Characters / Red Dwarf

This page lists characters in the television series Red Dwarf.

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Main Characters

    David 'Dave' Lister Jr. / Sr.
Played by: Craig Charles

Liverpudlian bum and all-round slob, Third Technician David Lister was discovered under a pool table as a baby. He is a fairly competent man, but avoids ambition which might threaten his slobby routine. Lister was the sole survivor of the Cadmium-2 leak which wiped out the crew of Red Dwarf, because he was serving eighteen months' "temporal stasis without pay" for smuggling a cat onto the ship.

  • All Boys Want Bad Girls: For a while he kept playing the Gumshoe AR game so he could have sex with Loretta, a homicidal, serial-killing Femme Fatale. He also tries to ask a rogue simulant for a date. He confides to Kryten that he's only ever attracted to "heartbreakers or moral garbage on legs." Subverted, though, considering the one true love of his life is Kristine Kochanski.
  • Almighty Janitor: Chicken soup machine repairman Lister deliberately avoids doing smart or ambitious things in case he might risk his carefree life. He's actually pretty smart and capable when he bothers to try, and is well aware of what he's capable of.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: The opening of series 6 has a just-awoken-from-hypersleep Lister not remembering anything about himself, and is disturbing to find himself a "blokeish, randy, disgusting, tone-deaf, semi-illiterate space-bum".
  • Anti-Hero: Lister is a nice guy, but he's hardly got heroic attitudes. (Although this improves as the series progresses.)
  • An Arm and a Leg: An attempt to purge the Epideme virus from his system involves forcing the disease into one of his arms and cutting it off. Unfortunately, Kochanski miscalculates the locations of where to inject the anti-virals and forces the virus into his right arm instead of his left. This still isn't enough to defeat the virus, so more drastic measures are taken. While he survives, "Nanarchy" deals with his angst regarding the loss of the arm. He manages to get a replacement thanks to Krytens nanobots.
  • Badass Grandpa: In the later series, he's in his 50's and still exploring dangerous territories and tangling with GEL Fs, simulants, monsters, insane AIs, etc...
  • Batman Gambit: He uses these once or twice, most noticeably in defeating The Inquisitor.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: He prefers not to kill, but in "Justice", he forces a Simulant to kills himself, in "The Inquisitor", he deletes the Inquisitor from the timeline and in "Able", shoots a GELF with a bazookoid.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Despite his appalling personal habits, he's by far the nicest and most moral Dwarfer, and the one most opposed to killing... but he's outright dangerous when he needs to be...
  • Book Dumb: There are large gaps in his overall body of knowledge, often making him appear quite unintelligent, but he's in many ways quite smart and capable. At least in the early seasons, a Running Gag is that he scraped into art college, but left after 97 minutes because they had lectures first thing in the afternoon.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: For all his appalling personal habits and seeming stupidity, Lister is in fact quite intelligent, talented, capable and competent. He just prefers the life of an abject slob. Even more evident in the novels — for example, Lister's incarceration in stasis was the result of a well calculated plot to return to Earth without having to work rather than an exceptionally foolish mistake, courtesy of a Retcon-ish continuity tweak that Lister was just using the ship as a way to get back to Earth after winding up on Mimas courtesy of a drunken bender. Which would definitely explain why he took a photo of himself with the cat and had the ship's lab develop the film.
    • Regarding Lister's intelligence, he's fairly bright but at the same time quite ignorant: he can think on his feet and plan brilliantly, but only knows of the Bermuda Triangle as a hit song and doesn't know what an iguana is (though if the RPG is any indication, iguanas are supposedly extinct by Lister's time). In the words of the Inquisitor in Series V, which had taken on his form: "You've got brains, man. Brains you've never used."
    • Lister tends to be the guy coming up with plans a lot of the time, and is paticularly good at doing so on the fly — check out 'Inquisitor' or 'Fathers and Suns' for some very great plans under pressure. Also, one shouldn't forget that he twice repaired Kryten after the mechanoid was badly damaged (off-screen between series II and III, and part of the way into the Series V episode 'Terrorform'). True, neither repair was entirely perfect, but considering Lister has no formal training in the subject... which may explain why 'Fathers and Suns' has him enroll in the Robotics course in order to "make something of himself".
      • 'Spanners' Lister, his Alternate Continuity self from Ace Rimmer's home dimension, is an example of what he's capable when he does apply himself; Faster than light and inter dimensional travel being at least two of his accomplishments...
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Actually does this to himself in "Fathers and Suns", after finding a recording he had made whilst drunk the previous night, where his fatherly advice amounted to berating himself for being such a massive disappointment.
  • Character Development: Lister is noticeably more juvenile and slobbish in the first two seasons and is portrayed as subordinate to Rimmer, who he spends most of his time trying to annoy and rebel against. Following the retool in series 3, he matures into a smarter, braver and more philosophical character, becoming the de facto leader of the Dwarfers (despite Rimmerís technical superiority), with a surprising aptitude for command and tactics.
  • Character Tics: He has a tendency to smile when being insulted.
  • Claustrophobia: Lampshaded that it only comes up when it makes the plot more dramatic.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Bordering Lethal Chef at times. Since Lister's own tastes lean towards grotesque spicy stuff, that's what he makes. Cornflakes sprinkled with grated raw onion and tabasco sauce, for example.
    • He made a cake, and then said that it was supposed to be roast beef. This would appear to be a joke though, as it's a pretty good cake.
      • In keeping with Lister's personality, it seems he could be a good cook if he really applied himself, but he's happy eating overspiced crap, so overspiced crap is all he ever makes. He looked to be doing quite well when he was trying to pass the Chef's exam to outrank Rimmer (although he did somehow manage to fail his final exam).
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Just watch the bar room tidy scene backwards and you'll find he's an accomplished bar brawler. And when he's not lying in bed reading What Bike?, he might be launching flying kicks and bazookoid fire at Simulants and Gelfs.
    • Also note that he hand-built several things that worked very well considering they were kludge jobs. When you remember that his alternate self is the technician for a trans-dimensional ship, you wonder how he DIDN'T end up 'Spanners' in all universes!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Not quite as much as Rimmer, but he certainly gets some pretty good quips.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Lister's plan for taking on the Polymorph involves strapping a nuke to his own head and nutting the smegger into oblivion.
    • And, of course, defeating The Inquisitor, a nigh-indestructible self-repairing droid that can shrug off laser chainsaws.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Whilst he shows mostly indifference to anything besides curry, he's on record as hating Pot Noodle, to the point where he'd much rather eat dog food.
    • Fresh vegetables are another food he has an explicit aversion to, as shown by him disgusted by the raw carrot served with space weevil (but of course, he has no problem eating said weevil), as well as this exchange from Quarantine, where Rimmer is clearly abusing his power over the others...
    Rimmer: And fulfilling all Space Corps dietary requirements, dinner tonight, gentlemen, will consist of sprout soup, followed by sprout salad, and for desert, I think you'll like it, rather unusual, sprout crumble.
    Lister: Rimmer, you know damn well that sprouts make me chuck.
    Rimmer: Well, this is awful. I've got you down for sprouts almost every meal. I tell a lie - it is every meal.
  • Dreadful Musician: "A little survival tip, bud. Never play your guitar in front of a man with a loaded gun."
    • Sometimes he seems aware of how bad he is, other times he's apparently completely blind to his own musical incompetence and thinks he's the greatest musician since Hendrix.
      • His illusions about his musical abilities usually disappear when he's going through a bout of depression.
    • His crewmates consider him to be so bad that whenever he wants to play, he has to put on a spacesuit and go outside the ship.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Lister was originally conceived as being "as if his brain had been fried", reminiscent of Reverend Jim from Taxi — although the first episode was mostly rewritten and reshot, it still contains scenes where Lister is uncharacteristically slow-witted. The character was later tailored to suit Craig Charles better.
  • Evil Twin:
    • One episode of the series involves creating "Low" versions of all the characters.
    • In Doug Naylor's third novel, Last Human, a parallel version of Lister who chose to go with a specific set of adoptive parents because they were rich ended up becoming a psychopathic criminal. He's the primary villain of the story.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Lister's fondness for curries and spices of all sorts means his ordinary meals tend to be gross (like, onion-and-tabasco cornflakes served with a glass of cold chili sauce-level gross), and the stuff he's eaten that he thinks is unusual... Some of the more notable items have included swarfega (industrial-grade soap used to remove oil) mixed with glass cleaner, a baked space weevil (which he didn't look at and which he thought, from the taste, was crunchy King Prawn), dog food (because he was starving, admittedly), dog's milk in his tea (he didn't know — once he finds out he throws it out: "Why didn't you tell me, Hol?" "What? And spoil your tea?"), beer milkshakes, and a live tarantula. Admittedly that last one wasn't voluntary. And a dead guy (who looked like a bit of salt). The fact he's a major boozehound presumably doesn't help matters.
    • And Lister's favorite "sarnie", more or less of his own design, is three fried eggs on chutney-spread bread and given a generous dollop of chili sauce.
    Rimmer: I feel like I'm having a baby!
    Lister: The trick is, you've got to eat it before the bread dissolves...
    • Lister is stated to have only a few functioning taste buds remaining (or just the one).
    • The dog's milk proved a bit much even for him.
    • And the dog food was to avoid eating a Pot Noodle.
    • Sugar Puff sandwiches are his favorite...
    • Most of the strange white powder lying around Red Dwarf, before Holly explained it was the remains of the crew.
    • According to Rimmer, he drank "Marijuana Gin". At least once.
      • There actually are preparations of cannabis (generally known as "Green Dragon") that involve letting it sit around in high proof alcohol until the THC has dissolved into the liquor, and then drinking it. It's generally not done with gin, though.
  • Fingerless Gloves
  • Genius Slob: Certainly a slob, more of a Street Smart genius though.
  • God Guise: Played straight by the Cat civilization, which, as the Cats developed sentience and formed a religion, put Lister at the top as their god, Cloister the Stupid. Lister is less than thrilled by this, especially when he discovered the Cat people nearly wiped themselves out in holy wars over what the colour of the sacred donut hat was supposed to be, Red or Blue? (It was actually meant to be Green)
    • In the Red Dwarf game from the episode "Back to Reality", Lister's ultimate fate when played properly is supposed to be jump starting the second Big Bang with Starbug. This is meant to be ironic - Lister, the ultimate atheist, being God. Which is strange because Lister is outright stated to be a pantheist and it's Rimmer who scoffs at the notion of God.
    • In the second novel, Holly gains an IQ of 12000 through intelligence compression and, thus, knows everything. When asked by Talkie Toaster who created the universe, Holly answers that it is Lister. Nothing more is said of this after.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: When season three rolls around, he starts wearing a rather cool looking leather jacket, strewn with badges and patches (including Kochanski's Console Officer rank markings) and with a picture of Wilma Flintstone on the back.
  • Human Popsicle: He was supposed to be put into stasis for 18 months as punishment for smuggling a cat aboard, but was in there for 3 million years while the radiation decayed, setting in motion the rest of the series.
  • Identical Grandson: Bexley, from "Future Echoes". Justified in this case, considering his parents were opposite sex versions of each other from parallel realities. Presumably applies to his brother Jim as well.
    • Lister also happens to be his own father thanks to a time loop, and as a result sends himself a Father's Day card every year.
  • I Hate Past Me: In "Timeslides", he quickly becomes annoyed by his pretentious 17-year-old self.
    Lister: Stop calling everything "Crypto-fascist". You make me sound like I was a complete git!
    • Taken slightly to meta levels when Craig Charles dismisses Lister as just another role he did in the past.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Partly because he's the sole human and partly because Craig Charles was more than willing to do his own stunts, Lister tends to be the one member of the crew who takes the most physical punishment, mostly played for laughs.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: He clearly cared a lot about his cat Frankenstein. He also initially takes quite well to Cat on the basis of his being a cat, acting friendly and offering him milk.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The many things he has stolen include Rimmer's uniforms, and Adolf Hitler's briefcase.
  • Last of His Kind: At least until series 7.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In the novels, it's explained that 18 months was precisely how long it would take for the Red Dwarf to finish its run and reach Earth, and the punishment for smuggling a cat on board was precisely 18 months in stasis. Lister learned of this in advance, and deliberately got caught after they took off so he could spend the trip in stasis, and thereby make the trip without working. Though here the karma is nearer to Disproportionate Retribution.
    • This doesn't really mesh with the notion that he was saving up all his pay to buy a hot dog stand on Fiji: then again, in the AU of the novels his ambition was simply to get back to Earth because he'd ended up off-world after a particularly drunken birthday pub crawl and the hot dog stand is never mentioned.
  • Made of Iron: See Iron Buttmonkey above. He's taken a lot of damage over the years, not to mention the constitution he must have to make it to his 50's on a diet consisting mostly of curries, Leopard Lager, and assorted crap and still be healthy enough to cope with the craziness the crew frequently get caught up in. If the stories are true, this might apply to Craig Charles in real life too...
  • Manchild: He can be incredibly immature, even though he's at least in his early-to-mid forties (and played by 48-year-old Charles) by "Trojan". He's still a lot better than Rimmer in this regard though.
  • Mr Fix It: Has twice repaired Kryten from a state of practical destruction. Plus, he's shown to have managed to repair various pieces of complex equipment.
  • Mr Seahorse: Between the second and third series. Entirely off-screen and pretty much never referenced again.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Lister's a good guy who likes nothing more than laying around, not doing anything beyond eating, drinking and maybe annoying Rimmer.
  • My Own Grampa: It turns out Lister is his own father, through IVF with Kochanski as the mother. Subject to Call Back in Series X where he celebrates Fathers' Day by getting blind drunk and leaving himself father-to-son messages to view the morning after when he's lost all recollection.
  • Nice Hat: Several!
  • Odd Couple: With Rimmer.
  • Odd Friendship: Despite having a nearly total irreverence for any kind of authority, before the accident, Lister was friends with Frank Todhunter, the second officer of Red Dwarf.
    • In a really strange way, he can be seen as having this with Rimmer. In spite of the fact that Rimmer annoys him, they still share the same sleeping quarters and Rimmer hasn't been switched off even after all the years they've spent together. Lister even shares several Pet the Dog moments with Rimmer when he's at his lowest.
  • Other Me Annoys Me:
    • He meets a future-version of himself during series 2, and the two take an instant dislike to one another, helped by Future!Lister's being an utter berk.
    • He's also annoyed by the Lister of the second Kochanski's universe, who is more sensitive and sophisticated than him.
    • He is not pleased with Craig Charles when he meets him on the set of Coronation Street, and the feeling is somewhat mutual.
  • Omniglot: Knows at least some Esperanto, or at least, he speaks it better than Rimmer.
    • He learnt to read the Cat Language, which is written entirely in smell.
  • Oop North
  • Ouroboros: Lister was found in a box marked "ouroboros" as a child, a hint to his own cyclical nature.
  • The Pollyanna: On the whole, Lister is pretty upbeat even in the face of everything the crew faces, and doesn't seem to be putting it on. Kryten and Rimmer have both listed it as one of his most annoying qualities.
  • The Prankster: The pranks he's played on Rimmer include replacing his toothpaste with contraceptive jelly, putting his name down on the list for experimental pile surgery, pouring a tube of sexual magnetism virus on him while in prison, ironing sneezes to disgust him, and filling his boots with runny porridge. In conjunction with Rimmer, he's also tampered with Warden Ackerman's inhaler, filling it with sodium pentathol and spiked the guards' half time drinks with virility enhancement drugs to allow the Dwarfers to win a basketball game.
  • The Philosopher: He has his moments.
  • The Pig Pen: Lister routinely wears horribly stained clothes and lives in filth because he's just such a "blokish bloke" that he doesn't care about cleanliness. Though a recurring gag is that something ends up being too disgusting even for him (for example, in 'Me 2', he ends up putting his dirty socks right back in the basket he dumped them out of because he realises just how bad they smell).
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Averted. Lister regards his "blokeishness" with pride, considering it to make him a real man and being very disparaging about more metrosexual/new age type guys. But he's very much not a killer. He'll fight to defend himself, but he prefers to avoid lethal force. He explicitly calls out that his Evil Twin in the TV series is capable of killing people, which he himself isn't.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: For all his blokeish qualities, he is known to watch soppy romantic movies and cry at particularly sad endings (his favourite movie of all time is either Casablanca, according to the show, or It's a Wonderful Life, according to the novels). He also ends up wearing a pink frilly dressing gown in "Ouroboros" (Kryten was going to dye it to a more suitable colour, but circumstances arose).
  • Robosexual: Sort of; Lister has flirted with a female Simulant (a Ridiculously Human Killer Robot) once, Kryten's relationship with him looks awfully like that of a possessive girlfriend in series VII and VIII, and in series X he has a female-personalitied vending machine with a crush on him (and a second one who accuses him of flirting with her).
  • Skewed Priorities: Though it might be the shock talking, his reaction to learning how long he was in stasis.
    Lister: 3 million years?! But I've still got that library book!
    • Amusingly, the American!Lister from the US Pilot of Red Dwarf has similar views, just on the other end of the scale.
      American!Lister: 3 Million Years?! My baseball cards must be worth a fortune!
  • The Slacker
  • Survived the Beginning
  • Token Human
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In Season X, his selfishness and carelessness get at least two sentient beings killed and disables Holly, possibly permanently.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Curry, especially Vindaloo, to the point it's the only thing he ever eats.
  • Tragic Keepsake: He wears Kochanski's Console Officer rank markings on the sleeve of his leather jacket.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Rimmer.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In "Polymorph", he states that snakes are his all time second worst fear after the titular mutant takes the form of one. His all time worst fear is a ten foot tall armoured killing machine, which the polymorph turns into. In the books, the fear of snakes is replaced with rats. In "Terrorform", he's revealed to have a fear of tarantulas, a phobia he shares with Rimmer.

    Arnold Judas Rimmer
Played by: Chris Barrie

Lister's immediate superior, Second Technician Arnold Rimmer (B.S.C., S.S.C.) is an ambitious but unpleasant and almost universally hated underachiever. Born on Io, Rimmer was loathed by his brothers and classmates, who went on to achieve great things while he remained a lowly Second Technician. Any references to his underachievements are immediately blamed on mitigating circumstances. He includes his only two achievements after his name, B.S.C. and S.S.C. (which stand for Bronze Swimming Certificate and Silver Swimming Certificate). He steadfastly believes in the existence of aliens and attributes any unexplained events to such aliens. It was Rimmer's incompetence which led to the leak, killing him and the other crew members. Rimmer was resurrected by Holly as a hologram after Lister's stasis.

Earning his highly-respected father's approval lays heavily on Rimmer's mind, and is one of the larger reasons why his self-loathing is so enormous, and yet his ego so similarly massive.

  • Abusive Parents: When he was 14 years old, he went to court, divorced his parents and got visiting rights to the family dog every other weekend. He and his three brothers were abused by their father in various ways; the most severe of them was the use of a rack to try to accelerate their growth (Rimmer's father had been refused entry to the Space Corps for being an inch below regulation height). Indeed, all of the abuse they suffered was to make them succeed where Rimmer Snr. had failed; unfortunately, Arnold continually tries to use this as a Freudian Excuse for his constant failures and annoying behaviour, whilst his brothers other than Howard at least each become successful in their own Space Corps specialty.
  • Accidental Hero: When the crew come across a ship in mortal danger, rather than risk going into the asteroid field, Rimmer decides to rid himself of the problem by launching a nuclear mining torpedo at it. The missile glances off an asteroid and the blast from the explosion throws the ship clear of danger. The ship's captain responds by promoting Rimmer.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: If Rimmer really did screw up fixing the drive plate, according to Rimmer's comments in season 8, it's supposed to be such a trivial task that only an epic screw up could possibly fail.
    • Also, briefly in "Cassandra". Although that may have been just Cassandra messing around in her efforts to try and get Lister to end up killing Rimmer as payback for killing her.
  • Afraid of Blood: According to Kryten, though Rimmer states he'd make an exception if it's Lister's.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: According to Kochanski, he might have just been uptight and irritating to Lister because he had to in order to keep him sane.
    • Kryten, however, shows that's maybe just how he really is, in this clip. It certainly meshes up with how he acts in series VIII.
  • Anti-Hero: Type I.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Rimmer is an atheist and doesn't even pay lip service to the tiniest possibility of there being a god, but spends the first two series searching for aliens everywhere he can and declaring the flimsiest evidence to be proof of alien existence and involvement. He also expresses firm belief in reincarnation, claiming that in all his past lives he was a great warrior.
    Lister: Your explanation for anything slightly peculiar is aliens, isn't it? You lose your keys, it's aliens. A picture falls off the wall, it's aliens. That time we used up a whole bog roll in a day, you thought that was aliens as well.
    Rimmer: Well, we didn't use it all, Lister. Who did?
    Lister: (beat) Rimmer, aliens used our bog roll?
    • Strangely though, he listens to Christian Rock, though that could be attributed to his upbringing.
    • In "The Last Day", he's surprisingly tolerant of Kryten's belief in Silicon Heaven. He tells Lister that he didn't agree with his own parents' religion, but he wouldn't dare knock it.
  • Armchair Military: Rimmer fixates on war and deeply wants to be a general, but is, as noted in "Marooned", a total coward who is quick to run away at the threat of actual violence to himself — generals, in his own words, are "in the nice white tent on top of the hill, sipping Sancere and directing the battlefield", not actually doing the fighting. He's also a total incompetent.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: Rimmer has a videocassette of his death. Admittedly, Holly recorded the deaths of everyone on the ship, but Rimmer is the one who went and created a long ode glorifying himself as the foreword.
    • Also done in "Stoke Me a Clipper". Ace Rimmer dies and Rimmer leaves the crew to become Ace. Lister claims that Rimmer, not Ace, was killed and Rimmer, acting as Ace, attends Ace's funeral which the crew think is for Rimmer.
  • Authority in Name Only: Rimmer's job on-board Red Dwarf was fixing chicken soup vending machines, and any job considered too menial for the Skutters (who have better unions). He still acted like this was a matter of life and death. Once the rest of the crew died, Rimmer tries claiming he's in charge, despite the fact the only people around are himself, Lister, the Cat, the Skutters and Kryten, of whom only the latter obeys, and then not out of any real choice.
  • Back from the Dead: Rimmer pulls this a few times, only to die again fairly quickly afterwards.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Sort of. Rimmer didn't deliberately rape Yvonne McGruder, but she was concussed and thought he was someone else. The continuity of Last Human establishes that McGruder already liked him and became convinced that she imagined the whole thing after she relapsed.
    • Played straight in Season 8. Except this time he's the victim.
  • Blessed with Suck: His Hard Light abilities allow him to touch and feel as though he was a real person and also makes him Nigh Invulnerable. Unfortunately, Arnold Rimmer is an abject coward and has low tolerance for pain, so injuries that would kill him/knock him out don't do anything more than hurt severely and he'd be forced to suffer through them.
  • Broken Ace: Rimmer minus negativity and neuroses equals Ace Rimmer (what a guy!). Apparently.
    • It's worth noting that Rimmer has a certain kind of charisma - people sadly listen to him, though mostly he doesn't have anything interesting to say.
  • The Bore: Rimmer frequently tries to regale the others with long, boring uninteresting tales of an old Risk game, or his walking holidays through the ship, unaware of just how mind-sappingly dull and tedious these stories are, even when Lister tells him at length about this. At one point, a slide-show of his is boring enough to nearly kill Kryten.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Rimmer loves to use this as an excuse for his behavior.
  • Break the Cutie: During "Terrorform", the crew find several tombstones established to various good traits of Rimmer's, most of which "died" before he was out of his teens. One's even mentioned as having died at the age of nine.
  • By The Book Technician: Rimmer attempts to be this, on occasion, trying to quote the Space Corps guidebook for his own benefits... only to be informed by Kryten that he's just used an obscure and bizarre rule instead of the one he wanted.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: In "Better than Life", the newly-titled "Admiral" Rimmer is attempting to tell an anecdote, but can't remember exactly what happened. It was so bad that even the fictional officers from his ideal dream went through a couple of seconds of embarrassed, uncertain silence before bursting into sycophantic laughter.
    • In general, his anecdotes that are meant to be funny aren't very amusing, while the ones that aren't meant to be funny are hilarious.
  • Cargo Ship: In-universe, his... unique relationship with Rachel the inflatable doll, stymied by the fact she developed a puncture. At Rimmer's fake funeral in "Stoke Me A Clipper", Lister comments that she's the closest thing to a widow Rimmer has.
  • Character Development: It's subtle, but, by series VII (where he ends up leaving to become Ace Rimmer), Rimmer's actually become a lot more likeable. Lampshaded in series VIII where Lister immediately notes in disgust that the nanobot-resurrected Rimmer is "you like you used to be". Of note, the Rimmer of series I is far less cowardly (He tries to attack the Cat on first meeting him), but far more obnoxious and personally abrasive. As of the reworking in Series III, Rimmer's dialogue becomes generally more snarky than confrontational and rude, but his cowardice, neuroses and massive ego come to the forefront. In series VI and VII, he begins to show very occasional signs of courage under pressure. The Rimmer of Series X (who seems to be a merging of all the previous versions of Rimmer, including the Nano-ressurected one from Series VIII) finally turns a corner in the finale, when he learns that the father he has been trying to live up to is actually not his real father. This frees him from his own crippling insecurities, allowing him to stand up to his crewmates and an attacking fleet of rogue simulants, even coming up with the (rather nifty and daring) strategy to beat them.
  • Chest of Medals: In "Me 2", "Kryten" and "Better Than Life", when he wears a formal uniform, he wears four medals. Surprisingly, these medals are genuine awards, but much less surprisingly, they are all just long service medals awarded for every three years he has served in the Space Corps.
  • The Chew Toy: Lampshaded in "Better Than Life" where, even in a video game which fulfils one's ultimate fantasies, Rimmer is the Chew Toy: "My brain's rebelling because it can't accept nice things happening to me!" This actually gets expanded into the major plot point of the first half of the novel of the same name; his self-loathing is so powerful that when he visits the others in BTL, his brain corrupts their fantasies because of this, which is ultimately what enables them to escape.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Though he very very rarely gets into a fight, anytime he does, he won't play fair, instead choosing the most expedient way to save his own skin.
  • Commuting on a Bus: (sort of) for part of Series VII
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: Rimmer to Mr Flibble in "Quarantine" (former Trope Namer).
  • Control Freak: It's part of what makes him so annoying.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: "Better dead than smeg"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rimmer gets some of the finest lines in sitcom history.
  • Determinator: Rimmer has taken (and spectacularly failed) the same officer's exam over 17 times. That he still goes back and retakes it shows his stubborn determination to become an officer.
    • And he takes a different officer's exam at least 9 times as well.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Rimmer, of all people, knees the Grim Reaper in the groin.
  • Distressed Dude: In "Terrorform", courtesy of his own self-loathing made manifest.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: In "Meltdown", Rimmer becomes a combination of this and The Neidermeyer.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Arnold Judas Rimmer; he tells people who first meet him that it's "Jonathan."
  • Enemies with Death: Literally, in "Only the Good...", where he famously knees the Grim Reaper himself in the balls.
  • Even Nerds Have Standards: Rimmer dishes out a lot of zings against "nerdy" type targets, despite being the nerdiest member of the crew.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Rimmer is a slimy, cowardly, weasel-minded smeghead, but even he is utterly horrified by a planet consisting entirely of cloned Rimmers, who took his normal traits and ramped them all the way up.
  • Epic Fail:
    • According to Season VIII, fixing a drive plate is supposed to be such a trivial task that only someone with a brain the size of a leprechaun's testicle could screw it up. And yet he somehow managed.
    • In his backstory, he volunteered for a Samatarian helpline. Everybody he talked to committed suicide. Including the one guy with the wrong number calling for Cricket scores.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Mr Flibble.
  • Extraverted Nerd: Part of the reason why his fellow Dwarfers dislike Rimmer is because he's extremely outspoken about the various nerdy things he enjoys (Hammond organs, telephone pole and diesel engine spotting, James Last music, muzak, morris dancing, Risk, etc), never seeming to realise the others find this all incredibly boring and find him irritating for trying to shove it in their faces all the time.
  • The Extremist Was Right: In the books, Rimmer is immensely jealous of the head of A-shift, so when he hears rumors about him selling illegal Better Than Life mods, Rimmer does everything he can to promote these rumors. Turns out, the guy really was selling Better Than Life mods.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The end of Meltdown; having to take a trip through Lister's digestive system.
  • For Want of a Nail: The dramatic irony of Rimmer's life as outlined in "Dimension Jump" (and the novel "Backwards") is that the only thing that separated him, the galaxy's most useless screw-up, from Ace Rimmer is that one of them was held back for a year in primary school, while the other one got to move on thanks to his mother's intervention. The real irony was that it was Ace who was the one held back- for one time in his life, Rimmer got the "lucky break" he was always convinced he'd been denied, but proceeded to go through his life making excuses for everything, while Ace realised that he couldn't rely on his mother to always bail him out of trouble and used the humiliation of being the oldest and biggest boy in his class as motivation to knuckle down, fight back, excel and eventually become, well, The Ace.
  • Freudian Excuse: Almost everything is on his parents, or in earlier episodes, being dead. He even blamed Lister for his shortcomings very early on.
    Lister: Rimmer, you can't blame me for your lousy life.
    Rimmer: Oh, yes, I can.
    Lister: See! It's always the same. You never had the right pens for your G.E. drawing. Your dividers don't stretch far enough.
    Rimmer: Well, they don't!
    Lister: See! In the end you can't turn around and say, "I'm sorry I buggered up my life. It's all Lister's fault!"
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Lister and Holly seem to be the only ones who actually like Rimmer most of the time. Kochanski finds Rimmer incredibly sexist, Kryten repeatedly undermines his authority, while Cat often seems downright giddy whenever it seems Rimmer potentially might die. Justified in that A: Rimmer genuinely is that much of an unlikable person, and B: the intelligent population of the universe that isn't actively trying to kill them pretty much boils down to Rimmer and the others, so they can't bring themselves to get rid of him.
    • Leads to something of a subtle loop in that Rimmer often ends up making himself even less likeable because he knows how unliked he is and takes steps to ensure his safety despite this — "Quarantine" ultimately stems from his own knowledge that the other Dwarfers would be seriously tempted to never turn him back on if they had another hologram, and this knowledge is the driving conflict of "Balance of Power".
    • Even Howard, his own brother, describes him as an "utter twat".
  • General Ripper: While Rimmer doesn't have a particular enemy he's paranoid about, whenever an enemy does come along he will always go overboard when attacking. To go with his Armchair Military personality, as seen in "Meltdown"; he manages to kill all of his own army, but considers it a victory because all the enemy wax droids are also dead. A disgusted Lister gets him back.
  • Genre Savvy: Says Oh Smeg after finding out the judge of whether or not he should be RetGoned is himself.
  • Gung Holier Than Thou: So long as he's not actually in danger, he's the most blatantly military of the group.
  • Hand Puppet: Mr Flibble, a cute but evil toy penguin through which Rimmer channels his hex energy while infected with the holovirus in "Quarantine".
  • Hard Light: post-"Legion", where his hardware is upgraded. It's not constant, though, and because it burns through power faster, there are times when he has to switch back to his Soft Light mode.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • He gets to show his Hidden Heart of Gold in "Confidence & Paranoia," "Thanks For the Memory," "Queeg," "Marooned," "The Last Day," and "Holoship", and is genuinely heroic in "Out of Time" and "Stoke Me A Clipper".
    • "Psirens" establishes that Rimmer does, in fact, have some small supply of charisma. A very, very, very small supply. All concentrated in his pinky finger.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: His parents basically loathed him, his father was, in Rimmer's own words, a "crazed military failure", his mother was a cold and aloof woman who cheated on his father, and his brothers were not only more successful than him, but bullied him mercilessly, something all the other kids in school did as well.
    • And then it turns out his father was only his social father; he was born as a result of his mother's extramarital affairs.
    • His childhood best friend, Porky Ruebeck, once threw Rimmer into a septic tank and on a scout survival trip led a campaign to eat Rimmer.
    • Rimmer also mentions an incident when his uncle came into his tent and kissed him, mistakenly assuming Rimmer was his mother.
  • Honor Before Reason: Only once. When the crew's future selves appear and start attacking, Rimmer gives the order to fight as he's "better dead than smeg."
  • Hope Spot: In "Timeslides", he states that his life is made up of these. Every time he gets any chance at a break, it blows up in his face. It's then revealed that due to the changes in the timeline, he's alive again. To hammer it home, when he frolics around the cargo decks he slams down on two boxes of explosives and promptly dies again.
  • Hypocrite: In the first episode, Rimmer wanted Lister up on mutiny charges because he accidentally stepped on his toe. In a later episode, we find out that he had tried to jam a pencil up the captain's nose after he gave Lister a lenient punishment for drugging him.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Ace once accused him of "wanting to play the hero".
  • Implacable Man: Carefully balanced/outweighed by his cowardice.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Pretty much any idea Rimmer has of fun invariably falls here; his idea of a fun Friday night is checking Red Dwarf's endless supplies of food.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Whenever Rimmer is faced with something that challenges his inflated ego, his knee-jerk reaction is to deny it. In the event that denial doesn't make the issue go away, he gets very unbalanced.
  • Insane Troll Logic: He holds that the side in a battle with the shortest haircuts will inevitably win, and that Jesus was a hippy on the grounds that he had long hair and no job. He also takes issue with the way people pronounce his name, claiming they're emphasising it in some way or another that makes his name sound terrible. The first of those, by the way, had Kryten wishing there was a world-class psychiatrist nearby.
  • Intangible Man: As a soft-light hologram, Rimmer is often complaining that he cannot touch or taste or feel anything, and in one scene in "Balance of Power" when Rimmer tries to block Lister's path, Lister simply walks out through Rimmer. This largely stops being mentioned after Kryten joins the regular cast, as he carries out most of the tasks Rimmer would otherwise do, and is dropped altogether when Rimmer gets his Hard Light body in Legion.
    • Subverted even later in the series, when it's mentioned he has a tiny projector inside him to maintain his physical presence. This usually crops up when it becomes a plot element.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Frequently when informed he's being boring, annoying or obnoxious, like when describing in-depths an old card game of his, Rimmer ignores the pained cries from Lister to shut up and keeps on going, truly convinced he's telling a riveting tale of heroism.
  • Irony: In his Back To Reality fantasy, Rimmer is Lister's half brother ("same mother"). As revealed in The Begimning and material that's All There in the Manual, John Frank and Howard are only half brothers to him too, again same mother. And the man they call 'Father'? He didn't father any of the them.
  • It's All About Me: One of his defining characteristics, especially early on. After witnessing (what he thinks is) future-Lister's death in "Future Echoes", his reaction is to ask why Lister, who's just found out about what Rimmer saw, isn't thinking about him. "I'VE just had a rather nasty experience! I'VE just seen someone I know die in the most hideous, hideous way!"
  • It's All My Fault: It's revealed in "Justice" that Rimmer blamed himself for the death of the entire Red Dwarf crew and gets charged for 1167 counts of manslaughter. He is acquitted as Kryten points out that the accident would likely have occurred anyway and that Rimmer was clearly unqualified to repair the drive plate, being so incompetent he should have never been put in that position in the first place. Though in "Back in the Red", it's stated that repairing the Drive Plate was such an easy task that only someone with the brain the size of a leprechaun's testicle could possibly screw it up. Which proves that Kryten was right; Rimmer was obviously incapable of fixing the drive plate, and it was management's fault for assigning him the task.
  • Jerkass: Series 1 Rimmer especially. One episode has him forcing Lister to spend hours listing out all of Red Dwarf's inventory, stealing his cigarettes and threatening to flush them into space if Lister doesn't obey him, and only allowing him to have one for every hour he obeys him. Another has him taking malicious glee in the prospect of Lister dying horribly.
  • Jerkass With A Hidden Heart of Gold: His jerkassery seemingly knows no bounds, yet it's more pronounced with Lister (granted, Lister is a slob, but still). However, Rimmer obviously cares about Lister's wellbeing, and often shares intensely personal stories with him - but this is in between mercilessly insulting everyone else on the ship, acting like an obstructive asshat, and on one occasion rejoicing when he thinks that Lister is about to die. Despite this, he outright panics when Lister collapses in "Confidence and Paranoia", and he has a surprisingly heartwarming moment in "Marooned" when he thinks Lister has burned his guitar to stay warm, admitting how proud he is of Lister's nobility and offering his nineteenth century wooden soldiers as firewood. Also, his reaction when his brother Howard dies in series X showcases him at his most Jerkass. note  To make a long story short, Rimmer's better traits are downplayed, and only slip out occasionally, but he does have them.
  • Last Name Basis: Even his own mother refers to him as "Rimmer".
  • Last Stand: When Lister, Cat, and Kryten are all killed by the fire of the future Starbug crew, Rimmer is the only one left, desperately trying to stop what's happening. Despite how hopeless it looks, he picks up a bazookoid, makes a mad charge, and blasts the time machine. His single act of courage and bravery ends up saving his ship mates. Although they don't realize this, and attribute the reset to their future selves' attack instead.
  • Lawful Stupid: Rimmer loves to quote regulations in an effort to try and make others comply with him. In "Balance of Power" he himself proclaims that he "follows orders blindly and without question".
  • Lovable Coward / Dirty Coward: Varies between these in regards to the fans. In-Universe, he's seen as strictly a Dirty Coward; in season 3, Lister resentfully brings up the time Rimmer accused one of Red Dwarf's nastiest characters, to his face and in front of his four biggest mates, of being a necrophiliac, and then ran away whilst leaving Lister to face them singlehanded ("Marooned"). Three seasons later, Rimmer attracts the enraged disgust of all his shipmates when he leaves them to die in a derelict ship with an angry simulant ("Rimmerworld").
  • Madness Mantra: Rimmer when he suffered a nervous breakdown during one of his failed astro-navigation exams, referenced in the episode "The End".
    Rimmer: Up, up, up, that's where I'm going!
    Lister: Not until you pass an engineer's exam. And you won't do that because you'll just go in there and flunk again.
    Rimmer: Lister, last time I only failed by the narrowest of narrow margins.
    Lister: You what? You walked in there, wrote "I am a fish" four hundred times, did a funny little dance, and fainted.
  • Manchild: Even worse than Lister in a lot of ways. He often behaves like a particularly obnoxious child - sulky, petulant, selfish, and whiny, even sometimes yelling his head off like a kid throwing a tantrum. He's also willing to play childish pranks, as seen in Series VIII, or the time he tied a sleeping Lister's dreads to a bedpost and then yelled "FIRE!" in his ear.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman: Rimmer becomes Kochanski in "Balance of Power". He doesn't concern himself with feeling his feminine physique until the process is only partly reversed by Holly.
    • Not that he was in any hurry to get that last body part replaced.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: He's been known to mock characters in their own accents, particularly Lister.
    • Also The Cast Showoff: before he was cast in Red Dwarf, Chris Barrie was an accomplished vocal impressionist. (He briefly slips into his 'Ronald Reagan' during "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", and it's well-known enough that the rest of the cast call it out during the DVD commentary.)
    • One unfilmed script was included as a DVD extra with storyboards standing in for visuals, and Barrie voicing everybody.
  • The Neidermeyer: Rimmer has this general sort of attitude at all times, which made him the joke of the ship before the accident, but he really gets to show it off in "Meltdown". Except for Kryten (whose programming forces him to do so, as he laments), the other Dwarfers don't listen to him and he can't make them, so he's a lot less dangerous than most examples of this trope.
  • Never My Fault:
    • As noted above, he refuses to accept the blame for any of his mistakes or shortcomings, passing them on to everyone around him. He even blamed Lister for the radiation leak, claiming that if he had been there to help him repair the drive plate, the accident wouldn't have happened. Ironically, there might be some truth to this. According to Series VIII, fixing the Drive Plate is supposed to be trivially easy. If anyone but Rimmer tried to fix it, they probably wouldn't have screwed it up. And that's not counting Lister's Hidden Depths regarding his technical expertise, as he's managed to fix Starbug and Kryten on more than one occasion.
    • He claims that had he been taught gazpacho soup was meant to be served cold, he could have been an admiral. Despite the fact that he'd been with the corps 14 years by that point, was a chicken soup vending machine repair man, and died a year later.
    • In series X, Holly's replacement Pree repairs Deck B. However, because she's a highly predictive computer, she does it according to the way Rimmer would do it, so naturally the place is a wreck and has been done without any regard for safety regulations. Then she tells Rimmer that he will blame Kryten for this then walk off indignantly, and thus they don't have to. Rimmer gives Kryten an angrily pointed finger, realizes that they're about to have the conversation, then opts to skip it and goes directly into the indignant walk off.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Gained with hard light. Doesn't stop him cowering in terror under the nearest convenient table when the members of the crew are in trouble in future episodes, resulting in it being something of an Informed Ability (though Rimmer is explicitly stated to be able to feel normally, which implicitly includes pain, something Rimmer has an incredibly low tolerance for).
    • Aside from "Legion" when Kryten tries and fails, repeatedly, to knock him out, "Emohawk" when he's temporarily turned into Ace and jumps on a grenade, or "Rimmerworld" where his clones failed to kill him and resorted to imprisoning him for nearly 600 years.
  • Not So Different: From his brother, Howard. As it turns out Howard is also a coward and a lowly vending machine repairman who lied about how successful he really was.
    • Arguably subverted when Howard comes clean about how he's been lying all along and admitting he was envious of the apparently truly successful Rimmer, and then goes on to dive in front of an energy blaster, sacrificing himself to save his little brother. Rimmer not only doesn't admit he was lying too, he lies to Howard again so he goes to his death with his mind blanked out from resentment, while Rimmer happily celebrates Howard's death afterwards.
  • Obsessed Are the Listmakers: A throw-away gag in the flashback of "Balance of Power" is that Rimmer wasted seven months that he could have spent studying for his exam on instead writing up a timetable for studying, with the implication that he does this every single time he tries to take the exam. In the novelization ("Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers"), it's explicitly stated that this is exactly what he does. This gets a Call Back in "The Beginning" when his first step in planning a strategy against the Simulants is to make a timetable.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: He enforces all sorts of rules and regulations that even high-ranking officers don't care about.
  • Of Course I'm Not A Virgin: He's not, but has had so little sex that he might as well be.
    • He comes clean (against Lister's advice) after getting catastrophically drunk celebrating his "death-day". The details of the one time are really quite depressing. Another episode discloses the fact that his partner may have been too concussed to have given informed consent (the novels attempt an Author's Saving Throw by establishing that Yvonne was interested in him but could never work up the nerve, though how much that offsets things is very YMMV).
    • He does manage a genuine affectionate sexual relationship later on in the series. Naturally, it doesn't last.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Rimmer is voting that the crew fight a futile battle to the death against a foe they have no chance of defeating, you know shit's gotten real.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: In "Me 2", he quickly grows to loathe the other Rimmer hologram after just a few days.
    • The only person in-universe to hate Ace Rimmer, considering him to be a Smug Super. Actually not as unreasonable as it sounds, considering that he's the galaxy's biggest loser and Ace is the walking embodiment of what he could have been; just being in the same room with Ace is like having all of his failings shoved in his face (and that's a lot of failings). Plus everyone else practically worships Ace while being completely open in their dislike of him.
    • In "Rimmerworld", the other Rimmers rebelled against him and locked him in prison for several hundred years.
  • Projected Man: After his death, his recorded personality is recreated in hologrammatic form. It's a process that requires so much power and computer runtime that only one hologram per ship is possible (though, Lister works out a way to temporarily run a second).
  • Put on a Bus: Rimmer took over from Ace and left Starbug to be a Big Damn Hero for a while.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rimmer is almost always the target of these.
    • The core of Kryten's defence in Justice is essentially one protracted "The Reason You Suck" Speech, pointing out in excruciating detail the worst of Rimmer's character flaws to demonstrate how incompetent (and therefore unculpable) he is. It works perfectly, in spite of Rimmer's objections to his own defence.
    • He can dish them out rather well too, mostly regarding Lister's deadbeat lifestyle and Kryten's semi-human status and awkward attempts at human mannerisms.
  • Reincarnation: In "Marooned", Rimmer claims that, in a previous life, he was Alexander the Great's chief eunuch.
  • The Resenter: Rimmer has an intensely deep loathing of himself that's well documented in both the series and the novels. Also of pretty much everyone around him, as well, but he definitely hates himself first and foremost. It proves almost lethal in "Trojan" by overloading and crashing his hard disk, and manages to negatively affect the other crew members in "Better Than Life" and "Terrorform".
    • Seems to be alleviated after his discovering who his real father is; he no longer has to live up to the high achievements of his father or his established family history.
  • The Scrooge: He's extremely tightfisted with money. In "Marooned", it's revealed that he has twenty four grand in cash saved up, yet borrowed $£15 from Lister to buy him a book token for his birthday that was only worth a fiver.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: Until he became a Hard Light hologram, he sometimes resented being unable to interact with the physical world. Until he made an agreement with Lister to switch bodies to get Lister in shape, then welched on it in favor of doing things he'd missed (i.e. chain smoking cigars, eating a mountain of ice cream). When he was made to relent, he (as usual) became unscrupulous in "borrowing" people's bodies. (Until the next episode.)
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Ego is Rimmer's other middle name.
  • Stealing the Credit: He does this quite a bit, laying claim to other people's successes and ideas as long as they actually work.
  • Strange Salute: The novels establish that it's actually Rimmer's own invention, and he's trying to sell the Space Corps on the idea of adopting it. This tells you almost everything you need to know about Rimmer.
    • He calls it the "Rimmer Salute" explicitly in the series on one or two occasions as well. Series VIII establishes on screen that the salute was developed by Rimmer.
    • Made funnier during the intro for the 10th anniversary Red Dwarf night, when the salute was delivered by Patrick Stewart.
  • Super Strength: Apparently another benefit of his hard light form; it's alluded to in one episode that he can scrunch up enamel cups like Styrofoam and rip a fridge off a wall (in an attempt to insert it into Lister). It's never really demonstrated on-screen though.
  • That Was Objectionable: Rimmer repeatedly objected to his own defense counsel in "Justice" — and was overruled by the judge AI of the prison spacestation every time — because Kryten's defense strategy hinged on proving that Rimmer was too all-around incompetent to have been liable for the disaster aboard Red Dwarf that he felt guilty for.
    "A man of such awesome stupidity, he even objects to his own defense counsel!"
    • One feels he was taking advantage of the (golden) opportunity to insult Rimmer as well: Kryten can so rarely do so without violating his programming.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Season X gives Rimmer some much needed closure on his family life (though some of it is mitigated). Not only is one of his jerkass, successful brothers revealed to be just as much a lying, sniveling, cowardly, ineffectual chicken soup machine repairman as he is (though he's promoted posthumously after his light bee is damaged), but his father reveals he isn't even his father, so the pressure to live up to Rimmer's ancestors is lost.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In "The Beginning" from Series X, where he comes up with the plan to trick four Simulant ships into surrounding Blue Midget on all sides and open fire, causing them to destroy themselves with their own weapons when the missiles pass straight through the hull, due to the molecular destabilisor the Dwarfers are using to make their hull intangible. As of "Give And Take", it seems to be sticking as well, as when faced with a deranged medical droid who has already incapacitated Lister and The Cat, he doesn't flee in abject terror. While he still takes the relatively cowardly method of using Kryten as a shield, he still engages in a gunfight with it and actually manages to damage it enough to buy enough time to rescue Lister and The Cat before the station they are exploring is destroyed.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: For series VIII and X. Somewhat justified in Series VIII, as that was a living Rimmer without the memories of the hologrammatic Rimmer.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Rimmer, sad pathetic weasel of a man that he is, would give his full title as Arnold J. Rimmer, BSc, SSc - in this case they stand for Bronze Swimming Certificate and Silver Swimming Certificate. This is made even worse when it's stated in one episode that he can't swim, meaning he was self-aggrandizing with forged/stolen swimming certificates, of all things! note 
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Rimmer ride from "Blue", while programmed by Kryten, was based on entries from Rimmer's journal.
  • Virtual Ghost: As a hologram.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: As much as he'd deny it, he's definitely got this relationship with Lister.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy
    • He's desperate to seek his father's approval, something which The Cat notes has been holding him back his entire life. When it is revealed in "The Beginning" that his father was "Dungo", the family gardener, Rimmer is no longer held back by this trope and formulates a plan to defeat the Simulants.
    • Inverted in one of the novels, Last Human, where his son, having been raised on falsified tales of what a hero Rimmer was, has become the sort of Space Marine type Rimmer's always wished he could be.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: His worst fear is huge spiders, a fear he shares with Lister.

Played by: Danny John Jules

Cat (sometimes The Cat) is the last known member of felis sapiens (also spelt felix sapiens), a race which evolved from the kittens of Lister's pet cat Frankenstein. Cat is known for his outlandish fashion sense, and gauges danger by how it will affect his looks.

  • Ace Pilot: Thanks to his superior sense of smell.
  • Agent Peacock: Extremely vain, fastidious and fashion-orientated, but quite obviously straight and there are subtle signs of how dangerous he could actually be in a fight. Even with Red Dwarf's tendency to play fights for laughs, he still is the first to tool up with the bazookoids and he's their favored pilot for the smaller vessels.
  • Badass Longcoat: He'll often wear stylish long jackets with his outfits. In one instance, he even wears it over a disguise, negating the disguise. Naturally, Lister calls him out on this.
  • Berserk Button: Being corrected, apparently (though the only time this comes up is during "Quarantine", when all the characters were on edge).
  • Black and Nerdy: "Dwayne Dibley" - the persona was introduced as his worst nightmare, then brought back via a polymorph removing his "cool". Jules attributed Dibley's popularity to the lack of black nerds on TV at the time.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The novels explain that many of The Cat's 'flaws' can't really be judged by human standards any more than the morals of an alien - he's not human; he's descended from cats and Lister and Rimmer are the first humans he has ever encountered.
  • Bowties Are Cool
  • Buffy Speak: He'll often refer to spatial phenomena as a swirly thing.
  • Camp Straight: Obsessed with colors, clothing styles, his hairstyle... and also so desperate for a girlfriend, and absurdly overconfident in his actual sexual attractiveness to women, that it becomes pitifully humorous.
  • Catchphrase: "What is it?" often repeated to the point of an Overly Long Gag.
  • Cats Are Mean: Most of his comments, even the ones that are well-meaning, come across as this in early series.
    Cat: Hey, monkey, you're sick. Sick, helpless, and unconscious. If you weren't my friend, I'd steal your shoes
    • Likewise, it takes until around Series 3 before his reaction to Lister or others being in mortal peril becomes anything more than "So?"
  • A Cat Named Cat: It's established in the novel Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers that the Cat race don't actually name themselves; they're all such egocentric individualists that they can't imagine anyone not knowing who they are. Though the Cat does seem to eventually pick up on the fact that there are people out there who don't know him, he still sees no need for any other name than simply "Cat."
  • Character Development: Like Rimmer, it's subtle. The first two seasons have him as a sort of roving comic relief, who comes dancing and screaming into view a la James Brown, checking himself out in mirrors every few seconds and scent marking everything in sight. As of season 3, he stops jiving around as much, hangs out with the rest of the crew and becomes far more useful. He joins the others in fighting off threats and becomes the lead pilot for Starbug, due to his enhanced senses and reactions. His Blue and Orange Morality is also eroded somewhat as he bonds with the rest of the crew; he becomes a lot less self-absorbed, although he is still obsessed with his appearance and has a tendency to say and do rather tactless things, mostly due to not fully understanding Human social niceties.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Initially - he becomes more of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer as time passes and the need for his skills increases. Imagine a wild cat becoming more domesticated or a kitten growing up.
    • Entirely justified, given that before encountering Rimmer and Lister in the first episode he'd never met a human before. It only makes sense that it takes a while for him to adapt to how humans interact.
  • Commander Contrarian: On the occasions Rimmer makes a valid point (which is far and few between), the Cat will still refuse to support him because of Rimmer's fashion-sense (that, and because he's Rimmer).
  • Completely Missing the Point: Frequently.
  • Cool Cat: His entire raison d'être.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's not afraid to use a bazookoid when he needs to.
  • Cute Little Fangs
  • Deadpan Snarker: From series 3 onwards. He seems to have picked it up from from his crewmates. Since Red Dwarf is a World of Snark, this makes a lot of sense.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: More than once. For example, during "Kryten", he tells Lister to drag him away if he sees himself in a mirror, otherwise he'll be there all day. Sure enough, on the Nova 5, he finds a mirror...
  • The Ditz
    • Genius Ditz: Occasionally comes up with a workable plan. During Back To Earth, the origami foil squids he keeps making are the first clue that it's all an illusion.
  • Flat Character: Despite being one of the main characters, he's the one we know the least about.
    • On the other hand, the Cat freely admits that he's incredibly shallow, so who-he-is is right there on the surface.
    • Despite this he's the only character besides Lister to appear in every single episode.
  • Forgot Flanders Could Do That: Cat's self-centred vanity and ignorance are played for laughs so much that folks tend to forget he's got excellent reflexes and senses; he manages to outrun and outsmart two heat-seeking bazookoid charges in Polymorph and the only time he ever gets hit during the series' run is when he willingly allows Kryten to knock him out in Legion.
  • Hidden Depths: He actually is pretty good at reading people, given his analysis of Rimmer's obsession with his father.
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: The Cat looks almost perfectly human, except for rather overly prominent upper canines. He has six nipples and, according to a medical analysis, color-coded internal organs and both a heartbeat and a pulse that are much "cooler" than those of a human's. The former is portrayed as a catchy rhythmic beating sound, the latter a full-blown tropicano-type musical number.
    • According to the Backwards novel, male Felis Sapiens have not diverged from the reproductive model of their housecat ancestors. Meaning that their penis is covered in dozens of tiny, painful barbs. A pity the attractive hillbilly girl that Cat loses his virginity to (sort of) fails to see these barbs before they, uh, get put to work.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Takes out several polymorphs at close range with a pair of pistols in quick succession without so much as grazing his crewmates, who were in the very same confined space.
  • Informed Flaw: During "DNA", Rimmer describes him as being a coward. Of all the Cat's flaws, being a coward isn't one of them.
  • Jerk Ass: As mentioned in Rimmer's tropes, he gets happy when Rimmer appears to be close to death, and could care less about Lister's life as long as he does not have a snack. He also is totally vain, though he has gotten a little better as the show went on.
    Kryten: Sir, (the crew of the Enlightenment) have taken Mr. Rimmer!
    Cat: Quick; let's get out of here before they bring him back!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: From series 2 onward, at least, he's still lazy and selfish, but he's still buddies with Lister.
  • Large Ham: His actor described him as having the body of James Brown, the voice of Little Richard, and the face of Richard Pryor. Damn.
  • Last of His Kind: In a sense. The Cat Species left Red Dwarf many years ago, leaving behind only the stupid, the sick and the crippled. After the death of the Blind Cat Priest in "Waiting for God", the Cat becomes the sole survivor of the Cats that remained aboard Red Dwarf.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The religion of the Cats states that "It is a sin to be cool."
  • The Nicknamer: Never refers to anybody by their actual names.
  • The Nose Knows: Can smell threats through the vacuum of space.
    • It's entirely possible that Cat might have a form of synesthesia, meaning danger literally registers as smells to him.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man
  • Skewed Priorities: His first instinct in any situation is to worry more about his appearance than any danger he's in. For example, in "Backwards", he complains that due to searching for Kryten and Rimmer that he hasn't permed his leg hairs in a week.
  • Super Gullible: Lister convinces him that he was trimming verucas in Starbug's cockpit, found a packet of peanuts in a dead guy's jacket, a mint in his mouth and that Starbug is made from the same stuff as the doll that always survives plane crashes.
  • Super Reflexes: He can dodge bazookoid blasts, even when wearing an Impractically Fancy Outfit. He also quickly catches and returns a snowball to Lister in "Timeslides". These reflexes are why from series VI onwards that he's the first choice to pilot Starbug.
  • Super Senses: His senses of hearing and smell are greater than his crewmates and he can sense danger long before they can.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Fish, being a cat and all. He even has a little song for whenever he eats fish. "I'm going to eat you, little fishy...."
  • Took a Level in Badass: Although he's played more for comedy, from seasons 3 and on he still is always quick to join a fight and he proves he's an expert pilot.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: He has so many suits, he tends not to wear the same one twice, even changing mid-episode. The one time he does wear the same suit a second time, he lampshades it.

Played By: Norman Lovett (1988, 1997-1999); Hattie Hayridge (1989-1992)

Red Dwarf's computer, Holly starts off amazingly intelligent with a purported IQ of 6,000. However, he has become senile before Lister's return to non-stasis. After an encounter with his counterpart from an alternate universe, a blonde female named Hilly, Holly performed a sex change on himself.

  • A.I. is a Crapshoot: Averted. Although Holly is regularly a menace to the crew, it's never intentional on his part. The crew soon learn not to rely on him.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's gone a bit senile with old age.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Male Holly may well be the best example in the series.
  • Dumb Blonde: Holly's female incarnation suffers from this. She's noticeably a lot more stupid than her male incarnation from series I and II.
  • First-Name Basis: He/She is the only character to regularly call Lister and Rimmer by their first names (Dave and Arnold respectively.)
  • Gender Bender
  • Idiot Savant: Holly suffers from severe computer senility, which has reduced his intellect considerably to the point where he often forgets words and can barely string a slightly complicated sentence together, but he can also design and build advanced technology that allows them to jump between dimensions and resurrect the crew and rebuild his old self. He can play a mean prank using his Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Insufferable Genius: Yes, Holly. We know you have an IQ of 6000.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The Reveal from "Queeg" puts him firmly in this category.
  • The Prankster: Occasionally tries to trick the crew, in a very deadpan manner, either to prove a point or just amuse himself.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: In "Timeslides", Holly is the only one to remember the changes to the timeline.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Holly is said to be temporarily offline due to water damage in Back to Earth, but something apparently happened between that episode and "Fathers and Suns" to the point where the crew were forced to find and install a completely new computer.
    • Oddly, early episodes such as "White Hole" imply that Holly is essential to maintain the critical systems aboard Red Dwarf and when he went offline even briefly, the systems quickly began to fail. It's possible that because of those events, the crew might have bodged the essential systems to run automatically without Holly, although Rimmer implies in "Fathers and Suns" that the ship is slowly beginning to fall apart now Holly's gone.
  • Put on a Bus: Actor wise, at the end of series 2. But character wise, at the end of series 5. Although...
  • The Bus Came Back: Holly's original actor returned for series 7 and 8.
  • Sixth Ranger: His return in series 8 generally saw him treated as much less of a focus than he was in series 2, only really playing a support role. And with the other 5 already established, and the show having changed so much since the second series, Holly was practically the new guy all over again.
  • Snap Back: Played for Laughs in the series VII finale. Holly's intelligence had been restored by Kryten's nanobots, but after being left in the junk that was once Red Dwarf for hundreds of years, he's gone back to being his usually ditzy self.

    Kryten 2X4B-523P
Played By: David Ross (1988); Robert Llewellyn (1989-present)

Kryten is a 4000 series mechanoid. He was encountered by the crew on the wreck of the starship Nova 5, where he had obediently served his three female owners, not realising they had died on landing. Although, in the novels Kryten is actually the cause of the crash as he scrubs the computer's motherboard and guidance system out with hot soapy water as a nice surprise, causing it to malfunction and randomly spout French poetry. Kryten was helped to break his programming by Lister and eventually chose to oppose Rimmer, before leaving on Lister's space bike. He crashed and was rebuilt by Lister, giving him a new accent and new programming.

  • Absurdly Dedicated Worker: He's first encountered obediently serving the three female crew members of the Nova 5, completely oblivious to the fact that they were killed when the Nova crash-landed.
  • Art Evolution: The design of his head becomes squatter between series 3 and 4.
  • Asymmetric Dilemma
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: First referenced in "The Last Day" when Lister describes him as being like Action Man. In series VIII, his lack of a penis gets him classified as a woman and he ends up as Kochanski's cellmate.
  • Battle Butler: While programmed not to kill, he will pick up a bazookoid to protect his crewmates.
  • Berserk Button: If you blow off his dinner to play a VR game, he'll drag you out. With a tank.
  • Camp Straight: Particularly in his first appearance, he's pretty campy, but his "ideal love interest" was the female equivalent of his model of mechanoids.
  • Character Development: Following his induction into the main cast, Kryten goes from being a guilt-ridden, neurotic wreck who thinks he's only good for cleaning to a self-confident source of scientific knowledge who isn't afraid to put his foot down. Rimmer distastefully lampshades this in "Quarantine", stating that he preferred Kryten the way he was before.
  • Clingy Jealous Mechanoid: Happens in VII most prominently after Kochanski becomes a permanent crew member, thanks to his almost motherly attitude towards Lister. Much less prevalent in Back To Earth as Kochanski has long since left Red Dwarf at that point.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In later episodes, especially after gaining "lie mode."
    • Hell, he even has a deadpan mode.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: 2X4B. He has always felt it's a little jerky.
    • Though it's better than one poor sod he knew who had the middle name 2Q4B...
  • Emergent Human: Deconstructed; Lister encourages him to adapt human traits like lying and gratuitous violence. When Kryten becomes human in one episode (and in another when he mistakenly believes Lister is a lesser model of robot) he becomes arrogant and bullying.
  • First-Name Basis: When first introduced, he referred to Lister as "Mr. David". He retained this through series 3.
  • Flipping the Bird: Is actually the first robot in fiction to do that to a human.
  • Gag Penis: When he was temporarily turned human in "DNA", he apparently took pictures to see if everything was normal. In particular, why he got a "double-polaroid" from looking at kitchen utensils?!
    • Polymorph introduced his Groinal Attachment, a power socket located in a place that should be obvious from its name to which he can attach various utensils including a vacuum cleaner hose and an electric egg-whisk. It makes the odd appearance in subsequent episodes.
    • In Pete he makes himself a penis. That has its own personality. And which isn't physically attached to his body.
  • Innocently Insensitive: He has a wavering grip of human emotions and pleasantries, so even when trying to be kind and complimentary, he often ends up insulting people with his matter-of-fact perception, particularly Rimmer.
  • Mr. Exposition: Became the primary means of delivering background information to the other characters, despite his nature as a domestic service robot. Beautifully spoofed after several seasons when the other characters appear to have gotten used to him knowing practically everything when he's asked how long a t-rex's bowel movements take and he mocks the idea that he'd know something so outlandish.
  • Nanomachines: He has nanobots that repaired him until they escaped.
  • Nice Guy: Though as Kryten points out to the Inquisitor, this is only because he's programmed that way. To truly become a nice person, Kryten would have to break his programming and then develop his own ethics.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Normally, Kryten is utterly subservient to humans, and Lister specifically. Five days in quarantine with him and the Cat has Kryten so on edge he implicitly threatens to kill Lister for his disgusting habits.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome:
    • Played with, in that the human traits he really wishes to acquire are all negative things, like being able to lie, and cheat and steal.
    • Subverted in "DNA" where he becomes human, but is unable to figure it out and Lister eventually convinces him to change back.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: Like most technology in Red Dwarf, he's capable of lasting for millions of years.
  • Robosexual: A sort of inversion in that he's a robot who has a relationship with a human man that can have a very romantic overtone (particularly during series VII and VIII, where he gets a lot of "Clingy Jealous Girlfriend" type moments). The fact he's technically a physical asexual (which gets him classified as a woman in series VIII) doesn't help, nor does the fact that the official diagnosis of the rogue emotions he has developed includes "Affection, Possessiveness and Love".
  • Robot Buddy: He talks to his spare heads and even the scutters could be counted.
  • Robot Religion: All mechanoids are programmed to believe in the electronic afterlife of Silicon Heaven, where Humans will serve them for all eternity. It's something to look forward to after a lifetime of dedicated service.
    Kryten: For is it not written, "the Iron shall lay down with the Lamp?" Are you not a pantheist sir?
    Lister: Well yeah, I just don't believe it applies to kitchen utensils. I'm not a frying pantheist!
    • As per Inquisitor, his faith may be wavering.
  • Straight Man overlapping with The Smart Guy: Kryten is typically the one coming up with a solution to the Dilemma of the Week, moreso after Holly stops being a regular character.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Being a general servant, most of his abilities make sense (with his groinal attachments being Rule of Funny) but the nanobots, whose only job is to repair him can create and destroy planets and bring the dead back to life.
  • Swiss Army Appendage: His groinal socket, which he can apparently plug a variety of devices into, including vacuum hoses and egg whisks. He also has a hot air dryer in his arse, which seems to be perfect for drying cutlery.
  • Technical Pacifist: While he is programmed not to kill, he has broken his programming enough to bestow violence upon those threatening his crewmates.
    • His directives also allow him to incapacitate Cat and Lister in Legion, as it is an act ultimately for the greater good of the crew.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In the novels, he was the one that caused the Nova 5 to crash by washing the main and backup computers. According to "More Than A Joke" and the Red Dwarf website Space Corps Database, he also retains this bit of history in the show.

    Kristine Kochanski
Played By: Clare Grogan (1988, 1993); Chloë Annett (1997-?)

Navigation Officer Kristine Kochanski was Lister's partner, who perished along with the other crew members. Shortly after Rimmer's departure from Starbug, the crew encountered an alternate version of themselves where Kochanski had survived the leak instead of Lister. Kochanski was saved from falling into a dimensional vortex by Lister, but the vortex closed, preventing her from rejoining her crew.

  • Action Girl: Both Kochanskis definitely have their moments.
  • Action Mom
  • Alliterative Name
  • Amicable Exes: They're not stated to have had a relationship until later in the series, but Lister and the first Kochanski appeared to be this, judging by the brief scene they shared together in "The End."
  • Brainy Brunette: The second Kochanski definitely qualifies.
    • The first one has to be fairly smart as well, given that she was an officer.
  • Characterization Marches On: In her earliest appearances when played by Clare Grogan, she was quite friendly, flirty with Lister and had a Scottish accent. By the time she had joined the main cast (and Ms Grogan had been replaced by Chloë Annett) she was rather neurotic, very upper class and had an English accent (although still canonically from Scotland).
    • On the other hand, the second Kochanski is from an alternate reality. Presumably alt!Kochanski experienced a slightly different upbringing, though she still ended up on Red Dwarf and dated Lister.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The second Kochanski definitely had her moments.
  • Former Teen Rebel: So she claims, after leaving virtual-reality school.
  • The Lad-ette: In the Last Human novel, thanks to filling in the missing Lister's role in several of the scenes based on the TV series, she's this. As Last Human was written before series 7, it's based on Grogan's portrayal.
  • The Lost Lenore: Lister is devastated at her death in "The End". He hopes to one day resurrect her so that they can live together. When he thinks she dies between "Only The Good" and "Back To Earth", he keeps a memorial to her and visits it regularly to read her classical fiction.
  • Love Interest: Not exactly, however Kryten thinks she's this for Lister...and occasionally so does Lister.
    • In the novels, especially Last Human, where she has a fairly large role, she plays the trope straight.
  • MacGuffin: Finding her replaces finding Earth as the ostensible MacGuffin for the characters, or at least Lister, in later series.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Most notably in the Shower Scene Kryten films in "Krytie TV" and at the end of "Ouroborous" where her medical gown is accidentally tucked into the back of her underwear.
  • Obsessed Are the Listmakers: Lister accuses her of being one of these sorts of people at one point.
    Lister: I bet even right now you can tell us the average rainfall of the rich coastal lowlands of Venezuela.
  • Only Sane Man: Of the crew in series 7. Unlike the rest of the boys, she's much saner and more sensible. Usually, at least.
  • Put on a Bus: Left the ship without explanation between Series VIII and Back to Earth. Upon realizing she's probably still alive out there somewhere Lister vows to find her, but the show doesn't put much effort into it.
  • Retcon: In the first few series she was Lister's friend whom he had a secret crush on, but never had the nerve to ask out. The tie-in novels make her his ex-girlfriend, something which was eventually retconned into the TV series even before she joined the main cast with their past relationship referenced as early as "DNA". (True, the Kochanski who ends up joining the crew is from an alternate reality, but it's clear from her conversations with this world's Lister that he now remembers them being in a relationship and her breaking up with him.)
  • Spell My Name with an "S": At first the character was credited only as "Kochanski", but judging by the name written on her hologram box in Series 1 (which reads "KOCHANSKI C.Z.". The Z stands for Zoe.), Kochanski's first name was meant to be spelled "Christine". Then the first novel came out and spelled it "Kristine". Then the TV series officially established the spelling as "Kristine".
  • Sixth Ranger: A rather odd example, as she may be the sixth and final member to join the main cast, but she actually joins after two of the former main characters have left. Although one of them (Rimmer) is still considered main cast even in his temporary absence, and the other (Holly) returns at the end of the series Kochanski joins anyway , and being an online computer, has no tangible presence, so in a way he qualifies as a fifth member by default, making Kochanski sixth automatically. Nevertheless, she's the sixth cast member.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The second Kochanski gets separated from her much more intelligent, sophisticated Lister, stuck on the dilapidated garbage heap that is Starbug, with a much more uncouth crew, along with the quarters with the pipes capable of driving anyone to dementia, followed by Kryten accidentally destroying her only clothes.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Usually inverted. Despite being from the Gorbals note , Kochanski's usually the more restrained and sophisticated of the crew. Though she does once punch Lister in the face for unwanted advances, and bashes Kryten over the head with a wrench after an incredibly stressful night.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The second Kochanski got separated from her crew when some angry GELFs blew up the interdimensional corridor between both universes. When the crew found a way back, it collapsed, and thanks to Lister distracting her she wound up stuck with them permanently.

Other Characters

    Ace Rimmer
Played By: Chris Barrie (1991, 1993, 1997)

Pandimensional super-hero, Ace Rimmer is Rimmer's counterpart from another dimension. Ace was held back at school, which spurred him on to succeed. Any non-Rimmer character may remark 'what a guy!' upon meeting Ace.

  • Another Dimension: Ace first left his dimension on an experimental Space Corps ship with a "dimension drive." Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any way for him to choose his target dimension - meaning he can't get home! Presumably, the Padre, "Spanners" Lister, Secretary Mellie and his commanding officer "Bongo" are all still hoping Ace pops back up sometime.
  • '80s Hair: Has a magnificent bouffant compared to Rimmer's regulation cut.
  • The Ace: Turned up to eleven.
    • Ace Pilot: Starts out as a test pilot for the Space Corps.
  • Bond One-Liner: Shown to have a fondness for these.
    • When he kills a man mid-skydive with an alligator:
    "See ya later alligator"
    • After witnessing a Nazi driving into a brick wall and exploding:
    "Bet he's a sour kraut."
  • The Casanova
  • Catch Phrase: "Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!"
  • Character Tics: Tends to flick his hair back like he's in a shampoo commercial.
  • Chick Magnet: The ladies throw themselves at Ace. But so do the men.
  • Commanding Coolness: The original Ace is a Commander in the Space Corps.
  • Cool Shades: His Aviator shades.
  • Dimensional Traveler: He makes his debut after the engineers in his dimension make a dimension surfing spaceship.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: To the point happily married men try to proposition him.
  • Expy: Chris Barrie's portrayal of Ace is reminiscent of Sean Connery's depiction of James Bond combined with Errol Flynn and the Ace Pilot trope. Ace even gets a Bondesque Action Prologue where he fights the Nazis.
  • For Want of a Nail: Rimmer believes Ace is a version of him that got all the lucky breaks in life. However Ace reveals that the difference between their lives was a decision to hold him back a year in school, rather than just let him move on. It was actually Rimmer who got the break. When this happened, it was the moment Ace realised he'd been underachieving and from that moment onward dedicated himself to being a better person. (Though Ace notes that maybe getting that spur was the real break.)
    • Furthermore, with the reveal in Series X that his father was really the family gardener, one can surmise that after Ace became an officer and learned the truth, this is the reason he has such amazing self-confidence and can act without hearing his "father's" disapproving voice in his head.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Is an occasional cigarillo smoker, with none of the usual connotations.
  • Humble Hero: Despite a well-earned reputation as an all-around Ace and being incredibly popular with his personnel and officers, he is modest, and surprisingly down-to-earth (in social situations, he has a tendency to be blase about danger).
  • He's Back: "Well, I said I'd be back for breakfast! How're those kippers doin', fellas?"
  • Implacable Man: Helped fix Starbug with a broken arm in his debut, then proceeded to perform surgery on Cat and teach Kryten how to play the piano before tending to his own wounds (and even then, only after he'd been up for over 36 hours).
    • Gets shot and simply laments that his best top is ruined. Justified in that he's a Hard Light hologram at that point. Though it still counts as it's an ultimately lethal shot.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Able to shoot the chains off a hostage from a distance while riding a motorbike.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Kills the Big Bad he is up against with a crocodile. Said crocodile later falls on two Mooks just as they mention how lucky they are to have survived an encounter with him.
  • Legacy Character: And how. There have been enough Ace Rimmers for their little gold coffin beacons to form the rings of a planet.
  • My Favorite Shirt: Upon being shot.
    Ace: "This is my best top, dammit!"
  • Nice Guy: The only person in the series not to take an instant dislike to Rimmer. Not that it takes him long to come around.
  • One-Man Army: Takes on an entire army of Nazis to save the girl.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Though he makes an effort to be polite to normal Rimmer, he admits to Lister before he leaves that he can't stand him.
    Ace: There's a billion other realities to explore. A billion other Arnold Rimmers to meet. Maybe somewhere there's one who's more of a pain in the butt than him. But I doubt it.
  • Phrase Catcher: "What a guy!"
  • Refuge in Audacity: Ace Rimmer's MO. If it's crazy, insane and downright impossible for any normal man to do it, He manages it. Every time. Helps that he's a hologram who has deliberately hidden the telltale signs...
  • Take Up My Sword: In "Stoke Me a Clipper", Ace Rimmer tells the hologram of Arnold J. Rimmer to become the next Ace, and even briefly trains him to do so with what little life he has left.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The dimension jump drive on his ship is stated to be a one way trip with no hope of going back. This is further elaborated in Backwards (the book, not the TV episode) when it's stated that new dimensions are created constantly due to choices made by people every day. Ace doesn't seem to mind, though.
    • Though in his second appearance it seems that every Ace is able to visit one particular dimension at least once. The "graveyard" system where they intern their predecessors.

    Captain Frank Hollister 
Played By: Mac McDonald (1988, 1999)

The overweight captain of Red Dwarf who is killed off (along with the rest of the crew bar Lister) halfway through the first episode. Hasn't stopped him being the most frequently recurring non-main cast member.
  • All Men Are Perverts: When Rimmer lies and claims that he lost the Sexual Magnetism Virus, Hollister exclaims "GODDAMMIT, RIMMER! I WANTED THAT! I mean the lab boys wanted it, to, uh, test it."
  • Blackmail: How he achieved his commission.
  • Break the Haughty: Series 8 two-parter "Pete" is one long Break the Haughty for Captain Hollister.
  • Da Chief: In series VIII. Especially in "Pete".
  • Fat Bastard: Not all that much of a bastard, but he does get a lot of fat jokes, and Rimmer once describes him using this exact phrase.
  • Flanderization: In the first episode he seems a competent, strict-but-fair Captain. In series 8 he has become a tough, unfair Pointy-Haired Boss who, as previously mentioned, is subject to a lot of fat jokes — and in the character interview page on the Red Dwarf site, he's pretty much become a walking fat joke, constantly hungry and eating, demanding so much toast that even Talkie Toaster capitulates.
    • Seems to have de-Flanderized in "Only The Good..." where Rimmer tells him his dreams of being a captain, and Hollister calmly tells him that he doesn't see Rimmer as officer material and he should focus on another, more suitable goal. Of course Rimmer doesn't listen.
  • Gender Flip: In the novel Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, he's a she — the Captain here is a woman with the unfortunate surname Kirk, but apart from the gender and name it's essentially the same character.
  • Humiliation Conga: "Pete" was written specifically to be an episode-long one for him. All the crap he goes through makes you feel like his Flanderization was justified.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Denounces Rimmer's use of confidential files as sickening and unforgivable, but acknowledges that's how he became captain in the same log.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss In series 8, it's revealed that Hollister bribed and blackmailed his way up to Captain Rank.
    Hollister: If the crew find out I'm really just "Dennis the Doughnut Boy", I'm finished.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Seemed actually rather understanding and competent in the first two seasons, with him even showing significant magnanimity towards Rimmer after the latter insulted him. Unfortunately it seemed resurrection had the effect of removing his patience and reasonableness.

    Talkie Toaster 
Played By: John Lenahan (1988); David Ross (1991)

A very minor, but very well-remembered, character, Talkie Toaster belongs to Lister, is equipped with artificial intelligence and, to the annoyance of everyone, completely obsessed with making toast. Was destroyed off-screen by Lister sometime during the first two series and rebuilt (with a completely different voice and appearance) by Kryten in Series IV.

  • Ascended Extra: Talkie Toaster appears in only three episodes in the TV show, but plays an important and major part in the novel Better Than Life, and later went to do character interviews (complete with offers of toast) on the official Red Dwarf web page.
  • Catch Phrase: "Would you like some toast?" and endless variations thereof.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In series one.
    Lister: [The Cats]'re just using religion as an excuse to be extremely crappy towards each other.
    Talkie Toaster: So what else is new.
  • Flanderization: In his first appearance, he wanted a new career, saying being a toaster "is making me into a guy I don't like". In season 4, he's become a complete monomaniac who cares about toast and nothing else (except other toasted breakfast products). A possible explanation for this is the fact that Lister took a hammer to him and fed him into the waste disposal unit.
  • Insufferable Genius: To Lister's dismay.

    Mr. Flibble 
Played By: Chris Barrie (1992)

Another minor character who has achieved surprising fame despite his lack of screen time, Mr Flibble is a penguin hand puppet used by Rimmer when under the influence of a holovirus. Is known for his capacity to become very cross.

    Kill Crazy 
Played By: Jake Wood (1999)

A prisoner in Red Dwarf's brig who volunteers for the Canaries and accompanies the main characters on several suicide missions. He's quite unstable and longs for some action.

    Hogey The Roguey 
Played By: Richard O'Callaghan (2012)

A rogue droid appearing in Series X episode "The Beginning", though unlike other insane robots he doesn't seem overly bothered about actually killing the Dwarfers. He's more interested in trying to convince them to take part in duels across time and space.

  • Affably Evil: The main reason he seems to be trailing the Dwarfers is because of sheer boredom, and the Dwarfers themselves are not threatened by his presence whatsoever.
  • Canon Immigrant: Of sorts. He was originally meant to be a character in the ill-fated movie, and ended up in The Beginning thanks to it being partially based on an early draft of the film script.
  • Catch Phrase: "Joo keeledz my bruzzer!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: Quite literally; his gun proves pivotal to the plot.
  • Friendly Enemy: The main reason he's challenging them to duels across time and space is because they're both really bored and they serve as a distraction to the tedium. The sad thing is, even these death-defying duels have become routine.
  • It's Personal: Hogey claims Lister killed his brother (Lister denies it), and uses it regularly as an excuse to initiate his requests for duels.

     The Inquisitor 
Played By: Jack Docherty (1992)

An extremely powerful simulant who, according to legend, survived to the end of time itself. Concluding that there was no God or afterlife, and that the only purpose of existence is to lead a worthwhile life, he embarks on a mission to judge everyone who has ever lived. Those he deems to have wasted the gift of life are erased from existence, and replaced with people who weren't fortunate enough to be conceived. Unsurprisingly, this includes numerous members of the Red Dwarf crew.

  • Demonic Possession: He communicates through Lister when the crew are on Starbug.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: One of his time gaunlet's abilities is a disintegrator ray which fries people.
  • The Fundamentalist: To the point of believing that what he does is "glorious work".
  • Guttural Growler: Originally, his actor went with No Indoor Voice, but this didn't really work so he tried a growling voice instead.
  • Healing Factor: As a self-repairing simulant, he can regenerate hands with no problem.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: "The old backfirin' Time Gauntlet trick!"
  • Implacable Man: Gets his hand chopped off with a laser chainsaw. Stops him for approximately two seconds. See Healing Factor.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: He's appointed himself as this to everyone in existence. He puts them on trial and deletes the ones he finds unworthy.
  • Knight Templar: Firmly believes that he is doing the universe a favor, and that anyone who opposes him is getting in the way of a righteous mission.
  • Physical God: Has an array of quasi-supernatural powers to go with his self-appointed role.
  • Rapid Aging: He ages Lister to an old man after turning him into a child.
  • Ret Gone: The fate of anyone he deems unworthy of living, and ultimately himself, retgonning his retgones.
  • Rule of Symbolism: He appears with a blinding light, judges people from a throne, and delivers "judgement" with his left hand.
  • Shapeshifting: Everyone is judged by him/herself to ensure a fair trial.
  • Super Strength: By the time he's finished with him, Kryten's head is about a quarter of the width it should be...
  • Time Stands Still: During the judgements, he freezes the rest of the gang.
  • Tricked Out Glove: The Time Gauntlet.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: His goal is to give those who are most worthy of life a chance to live.

     Hudzen 10 
Played By: Gordon Kennedy (1989)

An android who arrives as Kryten's replacement. Unfortunately, the time spent alone on his journey have taken their toll on his sanity.

  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Three million years alone have worn out his sanity chip.
  • Groin Attack: Inverted. In the informercial advertising him, Hudzen uses his groinal socket to break a brick in half.
  • Guttural Growler: He speaks in a low growl. Justified in that the actor wanted to cover up his Scottish accent.
  • Logic Bomb: Kryten defeats him by telling him that Silicon Heaven doesn't exist.
  • No Sell: Takes a blast at point blank range from Lister's shotgun. He doesn't even flinch.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Carries a shotgun with one hand as he arrives on the Dwarf.

Played By: Gary Martin (1997)

A virus that Lister becomes infected with. A rival to the nicotine patch, it instead kills its victims. It's actually sentient and the crew patch in the universal translator to try and reason with it.

  • Affably Evil: Sure, he's a virus, but he is willing to communicate with the crew, even filling in gaps in Kryten's knowledge.
    Epideme: C'mon, you've caught a virus. It's fatal, it happens. Doesn't mean we can't be friends.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: He was created as a rival to the nicotine patch. In theory, the virus was supposed to block the body's craving for nicotine. In practice, the need for blood and oxygen is blocked instead.
  • Grand Theft Me: After he kills his victim, he hijacks the corpse and uses it to infect his next victim. When he can't find anyone, he freezes the body until someone comes along.
  • Large Ham: Since one of the fields of knowledge he's absorbed is tv theme tunes, he's obsessed with acting like a television announcer and acts like he's introducing a long running show.
  • Laughably Evil: He constantly makes jokes and talks like an overenthusiastic gameshow host.
  • Power Copying: He absorbs knowledge from every person he infects. Quantum mechanics, sub-molecular biology and tv theme tunes are just some of his fields of expertise. He notes that killing Lister isn't exactly a career highlight, since the only thing he picks up from Lister is the knowledge on how to open a lager bottle with his anus.

Played By: Nigel Williams (1993)

A gestalt entity that imprisons the Dwarfers on his station. Made up of their combined intellects, he requires company to be anything but a mindless essence.

  • Affably Evil: While he is the main antagonist of the episode he appears in, it can't be said that he's not a great host. He gives Rimmer a Hard Light drive, removes Lister's appendix to cure his peritonitis and gives each of the crew quarters suited to their personalities as well as feeding them top notch food. Lister notes that when he writes his "Good Psycho Guide" that he is going to give Legion raves with a rating of four-and-a-half chainsaws.
  • All Your Powers Combined: When several people are around him and conscious, he gains all their memories, personalities and abilities. Every one of these is magnified, making the whole greater than the sum of its parts. When a group is reduced to one conscious person, he simply becomes that person, something Kryten uses to defeat him.
  • Composite Character: In universe. He is a combination of everyone who is on board his research station. When he started out, he was composed of the most brilliant minds of the 23rd century. As a result, he created artistic masterpieces and technological wonders, such as the Hard Light drive. When they died, he became nothing until the Dwarfers arrived.
  • Power Copying: He gains the combined personalities and memories of everyone on board his research station.
  • Share the Male Pain: He threatens a Groin Attack with a scalpel after displaying his power to hurt the Dwarfers by stabbing himself in the hand.

     Dwayne Dibbley 
Played By: Danny John-Jules (1992, 1993, 1998, 1999)

The Cat's dorky alter ego, he first appeared in "Back To Reality" and then showed up in various ways over the years, including the Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg special.

  • Ascended Extra: He started out as The Cat's polar opposite for "Back To Reality" who had played the AR simulation game as The Cat to play someone cool. He was so popular with fans that he was brought back as The Cat minus his cool in "Emohawk: Polymorph II", a disguise he wears in "Back In The Red" and as Rimmer's cooking partner in the "Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg" special after Cat himself refused to team up with Rimmer.
  • Alliterative Name: Dwayne Dibbley. Even the sound of it is dorky.
  • Black and Nerdy: He's this way partly as a counterpoint to the cool of The Cat and partly because Red Dwarf's creative team felt that this trope wasn't common enough.
  • British Teeth: According to The Cat, they could be used by druids as a place of worship.
  • Even Nerds Have Standards: Described as being so nerdy he wouldn't be allowed at a science-fiction convention.
  • The Klutz: When the Cat becomes him in "Emohawk: Polymorph II", he keeps knocking things over and inadvertently freezes his crewmates after they defeat the Emohawk.
  • Nice Guy: To the point Ace Rimmer can't bring himself to do a Mercy Kill on him.

     Warden Ackerman 
Played By: Graham MacTavish (1999)

The sadistic warden of the Tank, he sets out to make life hell for the Dwarfers during their two year stint.

  • Bald of Evil: He's bald and is the closest the series has ever had to a recurring antagonist.
  • Butt Monkey: He's been the victim of several pranks by inmates, such as having his glass eye stolen, being dosed with Truth Serum and anti impotence drugs and having his quarters vandalised. To stress how much this trope applies, in most of these cases Rimmer was involved.
  • Camp Straight: His Girly Run and generally camp way of speaking belie his status as a Chick Magnet. This was a Throw It In by his actor that somehow makes him seem even more disturbing.
  • Chick Magnet: At least two women offscreen have been involved with him, one of whom was married to the science officer.
  • Cold Ham: He's quite dramatic, if calm when giving his intake speech to new prisoners.
  • Cool Shades: He wears them in "Krytie TV" to disguise the fact that his glass eye has been stolen.
  • Ironic Nickname: His nickname of "Nicey" is a misnomer and quite possibly self-applied.
  • Jerkass: He deliberately makes life hell for the inmates and is described by Lister as "horrible".
  • Raging Stiffie: Thanks to the Dwarfers spiking the halftime juice of the guards during a basketball game, he and his thugs are forced to play the second half with erections.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: His date describes his eyes as being his loveliest feature. He rants that if he goes missing an eyes "THEN I'M ONLY HALF LOVELY!"