearby taxi company, which was particularly busy during filming of "Future Echoes", caused havoc with the skutter models on set. One reportedly poked Craig Charles in the eye, and another launched an unsuspecting attack on Chris Barrie's groin. Coincidentally the skutters were in the script very inept towards their maintenance work and mischievous towards humans.Intrerview: Peter Wragg, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 8, October 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn=0965-5603]

The writers were convinced viewers would be swayed by the unusual premise of the show, and an introduction was written to be read by Holly at the beginning of each episode to remind audiences of the premise of the show and what events had preceded that particular episode. Co-creator and writer, Doug Naylor, frequently had to remind the cast of these things too, as it took them a while to get their heads around the plot.Episode Guide: Series 1 episode 2: Future Echoes, Red Dwarf Smegazine, volume 2 issue 2, June 1993, Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn=0965-5603]

John Lenahan voiced the Toaster and Tony Hawks provided his voice for the Dispensing machine.

Cultural references

This was the first episode of the series to deal with a science fiction plot based on real scientific theory, which was to become a common occurrence in later "Red Dwarf" episodes. For this particular episode, time dilation and various assorted time anomalies caused by travelling close to the speed of light (or indeed even at the speed of light) are referenced in Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.


"Future Echoes" was originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 21 February 1988 in the 9:00pm evening time slot. Although the pilot episode "The End" gained over five million viewers, this was now tailing off slightly as the series progressed.Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 8-9.] The episode was considered to be one of the better ones from the first series.Episode Survey Results, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603] Co-creator and writer, Rob Grant, stated that if it weren't for "Future Echoes" then the show would have been nonexistent. It was the fourth episode recorded and they felt it worked so well they brought it forward in the schedule to second.Episode Guide: Series 1 episode 2: Future Echoes, Red Dwarf Smegazine, volume 2 issue 2, June 1993, Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn=0965-5603]


of "Red Dwarf" flying through space,cite video | people =Remastering Crew | title ='Re-Dwarf' Documentary | medium =DVD | publisher =BBC | location =Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset disc 1 | date =2007 ] and many more visual, audio and scene adjustments.

Changes specific to "Future Echoes" include new bike shots of Lister inserted at the beginning,cite video | people =Remastering Crew | title =Future Echoes Re-Mastered text commentary | medium =DVD | publisher =BBC | location =Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset disc 1 | date =2007 ] computer generated special effects of "Red Dwarf" breaking the light barrier. Also post-production video effects of white flashes were added to scenes when the ship breaks the light barrier. An additional dramatic score was added to the scene of Lister's impending death.

ee also

*"Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers" - the first "Red Dwarf" novel which features an expanded version of events from this episode, as well as new material not seen in the television episodes.Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 209.]
*Time travel in fiction



*cite book |last=Howarth |first=Chris |authorlink= |coauthors=Steve Lyons |title=Red Dwarf Programme Guide |year=1993
publisher=Virgin Books |location= |isbn=0-86369-682-1

External links

* [http://www.tv.com/red-dwarf/future-echoes/episode/10946/summary.html Future Echoes at TV.com]
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0684157/ Future Echoes at IMDB]
* [http://www.totalreddwarf.co.uk/episode_future_echoes.html Future Echoes at Total Red Dwarf]
* [http://www.reddwarf.co.uk/deck03/season1.html Series 1 overview at RedDwarf.co.uk]

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