SFX Issue 77

April 2001

Interview:

Lexx With Lister

Red Dwarf stars Craig Charles and Hattie Hayridge team up in the flesh in Canada! But it’s not Red Dwarf that has united them this time…

Deep in the icy wastes of Canada, something insectoid and weird is stirring. Yep, they’re shooting the next season of Lexx , and what’s more, they’ve drafted a couple of Red Dwarf stars for an episode! Craig Charles (Lister) and Hattie Hayridge (Hilly/Holly II) spoke to SFX from the set of Lexx where they play twisted prison warders. And they’re married.

“It’s mad! It’s so odd. Completely different. It’s not like anything else out there,” says Charles of the show.

“It’s S&M meets sci-fi,” adds Hayridge, her astonishment only partly comic. “There’s been men in bondage gear hanging from the ceiling.”

“Not me I hasten to add!” chips in Craig Charles. “There was this guy, they had him on a cross for a whole day in a rubber mask and trunks. He looked like the gimp out of Pulp Fiction !”

He must have been cold in that Nova Scotian weather – Lexx is filmed in a decidedly draughty ex-power station.

“I think the girls in the shower scene were a bit cold,” Hayridge giggles.

Ah, it wouldn’t be Lexx without a shower scene.

“The naked bloke wasn’t very happy,” she continues. “He got a definite shrinking feeling.”

It gets worse, though Hayridge does break off from her japery to philosophically comment on Lexx and the positive message it sends out about fans and sex. Then we’re off again.

“I have this sideline,” says Charles slyly. “I run this woman’s jail and I make them give me their panties and I sell them to Asian businessmen. It makes me feel grubby thinking about it. It’s really sordid.”

How have the two of them adjusted to playing man and wife?

“We’re a typical 1950s white American couple,” says Craig. “We hate each other!”

“I get more costumes than I ever had on Red Dwarf ,” adds Hayridge. “Mind you, I only had a black poloneck there.”

“She even has a body rather than just giving head!” laughs Charles. “You should see what she’s wearing now. She looks like ‘Brothel Barbie’. I’m finding it hard to concentrate.”

While Hayridge sports a convincing Texan drawl for the show, Craig will be spouting his normal scouse twang.

“Yeah, well, stick to what you know, eh? I thought it would be weird to have the governor of a Texan jail as a mixed-race scouser! And our daughter looks like neither of us! She looks like Cher and has a Canadian accent.”

Hattie Hayridge mentions there may be a chance they’ll come back, sparking a protest from her co-star.

“But they get killed!”

“No, no you don’t see them dead. It’s only implied that they’re dead,” she says decisively.

While Hattie Hayridge has returned to a life as a comedienne, Charles has remained with Red Dwarf and now also hosts BBC 2’s smash hit Robot Wars . Both shows are hits in Canada, which neither of them expected.

“Quite a few of the crew seem to be Red Dwarf fans,” says Charles, sounding genuinely surprised. “Lex [Gigeroff – one of the show’s writers] seems to know more about it than me. It’s weird flying around the world to be recognised in the shops. But I’m only on BBC2, so let’s not get carried away!”

And what of the highly anticipated Red Dwarf film?

“We start shooting in May,” reveals Charles, refreshingly open. “I was supposed to see a script before Christmas but they wanted a rewrite, so I’m waiting for that.”