The world was surprised when deadpan comedian Hattie Hayridge showed up in the sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf as the shipboard computer Holly, mostly because up until then the role had been played by deadpan comedian Norman Lovett. Similarly, the world was surprised when Hattie Hayridge showed up in the hospital on the day of her birth, mostly because no one knew her mother was pregnant, including her mother! She’d been taken into an ambulance on the assumption that the pain she felt was due to appendicitis.
“My parents never told me where I came from. They just kept asking me.”
So starts Random Abstract Memory, Hayridge’s memoir, which you can now get on audio. It’s just over an hour long and includes not just early life and getting into comedy but a fair amount of behind the scenes of Red Dwarf. The book is, after all, named Random Abstract Memory as a nod to RAM, referring to Hayridge’s role as a computer.
In this book, we learn that Hayridge showed up for her first day as a full-time Dwarfer in fancy clothes because she’d just been performing at Edinburgh where she lost her keys and couldn’t access her street clothes. We learn that the reason Holly’s face changes is that Holly had fallen in love with his counterpart Hilly in the episode Parallel Universe and decides to make himself look like her. We also learn of a few suggestions Hayridge made that made it into the final script: Holly meeting Ace Rimmer and fainting and knocking her head on the screen in White Hole.