Demons and Angels

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"Demons and Angels"
Red Dwarf episode
Demons and Angels (Red Dwarf).jpg
The "Low" versions of the Red Dwarf crew
Episode no. Series 5
Episode 5
Directed by Juliet May & Grant Naylor
Written by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Original air date 19 March 1992
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"Demons and Angels" is the fifth episode of science fiction sit-com Red Dwarf Series V[1] and the twenty ninth in the series run.[2] It was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 19 March 1992.[3] Written by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor,[4] the episode was the first to be filmed with new director Juliet May.[5] The episode has the regular Red Dwarf crew meet their 'high' and 'low' versions.


Kryten has created a Triplicator, derived from the Matter Paddle, which he hopes will solve any supply problems that might arise on Red Dwarf. It can create two copies of anything placed within its field, and he tests the machine out with a strawberry. Two seemingly identical copies are created; however they are entirely difference under the surface. Lister tastes one, and is amazed at how succulent it tastes. However the second is anything but, as it is filled with maggots. Kryten realises that the machine, instead of creating two identical copies, is instead putting all the very best elements into one copy and all the worst elements into another. Lister decides to test what happens when the beam is reversed. However, this causes the science room to begin to blow up. Holly appears, but her voice unit is damaged making her spout out gibberish (although Rimmer quips that this isn't much difference to normal). At this point however, Kryten tells everyone that the engine core is about to go into meltdown. As a result, the crew, joined by the Cat, quickly head to Starbug to make their escape. Starbug is forced to crash its way through the cargo doors when Holly is too damaged to open them, but manage to make it out. As the rest of the crew start to bemoan the situation, Lister tries to reassure everyone that they've only escaped as a precaution as the safety systems aboard Red Dwarf should take care of the danger. However he is quickly shut up when Red Dwarf suddenly explodes.

Later, Kryten reports to the crew that the supply situation is bleak. They don't have enough fuel to make it to a habitable planet, but this isn't a problem as they literally only have minutes' worth of oxygen and hologram battery. However, when scanning for supplies that might have escaped the explosion, the crew discover two identical copies of Red Dwarf. Kryten realises that when the triplicator was put into reverse, the field of the beam was projected outwards towards the whole ship, creating the copies (with the sudden power drain destroying the original). Unfortunately, the copies will only last an hour meaning the crew can't simply stay on the higher version of Red Dwarf (and raising the question how the Triplicator could have solved their supply problems in the first place). Kryten proposes to restore Red Dwarf by using the Triplicator on board the higher ship to amalgamate the two copies. Starbug lands on the first ship which is much more advanced than the original. The air and music give Lister and the Cat a feeling of happiness, and the dispensers even produce an edible Pot Noodle. The crew is then greeted by alternative versions of themselves embodying the best parts of their personalities. These are the spiritualistic 'highs', who spend their time philosophising, reading poetry and trying to improve their minds. Naturally, Rimmer is disgusted and considers them to be hippies. Unfortunately, Kryten finds that the triplicator aboard this ship contains only half the vital components. The crew will have to board the low ship in order to find the rest.

However, aboard the 'low' ship, the crew is attacked and splits up. The higher Cat and Kryten are killed by their low counterparts, leaving the normal Lister and Rimmer separated. During his pursuit of his crewmates, the normal Lister discovers the low counterparts: an ugly and violent cowboy Lister, an aggressive cannibalistic Cat and a highly glitchy and broken Kryten. Escaping them, he searches for the normal Rimmer but instead discovers the low Rimmer, who is a Frank N. Furter-like dominator. He lashes at Lister with a holo-whip, leaving him injured while the Lows all come to the low Rimmer's aid. They capture Lister and implant him with a device created by their own gothic version of Holly, enabling them to dictate his actions by remote control so that they can escape the inferior Red Dwarf as all of its systems are inoperative and decayed. To test him out, they force him to pour boiling water over his groin, trap his face in a door and eat a live tarantula. He is then made to attack his shipmates, killing the higher versions of Lister and Rimmer while Kryten and Cat search the disgusting contents of the ship until they find the Triplicator. Eventually Lister finds his crewmates while still remote controlled, and the ensuing violence is only stemmed when the duct tape covering Lister's mouth is pulled off, causing him to explain the lows' plan and Kryten to chloroform him. After leaving the low ship, Lister is still being controlled and they discover that the low Lister is still on board, therefore having to shoot him with the bazookoids. Having seen off the danger, they collect the Triplicator and reverse the reversal, bringing the situation back to the point before Red Dwarf blew up in the first place. As the crew head home, Lister accidentally reimplants the device, and the Cat, stealing the controls, begins causing him to hit himself to punish Lister for ruining his clothes while being controlled. When Kryten asks him what he's doing, Cat requests it remain there for a week—much to Lister's horror.


"Demons and Angels", which had the working title "High and Low",[6] was the first episode from Series V to be filmed. Following the departure of Ed Bye, who had directed all the previous four series' episodes, Juliet May was brought in as the new director.[5]

Grant and Naylor commented that the script was a tricky episode to shoot. Several scenes had to be re-shot and going back to re-shoot caused no end of stress as they re-wrote and directed the episode with limited studio time. Scenes were re-written there and then and given to the cast to block out in one take.[7]

For this series the Red Dwarf model was rebuilt from the original version which had fallen apart over the years. The ship explosion was filmed using pyrotechnics and shooting the cameras at three thousand frames a second. From a few seconds of explosions the crew got around 20 seconds' worth of film footage.[8]

To achieve the High and Low versions interacting with the regular Red Dwarf crew, old techniques of split screens were the order of the day. Doubles for the cast were used, but a large number of shots were created with the by-now traditional locked-off camera and split screen. Craig Charles did his bluescreen scenes to roll on the floor in front of himself; the video effects crew added a holowhip.[9]

At one point, the Doctor's TARDIS from Doctor Who can be seen parked in the Red Dwarf's landing bay. The shot was originally filmed for "Marooned", but was cut from that episode.[10]


The episode was originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 19 March 1992 in the 9:00pm evening time slot,[3] and received a mixed response from viewers.[11]


  1. ^ "British Sitcom Guide - Red Dwarf - Series 5". Retrieved 29 January 2008. 
  2. ^ " - Demons and Angels summary". Retrieved 29 January 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "BBC - Programme Catalogue - RED DWARF V - DEMONS AND ANGELS". BBC. Retrieved 12 December 2007. 
  4. ^ "Demons and Angels cast and crew". Retrieved 29 January 2008. 
  5. ^ a b Series V Preview, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 1, March 1992,Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn 0965-5603
  6. ^ Howarths, Chris; Steve Lyons (1993). Red Dwarf Programme Guide. Section 1: The History: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-86369-682-1. 
  7. ^ Grant and Naylor Look Back, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 11, January 1993, Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn 0965-5603
  8. ^ Interview: Peter Wragg, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 8, October 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn 0965-5603
  9. ^ "Red Dwarf Series V Effects". Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  10. ^ Farnell, Chris (22 June 2015). "Doctor Who: The Brief Cameos That Are Definitely Canon". Den of Geek. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  11. ^ Red Dwarf Smegazine: Survey Results, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603

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