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I am Holly the ship's computer, with an IQ of 6000, the same IQ as 6000 P.E. teachers.

Look, we're travelling faster than the speed of light. That means, by the time we see something, we've already passed it.

 Well, she won't be much use to you on Fiji now, not unless it snows, and you need something to grit the path with.

The highest form of life in the universe is man, and the lowest is a man who works for the Post Office.

 Emergency, there's an emergency going on, it's still going on, it's still an emergency, would Arnold Rimmer please hurry to white corridor 159, this is an emergency announcement

We have enough food to last 30 thousand years, but we've only got one After Eight mint left, and everyone's too polite to take it.

Your Sausages Dave, now cover seven-eighths of the Earth's surface

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NORMAN LOVETT

By Tony Gallimore

Leaving a party early, only to find out things got going after you left really stinks. For Norman Lovett, substitute "party" for sci-fi series Red Dwarf and you have what is known in the trade as a "mess-up".

But luckily for 52-year-old Norman, if we continue the party theme, he remembered he'd forgotten his denim jacket when he got as far as the bus stop and went back for it. That is to say, having left Red Dwarf after series two, he was allowed back with his jacket between his legs for the eighth series to reclaim his part as ship's computer Holly. And he'll tell you he's all the better person for it. Despite missing out on the International Emmy award in 1994.

"I have always felt part of Red Dwarf," he says. "It was my decision to leave, but looking back I shouldn't have gone. I felt there was so much more that could be done with Holly, and who knows what would have happened to the character if I had stayed?" Who knows indeed. It certainly would have changed RD history forever. There would have been no Hattie Hayridge to stand in for him, and no storyline involving the mining ship going missing - with Holly on board.

But to many fans, Hayridge was the original Holly as the first series without Lovett, series three, was the one which got mainstream comedy fans interested. "The support I had from hardcore fans was phenomenal," he says. "The people that had seen the early shows never forgot and that was important to me. The audience cheered when I appeared in the last episode of series seven." Indeed his reappearance came with the classic line: "I never forget a face. Sorry, you are...?"

"I'm always reminded that the show took off after I left," he says only slightly bitterly. "There were problems and frustrations when I left, and in what came afterwards. I had done two series with Ruby Wax on Channel 4 (Don't Miss Wax), then done two of Red Dwarf. I thought the time was right to try my own show."

The show was I, Lovett, written by and starring Norman as an eccentric inventor in 1993. He and his talking dog, Dirk, got into several forgettable scrapes. The run was short-lived. "It wasn't as easy as all that though," he says. "I tried it, and it bombed."

Things got worse. Norman had relocated to Edinburgh for a new look at life. He was now away from the ready-made work in London. And at Red Dwarf HQ, the garden was far from rosey. Writer Rob Grant had gone, and star Craig Charles was tried - and cleared - of rape. For three years, nothing happened to the show, which of course meant Norman had no "home" to go back to.

But the move to Scotland saw happier times too. Norman met his wife Fiona, and had two children, Lily, eight, and Kitty, six. Now happily moved back down to West London, the rebuilding process is well underway. The new series of Red Dwarf, plus the spin-off movie projects will keep him ticking over nicely. "The films are going to be great. I haven't heard much about them as yet," he says, "Except that I'm going to be in the first one at least."

So was the eighth RD a resurrection of his career? "The key word of the series was ceratinly resurrection," he says. "There are a lot of new characters, but it's also a resurrection for me off the screen. Yeah, I like that idea. I hadn't thought of that until just now."

"Craig (Charles - who plays Dave Lister), Chris (Barrie - as Arnold Rimmer) and Danny (John-Jules - The Cat) were just as I remembered when I came back. We all picked on Chloe (Annett - Lister's love interest Chrissy Kochanski), but not just because she was the new girl. Just because she was a girl."

Red Dwarf fans can verge on obsessive, as Norman has learned. "It can be scary to think there are people, and not just one or two. We are talking a lot of people, who know more about me than I do." The fan-base has now spread across Europe, the unpredictable America, and the Far East. "I went to a Red Dwarf fan convention in Chicago," Norman laughs. "They really go for it over there. They are happy to walk up to you and ask how you are. In Britain people are more nervous. I love the attention of course, but some of them you look at and think, crikey! Is there nothing else in your life?"

It's not always easy to be patient with fans, but Norman is always grateful for their support - even when they clearly piss him off. He says: "I really try not to be rude, but just the other day a father with his two kids came up to me in Oxford Circus and said, 'You're in Red Dwarf aren't you?'. He started to follow me with these two confused kids, and I was really afraid he was going to grab me and hug me. His kids looked so concerned because daddy had clearly lost it. You want to tell fans that you're in a hurry, but they can't accept that off-camera you're a normal person who needs to catch buses and trains."

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