Red Dwarf has somehow found its way back home to Earth, a now largely-abandoned planet that exists mostly as a tourist attraction thanks to most of the world's major landmarks still being preserved. However, the ship is desperately low on fuel and supplies and needs to land, despite there being no longer being any facilities to allow such a huge ship to land on the planet. This results in several attempts to land the ship that each result in mass-devastation and the destruction of the planet's landmarks. Finally, the ship runs out of fuel and crash-lands spectacularly, killing everyone on-board except for those inside The Tank and resulting in a cloud of dust that causes a nuclear winter. The main characters emerge from the wrecked ship, and apologetically swap insurance details with one of the few humans who still lives on the planet.
Behind the scenes
- Earth was originally intended to allow the TV series to come to an end, and let Doug Naylor focus on making Red Dwarf: The Movie. It ultimately ended up being abandoned due to a combination of budgetary restraints and Naylor deeming the storyline to be too depressing. As a result, the episode was replaced by "Only the Good...". The decision not to bring the series to a definite conclusion proved fortuitous, as the planned movie never got off the ground.
- The exact details of the episode's proposed storyline are still mostly unknown, especially how Red Dwarf was able to return to Earth within the lifetime of the crew. The few details that are known have been listed on the show's website, the Series VIII DVD release, and an interview with Craig Charles shortly after Series VIII finished airing.