Recorded: 27/9/1987 and 8/11/1987,
Broadcast: 15/2/1988
Written by: Rob Grant and Doug Naylor
Directed by: Ed Bye

What is it?

A radiation leak wipes out the crew of the mining ship Red Dwarf, leaving only one survivor – chicken soup machine repairman, Dave Lister. After three million years in suspended animation, Lister emerges to find he is the last human being in the universe. But he is not alone.

Observation Dome.

Production Notes:

The first episode of Red Dwarf has a long and colourful history. Originally recorded on 27th September 1987, the crew were unhappy with the poor reaction in recieved from the audience.

Rob and Doug took the episode away and re-wrote many key scenes, including the opening scene of Lister and Rimmer working, the bunkroom scene prior to George McIntyre’s party and The Cat’s first entrance.

These re-written scenes were filmed on 8th November 1987, in front of a new, much more appreciative audience. Nevertheless, Rob and Doug were reported to have been unhappy with the end product. Fools.

The only scene to be pre-recorded for this episode was the aforementioned party scene, as it involved a lot of extras, and a fair amount of empty chairs covered with coats.

The preffered take of the scene where Lister feeds Frankenstein had to be discarded, when it was discovered that Craig Charles’ testicle made an unscheduled appearance. Unfortunately, this was not included on the Smeg Outs video.

Book Version:

Like The End, the first part of Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers deals with setting up the premise and situation of Red Dwarf. However, the book spends much more time on pre-accident Red Dwarf, even detailing Lister’s life before he signed up for the Space Corps, as a driver of a stolen taxi on Mimas.

Once we get on board, a lot of chapters are taken up by detailing the monotonous nature of life on board ship. We read about Arnie’s Zed Shift, Lister’s evenings spent in the Copacabana Cocktail Bar, and Rimmer’s recreational use of the stasis booths.

A cruel twist was added to Rimmer’s death in the novel. Just before the accident, Rimmer stopped to comb his hair, on his way to the spare stasis booth. Had he not done this, he would have got to the stasis booth in time to survive the accident.

In the novel, the Cat is introduced by Holly detecting a life form in the cargo decks, and Lister and Rimmer going to investigate. This is much more realistic than The Cat going to them in the series. Once the Cat has been discovered, we learn much more about the history of the Cat race than we do in the series. For example, their most important invention was not fire or the wheel, but the steam-operated trouser press.

Changes from Pilot Script:

Lister was originally 42, but due to a young Craig Charles being hired, Lister was turned into a sprightly 25.

The time Lister spent in stasis was originally to be seven billion years, but was changed to a teensy little three million years.

Holly was originally to be a woman, but Norman Lovett was just too perfect, and Holly was made into a man. At least until Series Three.

Originally, Red Dwarf held 129 people, but this was changed to 169. At least until Series Four.

In the Pilot Script, the song played at McIntyre’s funeral was Heaven is Ten Zillion Light Years Away by Stevie Wonder. Due to copyright issues, this was changed to See Ya Later Alligator.

Deleted Scenes:

The recent DVD release featured:

  • An alternate version of part of the opening Rimmer-Lister scene.
  • An alternate version of the very first bunkroom exchange.
  • An extended scene of Lister flirting with Kochanski.
  • The lost ‘funeral’ scene showing Lister bidding farewell to the crew’s ashes, Rimmer giving his own eulogy, and the original introduction of the Cat


Two CGI skutters whizz past in the opening scene.

Holly moans about his talents being wasted while Lister and Rimmer make their way to the Welcome Back George McIntyre Reception.

George McIntyre’s speech reduced to a couple of sentences. (Travesty!)

Extra Holly line about random urine tests (“Any urine found cheating will be automatically disqualified.”) [Thanks to Karl Eisenhauer for pointing that one out.]

Various swirley stasis effects.

Plenty of shots of the ship in space.

Cat evolution diagram.

Extra Holly Line: “Yes, God?” when Lister tells him to plot a course to Fiji.

Re-cycled Ideas

Rob and Doug first used the idea of a character dancing and fainting in an exam in their Radio 4 show Son of Cliché (1983-1984). The character was part of a regular series of sketches called Freshers, which was about a group of first-year university students.

Character Names

Rob and Doug took several names from their school days as inspiration for their characters. There was indeed and Lister and a Rimmer, and Kochanski was the school bully. For legal reasons, I should point out that Rob and Doug only lifted the surnames from their schoolmates, not the personalities.

Lister originated from the title character of Dave Hollins: Space Cadet, a regular sketch from Son of Cliché. The name of this character was changed, when a footballer, also called Dave Hollins, got into the Chelsea first team.

Although Rob and Doug have never mentioned the origins of Holly’s name, we can speculate that it was chosen for its similarity to ‘Hal’, the computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Incidentally, the computer in Dave Hollins was called Hab, another 2001-style name.

Apparantly, The Cat was so-called because he is descended from cats. Makes sense.

Sanity F.M.

1. Red Dwarf corridor. Lister and Rimmer on essential routine maintenance, i.e. fixing chicken soup dispensers. They continue round the corridor until they meet Toddhunter.

LISTER: You see, I try, sir.  I’m not an insubordinate man by nature.  I try and respect Rimmer and everything, but it’s not easy, ’cause he’s such a smeghead.

RIMMER: (To TODHUNTER) Did you hear that, sir?  (To LISTER) Lister, do you have any conception of the penalty for describing a superior technician as a smeghead?

TODHUNTER: (Chuckling) Oh, Rimmer.  (Clapping him on the shoulder) You *are* a smeghead.

2. Drive Room. Captain Hollister officiates a funeral service for Flight Co-ordinator George McIntyre.

3. Sleeping Quarters. A key character building scene, where Rimmer blames his parents for his shortcomings and Lister discusses his plan to buy a farm on Fiji.

RIMMER: On Fiji?

LISTER: Yeah!  The prices there are unbelievable.

RIMMER: Yes, because they had a volcanic eruption and now most of Fiji’s three feet below sea level!

LISTER: It’s only three feet.  They can wade.  That’s why the animals are gonna have to be quite tall.

RIMMER: Nice plan, Lister.  Excellent plan!  Brilliant plan, Lister! What about the sheep?  What are you going to do, buy them water wings? Fit them with stilts?  Better still, you could cross-breed them with dolphins and have leaping mutton.  (Gesturing with his pen to represent a woolly dolphin leaping out of the water) Baa, splash, baa, splash.

LISTER: You can get a drainage grant these days.

RIMMER: Why bother, Lister?  You could be the first man to produce wet-look knitwear.

4. Brief model shot of Red Dwarf.

5. The Refectory. We see Lister drinking heavily with Petersen, Chen and Selby, before George McIntyre’s speech. Also, Hollister tells the crew that a non-human life form has been detected, and it’s not Rimmer.

McINTYRE: I want to thank everybody for giving me such a marvellous funeral.  I’ve just seen the vid.  And I want to thank the Captain for his beautiful eulogy.  Beautiful.  But I still don’t understand why he didn’t use the one I wrote.

6. Sleeping Quarters. It is the next morning. Rimmer is in the middle of a panic attack. When he leaves for his exam, Lister releases his secret pet cat, Frankenstein.

LISTER: Oh, but you’re getting really big now, you know?  I hope it’s not twins.  You’ve already got all me milk ration.  Never mind, when the baby cat comes, maybe we can give him water and pretend it’s milk. It’s only a baby cat, it won’t know, eh?

7. Examining Room. Rimmer’s cheating plan backfires on him when his sweat smudges the writing on his arms. Rimmer simply leaves his handprint on his answer paper and faints.

8. Drive Room/Captain’s Office. After a brief flirt with Kochanski, Lister is summoned to see Hollister, who administers a bollocking for Lister smuggling a cat on board. Lister is forced to choose between handing over the cat and spending the rest of the trip in suspended animation.

LISTER: Sir, just suppose I did have a cat.  Just suppose.  What would you do with Frankenstein?

HOLLISTER: I’d send it down to the medical centre, and I’d have it cut up and tests run on it.

LISTER: Would you put it back together when you’d finished?

HOLLISTER: Lister, the cat would be dead.

LISTER: So, with respect, sir, what’s in it for the cat?

9. Stasis Corridor. Toddhunter leads Lister to the stasis booth.

10. Model shot of Red Dwarf.

11. Stasis Corridor/Crew Mess/Corridor. Holly revives Lister from stasis to inform him that everybody’s dead, Dave.

HOLLY: Everybody’s dead.  Everybody is dead, Dave!

LISTER: Wait.  Are you trying to tell me everybody’s dead?

HOLLY: I wish I’d never let him out in the first place.

12. Drive Room. After the discovery that he’d eaten half the crew, Lister is filled in with the details of the accident and is told he’s not alone. Rimmer has been revived as a hologram.

RIMMER: Being a hologram is fine, Lister.  I still have the same drives, the same feelings, the same emotions, but I can’t touch anything.  Never again will I be able to brush a rose against my cheek, cradle a laughing child, or interfere with a woman sexually.

LISTER: Rimmer, you never used to do any of those things anyway!

13. Another Corridor. A snazzy, handsome, smart guy in a pink suit rolls out of an air duct.

CAT: Hey, what’s that?  Oh, it’s my shadow.  Hey, even my shadow’s looking nice!  I’m looking nice, my shadow’s looking nice — what a team!  We are unbelievable!  OK, team, this way. No, this way.  Aaaooowww, yeah.

14. Yet another corridor. Lister and Rimmer bump into the Cat for the first time.

CAT: Uh oh.  Better make myself look big!

15. Crew mess. Holly tells Lister and Rimmer that Lister’s cat and her kittens had evolved over three million years into the creature they had just met.

16. Sleeping Quarters. Lister tries in vain to get info out of The Cat. He then unveils his new plan – to return to Earth, despite Rimmer’s protests.

LISTER: Holly, plot a course for Fiji. Look out, Earth – the slime’s coming home!

Thanks For The Memory.

Ian Symes: Like most Red Dwarf fans, this wasn’t the first episode I watched. Although it is difficult to imagine seeing The End before I knew and loved the characters, I can see that it would be a good introduction to the traits and trends of the characters. Lister displays his love for Kochanski, his drunkenness, his work-shy attitude and general slobbiness; Rimmer’s weaselly tendencies are displayed, along with his career dreams and general ineptitude and The Cat is just plain cool. There are some good gags as well, ‘I am a fish’ becoming an instant classic. And anything with Mark Williams in has got to be worthwhile.

People… I’ve Met.

First Appearances:

  • Lister
  • Rimmer
  • The Cat
  • Holly (Male)
  • The Skutters (Also Featured in…)
  • Kochanski (C.P. Grogan) (Also Featured in…)
  • Captain Hollister (Also Featured in…)
  • Toddhunter (Also Featured in…)
  • Petersen (Also Featured in…)
  • Chen (Also Featured in…)
  • Selby (Also Featured in…)
  • Red Dwarf
  • Stasis (Also Featured in…)
  • Rimmer’s Exams (Also Featured in…)
  • Rimmer’s Report Book (Also Featured in…)
  • Lister’s Guitar (Also Featured in…)
  • Lister being God (Also Featured in…)
  • Lister being drunk (Also Featured in…)


The flag on McIntyre’s funeral canister:  The flag of Wales – the Red Dragon of Cadwallader over a green and white background.

The song played at McIntyre’s funeral:  “See You Later Alligator”, an early rock ‘n’ roll song (1956).  Recorded by Bill Haley And The Comets.

Mary, Queen of Scots:  (1542-1587) Queen of Scotland 1542-1567. Executed on the orders of Elizabeth I of England.  Her son James VI of Scotland later became James I of England.

Pythagoras Theorem:  The square of the hypotenuse of a right-angle triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of its other two sides.  You will be tested.

Frankenstein:  Novel by Mary Shelley, published 1818.  A scientist (Frankenstein) creates a monster by reanimating corpse tissue, and then suffers the consequences.  Apparently, truly stupid people erroneously believe that it was the monster, not its creator, who was called Frankenstein.

Bennett, Gordon:  (1841-1918) James Gordon Bennett, Jr., American newspaper magnate (whose father, James Gordon Bennett, founded the New York Herald in 1835).  Bennett was known for his extravagant and capricious behaviour, and his name has become synonymous with a feeling of exasperation such as he frequently caused in people.

The song the Cat is singing:  “Me And My Shadow”; has been performed by several artists over the years, including Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.  Can be heard in the 1981 British movie Time Bandits , starring John Cleese and Sean Connery.


The episode is (or at least was) availiable on the following releases:

Red Dwarf I Byte I: The End. Released in 1993 by BBC Enterprises. Catalogue No. : BBCV 4914

Red Dwarf Series One Re-Mastered: Episodes I – III. Released in 1998 by BBC Worldwide. Catalogue No. : BBCV 6436

Red Dwarf I – The Original Series. Released in 2002 by BBC Worldwide. Catalogue No. : BBCDVD 1117

Yow Twonk!

Plot Inconsistencies:

? It is said that there are 169 people on Red Dwarf, as opposed to the at least 1,167 in Justice (4-3).

– These numbers might not take into account crewmembers who were off-ship for whatever reasons.

– The 169 may only refer to the technicians.

– The larger number may include all personnel on the ship (miners, etc), which would be counted when charging someone for their deaths, but the smaller number may just refer to officers or enlisted Space Corps personnel.

– Because RD is such an enormous ship, individual sections of the vessel may be called ‘ships.’ Thus, when Toddhunter said ‘There are 169 people on board *this* ship,’ he may have been referring only to the current section he was in.

? Why can’t Rimmer write Lister down in his report book? Surely Holly can provide a hologrammatic one, as he provides many holo items for Rimmer in later episodes.

– Rimmer, unaccustomed to being dead, may not have thought to ask for one.

? Rimmer mentions that there was a volcanic eruption and most of Fiji is three feet underwater. However, everything else contradicts this: Lister still has his Plan, and he also has a postcard and a picture of Fiji on the wall, both showing Fiji intact.

– Fiji apparently is now mostly underwater and Lister knows it, in which case the Plan may be just a fantasy that Lister is keeping to preserve his sanity.

– Lister: ‘You can get a drainage grant these days.’ And why should he keep a picture of Fiji in its ‘current’ submerged state when he can have one showing its former pristine beauty? Maybe it could look like that again after land reclamation work.

? Rimmer writes certain exam answers on his thighs. How is he going to read these during the exam without taking his boiler suit off?

? When Lister first comes out of stasis, the crewmembers’ dust remains are seen in the Teaching Room, Drive Room and corridors. However the piles of dust have all mysteriously disappeared later by the time Lister has met the Cat. Holly may have cleaned them up, but why didn’t he do this in the three million years that Lister was in stasis?

– It is reasonable to assume that Holly could not dispose of the remains until he was given a directive by a human crewmember. Also, Holly may have left them as eventual proof of what happened, to show to Lister once it was safe. The maintenance of the piles is apparent over the three million years and Holly must have had a hand in it one way or the other.

? What happened to the hologram of McIntyre? The accident did not appear to affect mechanical components of the ship, so presumably this would include the current hologram. Also, why wouldn’t Captain Hollister be generated upon Lister’s awakening, as the ranking dead crewmember?

– At the time of the accident, holograms were presumably only generated to coexist with a living crew. As there would be no living crew for three million years, until Holly could release Lister from stasis, there would be no justification for keeping McIntyre generated (and there may even be a rule which prevents hologram generation for its own sake, especially given the enormous power this function requires). After Lister’s release from stasis, Holly generates Rimmer (as opposed to any other crewmember) as a means of preserving the health (see Balance Of Power) of the sole living crewmember, something which under the circumstances could be expected to take priority over normal rules of hologram generation.

? Lister was smoking in his bunk (just before Rimmer’s exam) while there was a no-smoking sign not far from him. Why didn’t Rimmer crack up about Lister smoking seeing as how he did elsewhere in this same episode?

– The stress of failing another exam might have distracted Rimmer from his normal appointed duty of being a nit-picky smeg head.

? Why did Rimmer leap at Cat? He is a hologram and wouldn’t be able to harm Cat in any way. Plus, he is a self-confessed coward, so why be brave and ‘defend’ Lister like that?

– This was relatively early in the post-accident relationship, and perhaps Rimmer was still trying to put up a front of bravery as well as testing his intangibility as a hologram.

? Why did Rimmer fade out as he passed through Cat? The other two times that he passes through solid objects in this one episode only the part of him within the solid object is visibly affected.

– Perhaps Rimmer was low on power and this caused his whole projection to flicker instead of just the area that was passing through the solid object.

? Lister says that Rimmer is a lower rank than the skutters, yet in every other episode Rimmer is in command of them.

– Lister actually says that Rimmer ranks below the *service robots*, so he may not be referring to the skutters, but to some other droid type. As such then, Rimmer may outrank the *skutters* (and indications are that he does). After Lister exits stasis, Rimmer would not want robots around that would outrank him, and there may even be a regulation that states that the highest-ranking ‘personnel’ on a vessel cannot be robots.

Production Errors:

? Two posters on the wall between the door and the window in Rimmer and Lister’s quarters disappear and return.

? When Rimmer is taking the exam, the arrangement of the pens on his desk suddenly changes.

? A wall appears where the main entrance to the Captain’s Office used to be.

? When Lister is about to wave his hand through Rimmer, half of Lister’s hand disappears into thin air while it is still above Rimmer’s shoulder.

? The incredible, inappropriate Chicken Soup Dispenser: Noting the way the ‘shelf’ comes down, it seems to go right through the nozzle Rimmer was unclogging, and the placement of the nozzle would make it incredibly difficult to fill that cup with chicken soup in the very short time that the shelf bearing it was at rest at the bottom of its range of movement. As a further extension of this, if the cup is filled with soup before the shelf is lowered, what was Rimmer playing with, because that couldn’t have been the dispensing nozzle?

? When Lister tells the door to lock, and it finally does, something can be seen moving briefly at the left edge of the window (as if a stagehand moved into its shot when pushing the door closed).


Rimmer Chris Barrie

Lister Craig Charles

Cat Danny John-Jules

Holly Norman Lovett

Todhunter Robert Bathurst

Chen Paul Bradley

Selby David Gillespie

Captain Hollister Mac McDonald

McIntyre Robert McCulley

Petersen Mark Williams

Kochanski C P Grogan

Written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor

Music Howard Goodall

Developed for Television by Paul Jackson Productions

Graphic Designer Mark Allen

Visual Effects Designer Peter Wragg

Properties Buyer Duncan Wheeler

Assistant Floor Manager Dona Distefano

Production Assistant Alison Thornber

Unit Manager Mario Dubois

Production Manager George R. Clarke

Costume Designer Jacki Pinks

Make-up Designer Suzanne Jansen

Vision Mixer Jill Dornan

Camera Supervisor Melvyn Cross

Technical Co-ordinator Ron Clare

Videotape Editor Ed Wooden

Lighting Director John Pomphrey

Sound Supervisor Tony Worthington

Designer Paul Montague

Executive Producer Paul Jackson

Produced & Directed by Ed Bye

Uncredited Extras: Ysanne Jeffers, Johnny Barrs, Tony Kennedy, Nigel Peevers, Diana Thurlow, Giselle McKenzie, Mitzi Mueller, Don Poole, Reid Jones, Peter Ingham, Trevor Nelson, Kev James, Les Allen, Anne Nurser, Tracy Carlotti, Al Brierley, Elaine Fox, Maxine Turner, Lorna McDonough, Sue Clawson, Corbert Walker, Ken Bullen, Jon Ellis-Fox, Stephen Harrison, Jon Slater, Lesley Alexander, Sue Clark-Williams, Henry Morgan, Suzanne Belfield, Linda Lee Lewis, John Mercury, Rod McKinnon.

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