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This page lists characters in the television series Red Dwarf.

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Main Characters

    David "Dave" Lister
Played by: Craig Charles, Chris Barrie (Bodyswap), Emile Charles (Timeslides) and Alexander John Jules (infant in Ouroboros)

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 has a complete and utter lack of ambition and is quite happy in 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.

  • Abusive Parents: The alternate Lister from the third novel was adopted by rich parents who beat him while the main Lister chose to live with a poor family who loved him.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Lister's counterpart in the unaired American pilot(s) was a tall, square-jawed Hunk played by Craig Bierko, a man who looked like he should be playing Han Solo, not Lister. Craig Charles noted his dismay at this, as did many fans, as it removed Lister's relatability and flaws and turned him into a Flat Character. In the "Dwarfin' USA" documentary in the Series 5 DVD, he also admitted he wasn't pleased with the character's Race Lift, but what annoyed him most of all was that all things considered; he thought Bierko was actually quite good. In the same documentary, Danny John-Jules stated that he believed the reason for the drastic change in Lister's character was Executive Meddling from NBC (the studio producing Red Dwarf USA) being worried American audiences wouldn't take to a "John Belushi"-esque slob, so made Lister a dashing "Han Solo" type. Craig Bierko himself was a fan of the UK original, and later admitted that he believed his casting was the reason the pilot failed and in a 2009 interview on Kevin Pollak's Chat Show, Bierko said that casting him as Lister was a "huge mistake".
  • Adaptational Intelligence: In the show he got caught bringing a cat on board through sheer stupidity while in the novel it was a Batman Gambit because he wanted to be frozen for the rest of the trip and wake up in Earth's orbit.
    • Notably, it's questionable if it WAS stupidity. Lister has been shown to be far more intelligent than he lets on in later seasons of the show and the idiot Lister from earlier seasons has become Early-Installment Weirdness.
  • Adaptation Name Change: His last name was Hollins in the original Son Of Cliche radio sketches but was renamed Lister because there was a footballer called Dave Hollins.
  • Adopt the Food: In the Red Dwarf USA remake, Lister took Frankenstein on board because he felt sorry for her after seeing her in a restaurant window on Titan where people eat cats.
  • The Alcoholic: A throwaway gag in "The Promised Land" states that he drinks half a brewery's worth of booze per day as he tosses an empty bottle onto a man sized pile of empties before opening a new one off Kryten's head.
  • 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, on the grounds that he found the default female romantic interest to be to goody-goody and boring. 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, although depending on which backstory the show runs with, she might qualify under the heartbreaker category.
  • 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.
  • Alternate Self: Has several in alternate futures, timelines and realities:
    • The second episode "Future Echoes" introduces Lister's older self, who at 171 was able to communicate with his 25 year old self due to knowing that he was experiencing the future echoes at the time. "Stasis Leak" would show a 30 year old Lister who at somepoint found a way to travel back in time and marry Kochanski and "Out of Time" revealed that in one possible future Lister became a brain in a jar after him and the others began abusing time travel.
    • "Parallel Universe" introduces his Gender Flip counterpart Deb Lister, who despite acting exactly how he does he considers disgusting while claiming that he's charming. After sleeping together she becomes the "father" of their twin boys Jim and Bexley. There's also a version of him who become a hologram after dying on Red Dwarf, while Kochanski became the last human alive.
    • "Timeslides" shows an alternate timeline created when Lister advised his 17 year old self to invent tension sheet, leading him to become ridiculously wealthy on Earth but dying in a plane accident. "The Inquisitor" also showed an alternate Lister who could have existed if the specific sperm and egg cell that created our Lister didn't meet.
  • Ambiguously Bi: He's never shown any interest in men throughout the show and his One True Love is Konchanski, but his relationship with Rimmer is hinted to not completely be platonic on his end. In Series VII he has a dream about Rimmer due to missing him so much which ends with them kissing, and back in Series I he said that you don't dream about someone you don't have some kind of feelings for. It's also worth noting that they have shared the same sleeping quarters for decades despite having the entire ship to themselves.
  • AM/FM Characterization: He's a fan of rock n' roll, notably the fictional bands Rastabilly Skank and Colostomy Explosion. He's also cited his favour of real-world bands. One example of this is in "D.N.A.", when Lister wears a t-shirt advertising "Believe in the Ruins". This is possibily a reference to a 1984 vinyl of the same name by Californian "Oi!" punk band Killroy. This would certainly fit in with Lister's counter-culture aesthetic. Lister also wears the same t-shirt at one point in Series X. The first song he ever learned to play on the guitar was Michael Jackson's "She's Out of My Life".
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: The opening of series 6 has a just-awoken-from-hypersleep Lister not remembering anything about himself, and is disturbed to find himself a "blokeish, randy, disgusting, tone-deaf, semi-illiterate space-bum".
  • Anti-Hero: In Series 1, Lister is a nice guy, but he's hardly got heroic attitudes. 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.
    • Old Lister from "Future Echoes" has a prosthetic arm, with one of the knuckles customised with a bottle opener.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Hoo Boy. His seemingly having two appendix is the least of his worries, given that he gave birth to twins after getting pregnant by his female self while visiting a parallel universe. He is also his own father.
  • Batman Gambit: He uses these once or twice, most noticeably in defeating The Inquisitor.
  • Berserk Button: He really hates Doug McClure movies for some reason, and will hit Kryten if he tries playing one.
  • 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.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Inverted. He's the only human survivor of the radiation leak. He does bite it first in "Out Of Time" when the crew are attacked by their future selves, but this doesn't stick because it was the future selves doing the killing.
  • 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.
  • Brass Balls: "Justice" shows that he's perfectly willing to go toe to toe with a Simulant, armed with nothing more than a lead pipe, as opposed to shooting him in the back. Bear in mind that earlier in the episode, Kryten informs the crew that the Simulant is perfectly capable of surviving bazookoid fire for long enough to make balloon animals out of someone's lower intestines. The Simulant is carrying both a knife and a gun, but fortunately, the Justice Field turns his own attacks against him.
  • 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 due to being almost completely and utterly devoid of ambition (beyond settling down with Kochanski one day). 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 enrol in the Robotics course in order to "make something of himself".
      • 'Spanners' Lister, his Alternate 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...
      • Additionally, another counterpart seen in "Skipper" is captain of Red Dwarf, while still being lazy. In the same episode, the Captain's appraisal of Prime Lister called him "quite bright", while also noting his lazy and rebellious nature.
  • 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.
  • Casual Sports Jersey: In series I and II, he's often seen wearing a London Jets Zero Gee Football jersey.
  • 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 Rimmer’s technical superiority), with a surprising aptitude for command and tactics.
  • Characterization Marches On: To put it politely, he starts off as an immature asshole. He isn't just slobbish, ignorant and lazy; he revels in it. By Season II and especially III they softened these traits. He gains an honourable streak, he will go the mile to protect his friends, and he no longer leaves all the work to everyone else. This becomes a plot point in the Back to Earth with this (in-context) rather meaningful retort to an alien trying to break his spirit by mocking him: No. I'm pretty cool, I don't take any smeg, and even though I'm disgusting...sometimes I can be quite brave.
  • 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 (though some episodes suggest that after burning out all his tastebuds, overspiced crap is all he can taste). 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).
    • He did also come up with the Triple Fried Egg Sarnie with chilli sauce and chutney. A sandwich described as being like a cross between food and bowel surgery, with Rimmer comparing eating it to the process of childbirth. Whilst it's definitely not for the faint hearted it actually works on some level.
    • In the (non-canon) Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg special, his attempt at cookery alongside Kryten is apparently so bad, it causes Kochanski to immediately puke more than the human stomach can possibly contain into the waste disposal unit.
  • 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.
  • Didn't See That Coming: In the novels, where he very clearly thought getting caught with a cat through in great detail (he researched the regulations to discover the offence that would carry stasis as the minimum mandatory punishment, which was breaking quarantine, and made sure he found an expensive purebreed show cat which he had given every inoculation possible to guarantee he didn't actually make the crew sick, and only took the photos when he realised Frankenstein hadn't actually been detected by the ship's scanners, all to ensure he could sleep through the three year trip back to Earth). There was no way he could have predicted the drive meltdown which forced Holly to take Red Dwarf out of the solar system for 3 million years. It's possible he actually had this plan in the show too, considering the cheery little wave he gave just before he was sealed into stasis.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • How he winds up three million years into deep space. Not only did he smuggle an unquarantined cat aboard, he takes a picture of them together and sends it to Red Dwarf's photo-development lab. So naturally, he's caught.
    • In "The Promised Land", his reaction to a fire in Starbug's rear section is to detach the front section from the rest of it. This leaves the ship without its engines, causing it to drop straight down onto the desert moon below.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: His strategy in dealing with The Inquisitor during his "trial"? Display utter contempt and non-compliance with the time-travelling simulant who can and will erase him from existence! His final statement was simply "Spin on it".
  • 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... although he thought it was king prawn), 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.
    • He's also not very fond of pasta. Kryten suggesting he could try it as an alternative to curry has Lister ask if he's sick.
    • The fact that his idea of a deep and meaningful question is "Why do intelligent people buy cinema hot dogs?" indicate that he doesn't like those either.
    • He also doesn't like tomatoes on the grounds that he's allergic to them. He will, however, force himself to eat one, so long as he can annoy Rimmer with the aftermath.
  • Doorstop Baby: He was discovered as a baby in a cardboard box under a pool table in the Aigburth Arms in Liverpool. "Ouroboros" reveals what exactly happened which led to him being found there, which is stranger than one assumes.
  • 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.
    • He's improved somewhat by Series XII, as he shows relatively decent skill when jamming with a droid of Hitler.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: A downplayed example as he's either a Pantheist or an Atheist depending on the episode but he fits the "laid-back" and anti-authoritarian aspects of the trope.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: Lister's drink of choice is lager, reflecting the working class nature of his character. When Starbug's curry supplies are wiped out, his breakdown is made worse when Kryten informs him that the only alcohol left is either Cinzano Bianco or advocaat. He's notably disdainful of wine, at one point ranting about how a man he sees in a wedding photo with Kochanski must be a pretentious snob who obsessed over house prices and puts wine on his Cornflakes, and one of the few things he's ashamed of in his past is having once gone into a wine bar. That said, he is willing to drink champagne if he can get it served in a pint glass.
  • 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. Lister's "Low" self is willing to kill, something Lister himself states he's not capable of.
    • 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.
    • Lister describes the hologramatic Lister from Kristine Kochanski's parallel universe as the "anti-Lister", though that was more due to him being annoyed and jealous at his apparent lack of flaws, and the fact that this version of Lister was in a loving relationship with Kochanski.
  • Expy: In the Dave Hollins: Space Cadet sketches from Son of Cliché Dave Lister/Hollins was written as a parody of Dave Bowman from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • 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). His favorite food is Sugar Puff Sandwiches, he regularly drinks beer milkshakes, and he's the proud inventor of the triple-decker fried egg with chili sauce and chutney sandwich. And the stuff he's eaten that he thinks is unusual...?
    • 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 and the alternative was Pot Noodle, which he loathes).
    • Tea mixed with dog milk (he throws it away in disgust when he learns it's made with dog milk, but was seemingly enjoying it until then).
    • Most of the strange white powder lying around Red Dwarf, before Holly explained it was the remains of the crew.
    • A spit-roasted piece of human flesh (because he didn't know what he was eating; he'd forgotten that Kryten's guilt chip was removed, so he didn't expect him to decide that the human corpse they stumbled across would make fine rations, due to having malfunctioning behavioral protocols).
    • A live tarantula (involuntarily; he was literally remote controlled into eating it).
    • By his own opinion, the strangest food Lister has ever eaten throughout the series is the edible Pot Noodle conjured from the very best parts of the ship in Demons and Angels.
    • 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.
    • In the episode "Waxworld", he swallows Rimmer's light bee to punish Rimmer for locking him and the Cat in prison before genociding the planet's population of Waxdroids.
  • Fate Worse than Death: He makes it clear to Holly during the first season that being trapped three-million years away from home with Rimmer of all people is this to him. To the point of openly questioning why it was Rimmer Holly chose to bring back in the first place.
  • Formerly Fat: Apparently, in his youth Lister was taunted for being overweight, thanks to Grandma Lister's own dieting habits. He tried to cut down after she died, because she apparently required a second piece of chalk for the Chalk Outline.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Optimist: He's always hopeful in the crew's plans, almost to the point of blind hope in the absence of logical certainty that the plan will run smoothly. Will be the first one to support looting a spaceship on the verge of exploding, just so he could get a supply of curry.
  • Future Me Scares Me: In "Out of Time", he is horrified to learn that his future self is a Brain in a Jar, and a decadent, amoral person who associates with some of the worst people in history.
  • Genius Slob: Certainly a slob, but he's actually quite intelligent, albeit more in a Street Smart kind of way.
  • 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.
      • This surely shows just how poorly Lister was being played. Sebastian Doyle couldn't even get the fundamental religious outlook of his character right, getting it entirely reversed!
    • 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.
    • Eventually, the cats realise that he's not God, but that he led them to their true god, Rimmer.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation:
    • We see the beginnings of this in "Me 2". Without Rimmer to share a bunkroom with and with The Cat only sporadically visiting, Lister begins to stay up all night drinking beer and having bubblegum blowing contests.
    • In the first book, Lister takes the deaths of the entire crew very badly and wanders around the ship drunk and naked for five days until Holly switches Rimmer's hologram on.
  • Guile Hero: When pushed to it, Lister can come up with some inventive ways to deal with the Monster of the Week, most notably, getting Kryten to rig the Inquisitor's time gauntlet to backfire on him and erase him from history.
    • He comes up with an entire plan to break Rimmer out of his prison and fight off a lot of Rimmer's clones, and was entirely ready to start this plan before Kryten reminds him they have a teleporter handy.
  • Guys are Slobs: Lister is notoriously unwashed and grubby. Whilst he's clearly evoking the stereotypical "Scouser", even most of them would probably call Lister a grotty smegger. Heck, Lister, once he had amnesia after a prolonged period in deep sleep, was revolted to find out just how gross and messy he normally is.
  • Happily Adopted: He was taken in by the Lister family, and always talks fondly about his grandmother and father.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: When season III 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. Apparently this new look was inspired by the earlier joke about Lister attending art college for a little over an hour and a half in a previous season. The costume designer that a (former) art student would probably customise their clothes.
    • Lister explicitly in the XII episode "Cured" that he found the jacket in a charity shop and painted it himself. note 
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: They might argue and hide their genuine fondness for each other under insults, but Lister and Rimmer have been sharing the same sleeping quarters for decades despite having an entire ship to themselves. Of course, it might not be completely platonic on Lister's part, since he once dreamed about kissing Rimmer when he was gone during Series VII, and back in Series I claimed that you don't dream about someone unless you had some sort of feelings for them.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Most of the time, Lister acts like a lazy, uncultured slob. But as the series progresses, he is shown to possess many skills, such as a knack for engineering. In "Kryten", it is revealed that hours of listening to Rimmer's unsuccessful attempts to learn Esperanto have made him fairly fluent in the language himself. And when a crisis hits, he is usually the one to take charge, making command decisions like a pro.
    • "Confidence and Paranoia" and "Holoship" show that he has a liking for tragic romance films.
    • Lister's numerous kludge jobs, which almost all work exactly as intended, despite no visible sign he even knows what he's doing.
  • Honor Before Reason: In "Justice", he can't bring himself to shoot the simulant in the back, despite the threat he poses, instead agreeing to the simulant's request to "talk" (though he does bring along a lead pipe, just in case).
  • 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.
    • He then spent another couple of hundred years in suspended animation on Starbug whilst they chased after the stolen Red Dwarf.
  • Hypocrite: Whilst Lister is genuinely more moral than the likes of Rimmer, he does have a habit of chewing him out for certain behavior, only for later episodes, or the same one, to show he sometimes thinks in the same way;
    • He goes into a speech about how items don't matter when it comes to a human life, in an attempt to convince Rimmer to burn his old wooden case. However, he whines over not burning his guitar even when Rimmer makes the same points he just did.
    • He explains to Rimmer that Ace is still Rimmer, just from another dimension. However, in Series 7, he insists that he's Dave Lister whilst another from an alternate dimension is "The Anti-Lister" (though this is mostly due to that other Lister being Kochanski's partner).
    • He calls out Rimmer for his rather sexist attitude towards woman, but his own plans outline that Kochanski was meant to come with him to Fiji as part of his plan, having clearly never considered her own wishes or decisions.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: He's accidentally eaten other people on two occasions. The first time was in "The End" when he taste-tested the ashes of Red Dwarf crew that were scattered around the ship. The second was in "Tikka To Ride" when Spare Head 2, minus his guilt chip, cooks a dead man that was lying around in Dallas and feeds him to both Lister and The Cat, much to Rimmer's amusement.
  • 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 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 Gave My Word: Slob he may be, but Lister does generally tend to keep his word.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • King in the Mountain: The cat religion portrays him as this, being frozen in time until he can come back to lead them.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The many things he has stolen include Rimmer's uniforms, and Adolf Hitler's briefcase.
  • Last of His Kind: He's generally thought to be the last human alive until series VII when Kochanski comes from a parallel universe and the rest of the crew get resurrected in season VIII. Everyone else has since left the ship, their fates unknown. Possibly leaving Lister as the last human once again.
    • The Red Dwarf wiki argues that Lister counts as the last true human as Kochanski comes from a parallel universe and the rest were created by nanobots.
    • The third novel is titled Last Human, even though two other humans are alive at the end and it's implied that Lister and Kochanski restart the human race on another planet.
    • The concept for the unmade movie was that a race of killer Robots have wiped out the rest of humanity and are coming after the Dwarf.
    • Timewave finally gives us a ship full of time displaced humans that are still alive by the end of the episode but being Red Dwarf they never get mentioned again.
  • Lazy Bum: He prefers to just slob around, eat curries, and drink lager than do anything resembling work. Rimmer tries to get him to work in Series I, but naturally, it doesn't stick. When asked, he actually lists his occupation as a bum.
  • The Leader: Despite Rimmer being his superior, Lister often finds himself taking charge during the team's adventures, and not doing a bad job of it, either.
  • Lethal Chef: His "Shami Kebabs Diablo" recipe is spicy enough that it put Petersen in sick bay for a week. In "Emohawk - Polymorph II", Rimmer refers to the charred-beyond-repair oxy-generation unit as looking "worse than one of Lister's drunken fry-ups".
  • Like an Old Married Couple: He and Rimmer have this down to a fine art. Throughout the series, it's made exceptionally clear that although they don't like each other, they still care about each other's wellbeing.
  • Loser Deity: The sapient cats that evolved in the Dwarf's cargo hold worshiped a god they called "Cloister the Stupid", who promised that when he awoke from his slumber he would lead them to the glorious land of "Fuchal" and open a hot dog and doughnut shop. They had a holy war over the color of the shop's uniforms. What makes it worse is that "Cloister" was actually Technician Third Class David Lister, who was in stasis for bringing a pregnant cat on board when a reactor leak killed the rest of the human crew.
  • Lower-Class Lout: His upbringing in Liverpool wasn't exactly privileged, having been found under a pool table in a cardboard box. He has a history of minor offences, such as stealing cars and clearing out hotel rooms of their furnishings.
  • Made of Iron: See Iron Butt-Monkey 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.
  • Mister Seahorse: Between the second and third series, as a result of sleeping with his female counterpart from a parallel reality where men get pregnant. The whole affair was conducted entirely off-screen, due to the authors realizing that they couldn't make it funny as opposed to just sexist, and aside from a few conversational references it's never brought up.
  • 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. In the novels, it's a big reason why he wasn't able to get back to Earth, as whenever he earned any money, he would waste it on booze due to the crushing depression of living on Mimas.
  • 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 Guy: While Lister can be loud and crude, he's also one of the most moral members of the main cast, and is friendly to just about everyone he meets.
  • Odd Couple: With Rimmer. Lister's the irreverent slob, Rimmer's the by-the-book neat freak.
  • 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, and admits in "Justice" that he's the person who thinks most fondly of him (visibly surprising himself).
  • Older Than They Look: In the books, he ends up being around a century old thanks to spending decades on Garbage World, dying, and returning to life on Backwards Earth to de-age to the age of twenty five. Backwards takes another ten years off his physical age when the crew miss their launch window and are forced to wait.
  • 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.
    • Played for Laughs in Back to Earth, where he reads a sign written in Chinese and is then surprised that he knows how to read Chinese.
  • Only Friend: He is this for Rimmer, and even then it's extremely vitriolic.
  • Oop North: He's from Liverpool.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Dave Lister has taken self-loathing to a whole new level, in that he's encountered almost every possible permeation of himself... and not got on with most of them. During Series 2, Him and his future self both hate each other, helped by Future!Lister's being an utter berk, and in "Timeslides", he goes off on a tirade against his teenage self. He's also annoyed by the Lister of the second Kochanski's universe, who is more sensitive and sophisticated than him, and takes it Beyond the Impossible when he takes an instant dislike to Craig Charles note  when he meets him on the set of Coronation Street, and the feeling is somewhat mutual. The only times where Lister hasn't had this effect on, well, himself is his Distaff Counterpart, who fathered children with him, 'Spanners' Lister, who's never heard of him, and Captain Lister from Skippers, who actually respects him for his actions.
  • Ouroboros: Lister was found in a box marked "ouroboros" as a child, a hint to his own cyclical nature.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: He's going to outlive at least one of his sons. He isn't terribly broken up about it.
  • The Philosopher: He has moments of this, most notably his long spiel at the end of "Justice".
  • Picky Eater: If there's no curry sauce, he's probably not eating it.
  • 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. To put things in perspective, he has a pair of Day-Glo Orange moon boots that Rimmer once said "smelled like an orangutan's posing pouch" (and had to be kept in an airlock), and he's had two pairs of socks not only set off the fire alarm, but register on scanners as a completely new lifeform. That said, a minor Running Gag is that something ends up being too disgusting even for him. Usually when it involves his socks. For example, in "Me2", he ends up putting his dirty socks right back in the basket he dumped them out of because he realizes just how bad they smell, whilst in "Queeg", despite being starving and having only a single pea on toast for dinner, he decides he'll just have the toast after Rimmer tells him that the pea skidded into his dirty sock basket. His response to burning a hole through his trousers with an iron is to put them on anyway and use spray paint to try to cover the hole. And Rimmer still notes them as being some of Lister's "least smeggy clothes."
  • 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.
  • Race Lift: Was played by the white Craig Bierko in the pilot for the American remake.
  • 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).
    • And of course there was that moment in Polymorph involving Kryten and his groinal attachment hose...
  • Screw Yourself: One of the very few sexual encounters we know he's had since the crew was wiped out was when he got drunk and slept with a female version of himself from an alternate universe. Which caused him to get pregnant, because they were in her dimension and male pregnancy was how things worked there.
  • 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: He once had a job as a shopping trolley attendant, but he left because he didn't want to get tied down to a career.
    • Dismotivation: It doesn't help that most of the jobs he's ended up with have been really nasty, unpleasant places to work, thus killing any incentive for him to care.
  • Smarter Than You Look: While several characters write him off as stupid, Lister is actually quite talented when it comes to engineering and can come up with excellent plans when backed into a corner. In addition to his laziness, it's implied that he lacks confidence in his own abilities; The physical manifestation of his own confidence spurs him on to not only find the hologram discs that Rimmer has hidden, but to also work out how to generate a second hologram. In the books, it's stated that he often seeks Kryten's advice while already knowing what to do, but lacking belief in his own abilities.
  • Solid Gold Poop: The third novel had the Dwarfers visit a GELF planet that used sperm as currency, due to the locals having been genetically engineered to have low fertility as a control mechanism. The locals couldn't work out why Lister was so rich.
  • Survived the Beginning: Thanks to being in stasis, he isn't killed by the radiation leak that wiped out Red Dwarf's crew.
  • Techno Wizard: Lister, when he applies himself, is capable of amazing feats of engineering that would have got him the rank of First Technician or better... Of course, It would if he wasn't also...
  • Token Human: He's initially the only human left alive being accompanied by a hologram, the ship's AI, an evolved cat and, later, a mechanoid.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In Series I and II he's the lowest rank on the ship because he's too lazy to become anything else while also appearing to not be that well-educated, often not understanding simple things. As the show progresses he becomes far more intelligent with his low rank simply being the result of his laziness, as he is able to repair Kryten with no actual training, while becoming The Leader of the Red Dwarf crew due to his bravery and quick thinking under preassure.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In Series X, his selfishness and carelessness gets at least two sentient beings killed and disables Holly, possibly permanently.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Curry, with his all-time favourite being chicken vindaloo. Lister's first regret on finding out that he's about to die in "Future Echoes" is that he's never had a king prawn vindaloo, and while it's an exaggeration to say that curry is the only thing he eats, in series VII he's stated to have it for dinner at least six nights a week.
    • He and Krypton have mentioned a fondness for shami kebabs several times, and he rarely eats curry without poppadoms.
    • He's also a fan of greasy sandwiches, including triple-buttied fried egg sandwiches with chilli sauce and chutney (which he claims is a "state-of-the-art sarnie,") and sausage, onion, and gravy sandwiches (which he states that he ate almost exclusively during his time as a failed musician). On the opposite end of the flavour spectrum, in series V & VI, sugar puff sandwiches are mentioned several times as his favourite sandwich.
    • Beer milkshakes were his drink of choice in series I.
  • Tragic Keepsake: He wears Kochanski's Console Officer rank markings on the sleeve of his leather jacket.
  • Unaffected by Spice: Years of eating almost nothing but curries has given Lister a very high tolerance to spicy food. His own recipe, "Shami Kebabs Diablo", is so spicy that it put Petersen in the sick bay for a week (with Lister mocking him as a "weed" for it).
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Rimmer. They constantly bicker and prank each other, but, for better or worse, they are friends — albeit very, very deep down. A major theme of the show is that while they share an exceptionally close bond and always look out for each other, their personalities are simply too different to coexist for an extended period of time before they start to clash and grate on each other's nerves.
  • 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. In "Duct Soup", or at least the extended version, he's revealed to have mild claustrophobia and also to dislike the dark, if not necessarily to the point of fearing it.

    Arnold Judas Rimmer

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. In a deleted non-canon scene in Rimmerworld established that Rimmer's brothers all had mental breakdowns and caused substantial bodycounts.
  • Accidental Hero: In "Officer Rimmer". 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 VIII, 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: In various flashbacks, we see a young Arnold Judas Rimmer, The Un Favourite of his family, who is bullied by his brothers and classmates, alternately abused and ignored by his parents and who is schooled in a pretty draconian environment. We first meet Rimmer as an adult, however, when all these factors have already taken their toll on his personality, resulting in a military-obsessed neurotic with an authority complex but very little actual ability. Rimmer is viewed by many fans as the funniest and most complex of all the cast, but if the audience had first met him as a youngster, he would have been tragic rather than comic.
  • The Alleged Boss: He insists that being the highest-ranking officer on board, he's in charge. However, he's the highest-ranking officer because everyone else is dead. Of the other cast members, he had to threaten Lister into obeying in the first series by withholding his cigarettes and the Cat with bribery. When Kryten later shows up, he only obeys because he's programmed to do whatever a human tells him to, no matter how psychotic that human is. Even then Kryten gets around that eventually. By series 5, Lister and the Cat are more likely to just ignore Rimmer until he sulks off.
  • Allegedly Dateless: While he's apparently been repulsive to women and only had sex once in his life, he actually has more sex during the series than Lister.
  • Always Someone Better: It's shown several times throughout the series that Rimmer seems almost to need to believe that he is this to others, especially Lister. Even despite Lister's indifference to rank, when the official chain of command is disrupted, it drives Rimmer nuts:
    • In "Balance of Power", Rimmer is horrified when Lister decides to get a promotion that will make him Rimmer's superior, and does whatever he can to sabotage Lister's plans.
    • In "Back to Reality", one of the major elements that drives Rimmer to the brink of suicide is the fact that in "reality" he's a pathetic wastrel despite sharing an upbringing with Lister, who is his uterinal half-brother and a wealthy politician.
    • In "Skipper", Rimmer finds a reality where he has everything he has ever wanted; he's respected, a successful starship officer, happily married and has four loving sons. But he gives it up and goes back to his original reality because, in this reality, Lister is a wealthy, successful, and respected starship captain, even if it is of the glorified rustbucket that is the Red Dwarf. It doesn't matter to Rimmer that he has what he wants; the fact that Lister is more successful than he is makes this universe unbearable to him. In fact, he's so horrified by this reality that he actually destroys the Quantum Skipper he had been using to reality-surf.
    • His book counterpart is given a rival in the form of A-Shift First Technician Petrovich. While Rimmer's Z-Shift is given tasks too menial for the service droids, such as restocking vending machines and painting the mess, A-Shift gets all the serious technical tasks that are actually vital to the ship's operational capability. To pour salt into the wound even further, Petrovich already passed the Astronavigation exam the same time Rimmer wrote "I Am A Fish" four hundred times and is just waiting on his promotion papers to be processed. Naturally, when rumours abound that he's dealing drugs on the side, Rimmer spreads the rumours as much as he can and has fantasies about Petrovich being stripped of his rank and clapped in irons. The rumours do turn out to be true.
    • Ace Rimmer is everything Rimmer wishes he could be; A brave Space Corps officer who is respected by everyone and has an extremely active sex life. Rimmer himself admits that the main reason he despises Ace is that Ace is living proof of what he could have become had he gotten a break.
  • AM/FM Characterization: His taste in music is terrible, be it Hammond Organs, James Last or Christian rock albums.
  • 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. Mind you, atheists aren't always aggressive anti-religious proselytizers — there's a reason that's one aspect of the Hollywood Atheist trope.
  • 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: Pulls this off in “Timeslides” due to him changing the timeline. It doesn’t last very long.
    • He’s also reconstructed by the nanobots alongside the rest of the crew in Series VIII.
  • Bastard Bastard: He's revealed in "The Beginning" to be the byproduct of an affair between his mother and the family gardener. He has also been shown to be a cowardly, snivelling Jerkass. However, actually discovering this had a positive effect on him, giving him the confidence to enact a plan against the Villain of the Week.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: On more than one occasion, his heroic side has emerged because someone showed compassion for him (or he at least thought they did). Most dramatically seen in "Terrorform", when his mind manifests an entire army of musketeers to save the day after the rest of the Dwarfers give him a group hug and compliment him to boost his spirits (even though they take it back later). In general, when he actually gets the validation he so desperately craves, he's far more likely to do something kind in return. Of course, he's also likely to let it go to his head.
  • Berserk Button: ALPHABETTI SPAGHETTI!?!?!???
  • Beware the Silly Ones: As ridiculous as he is, he can be downright terrifying given the circumstances. "Meltdown" sees him becoming a tyrannical army general and "Quarantine" sees him go downright Ax-Crazy. There's also the offscreen mentions in Season VI of him scrunching up enamel cups and tearing a fridge off the wall just out of annoyance, if he wasn't such an abject coward he could be a force to be reckoned with.
  • Black Comedy Rape: The one time he had sex was with a woman who 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 VIII. 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.
  • 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... who happens to be a mechanoid who shouldn't be capable of getting bored.
  • 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.
    • "Charm" had a tiny grave suggesting a stillbirth, and there was an open grave prepared for "Hope"...
  • Brick Joke: During Back In The Red Rimmer says that his father has an alibi for his sperm on the night Arnold was conceived. Come The Beginning it turns out that Mr Rimmer really isn't Arnold's father (or of any of his brothers, for that matter).
  • 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.
  • Bullying a Dragon: In the first few series he simply cannot stop being rude to Holly, despite the dangers of annoying someone with the ability to alter his appearance at will. Or (as in Queeg) take over his body to force him to run endless laps around Red Dwarf.
  • The Bus Came Back: Word of God is that the Rimmer seen from "Back To Earth" onwards is the one that left to become Ace in "Stoke Me A Clipper", meaning that he came back at some point between the events of "Only the Good..." and the aforementioned miniseries.
  • Butt-Monkey: Rimmer spends his entire life trying to live up to his parents' insane expectations. After legally divorcing them, he spends the rest of his life trying to become an officer in the Space Corps. And things don't go much better for him after his death.
    • One episode ends with a Reset Button and the crew realise that they'll have no memories of that episode's events and can do anything they want. Kryten chooses to insult Rimmer. The worst part about it was later on we find out the Reset Button didn't work and they do remember what happened.
    • And then he finds out that his real father was the unintelligent gardener nicknamed Dungo, making Arnold's life as a lowly technician on a spaceship a relative success.
  • 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.
  • Came Back Wrong: The version of Rimmer recreated by nanites in Series VIII is the unlikable, self-centered version from before the events of Series I. This has apparently been rectified as of "Back to Earth".
  • 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.
    • A deleted scene from "Back to Reality" has him trying to tell a joke to cheer up his crewmates. The key word being "try".
  • Cargo Ship: In-universe, his... unique relationship with Rachel the inflatable (sex) 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-resurrected 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.
    • This was highlighted during the part of Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers that adapted the episode "Me2", where Rimmer's relationship with his own double breaks down. When Rimmer points out that the double doesn't like him even though they're the same person, the double insists that spending so much time with Lister has changed Rimmer to the point that they're not the same person any more: for starters, Rimmer had come in to try and apologise for the fight they'd had, which is something that had been ingrained in him by his father that he should never do.
  • Character Tics:
    • He has a tendency to smile when being insulted.
    • He also jiggles his leg when nervous, a trait that even carries over to alternate selves.
    • His flared nostrils, so much so that the Rimmers address their supreme leader as "your Flared-Nostrilness."
  • Characterization Marches On: In the first three series, Rimmer is obsessed with finding aliens. This generally stops after "DNA".
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Rather than actually studying for his final exam, Rimmer writes down the textbooks on his arms and legs, even though he has no idea what he's even writing down. Once he gets to the exam, his nervousness makes him sweat profusely, ruining the ink. Cue breakdown.
  • Cheating with the Milkman: He’s revealed in “The Beginning” to be the son of the family's dim-witted gardener.
  • 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.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: A pompous, smug and sycophantic snob who may be insufferably neurotic most of the time but tries his best to maintain order of the ship.
  • Clone Angst: Well, Hologramatic angst. Rimmer has made it clear that while he has all the memories and feelings of A.J. Rimmer, he is just a copy and he is naturally upset about it.
    Lister, I'm not really here! I'm not really me! Don't you see? I'm a computer simulation of me. That's me, there, that pile of albino mouse droppings.
  • Collector of the Strange: Across the show's history we've learned that his collections include photos of twentieth century telegraph poles, a box containing bits of old wire, headlines including the name Arnold, No Smoking signs, and a vial of sinal fluid allegedly belonging to a famous historical figure.
    • He also once went on a tour of the diesel decks and returned with a collection of seemingly identical photos of machinery.
  • 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.
    • He openly admits this to Lister in "Justice", trying to convince Lister to ambush and shoot a seemingly unarmed Simulant looking for them, citing that they're not Boy Scouts trying to win an award.
    Rimmer: It's only a pity he's awake.
    Lister: You mean you could happily kill him if he was asleep?
    Rimmer: I could happily kill him if he was on the job.
    • And again in "Only the Good...", where he literally kicks Death in the balls, citing that "only the good die young."
  • The Comically Serious: Arnold Rimmer takes everything seriously, but gets everything wrong. The polar opposite of Lister who is usually making a joke at Rimmer's expense but generally quite smart at figuring things out, and The Cat who makes fun of Rimmer on every occasion possible but often gets stuff right because he goes with his gut reaction and doesn't overanalyse it.
    • In "Bodyswap", Rimmer describes what ageing is like. His delivery is deliberate in its bathos:
      When you're younger you can eat what you like, drink what you like and still climb into your 26" waist trousers and zip them closed. Then you reach that age — 24, 25 — your muscles give up, they wave a little white flag and without any warning at all suddenly you're a fat bastard."
  • Commuting on a Bus: He only appeared in person in two episodes in Series VII, then was relegated to flashbacks, dream sequences, and — in one memorable case — a theme park ride based on his own diaries, which only occurred in two other episodes in the Series.
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: Becomes deranged from a holovirus contracted during the events of "Quarantine" and begins talking to a penguin hand-puppet named Mr. Flibble as if he were an actual person.
  • Control Freak: It's part of what makes him so insufferable.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: Yes, really. When the chips are down, Rimmer can actually be heroic when there's absolutely no chance of escape. In "Out Of Time", he's the first to decide to take the fight to the crew's future selves, as he's disgusted by how they've turned out and when the fight is lost, he takes a bazookoid to the time drive. In "Stoke Me A Clipper", he fights a knight who was actually Lister in disguise, but still and takes up the Ace mantle. "Only The Good..." sees him return to the ship to try and save it (and may have done. It's unclear) when he could have stayed in the mirror universe. "The Beginning" sees him come up with a brilliant plan that has a crew of Simulants begging him for their lives. His book counterpart ends up pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to save his son.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Whilst Rimmer is usually a weaselly little coward, he can show off a vicious streak on the rare occasion he gets the upper hand. Then there's the infamous "Better dead than smeg" scene from Out of Time, where Rimmer advocates fighting their future selves and is implied to have saved them from annihilation by running to the engine room and blowing up the Time Drive before the future Dwarfers blow up their version of Starbug.
    • "Stoke Me A Clipper" takes this further, with the revelation that there are numerous Rimmers out there taking up the mantle of Ace and going out to do good, just as "our" Rimmer eventually does. This implies that even the smeggiest versions of Rimmer might have some heroism in there, somewhere.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rimmer may be bitter, fussy, and uptight, but he 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. The novels deconstruct this trait by pointing out that if Rimmer wasn't so blindly stubborn about becoming an officer and taken the time to reconsider his position, he might realise that he simply isn't cut out for the Space Corps, and would probably be much happier in a different career. He takes a different officer's exam at least 9 times as well.
  • Deuteragonist: The equal lead of the series in terms of dialogue and screen time, alongside Lister. However, Lister is still the focal point of the narrative, as the character whose action set the show into motion and who has the most developed relationships with the rest of the main cast.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Rimmer, of all people, knees the Grim Reaper in the groin.
  • Dirty Coward: Rimmer is always in favour of going for the plan which allows him to run away and preferably leaves everyone else to die, even when he's in no immediate danger. In "Only the Good...", he lists his ability to find good hiding places when the going gets tough as one of his positive attributes and as a reason why he should be considered officer material.
  • 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.
  • Dumbass No More: Starting with Series III, Rimmer's stupidity is dialled back enormously. He's still not remotely competent at any job he's given, but he's much more perceptive and insightful.
  • Duplicate Divergence: The hologram Rimmer was originally a perfect copy of the original. But the years spent with Lister and the others gradually changed him, to the point where he becomes the newest Ace Rimmer. When the original Rimmer is restored by Kryten's nanobots, Lister is dismayed at how he's exactly like he used to be.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Arnold Judas Rimmer; he tells people who first meet him that it's "Jonathan." Doubles up as a Meaningful Name.
  • Enemies with Death: Literally, in "Only the Good...", where he famously knees the Grim Reaper himself in the balls.
  • 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 Samaritan helpline (a suicide prevention hotline). Everybody he talked to committed suicide. Including the one guy with the wrong number calling for Cricket scores.
    • In The Red Dwarf Survival Manual, he recalls a time in the ship's cafeteria when the guy next to him started choking. Rimmer tried to administer the heimlich maneuver — which he believed involved putting the victim's head between their legs and making them drink copious amounts of water. As a result, the poor fellow drowned.
  • 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.
    • He was also disgusted by the amoral decadence of the crew's future selves in "Out Of Time", being the first to demand that they fight hopelessly to the death rather than live on to become like that.
  • 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.
    • Early in the series, it's implied that both being a hologram and being stuck with Lister are this to him.
  • Flowery Insults: Probably his only real skill other than self-preservation is his ability to come up with innovative and detailed put-downs.
  • 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.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Cynic. He'll pretty much say no to any plan, perceiving it to be too risky. He has practically no faith in anything.
  • Freak Out: Part of the reason Rimmer keeps having to take the astronavigation exam is because when he actually sits down to do it, he realises he has no idea what he's supposed to be doing, goes through a brief period of crushing despair, goes momentarily nuts and passes out. In the second-to-last exam he took, he supposedly wrote down "I am a fish" several hundred times before passing out.
  • 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 seems to be the only one who actually likes 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, Holly alternates between snarking at his expense or playing jokes on him. 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".
    • It’s worth noting that even early on there are two Dwarfers who show something besides dislike for Rimmer. Holly never seems to be affected by Rimmer’s rudeness and speaks empathetically to him (“I hope you find all those things you think you need to be happy”). And the Cat might be the most vocally disparaging, but then he has a similar approach to everyone. In many ways he and Rimmer are often seen getting on quite well. They often team up in plans, and Cat is nowhere near above laughing at Rimmer’s jokes at Lister’s expense.
    • Even Howard, his own brother, describes him as an "utter twat".
    • Explicitly acknowledged in "Promised Land"; when Rimmer has apparently sacrificed himself to stop a bomb, the Cat says that he likes not liking Rimmer.
  • Geek Physique: Of the 'tall and lanky' variety. Most noticeable in the first two series and first novel. Averted in series 5, where he's shown to be quite muscular. Chris Barrie, knowing he had a number of Shirtless Scenes from reading the script, went to the gym in preparation and apparently got quite a bit of fan mail as a result.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hate Sink: Season 1 technically has No Antagonist, with Rimmer coming the closest, and he is an incredibly unlikable character for most of it. It isn't until "Confidence & Paranoia" he shows a glimmer of a positive trait, and the following episode gives him some proper depth, after which Rimmer, while not exactly a more pleasant person, becomes less odious.
  • Heroic BSoD: He suffers one in "The Promised Land", when the Cat points out that his mind is simply a computer recreation of the original Rimmer, and only making him think in the way the computer believes Rimmer would think. Rimmer is so shaken by this that he seriously considers unplugging his damaged light bee and allowing himself to run out of power for good.
  • Heterosexual Lifepartners With Lister, as mentioned under the latter's entry. The show has a lot of fun with Rimmer & Lister's codependent relationship, as they grate on each other endlessly but still choose to spend all their time together (to the point that they still share a bunkbed, despite having dozens of living quarters to choose from).
  • He Who Fights Monsters: His campaign against the evil faction of wax droids causes more casualties than Hitler's leadership of the villainous wax droids ever did. To wit, Rimmer ends up destroying every wax droid on the planet.
  • 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.
    • The novels note that Rimmer genuinely has some artistic talent, especially in the use of colours and in cartography. It's even implied that this is his true calling and he only thinks he wants to be a Space Corps officer because his parents pushed him into it.
    • He also demonstrates numerous times that, like the actor who portrays him, he is a skilled impressionist.
    • Even Lister is willing to acknowledge that he’s a good singer.
  • 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 note , but bullied him mercilessly, something all the other kids in school did as well. His father was also his lecturer at university and once used him as a guinie pig in a social experiment, which is even made worse when remembering that Rimmer divorced his parents when he was 14.
    • 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.
    • In a Flashback during "Balance of Power", he demanded to know where Lister got his illegal learning drugs for his chef's exam. Lister reveals he got them from Rimmer's locker.
    • In "Waiting For God", he claims that he's higher ranked than Lister because he's better than him. But when Lister uses this logic to point out that the rest of the crew must have been better than Rimmer, he flatly denies it.
    • In "Kryten", he mocks Lister for being "toffed up to the nines" in preparation with their encounter with the Nova 5's presumed-to-be-alive crew — while wearing his best dress uniform.
    • At the beginning of "Skipper", he expresses the belief that a person should surround themselves with people who are brighter and more successful than they are. When he finds himself in a universe where Lister is his superior, he quickly departs, not being able to stand the idea of Lister being more successful than him.
  • Identity Breakdown: He has a bit of a Heroic BSoD and almost lets his battery run down in "The Promised Land" after The Cat tells him that the real Rimmer is long dead and that he is just a computer acting on what the real Rimmer would think. Luckily, Lister is able to snap him out of it.
  • Ignored Epiphany: In "The Beginning", He discovered that his real father was actually the family gardener. As a result, he found he no longer felt the need to live up to Rimmer senior's expections, and believed that his real father would be proud of what he had accomplished. However, later episodes (such as "Officer Rimmer") show him as still being eager to rise up the chain of command.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: A very, very, very sloshed Rimmer admits this to Lister during "Thanks for the Memory", that what he'd want most in all the world is to love and be loved in return.
  • 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 taking stock of 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 (something that made Kryten wish for a world-class psychiatrist when he heard it), 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 emphasizing it in some way or another that makes his name sound terrible.
  • 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 midway 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.
    • Subverted in several episodes in Series V, where a number of the plots place him in situations where he effectively has a physical presence, such as in hallucinations or with other holograms.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Frequently when informed he's being boring, annoying or obnoxious, like when describing in-depths an old Risk 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:
    • Rimmer has often complained that he didn't get anywhere in life because he never got any breaks, and resents Ace for getting them instead. But as Ace points out, the difference between them is that Ace got held back in school and Rimmer didn't. Rimmer actually did get a break, but it did nothing for him.
    • In his "Back to Reality" fantasy, Rimmer is Lister's half brother ("same mother"). As revealed in "The Beginning" 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.
    • Rimmer is constantly obsessed with climbing the career ladder and being an officer, but he fails to notice that he is the highest rank in a group of space adventurers who travel across time and universes having adventures while fighting monsters. Basically he's living the sort of life most people could only dream of, but he's unable to stop and appreciate it.
    • In the first few series Rimmer is obsessed with aliens, apparently never realising that the Cat is technically an alien since he isn't human and wasn't born on Earth. The same is true for the GELFs the crew encounter.
  • It Runs in the Family: Rimmer has a tendency to lie to his family about his success, with his mother believing he's actually an admiral, and he lies to his brother Howard about being a captain, who actually is a captain. Actually, he's a vending machine repairman just like Rimmer. It's possible all his brothers are incompetent, cowardly vending machine repairmen, but they're too proud to admit it so they lie about being successful.
  • 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!"
    • His early belief in aliens was based solely on the idea that the hypothetical alien species would have the technology to give him a new body.
  • It's All My Fault: In contrast to his usual attitude, 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 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: Rimmer in the early part of the series was an often sexist control freak with his relationship with Lister having elements of classism. He rejects all responsibility for his mistakes while trying to claim any success as his own, and he refuses to accept the idea that there is anything wrong with him. There are also several moments where he shows that he's willing to sacrifice the others to keep himself alive and giving him any power makes him even more of a dictator.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite all his flaws and being a smeghead pretty much all the time, there are moments that show a far kinder side to himself and at his best he can even be noble, though often he would go back to being the same selfish coward he's always been a few episodes later. Rimmer in Series X to XII is so far the best version of Rimmer shown so far with most of his worst qualities having disappeared.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Rimmer tries to act like he only barely failed passing his astronavigation exams, and yet several times throughout the series it's shown Rimmer knows nothing about even the basic concepts of physics, the sort of things usually taught to teenagers in school.
  • Lack of Empathy: Season 1 Rimmer especially, where he regards Lister winding up in traction for six weeks as a moment of side-splitting hilarity, drives him right to the brink of suicide out of spite, and takes malicious glee at the thought of Lister dying horribly.
  • 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".
  • Lazy Bum: For all he sneers at Lister being one (which, in fairness, Lister freely cops to), Rimmer is shown many time to be just as lazy, if not more so. For example, his idea of being woken up at seven is actually being woken up much later, with complimentary full breakfast. And when doing a mere 300 meter jog he actually stops halfway through for a rest. At least when Lister tries to do something, he puts effort in. Rimmer will just do it half-arsed then refuse to admit fault.
  • The Load: In the early seasons, his complete lack of any useful skills (Lister and Cat had their mechanical and piloting skills respectively to contribute) and inability to touch anything meant that he was little more than an annoyance to the rest of the crew. He gets better after some Character Development and the acquisition of his Hard Light drive but is still probably the least useful member of the team.
  • 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.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: It's not clear why Rimmer had to something important like fixing the drive plate if he was on Z Shift which known to be the most useless maintenance crew onboard. The novel continuity omits his involvement and when he gets put on trial for killing the crew in "Justice", he gets off on the reasoning that the person him who ordered him to do it was in the wrong when they knew he was unqualified.
  • 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 sounded the fire alarm.
  • 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, leaving him as himself, but with one of Kochanski's boobs. 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.)
    • Two unfilmed scripts was included as DVD extras with storyboards standing in for visuals, and Barrie voicing everybody. See also (or rather, hear also) the audiobooks of the first two novels, which are very popular with fans for this reason.
  • The Mentally Ill: Many times over the series it's emphasised that Rimmer's mind is not a pleasant place to be, even without the neuroses, the arrogance, the cowardice, etc... he also has a mountain's worth of self-loathing which has actually tried to violently kill him when given physical form. And Rimmer being Rimmer, this is (almost) all Played for Laughs.
  • Moral Myopia: In "Me2", he complains about being subjected to Lister's relatively harmless pranks, yet downplays one instance where he tied Lister's dreadlocks to his bedpost, then triggered the fire alarm, which Lister states resulted in him almost needing brain surgery.
  • Mr. Fanservice: In Series V, he gets a number of Shirtless Scenes. Lampshaded by the documentary, where other cast members noted that Chris Barrie, having read the script, embarked on a training regimen to buff himself up for the scenes. Also, in the first few seasons, the costuming department seemed to jump on every possible opportunity to get him (and his very long legs) into a pair of shorts or boxers.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Arnold Judas Rimmer, named after Judas Iscariot. In-Universe, it’s explained that he got the middle name because his mother was a member of the Church of Judas, which believed Judas switched places with Jesus and was the one crucified, and named him that in Judas’ honor.
  • The Needless: Being a hologram he doesn't need to eat or breathe and isn't affected by extremes in temperature. Particularly emphasised in "Marooned" when he and Lister argue over the necessity of Lister burning Rimmer's personal effects to avoid freezing to death.
  • 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.
  • Nervous Tics: He has a tendency to jiggle his leg when he is nervous.
  • Nervous Wreck: Rimmer can be a neurotic and anal-retentive wimp who sometimes struggles with his insecurities.
  • 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 is 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. Indeed, in an alternate universe, Lister found the broken drive plate and fixed it, then took a hush payment to keep his mouth shut. Lister negotiated his hush payment to be company shares, whose value skyrocketed due to a lucky discovery of a valuable moon and Lister used the money to buy Red Dwarf, becoming its captain and Rimmer's superior.
      • In the original script (and an alternate opening) for "The End", he refused to let Lister so much as remove a rivet, insisting that he only push the work trolley. This of course made his claim that he could have fixed the Drive Plate with Lister's help ring even more false.
    • 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.
    • The novels dial this up to pathological levels; His first concern following a disaster is to ensure everyone knows that it wasn't his fault (even if he genuinely had nothing to do with it). As such, he's left utterly baffled when Ace openly and casually admits that his ship collided with Starbug and nearly killed them all.
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Subverted when it comes to cloning himself — he always uses a different method of duplication in a attempt to avert what went wrong the first time. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop Rimmer clones from being, well, Rimmer.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: In two different forms. In his original soft light body, he's an intangible mass of light, so nothing can touch him. In his subsequent hard light body, he's effectively indestructible unless hit in the light bee. Doesn't stop him cowering in terror under the nearest convenient table when the members of the crew are in trouble in future episodes. Episodes such as "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 showcase what sort of punishment he's able to take. However, Rimmer rarely takes advantage of this due to his Hard Light technology making him able to feel things normally, including pain, something he has a notoriously low tolerance for.
  • Non-Action Guy: Justified Trope at first, since he's just an intangible hologram, but even after getting a "Hard Light" upgrade in Series Six, he remains a feckless, neurotic coward. Also, there's some Hypocritical Humor here, because he is constantly reading about and admiring soldiers and other military heroes.
  • Not Disabled In VR:
    • Is able to interact with objects in while playing the titular virtual reality game in "Better Than Life" though the writers tended to forget that Rimmer wasn't supposed to be solid in other episodes.
    • Inverted or played straight in "Back To Reality" where the gang wake up on Earth finding the whole show was a virtual reality video game and Rimmer isn't really a hologram. Then this all turns out to be an illusion.
  • Not So Above It All: When he is sent to prison, he has no problem joining in with Lister and the others to play pranks on Ackerman.
  • 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 (with Nirvanah Crane in "Holoship"). 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 "Me2", 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.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Rimmer, you're a smeghead!" and all variants thereof. To emphasize this, in the first episode, when their superior officer Todhunter comes along to reprimand Rimmer on his and Lister's constant bickering, Lister complains that Rimmer causes the complaints by being such a smeghead. An appalled Rimmer complains to Todhunter about what Lister just said — which is an actual act of subordination that would be reprimanded in any organization in the real world. Todhunter simply laughs and lightly informs Rimmer that he is a smeghead before leaving.
  • 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).
  • Proud to Be a Geek: 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.
  • Put on a Bus: Rimmer took over from Ace and left Starbug to be a Big Damn Hero. When we get another Rimmer he's a revived version of the original.
  • Rank Inflation: In "Better Than Life", he receives a letter from his mother addressed to "Rear Admiral Lieutenant General Rimmer". When Lister asks about it, Rimmer explains that he lies about every time he takes an exam. This trope can also be seen in the formal uniform he wears in series I and II that has a large number of gold hoops running halfway up his sleeves. To a lesser extent, in "The Promised Land", he refers to himself as a First Technician despite later briefly appearing in his series I/II uniform that still bears his Second Technician tag.
  • "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 (and indeed, because 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.
  • Running Gag: Starting in Series VI, he will often incorrectly reference a Space Corps Directive, which Kryten will immediately point out and then question him about. Lampshaded in "Back To Earth."
  • Schedule Fanatic:
    • He wrote up extremely detailed revision timetables while studying for his astronavigation exams.
    • "Confidence and Paranoia" reveals that he writes up "daily goal" lists for himself — and hardly ever completes those goals.
  • 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.
    Lister: You never paid me back either. You're tighter than an Italian waiter's keks!
  • Self-Serving Memory: Frequently, on the instances he can't find anything to blame, such as insisting he failed his previous tests by "the narrowest of narrow margins" and that he submitted an explanation too radical to be accepted ("I am a fish!"), or in "Justice", after Kryten gives a long explanation of how Rimmer is too much of a screw-up to be held accountable for his failure, Rimmer then praises him for "twisting the facts" to make him look like an idiot. In "Blue", he's revealed to have kept a diary, the entries of which depict him as a brave hero and the others as useless cowards.
  • 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.)
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The sensitive guy to Lister's Manly Man.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Ego is Rimmer's other middle name. In life, he was a chicken-soup machine repair man who wasn't even any good at it, yet treated his work as life and death, even filing some of Lister's antics under mutiny, on the grounds that Rimmer having to do his work injured might've doomed the ship.
    Rimmer: (complaining after Captain Hollister dismisses him) Me, not "make it"? What does he know, the big stupid yellow idiot. He doesn't see my good side. My guile. My weasel cunning. When the going gets tough, my ability to find good hiding places.
  • Smug Snake: Rimmer is an egotistical, bitter and petty jerk who continually insists throughout the series to be far more capable and popular than we know him to be. The sad thing is, considering Ace Rimmer (What a guy!), a dimension-jumping Ace and Alternate Universe version of Rimmer, we know he could become a popular, capable and friendly hero if he just got rid of his bad qualities. And possibly does so, as he eventually becomes the new Ace Rimmer. Multiple episodes show that though he may insist this, he actually has a lower opinion of himself than probably anyone else.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Arnold Rimmer can best be described as a Dirty Coward, a Jerkass and in general, not a nice person to be around due to him being nasty to everyone else. However, it has also been shown that Rimmer is genuinely lonely and wants to be loved, and that thanks to his upbringing, has a very warped sense of other people and has a much lower opinion of himself than one might think. "Better Than Life" (which has him unintentionally destroy everyone's fun) also shows that deep down, he doesn't believe that he deserves to be happy.
  • Splash of Color: He was originally supposed to appear in black and white but the budget couldn't afford it. He was always colourless in the Smegazine comics and finally appeared in black and white when he went into a power saving mode in "The Promised Land".
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Half of Series IV & V are Rimmer episodes. Toned down in Series VI and Series VII (the latter of which only features in four out of eight episodes), but back in force for Series VIII which puts the focus on his relationship with Lister at the expense of the rest of the cast.
  • 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 "Rimmer Salute", which involves a serious of wrist-twirls before saluting, with more complicated variants for higher-ranking officers. The name is mentioned several times, with Series VIII establishing on screen that the salute was developed by Rimmer, and the novels explain that 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. Made funnier during the intro for the 10th anniversary Red Dwarf night, when the salute was delivered by Patrick Stewart.
  • Super Mode: In "The Promised Land", he gets his light bee upgraded to Diamond Light mode, which allows him to not only switch between hard and soft light an instant, but can also manipulate other objects into doing so and can move at super speed. Unfortunately, this burns out his battery and forces him to plug his light bee into a wall socket, leaving him dependant on extension leads until Lister charges him up with the Anubis stone. This mode gives him newfound confidence until he's forced to sacrifice his new found powers to save Kryten.
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Similar Characters: He shares an extraordinary number of traits with Major Frank "Ferret Face" Burns. Each man is a Jerkass, a Dirty Coward, The Neidermeyer, Lawful Stupid, a Control Freak, a Hypocrite, a Momma's Boy, refuses to accept responsibility for his own failings, has an Annoying Laughnote , is an in-universe Hate Sink and The Friend Nobody Likes, tries to throw his weight around with the men he outranks only for them to generally ignore or insult him, ends up as the designated Butt-Monkey most of the time, has a Dark and Troubled Past involving horribly Abusive Parents... sheesh, now we come to list all the things they have in common, it's honestly quite bizarre.
  • Teeny Weenie: Given his reaction to his penis in the mirror universe, Rimmer is implied to be not very well endowed.
  • Terrible Pick-Up Lines: Arnold Rimmer has a book of these, and breaks them out whenever there's a possibility of female company. "Parallel Universe" opens with him explaining to Lister a complicated line, which his female alternate universe counterpart tries on him when they meet. Lister also notes that Rimmer seems convinced that he has to hypnotise women into agreeing to dates, as if he thinks they're "some alien species."
  • That Was Objectionable: Rimmer repeatedly objected to his own defense counsel in "Justice" — and was overruled by the judge AI of the prison space station 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. 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.
    "A man of such awesome stupidity, he even objects to his own defense counsel!"
  • 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.
    • In "The Promised Land"; After giving up the power of his Diamond Light mode to revive Kryten, Rimmer ends up being worshipped as the Cats' new God after saving the day, with the Cats literally singing his praises.
  • Token Evil Teammate: In Series I, he's often the antagonist getting in the way of Lister's goals (though "evil" is debatable, since all of the regulars in Series I are rather selfish). Seen in later episodes as well, including "Bodyswap", "Meltdown", and ESPECIALLY "Quarantine". Although he's displayed some Character Development over the years, the show can easily slot him in as a villain if need be. In addition, we've seen several Evil Counterparts, such as "Me 2", "Demons and Angels", "Out of Time," and "Rimmerworld," as well as the Jerkass pre-Series I version in Series VIII.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Not a full level, more half (at best), but still. The Rimmer of the first half of Series I is a complete dick, driving Lister to close to absolute despair with his petty bullying, jerkassery and complete lack of empathy for anyone who isn't himself. From "Confidence and Paranoia" onward, Rimmer... is still a smeghead, but he isn't anywhere near as awful as he is in the first four episodes, and by Series II is perfectly willing to socialize with Lister and the Cat, without any of their usual bickering.
  • 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 
  • The Un-Favorite: Despised by his parents for not being as successful as his brothers.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Rimmer ride from "Blue", while programmed by Kryten, was based on entries from Rimmer's journal.
  • Up Through the Ranks: His attempts at this in life by passing Astronavigation and Engineering exams always resulted in constant failure, in sometimes amusing ways; He mentions once that he had a spasm in one exam, he infamously wrote "I Am A Fish" four hundred times in another, and in "The End", we see him leave an inky handprint on his paper and faint during the exam. Even long after his death, he's still seen taking the exams in Series X. He actually does manage a Field Promotion on two occasions ("Holoship" and "Officer Rimmer"), but circumstances lead to him resigning his commission by the end of the episode. It's also noted very early on that the only promotion he's ever had was from Third Technician to Second Technician.
  • Varying Competency Alibi: In the episode "Justice", Rimmer is charged with over a thousand counts of second-degree murder because he secretly blames himself for killing the crew. Kryten gets him off by pointing out that he's such an inept screwup that the real blame should go to the smeg head who put him in charge of such a critical operation.
  • Virtual Ghost: As a hologram, he is brought Back from the Dead with all his memories and personality from his life intact.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: As much as he'd deny it, he's definitely got this relationship with Lister. For as much time as they love trading insults, the two spend pretty much all of their time together, sleep in the same room despite having multiple sleeping quarters to choose from, and have shared some of their deepest insecurities and most personal memories with each other.
  • "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.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Implied in Series 7, when the uptight Rimmer supposedly dies (actually his counterpart Ace Rimmer died and he filled in for him), the other crew members sincerely mourn him (if in a somewhat passive aggressive way), since being allied against his pompous anal retentiveness at least kept them going and, even with the relatively more competent Kochanski in his place, the rest of the crew's own neuroses and flaws become much more apparent within a short time without him. Come to a head in the episode "Blue" where Lister finds himself, to his shock, missing Rimmer. Kryten tries to appease that by creating a virtual reality experience recreating Rimmer based on his diaries and log entries (all expectedly with a whopping amount of Self-Serving Memory), with Lister promptly deciding he never wants to see the smegger ever again.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: His worst fear is huge spiders, a fear he shares with Lister.
  • Wrong Line of Work: His dream of becoming an officer is undermined by the fact that he lacks any of the skills required for such a position, and barely has the skills necessary for his current position. One chapter of Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers delves deeper into this, pointing out that Rimmer simply isn't cut out for a career in the Space Corps. The same chapter also reveals that he has a talent for artistry (creating revision timetables that could be considered minor works of art), implying that his true calling could have been found in a position like graphics design.


Cat (sometimes The Cat) is the last known member of Felis sapiens (also spelt Felix sapiens), a species 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.

  • Abusive Parents: Rare justified example, the novels say the only female cat aboard when he was younger would hit him with a Frying Pan of Doom if he tried to have sex with her, so he reckoned she was probably his mother.
  • Ace Pilot: Thanks to his superior sense of smell.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: For all his antipathy for Rimmer, the Cat is quite happy to laugh in Lister's face when Rimmer makes a joke Cat likes at Lister’s expense.
  • 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 the show'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).
    • Being forced to wear unfashionable clothes, being forced to do the W-word for food, attempting to take his food or his shiny thing... basically anything that would annoy a cat annoys him.
  • Big Eater: In the first season, he's often found emerging from the ventilation ducts to steal food and was even bribed with food to help. Once he found a way to get food from the vending machines, he gorged himself on fish and various other foods.
  • 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.
  • Blind Without 'Em: In "Mechocracy", it turns out he needs reading glasses.
  • 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. Series XII of the show confirms that he is clinically a psychopath, though the crew acknowledge that he's not the violent kind and is simply amoral instead of dangerous.
  • Brutal Honesty: Over the series, he makes little effort to hide his Lack of Empathy or his vanity, particularly when it can be Played for Laughs.
  • Buffy Speak: He'll often refer to spatial phenomena as a swirly thing (or a wiggly thing). And that's if he's being specific.
    Lister: Is it a wibbly thing or a swirly thing?
    Cat: At this point I'd hate to commit myself and wind up looking like a fool if I'm wrong.
    Lister: (who, we should note, has floss stuck to his teeth with glue) A wibbly thing or a swirly thing, and he refuses to commit... he's losin' it, man, he really is.
  • 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?"
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: Claims to have them in the second American pilot.
  • 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).
  • Constantly Curious: Possibly because he's a cat, but he asks a ton of questions. This ranges from simple things like constantly asking "What is it?" over and over to asking genuine questions about a situation the others are thinking. This also allows him to serve as an Audience Surrogate to an extent, asking questions the viewer might have so they can be explained by Kryten or Holly.
  • Cool Cat: His entire raison d'être.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's not afraid to use a bazookoid when he needs to. He's also a pretty good pilot.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Seems to be a common trait among all felis sapiens.
  • The Dandy: Even started out wearing zoot suits like 1930s Harlem dandies.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Attempted a few times. "Identity Within" was meant to be this but was never made. "Can Of Worms" in Series XI and the TV movie "The Promised Land" both give give him and/or the Cat civilization more of a focus.
  • 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: "Felis sapiens, bred from the domestic cat and about half as smart". It's also generally implied that the Cat is just a doofus even for cats, and generally explicit that he is the least intelligent of the main cast by a good margin.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Or rather 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." Of course, it works because 99 percent of the time, he's the only Cat present.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: In "The Promised Land", he points out to Rimmer that his consciousness is simply a computer recreation of the original Rimmer's mind, and that his thoughts are the result of what the computer surmises the real Rimmer would be thinking.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": He's usually just called "Cat," mainly out of convenience. In the show, it's unclear if he actually has a name or just doesn't think he needs one. The novels lean more towards the latter.
  • 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".
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Conflicted. While he will usually side with Rimmer's cowardly and self-serving plans, he will sometimes back up Lister's dangerous and insane ideas on the account that he hates Rimmer.
  • Freudian Excuse: "The Promised Land" reveals that he was once extremely uncool, which is why he puts his all into being the coolest guy around.
  • Gender Flip: Was played by Terry Farrell in the second pilot for the American remake.
  • 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.
    • He's genuinely surprised when Lister agrees to go with one of his plans, because he'll never hear the end of it if they all end up dead.
    • He's also able to not only correctly deduce that Rimmer's suffering from issues with his father, he also gives him advice on how to get past them. His response to Rimmer's bewilderment is simply "I'm a cat, we sense things."
  • Girlfriend in Canada: When confronted with his own virginity, he pretends to have two ladyfriends on Z-Deck.
  • The Gunslinger: His Streets Of Laredo character, The Riviera Kid, is capable of shooting bullets out of the air. The Cat himself later manages to take out a number of polymorphs is quick succession at close range with no harm done to his crewmates.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: Constantly brags about his sexual prowess but "Can Of Worms" confirms that, due to the lack of female Felis sapiens, he hadn't actually had sex until the encounter with the female polymorph.
  • Hidden Depths: He actually is pretty good at reading people, given his analysis of Rimmer's obsession with his father. In the early seasons, he could also be seen doing stitchwork, implying his Unlimited Wardrobe is something he makes himself.
  • 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. The former is portrayed as a catchy rhythmic beating sound, the latter a full-blown tropicano-type musical number.
    • According to the now non-canon 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.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Watching stuff spin dry in Starbug's washing machine. While the only time we see him do so is just after Kochanski's come onboard, his comments suggest it had already been a regular habit of his already.
  • 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. Then again, this is coming from Rimmer, poster boy of Dirty Cowards.
    • This might apply to some of the Cat’s selfishness and lack of care for his crew mates. The way he acts doesn't live up to the heartless way he usually talks and the latter might be a bit of a show — analogous to how domestic cats will ignore their humans but make sure they are in the same room so the human KNOWS they are being ignored.
  • Innate Night Vision: Felis sapiens do not have this. When Lister questions this, Cat asks why Dave's species evolved away from the ability to brachiate.
  • I Reject Your Reality: At one point wanders the ship looking for any lady cats to have sex with. Lister points out he's already told the Cat there's no women onboard at all. The Cat responds that if he believed that for even a second, he'd go crazy.
  • It's All About Me: While he over the course of the series does grow to care about his crewmates, he still looks out for number one first and foremost, considering small inconveniences to himself to be vastly more important than life-threatening danger to any of the others.
  • Jerkass: As mentioned in Rimmer's tropes, he gets happy when Rimmer appears to be close to death, and couldn't 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 II onward, at least, he's still lazy and selfish, but he's still buddies with Lister.
  • Lack of Empathy: This even applies to Lister. Despite the Cat calling him "bud", he freely admits he doesn't care about Lister's well-being. In "Cured", it's revealed that he's clinically a psychopath.
  • 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 the first American pilot, Holly says that the rest of the cats wiped each other out in a civil war with no mention of any leaving the ship.
    • In the finalized show, 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. Other cats are later encountered or mentioned at various as still living in the wider universe.
  • Mister Seahorse: He gives birth to eight polymorphs in Series XI.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The religion of the Cats states that "It is a sin to be cool."
  • The Nicknamer: He never refers to anybody by their actual names.
  • The Nose Knows: He can smell threats through the vacuum of space.
  • Offing the Offspring: He shoots his six polymorph children to death in "Can of Worms".
  • Pass the Popcorn: Any time Rimmer's in trouble, or humiliated, the Cat grins gleefully and plans to celebrate. During "Thanks for the Memory", the Cat actually has popcorn on hand while watching the black box. In "Rimmerworld", his reaction to Rimmer being stuck on a planet on his own for six hundred years is just to lament there's no champagne around. When Kryten proposes rescuing Rimmer from an escape pod by shooting it down, Cat's first response is to ask to be allowed to take the first shot.
  • Race Lift: He was white in the second pilot for the American remake.
  • Really Fond of Sleeping: He loves eating and sleeping — especially in the first series. In "Confidence and Paranoia", he's satisfied with his day because he's eaten five times, slept six times, and made a lot of things his. In "Queeg", he claims he has to nap nine or ten times a day, otherwise he won't have enough energy for his main snooze.
  • Related in the Adaptation: In the novels, the cat priest from Waiting For God is implied to be his father.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Wears a lot of stylish suits and is far better dressed than the rest of the cast.
  • 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.
  • The Sociopath: In-Universe. Series XII establishes that he is clinically and realistically speaking a psychopath, albeit of the (mostly) non-violent variety, as he suffers from a Lack of Empathy (to the point he is ready to leave Rimmer to burn to death, and potentially abandon the rest of his friends to save his own skin with little qualm if given sufficient reason to), narcissism, egocentricity, a sense of entitlement, shallow emotions and other symptoms; he is so psychopathic in fact that he objects that one of the symptoms is not handsome. The crew accept that it is just his nature and since he isn't really dangerous as he is more amoral than downright malevolent.
  • Son of an Ape: He often refers to Lister, Rimmer, Kochanski and humans in general as "monkeys" based on their evolutionary ancestors.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": While most often going by "Cat", he's often referred to by himself and others as "The Cat" when not being directly addressed.
  • Super Gullible: Lister convinces him that he was trimming verrucas 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, though by Series XII, his eyesight has atrophied to the point that he needs reading glasses.
  • Those Two Guys: His dynamic with Lister in Series II. It falls by the wayside after Series III, with Lister becoming increasingly annoyed by the Cat's idiotic remarks in the face of danger.
    • Around this time he develops a bit of this dynamic in the background with Kryten. The two rarely have a cross word for each other and can often be seen exchanging a friendly high-five or pat on the back etc.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Starting in Series II, and cemented in Series III. The original version of the Cat was so selfish he was willing to abandon Lister to die so he could finish eating a meal and didn't care about anything aside from fulfilling his own desires. Series II toned this down massively but still had a few moments of casual Jerkass behavior (such as when he implies he'd be ok with eating Rimmer's dead dad). After that, he's nowhere near as cruel as he was in the first season and even has the occasional heroic moment.
  • 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...."
  • Unexpected Virgin: The crew was a bit surprised to learn that Cat hasn't had sex yet and thought he would have, at least, a history of partners but Cat's reasons were very easy to understand. Cat grew up on the ship and the only women he knew were related to him so they were trying to prevent incest.
  • 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.
  • Uplifted Animal: His race naturally evolved from housecats. Unusually for the trope, this is portrayed as a natural process, resulting from the housecats being left alone for literally millions of years, rather than being altered by human (or other) scientists.

Played By: Norman Lovett (1988, 1997-1999, 2017, 2020); 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.

  • Adaptation Name Change: Is based on a computer called Hab from the original Dave Hollins: Space Cadet radio sketches.
  • 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.
  • Art Evolution: The digitisation effect used on his/her face changes between seasons. In the first season its a pixelisation effect, while from Series III to V it's a posterisation effect.
  • Back for the Finale:
    • An alternate universe version of Lovett's Holly appears in Skipper which was written as a Series Fauxnale incase they couldn't get a thirteenth season made.
    • He also returns in The Promised Land, the Big Damn Movie for the show, albeit without his memories at first.
  • Benevolent A.I.: Aside from the odd prank and snarky remark he's generally good to Lister and Rimmer.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's gone a bit senile with old age.
  • The Bus Came Back: Holly's original actor returned for series 7 and 8 and for a brief cameo in the series 12 finale. Holly also returns for the TV movie The Promised Land.
  • Cassette Futurism: His backup disk in The Promised Land is a five foot tall floppy disk.
  • Covered in Kisses: Thanks to Hilly.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Male Holly may well be the best example in the series.
  • Demoted to Extra: The introduction of Kryten resulted in Holly steadily sliding out of focus, since he was able to perform a lot of Holly's role without being confined to a screen. By Series V the character had very little to do, resulting in Grant Naylor reluctantly deciding to write the character out altogether.
  • 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.
  • Eccentric A.I.: 3 million years of isolation in deep space has left them rather computer-senile: a Deadpan Snarker who occasionally counts by banging against their screen and who is not above playing pranks on the others.
  • 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: Turns himself female to match Hilly, and later reverts to his male design for Series VII onward.
  • Gender Flip: Was female from the start of the American pilot and played by Jane Leeves.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Downplayed. Three million years alone have made him eccentric and senile, but still well within the grounds of sanity.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The nanites bringing the entire Red Dwarf crew back to life was his idea. Unfortunately, this resulted in the gang, and Holly himself, being put on trial and then imprisoned.
    Holly: (as the crew are sentenced to two years in The Tank) I've buggered this up a bit.
  • Huge Holographic Head: When her I.Q. is increased to 12,000.
  • 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, resurrect the crew, rebuild his old self, and play a mean prank. Though, there is some Obfuscating Stupidity involved.
  • Indy Ploy: The entire hostile takeover by Queeg, immediate improvement of the ship's functions and coercion of the crew into doing actual work (in order to warm them to Holly and help give him control back) was conceived by Holly himself. In a matter of seconds after Rimmer and Cat accuse him of being dangerously incompetent.
  • Insufferable Genius: Yes, Holly. We know you have an IQ of 6000.
    Holly: 6000's not that much. It's only the same IQ as 12000 car park attendants.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Usually pretends to have an answer to any question, but has actually forgotten an alarming number of facts, including some as basic as what the theory of relativity is.
  • The Nth Doctor: Holly changed his appearance to match his female counterpart from the alternate universe.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The Reveal from "Queeg" puts him firmly in this category. Likewise, "Back in the Red" has Holly mention he stages events to keep Lister distracted, which puts into question just how much of his computer senility is an act.
  • The Prankster: Occasionally tries to trick the crew, in a very deadpan manner, either to prove a point or just amuse himself.
  • Put on a Bus: Actor-wise, at the end of series 2. But character-wise, at the end of series V. Although...
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: In "Timeslides", Holly is the only one to remember the changes to the timeline.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Being three million years old will make even a computer a bit ga-ga.
    • 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.
  • Screw Yourself: Does it with his female counterpart in a parallel universe.
  • 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.
    • In "The Promised Land", the Dwarfers manage to reinstall him using his backup disc that restores his factory settings, which leads him to attempt to decommission the ship. They eventually persuade him to install his prior memories, which turns him from the no-nonsense AI he was prior to the accident to the ditzy Holly we all know and love.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: His solution for Starbug being stranded on a Desert Moon? Nuking the moon with a thermo-nuclear missile.
  • TV Head Robot: Would sometimes appear on a wheeled monitor when he had to leave the ship. This was Dummied Out to have Holly appear on Kryten's chest monitor or Lister's watch in later seasons.
  • 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.

    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. Lister helped to break Kryten's programming and he 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.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: He appears at the start of the show's second season but earlier in the Expanded Universe:
    • He joins the cast in the first novel that was otherwise a novelization of the first season.
    • He was already on the Red Dwarf before it left Earth in the American pilot.
  • Art Evolution: The design of his head becomes squatter between series III and IV.
    • His main body becomes a lot less rigid and restrictive between V and VI. note 
  • Bad Liar: In order to lie, he has to go into "Lie Mode". As such, he either prefaces the lie with the statement "Lie mode" or follows it with "Lie mode cancel", so he's unable to hide his lies effectively.
  • 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.
    • "You want ketchup?! With lobster?!" *Your Head Asplode*
  • 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.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Starts out like this, but with a great deal of coaching and practice, he becomes able to do it with varying degrees of success.
  • 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.
  • Character Tic: Despite his best efforts to break his programming, he has a hard time directly insulting Rimmer, and any attempt to call him a smeghead comes out as "Smeeee heeee".
  • Characterization Marches On: In "Kryten", he's an effeminate, English butler type. Llewellyn's first couple of episodes saw him speak in a bizarre faux-Canadian accent, as he was still trying to figure out the role.
  • 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.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: When asked by an amnesiac Lister to give a laudable trait of his, all Kryten can say is that sometimes Lister turns his underwear inside out, thereby lessening the mechanoid's laundry duties. And that's after several seconds of thought.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In later episodes, especially after gaining "lie mode."
    • Hell, he even has a deadpan mode.
  • Desperately Needs Orders: In his debut appearance. After being rescued from the Nova 5, he wanders around Red Dwarf, not knowing what to do with himself. Rimmer takes advantage of this by giving Kryten a Long List of chores. A big part of Kryten's Character Development is learning how to think for himself, and act without being told to do so.
  • The Dog Bites Back: "Out of Time" makes it clear that as much as he loves Lister, having to do Lister's laundry is another matter, and when the chance comes to get revenge, he takes it.
    Kryten: I looked up to you. You inspired me to break my programming, but now I discover you're no better than I. But the worst thing, the most bitter pill, is that for four. Long. Years I had to hand-scrub the gussets of your long-johns!
    • He also takes pleasure in roasting Rimmer during "Justice" (his case in Rimmer's defense relied on proving that he was a pathetic dork), and "White Hole" (this time directly to his face, under the assumption that none of them would remember it).
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Racism: When he mistakenly believes that Lister is an earlier model android he bullies him shamelessly, regardless of their past friendship. He's forced to make a groveling apology on finding he's mistaken.
  • First Injury Reaction: In Last Human, Kryten uses a DNA modifier to transform himself from a mechanoid to a human. Soon after, an accident caused by the Cat's clumsiness causes Kryten to fall down a flight of stairs, sustaining many injuries one after the other (in what the narration calls his "introduction to pain"). Kryten is not just in agony, but outraged that his pristine new body is already a "write-off" due to a nasty scar on his leg.
  • First-Name Basis: When first introduced, he referred to Lister as "Mr. David". He retained this through series 3.
    • He also refers to Rimmer as "Mr. Arnold" during his debut, but this one didn't stick.
  • Flipping the Bird: Is actually the first robot in fiction to do that to a human, though the Skutters beat him to the punch with the V-sign in series I.
    Kryten: Swivel on it, punk!
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Realist. He'll acknowledge that Lister is being overly optimistic, and that his plan probably is suicidal, but yet informs Rimmer that even though a mission might be dangerous, they are in danger (of possible low food supplies) and must take the chance to survive anyway.
  • 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 a vacuum cleaner.
    • "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.
  • Genius Bruiser: The physically strongest crew member, due to being an android. But, he's also the science expert and The Smart Guy of the crew.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In "The Inquisitor", Kryten uses one of the Inquisitor's time gauntlets to go back in time, remove the past Inquisitor's gauntlets (and one of his arms), give the past Kryten the clue he needs to use the gauntlets, and then gets his head crushed by the Inquisitor for his trouble.
    • In "The Promised Land", he allows for Rimmer's damaged light bee to draw power from his own battery, which ends up draining him completely. It is soon after revealed that a mechanoid cannot be recharged after their battery burns out, a fact Kryten was well aware of. In the end, his sacrifice is negated when Rimmer (somewhat reluctantly) uses the power of the Anubis Stone to restore him.
  • Hero-Worshipper: He looks up to Lister, mostly because Lister is the first person to treat him like an actual person and not just a droid.
  • Humanity Ensues: In "DNA", he becomes human, but he is unable to figure it out and Lister eventually convinces him to change back.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Although he generally acts as a butler to the rest of the crew, he is also clearly the most intelligent and seems to have numerous skills in assorted scientific fields.
  • 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Part of Lister's attempts to break his programming is to try and turn him into this in order to give him more humanity. And, to a certain extent, he's succeeded. As he puts it in Cassandra, "I can lie, cheat, and be unpleasant now."
    • He also admits in "Camille" that the ability to lie and cheat are some of the human qualities he admires most.
  • Morality Chip: His guilt chip maintains his behaviour protocols. It tends to be overactive, which the Polymorph takes advantage of to drain his guilt. He becomes a complete asshole without it. Spare Head Two has this happen as well when he gets Lister to disable his guilt chip, leading him to cook a dead man for Lister and The Cat's dinner. The novel Backwards reveals that Kryten's excessive guilt is the result of a wire feeding into his guilt chip somehow having been crossed with one of his CPU's internal accellerators.
  • 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 ridiculous.
  • 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.
  • No Water Proofing In The Future: Ace Rimmer mentions that Kryten's model isn't waterproof.
  • 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.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Like most technology in the show, 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 Maid: While he branches out a lot, he's designed as a housekeeper, and this remains one of his enduring focuses.
  • 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.
  • Servile Snarker: He is technically supposed to obey any human, regardless of how insane they might be. As time goes by, he does at least start snarking back at Rimmer.
    Rimmer: I'm a competitive man, Kryten. It's what made me the man I am today.
    Kryten: We're all perfectly well aware of what you are.
  • 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, though the latter was a second set of nanos created by Holly.
  • Super-Strength: As a machine, he's far stronger than the other crew members. In "Legion", upon being given position to lay the Cat out, Kryten knocks him out with a silence punch.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In Series VII, where Kochanksi's arrival makes him clingy, jealous, petty and needlessly antagonistic towards her.
  • 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 "Beyond A Joke" and the Red Dwarf website Space Corps Database, he also retains this bit of history in the show.

    Kristine Kochanski (Alternate Universe)
Played By: Chloë Annett (1997-2009)

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.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Her American counterpart is shown being incredibly cold towards Lister. Doug Naylor expressed disgust at this, wondering why Lister would ever fall for someone so awful.
  • Alliterative Name: Ret Conned from her first name originally being Christine to Kristine.
  • 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."
  • Big Brother Bully: Deleted dialogue from season VII said she had one called Moose.
  • Brainy Brunette: The second Kochanski definitely qualifies.
    • The first one has to be fairly smart as well, given that she was an officer.
  • Canon Immigrant: The idea of her being Lister's ex-girlfriend was used in the novels and the American remake before it was retconned into the main show.
  • 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 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.
  • Chickification: In the Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg special, she complains that she doesn't want to taste the dishes being prepared because she had already eaten a stick of celery the previous week and spends most of the episode in the corner as a Nervous Wreck before being practically in tears when forced to eat the food, before puking it up into the waste disposal unit.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The second Kochanski definitely had her moments of this.
  • Death Faked for You: Back to Earth opens with Lister believing that she's dead. By the end of the film, Kryten guiltily confesses that she actually ran away to go back to her own reality, and he lied about her death to spare Lister's emotions.
  • Fake Shemp: The Kochanski seen at the end of Stasis Leak was played by assistant floor manager, Dona DiStefano because Clare Grogan was told she was done filming for the day and went home.
  • Former Teen Rebel: So she claims, after leaving virtual-reality school.
  • Human Popsicle: In her universe, she was frozen for three million years instead of Lister.
  • Identical Granddaughter: In a Lotus-Eater Machine, in the novels, the gang get back to Earth where Lister marries an identical descendant who's also called Kristine Kochanski.
  • 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 VII, it's based on Clare Grogan's portrayal.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Since she got trapped in the prime reality with nothing but the clothes on her back and the invitro tube, she is forced to wear the same outfit for Series VII. She notes that she has only two sets of clothes and is shown attempting to make another outfit from a roll of red fabric. Lister does give her a dress, which ends up being ruined in the backwashing of the ducts. She somehow has a totally different set of clothes at the start of "Back In The Red", which takes place immediately after "Nanarchy".
  • 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: Played with.
    • In the novels, she is; both of the "third volumes" feature Lister getting a happy relationship with her; in "Backwards" they live out a happy life together on Backwards Earth but she ultimately leaves him due to the reverse-aging before the Boyz arrive to get him. In "Last Human", they end up returning to the normal dimension and ultimately restart the human race.
    • In the TV series, Lister spends the first six seasons pining after his dimension's version of Kochanski. In the seventh and eighth seasons, whilst he tries to court her, and Kryten is afraid he'll succeed, she is ambivalent about how she feels, since she generally perceives Lister as an inferior stand-in for her own dimension's version. Subverted in that she ultimately abandons him to go back to her own dimension.
  • 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.
    Kochanski: No I can't. I have no idea. Beat Okay, three point four inches, so what?
  • 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.
  • Projected Woman: There was talk of adding a hologram Kochanski to the cast in Season 2.
  • 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, for obvious reasons. Not to mention "Krysis" had the crew going into stasis for a decades-long journey, making it extremely unlikely that they'll see her again (for obvious reasons).
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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. Her book counterpart is an accomplished judoka, something she uses against the Longman clones.
  • Will They or Won't They?: There's a lot of sexual tension between Lister and the second Kochanski in series 7; he pines for her as his dream come true, and whilst she does show the occasional signs of reciprocation, she generally pushes him away: as she makes it clear to him, he's an inferior replacement for her dimension's version of Lister in her eyes, since she "fixed" her Lister and cleansed him of all of the prime Lister's gross habits and annoying traits. Ultimately, they won't; once they have Red Dwarf to themselves after the end of series 8, Kochanski decides she can't stand hanging with the Boyz anymore and runs out on them to find her way back to her own dimension.
  • 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. Subverted when it's revealed in "Back to Earth" that she ultimately abandoned Red Dwarf to go looking for a way back to her own dimension on her own after the events of Series VIII.

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.

  • The Ace: Turned up to eleven. He is in many ways a parody of the trope, being a Comically Invincible Hero who has all the ladies (and guys) swooning over him.
  • Ace Pilot: Starts out as a test pilot for the Space Corps.
  • 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.
  • Back for the Finale: Was supposed to come back to save the crew in the alternate ending for Season Eight. Although this wasn't the finale, the show did go off the air for eleven years.
  • 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: He's very successful with the ladies and has women falling all over themselves in his presence.
  • Catchphrase: "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.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: He's able to knock out Kryten with a single punch like he was a human being.
  • Chest of Medals: In his book appearance, his jacket is described as being so filled with medals that it's heavily weighed down and audibly clicks when set down anywhere. This is a contrast to Rimmer, whose medal stack consists only of medals for long service.
  • Chick Magnet: The ladies throw themselves at Ace. But so do the men.
  • Combat Medic: He successfully performs surgery on The Cat that saves his leg. When pressed, he explains that field microsurgery is all part of the training he received in the Space Corps Special Service.
  • Commanding Coolness: The original Ace is a Commander in the Space Corps.
  • Cool Shades: His Aviator shades.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The divergence point between his universe and the main Red Dwarf one was that he was held back a year in school when the main Rimmer wasn't. This caused Ace to work harder and stand up for himself which made him successful.
  • Dimensional Traveler: He makes his debut after the engineers in his dimension make a dimension surfing spaceship.
  • '80s Hair: Has a magnificent bouffant compared to Rimmer's regulation cut. Season 7 reveals that it's a wig.
  • 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.
  • Forgot the Disability: In his introductory episode. Despite having been informed less than five minutes prior that his local counterpart is a hologram and therefore intangible, Ace displays a pretty blatant expectation that Rimmer will help repair an engine, and is visibly disappointed when Rimmer doesn't volunteer. Soon after that, Ace once again sets himself up for disappointment by basically ordering Rimmer to repair Kryten (who Ace had just punched out), only for Rimmer to let out a somewhat exasperated "How?". Notably, no-one (not even Rimmer himself) reminds Ace of Rimmer's handicap at either of these moments.
  • Friend to All Children: Spent most of his spare time in his own universe at the bedside of a sick child.
  • Genius Bruiser: Ace is tough enough to punch an android enough (with a broken arm), but it's also clear unlike Rimmer, Ace does know about engineering, navigation and physics.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Is an occasional cigarillo smoker, with none of the usual connotations.
  • Hard Light: Is a hard-light hologram in his second appearance.
  • Held Back in School: As it turns out, this was the deciding factor in turning Ace into the man he becomes. Being held down meant that Ace decided he was tired of making excuses and decided to fight back.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the novel "Backwards", he saves Lister from an Agonoid by tackling it, carrying them both off into the depths of space.
  • He's Back!: "Well, I said I'd be back for breakfast! How're those kippers doin', fellas?".
  • 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). This stands in contrast to the main Rimmer who is the inverse of this trope.
  • 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.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: His spaceship is able to travel between alternate realities.
  • Legacy Character: There have been enough Ace Rimmers for their little gold coffin beacons to form the rings of a planet.
  • Me's a Crowd: He and Arnold Rimmer can't stand each other.
  • Misery Builds Character: He was held back a year in school and the humiliation caused him to become more assertive and confident to never feel that way again. As he puts it, "I fought back. And I've been fighting back ever since".
  • Mister Seahorse: Inverted in one of the comics where he visits the universe inhabited by female dwarfers and impregnates the female Lister in a world where women usually get men pregnant.
  • My Favorite Shirt: Upon being shot.
    Ace: "This is my best top, dammit!"
  • Named by the Adaptation: The fourth novel calls his ship the Wildfire; it wasn't named in the series.
  • Nice Guy: He's incredibly friendly, modest, brave and just overall a really cool and likable guy. He's also the only person in the series not to take an instant dislike to Rimmer. Not that it takes him long to come around.
  • Nice to the Waiter: He's extremely popular among the engineers and crew of his ship, treating them like equals and friends and sincerely praising them as the ones who make what he does possible.
  • The Nicknamer: Regards nicknames as honorific titles and bestows them on people he thinks deserve them.
  • 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.
    • Meanwhile, the Ace in "Smoke Me a Kipper" averts this, being one of, if not the only person, to ever have faith in Rimmer's ability to become something more than what he is.
  • Percussive Prevention: Punches Kryten out when he tries to stop Ace fixing Starbug's engines when his arm's broken.
  • Phrase Catcher: "What a guy!"
  • Projected Man: Is a hologram in his second appearance.
  • The Real Remington Steele: Ace was forshadowed back in Season II's "Kryten", Rimmer tries to impress a ship full of women by pretending to be a space adventurer and asking Lister to call him "Ace".
  • 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...
  • Shout-Out: In addition to all the James Bond references, his theme from "Dimension Jump" is a clear parody of "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun.
  • The Sleepless: Lister mentions that Ace has been awake for 36 hours and is still laughing and joking.
  • Spaceship Girl: His spaceship has a female computer that's in love with him.
  • 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.
  • Verbal Tic: In the novels, he has a habit of referring to people "My old..." followed by a random item (usually a fruit or vegetable).
  • Virtual Ghost: Ends up becoming a hologram like Rimmer.
  • 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.

    Kristine Kochanski (Original)
Played By: Alexandra Pigg (pilot episode); Clare Grogan (1988, 1993);

Navigation Officer Kristine Kochanski was the love of Lister's life and ex-girlfriend, who perished in the radiation leak that wiped out the crew.

  • Action Girl: In the hallucination created by the psirens, she's shown as this by "killing" attacking psirens.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Her American counterpart is shown being incredibly cold towards Lister. Doug Naylor expressed disgust at this, wondering why Lister would ever fall for someone so awful.
  • Alliterative Name: Ret Conned from her first name originally being Christine to Kristine.
  • 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 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.
  • Chickification: In the Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg special, she complains that she doesn't want to taste the dishes being prepared because she had already eaten a stick of celery the previous week and spends most of the episode in the corner as a Nervous Wreck before being practically in tears when forced to eat the food, before puking it up into the waste disposal unit.
  • Fake Shemp: The Kochanski seen at the end of Stasis Leak was played by assistant floor manager, Dona DiStefano because Clare Grogan was told she was done filming for the day and went home.
  • Identical Granddaughter: In a Lotus-Eater Machine, in the novels, the gang get back to Earth where Lister marries an identical descendant who's also called Kristine Kochanski.
  • 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 VII, it's based on Clare 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.
  • Love Interest: Played with.
    • In the novels, she is; both of the "third volumes" feature Lister getting a happy relationship with her; in "Backwards" they live out a happy life together on Backwards Earth but she ultimately leaves him due to the reverse-aging before the Boyz arrive to get him. In "Last Human", they end up returning to the normal dimension and ultimately restart the human race.
    • In the TV series, Lister spends the first six seasons pining after his dimension's version of Kochanski. In the seventh and eighth seasons, whilst he tries to court her alternate universe counterpart, and Kryten is afraid he'll succeed, she is ambivalent about how she feels, since she generally perceives Lister as an inferior stand-in for her own dimension's version. Subverted in that she ultimately abandons him to go back to her own dimension.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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: Her book counterpart is an accomplished judoka, something she uses against the Longman clones.

    Captain Frank Hollister 
Played By: Mac McDonald (1988, 1999, 2017)

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.

  • Acrofatic: When he gets spiked with Viagra in "Pete Part I", he claims he had to do a handstand on the toilet seat in order to pee.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Her last name is Kirk in the novels and Tau in the Red Dwarf USA pilot.
  • 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."
  • Ascended Extra: The writers came very close to reviving him or Olaf Petersen to replace Rimmer but thought they were more likely to get a movie made if they had a female main character, which was why they used Kristine Kochanski.
  • Back for the Dead: An alternate universe version appears in Skipper, trying to get into a jammed Escape Pod just before the Red Dwarf's drive explodes.
  • Back for the Finale: Makes a cameo in Skipper which was written as a Series Fauxnale incase they couldn't get a thirteenth season made.
  • Back from the Dead: Was resurrected by the nanobots in season 8.
  • Blackmail: How he achieved his commission.
  • Blatant Lies: His alternate universe counterpart in "Skipper". When Rimmer finds him in an escape pod, Hollister claims that he tripped and fell in, and accidentally activated the "get me home fast switch" while looking for the button to open the door.
  • 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".
  • Dirty Coward: His alternate universe counterpart is seen attempting to flee in an escape pod in "Skipper" while the rest of the crew is caught up in the radiation leak. The pod jams and he dies anyway.
  • 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 two series 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: Is a woman in some adaptations:
    • 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.
    • Is also a woman in the Red Dwarf USA pilot.
  • 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.
  • No Body Left Behind: Gets vaporised in the first episode and turned into a pile of dust like the rest of the crew.
  • 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.
  • Put on a Bus: He evacuates with the rest of the crew at the end of season 8 and is never seen again, bar an alternate universe version appearing in Season 12's Skipper.
  • Race Lift: Is black in the American remake.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: In the commentary for the first episode the cast say that due to Mac McDonald's size, the pile of dust he turns into should have been a lot bigger.
  • 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, 2017)

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. It's not clear if Talkie Toaster is defective, or if it's just because the product is so cheap (₤19.99, plus tax). Way too cheap. And way too nasty.

  • Adaptational Badass: He kills a Polymorph in the books.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: In the books. His introductory chapter states that if his offers of toast are refused enough times, he starts throwing out bitter recriminations and tirades of verbal abuse in extremely coarse language. After using what the super-intelligent Holly told him to help the ship escape a black hole, he becomes insufferably arrogant, talking down to and insulting Kryten nonstop.
  • All There in the Manual: It is explained in the books that Lister bought Talkie Toaster because it annoyed Rimmer. It even expands on how obsessed Talkie Toaster is with toast, starting with friendly requests and moving on to demands, screaming fits, begging, and obscene language that will make a pimp blush, and how it will wake you up repeatedly in the middle of the night offering toast. It will use extortion, guilt trips, and veiled threats to have you eating buttered delights. Do you want some toast? You'd better.
  • Arch-Enemy: Lister considers Talkie to be his nemesis in his Series XII appearance.
  • Ascended Extra: Talkie Toaster appears in only four episodes in the TV shownote , 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.
  • The Bus Came Back: Returns in both "White Hole" and "Mechocracy".
  • Came Back Wrong: In the books. Kryten, his sense of guilt removed by the Polymorph, pays Talkie back for his constant insults by putting him in a waste disposal unit. Following the Polymorph's defeat, Kryten puts Talkie back together as best he can, but Talkie's artificial intelligence is damaged beyond repair, to the point where he now believes himself to be some kind of moose.
  • Catchphrase: "Would you like some toast?" and endless variations thereof.
    • Becomes a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner, of all things, in the books.
    • "Howdy-doodly-doo!" becomes another one for whenever he's switched back on.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In series one, he gets in some pretty biting comments.
    Lister: [The Cats]'re just using religion as an excuse to be extremely crappy towards each other.
    Talkie Toaster: So, what else is new?
  • Decided by One Vote: In Mechoracy Lister needs the Toaster's vote to gain back control of the ship.
  • Exact Words: If told not to ask about making toast, or anything even related to toast, the toaster can still find something else bready it can make.
    Lister: Look, I don't want any toast, and he doesn't want any toast. In fact, no one around here wants any toast. Not now, not ever. No toast.
    Toaster: How 'bout a muffin?
    Lister: Or muffins. Or muffins. We don't like muffins around here. We want no muffins, no toast, no teacakes, no buns, baps, baguettes or bagels, no croissants, no crumpets, no pancakes, no potato cakes and no hot-cross buns and definitely no smegging flapjacks.
    Toaster: Aah, so you're a waffle man.
  • Flanderization: In "Waiting for God", after having earlier tried to cajole Lister into having some toast, he tells Lister that that he wants 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). One explanation is the fact that Lister took a hammer to him and fed him into the waste disposal unit. Or, considering Talkie Toaster, it could have been lying or mood-swinging with that claim of "wanting something more than heating bread".
  • Hidden Depths: From the sound of it, its Series I incarnation could sing pretty well. Certainly better than Lister.
    Toaster: Oh. Just because I'm a toaster, I'm tone deaf?
  • Insufferable Genius: To Lister's dismay.
  • Skewed Priorities: When Holly becomes a certified genius who knows everything about everything, the toaster wastes her time asking her if she, a computer, wants some toast. It persists even when she figures out she's dying.
  • Talking Appliance Sidekick: Served as this throughout Series 1 for Lister, often in a Rimmer-less situation.
  • Talking Lightbulb: Again, Series 1-exclusive.
  • There's No Kill like Overkill: At some point between Series I and Series IV, Lister hit it with a lump hammer, and fed it into the waste disposal unit, reducing the toaster to several thousand pieces.
    Toaster: That was no accident! That was first-degree toastercide!
  • You Don't Look Like You: When he returns in series 4, he has a completely new look (though Lister immediately recognizes him).

    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.

  • Ascended Extra: Like the Toaster, he does interviews on the series' website.
  • Ax-Crazy: He wanted to do something to the Boyz so hideously violent that even an insane Rimmer was taken aback. It would apparently have made a mess.
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: He's the Former Trope Namer and the current page image.
  • Eye Beams: Like Rimmer, he can fire "hex vision" out of his eyes (despite being a puppet). It is possible he is a hologram puppet.
  • Killed Off for Real: When Rimmer is cured of the virus, Mr. Flibble "dies".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When his eyes glow, he's about to use his hex vision.

    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.

  • All There in the Manual: His real name, according to the official website, is Oswald Blenkinsop. Even his Canaries uniform lists him as Kill Crazy.
  • Ax-Crazy: It's even in his name. Being cooped up in the Tank has done no favours for his sanity.
  • Blood Knight: He and Baxter deliberately sabotage Lister and Rimmer's efforts to use the time wand so they can fight the T-Rex.
  • Fiery Redhead: His red hair matches his violent temperament.
  • Hidden Depths: He's able to reprogram Kryten, which is impressive considering that Kryten was built over a century after he originally died.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Knocks himself out on a mission with the Canaries before he even leaves the diving bell.
  • Lethally Stupid: He and Baxter intend to fight the T-Rex barehanded, under the warped belief that the T-Rex's short arms will give them the advantage.

    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.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Joo keeledz my bruzzer!"
    • "I challenge you to a duel across time and space!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: Quite literally; his molecular destabilizer gun proves pivotal to the plot.
  • Friendly Enemy: The main reason he's challenging them to duels across time and space is that 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.
  • Intangibility: His molecular destabilizer lets him make surfaces intangible. Rimmer exploits this to help the Boys from the Dwarf survive a Simulant missile strike.
  • No Sense of Distance: He offers the Dwarfers a cloth map that apparently shows every planet, derelict and wormhole in the galaxy, despite being smaller than a sheet of A4 paper.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The Dwarfers have met him before but he's never appeared or been mentioned in any earlier episodes.
  • You Killed My Father: 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.

  • Ax-Crazy: By virtue of being a simulant.
  • Catchphrase: "Justify yourself."
  • Demonic Possession: He communicates through Lister when the crew are on Starbug.
  • The Dreaded: Kryten is terrified of him. Rimmer and Cat soon follow.
  • Energy Weapon: One of his time gaunlet's abilities is a disintegrator ray which fries people.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He is true to his word, at least at first. His victims do get a trial based on their own standards, with a simulated version of themselves as their judge, so from his perspective, he's only eliminating those who deep down know they're unworthy. As an example, he spares Rimmer because he genuinely believed he tried his best given his terrible childhood. Ultimately, though, the Inquisitor is still a megalomaniac who believes he has the right to erase people from existence, and he's willing to kill whoever he wants if those he is judging piss him off enough.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: His standards, and the fact that he invites a version of yourself to assess oneself, means that he values egocentric and selfish personalities rather than modest or selfless ones, as the former are more likely to have a higher opinion of themselves while the latter are more inclined to either to deem themselves less worthy of life or to refuse to play along with his gimmick. He extends this to people who give their lives to save others, as well as killing people he has spared who get in his way. Logically, he might arguably leave the universe worse off if he ever completed his "mission".
  • The Fundamentalist: To the point of believing that what he does is "glorious work".
  • 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!"
  • Hypocrite: During Kryten's trial he suggests that a mechanical can acquit itself by breaking its own code and arrive at moral values independently; the Inquisitor scowls that said argument invites deletion. However according to the legend that is precisely what the Inquisitor did at the end of time itself.
  • 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 of Cerebus: He has no comical traits and is treated very seriously. And from his debut episode onward, the show get progressively Darker and Edgier.
  • 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.
  • Might Makes Right: His response to Lister questioning what gives him the right to judge people worthy of life is to say that he can snap them all in half.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: His mission is to make the universe better by populating it with the best version of every person who has ever lived; however, when it comes to his actual judgements he erases the Red Dwarfers who, each in their own way, questioned by what right he has to do any of this, suggesting his "glorious work" is more about satisfying his own ego.
  • 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 Gloves: The Time Gauntlet.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Speaks with a slight Scottish accent.
  • 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.

  • Ax-Crazy: After millions of years alone, Hudzen is homicidal and relentless.
  • Dissonant Serenity: He begins singing a lullaby while advancing menacingly towards the crew while pumping his shotgun.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: The shuttle he arrived in is presumably still docked on board Red Dwarf but has never been mentioned since. Possibly no more useful than the Starbugs and Blue Midgets.
  • 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.
  • Implacable Man: No Sells a shotgun blast at point blank range.
  • Logic Bomb: Kryten defeats him by telling him that Silicon Heaven doesn't exist.
  • Loophole Abuse: Hudzen is programmed not to attack humans. Cat is Felis sapiens, Rimmer is a hologram of a human, and Lister, in Hudzen's eyes, barely counts as human, so "what the hell!".
  • No-Sell: Takes a blast at point blank range from Lister's shotgun. He doesn't even flinch.
  • One-Handed Shotgun Pump: He pumps his shotgun with one hand as he advances forward. Given that he's an android strong enough to break a brick with his groin, this wouldn't be much of an issue for him.
  • 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.
  • I Lied: Manages to deceive the crew into wasting time looking for a cure on a planet already destroyed to get rid of it.
  • 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.
  • Nothing Personal: Tries to claim as such to Lister. Sure, it's going to kill him, then reanimate his corpse to do the exact same to Kochanski, but that's just life. Lister, understandably, doesn't agree. Kryten tries plying information out of it on the grounds that as a mechanical lifeform the two of them have no quarrel.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Thanks to absorbing so much knowledge, Kryten asks him to fill him in on the fourth Marx Brother.
  • 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", 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.
  • And I Must Scream: As the scientists who created him died, he felt it, eventually being reduced to a "swirling essence", able to do nothing more than roam about the halls of his station, waiting to be again. Then, after a day with the Boyz, he admits returning to that state feels like a promotion.
  • 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. Kryten abuses this to reduce Legion to being just him, which forces Legion to obey Kryten's programming and preserve the lives of the crew over his own.
  • For the Evulz: Admits he is capable of insanely irrational behaviour. Then he stabs himself to prove it.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: When Legion only has one consciousness in range of him, he shifts from the pictured form to the form of that person (in the episode's case, Kryten).
  • Mask of Sanity: Legion initially is calm and pleasant. After the truth comes out, he also admits he's got the gang's malice and neuroses, "magnified many times". Fittingly, this reveal comes after his mask is knocked off.
  • 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.

  • Alliterative Name: Dwayne Dibbley. Even the sound of it is dorky.
  • 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.
  • 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 into 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 where (in a deleted scene) Ace Rimmer can't bring himself to do a Mercy Kill on him.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: Inverted; he's The Cat's much, much less sexy alter ego.

    Warden Ackerman
Played By: Graham McTavish (1999)

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

  • All There in the Manual: We learn a lot about his backstory in an interview with the Talkie Toaster on the Red Dwarf website.
  • Bald of Evil: He's bald and is the closest the series has ever had to a recurring antagonist.
  • Blatant Lies: He claims to the captain that he's "extremely nice" and "lovely".
  • 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.
  • Character Tic: Lister mentions that he has a funny tic, but we don't see much of it onscreen.
  • 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.
  • Girly Run: He runs up and down stairs like a mincing ballerina, something that is hilariously at odds with him being a sadistic prison warden.
  • 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.
  • Suddenly Shouting: When trying to ascertain who took his glass eye, he goes from being soft spoken to angry screaming.
    Ackerman: I have a date this evening with Miss Patricia Carlisle from supplies. She says my eyes are my loveliest feature. If I go like this, I'M ONLY HALF LOVELY!
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Was caught sleeping with his fitness teacher when he was 18.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His Talkie Toaster interview implies him dropping his card key was what caused the simulants to escape in Justice.
  • Wardens Are Evil: He beats on The Cat for claiming that he seems nice. And every time The Cat continues to speak, he has another guard join him in the beatings.
  • Waxing Lyrical: When the Talkie Toaster asks him how he started in the prison service, he replies with the start of Help by ''The Beatles'".
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: His date describes his eyes as being his loveliest feature. He rants that if he misses an eye "THEN I'M ONLY HALF LOVELY!"
  • Who's on First?: He doesn't seem to realize he's Waxing Lyrical to a Beatles song and when the Talkie Toaster says "Help", Ackerman starts ranting that he never touched him.

Played By: Rebecca Blackstone (2012)

A computer salvaged by the crew from a derelict, which they install aboard Red Dwarf to replace Holly. She has predictive functionality, which allows her to predict what the crew would do and perform that task without needing to consult them.

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Her predictive function allows her to anticipate what her ship's crew would do in any given situation and perform the task as such. Unfortunately, since the crew are so incompetent, she basically screws up jobs for them before they get the chance to do it themselves. Lister manages to exploit this and gets her to delete herself.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: We don't get to see, since she appears as a head and shoulders onscreen, but Rimmer orders Kryten to install large breasts on her.
  • Graceful Loser: When Lister makes an argument that the crew would delete Pree to preserve their lives and the ship, she deletes herself with a simple "Your logic is faultless".
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: She basically takes over the ship and runs it as incompetently as the regular crew but with far more efficient incompetence than they could possibly manage on their own. She also evicts Lister into the vacuum of space when he resigns from the crew and loses his oxygen privileges as a result and then sets Red Dwarf on a collision course with the nearest star in a mission she calls "Operation Sizzle".
  • Motor Mouth: Combined with Creepy Monotone, she speaks in a rather fast manner that's quite unsettling.

    Nirvanah Crane
Played By: Jane Horrocks (1992)

A brilliant and beautiful hologram serving aboard the holoship Enlightenment. Despite coming from a culture that disdains emotional attachment, especially when it comes to sex, she and Rimmer fall in love with each other.

  • All There in the Manual: Her backstory was revealed in an interview on the official Red Dwarf website: She was born in 2482, and worked on Triton. In the early 2500s, whilst conducting tests on diminishing nuclear fallout, some scientists inadvertently blew up Pluto while Crane was on it. Crane was resurrected as a hologram and, as one of the greatest geniuses in the Solar System, was posted to the Holoship.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Initially she's polite enough but not emotionally invested, hailing from a cultural milieu that has done away with emotional attachments to family and friends and regards sex as guilt-free pleasure and exercise. She's visibly confused about her developing feelings for Rimmer that begin to shift from sympathy to love to the point where she's willing to sacrifice herself to let him fulfill his dream — something the rest of the crew of the Enlightenment find incomprehensible.
  • Ethical Slut: A trait she shares with the rest of her crew. Sex is simply a matter of recreation to her, and she casually offers to sleep with Rimmer shortly after they met.
    Nirvanah: We are holograms. There is no risk of disease or pregnancy. That is why in our society we only believe in sex — constant, guilt-free…sex.
  • Intangible Man: Commander Crane is a soft light hologram. Fortunately, so is the Enlightenment, allowing her to physically interact with the ship and its crew.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: She gives up her life to allow Rimmer to take a promotion to Navigation Officer on the Enlightenment. Subsequently, Rimmer resigns, knowing that he can't allow her to do so.
  • Love Interest: Was romantically involved with Rimmer for the duration of the episode.
  • Projected Man: She's a hologram of a scientist that died long ago, and was brought back and posted on the Enlightenment due to her brilliance.
  • Sex Goddess: Rimmer is completely overwhelmed by her sexual prowess after sleeping with her.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: With Rimmer. Had he joined the crew Enlightenment he would have replaced her (effectively killing her) and the same reason applies to her joining the crew of Red Dwarf.
  • What Is This Feeling?: She's very confused about her emotions when she finds herself falling in love with Rimmer.



Played By: Dominic Coleman

Butler is a Series 3000 mechanoid who served on board the Nova 5, who the Dwarfers go to meet in the hope that it will help Kryten with dealing with his mid-life crisis. However, instead of being a typical mechanoid like Kryten was when he joined the crew, Butler proves to be far more.

  • Always Someone Better: He's this to Kryten. He's an artist, scientist and writer who broke his programming on his own, speaks languages better than Kryten and is loved by everyone, including the Universe itself who he has on speed dial.
  • Foil: To Kryten, being the same model but created earlier. They both suffered the loss of their crew and were therefore forced to evolve beyond their programming, the difference is that Butler did far more than Kryten ever did.

    Uni (Minor Spoilers

The Universe

Played By: Daniel Barker (2016)

The literal universe itself, which is apparently a sentient being that the Dwarfers were able to speak to through an old research station.

  • Cosmic Entity: It's the universe, it's literally all matter, space and time. However Kryten makes it clear that the Universe isn't in fact god, since while it is the universe and created everything within it, it doesn't know everything and is surprised to learn he's going to die.
  • Not So Above It All: Despite initially acting grand and all powerful, Kryten's comment that the Universe will die in several billion years causes him to experience a temporary mid-life crisis. The Universe mentions how he's been "expanding", is not as "hot as they was" and has only created one planet with intelligent life, which Rimmer comments is debatable. After Kryten calms him down and explains how creating life is truly impressive, the Universe thanks them and then tells Kryten to get rid of red mechanoid suit because it "sucks". He's also fine with Butler calling him Uni, showing that he acts different when with close friends.

    The Skutters 

The maintenance robots of the Red Dwarf, and frequently serving as Rimmer's hands before his hard-light upgrade (much to their displeasure).

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: One of the skutters goes mad from computer senility and rewires the entire ship's electronics in "Bodyswap". Other than that, usually averted.
  • Cowboys and Indians: A pastime of theirs is to play Cowboys and Indians.
  • Cute Machines: For service robots, they're surprisingly cute.
  • Flipping the Bird: The skutters' hands are particularly good for giving the UK version of the bird.
  • Literal-Minded: They're not the brighest maintenance robots out there, much to Rimmer's dismay.
    Lister: They only do what you tell them to!
    Rimmer: Ah, but they don't, do they? You say, "Keep an eye on that lamb," and they do. They sit there for three hours and watch it burn.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: It's implied that the Skutters are smarter than they let on. When Lister tells Rimmer that they can't think outside the box due to their programming, Rimmer counters that they have developed enough personality to become John Wayne fans. One of them even has Rimmer at his mercy at a game of draughts.
  • Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: They hover somewhere around levels 2 and 3. They're fairly literal with commands and frequently shown to be not as skilled as a human or mechanoid at performing tasks, but are at least intelligent enough to figure out how to skimp out of work and one manages to trounce Rimmer in a game of checkers (not that outmaneuvering Rimmer is much of a challenge).
  • The Voiceless: Aside from mechanical sounds, skutters are silent (with the exceptions of Series VIII and Back to Earth).

Played By: Ray Fearon (2020)
The leader of the Feral Cats, current ruling power of the Felis sapiens species. Fancies himself as a god-king and has outlawed the worship of Cloister.
  • Big Bad: Main antagonist of "The Promised Land".
  • Cain and Abel: He's The Cat's older brother and is the antagonist of "The Promised Land".
  • Cats Are Mean: He's the leader of the Felis Sapiens at the time of "The Promised Land". He also rules over them with an iron fist, tries to eliminate the Dwarfers and forces the other members of his species to worship him.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: He inflicts this on Brother Sol by scratching at his back with his claws.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: He gets torn apart by his own subjects when Rimmer projects a laser pointer onto his chest.
  • Expy: Doug Naylor describes his design as being "Conan the Barbarian (1982) with an afro and gold teeth".
  • A God Am I: The survivors aboard the Cat arks are meant to worship him. This is his motivation for eliminating Lister.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Supposedly, he's the Cat's brother. Given that it's been at least 200 years in-universe, he's either telling a convincing lie or a frequent user of stasis pods.
  • Wolverine Claws: He's got a long set of claws on him, which he primarily uses for torture.

Genetically Engineered Life Forms (GELFs):

    In General 
  • Body Horror: Especially so in the book "Better Than Life", which talks about cars made out of flesh and fleshy blobs designed to win sporting matches.
  • Brown Note Being: "Last Human" features a GELF known as the Snugiraffe, a creature so sickeningly repulsive that no-one can look at it without vomiting (save for holograms and mechanoids, who have to resort to retching). The Snugiraffe is well aware of how it looks, and doesn't care. Its creator was a little embarassed.
  • Genetic Abomination: They are creatures that do not look pleasant to look at, resembling either hairy apes, ugly animalistic creatures, or outright blobs. They were also created through genetic engineering.
  • Fantastic Racism: In the book series, they were treated poorly in spite of the fact that they're technically humans, having no voting rights and it being not illegal to kill them. After a short uprising, humanity decided to just leave them on Earth, which was now the dumping ground of the solar system, to die.
  • Human Subspecies: As the novels point out, they were created with human DNA, so are technically human subspecies. Too bad this is not recognized by anyone, with them being barred from human activities by voting.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The GELFs in "Last Human" are largely depicted as matches between different varieties of animals, including the Dolochimp (part Dolphin, Chimp, and Locust) and Alberog (part Albertross, Frog, and Bear}.
  • Organic Technology: It is mentioned in the second novel that some of them were developed to fulfill the role of electrical products, leading to living cars with bony exteriors and flesh interiors, and vacuum cleaners which also served as pets. Of course, GELFs were essentially modified humans that were being treated as slaves so they rebelled as a result.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: In the novels, they eventually have an uprising against humanity, but are swiftly defeated. Meanwhile, one of the comic book strips had the GELF inhabitants of a pleasure planet rise up, leading to the planet being cordoned off.

Intended to be the perfect warrior, these creatures were judged to be too insane for this purpose and went sent off in genetic disposal units. They are the perfect shapeshifters, and they use their skills to manipulate those around them so that they can suck up their emotions.

In spite of their madness, Kinitawowi have managed to partially domesticate these creatures, creating a bird-like variant called the Emohawk. On top of their preexisting ability to remove emotions (apparently a commodity amongst the Kinitawowi), they can suck out aspects of one's personality, as Rimmer and the Cat find out.

  • Abstract Eater: They largely subsist from emotions. Emohawks take it further by eating personality aspects as well.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: Whilst the TV series positions the Polymorph as specifically engineered by humans for the purposes of war, the books have them as the descendants of those GELFs left behind on Garbage World, their talents coming about thanks to having to survive the conditions of a Death World.
  • Bioweapon Beast: In the TV series, they were engineered as the perfect weapon for war, but proved to be insane to be put to any use.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Baby Polymorphs try to convince people to not throw them out by transforming themselves as cute animals.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Emohawk resembles a bird, but is even more dangerous than the Polymorph, able to suck out both the emotions and a personality aspect of a person.
  • Objectshifting: They are capable of transforming into random objects, including beach balls and food.
  • Portmanteau: Emotion + Hawk = Emohawk.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: What makes them so dangerous is that they can transform into anything. If the Smegazine is correct, they can even turn into a spaceship.
  • Xenomorph Xerox: They take a heavy resemblance to Xenomorphs, including a secondary mouth that extends from inside the primary mouth.

    Pleasure GELF 
Intended to be the perfect partner, these GELFs use their telepathic abilities to take on the appearance of who theperson they are talking to would see as their ideal mate. Their true form however is much more horrific in appearance.
  • Aliens Speaking English: One of the few types of GELFs to speak in English, although unlike the later appearance of the BEGGs, this is not commented on.
  • Appearance Is in the Eye of the Beholder: They appear differently to each person, which can be confusing when it needs to converse with an entire group of them.
  • Blessed with Suck: They can become anybody's greatest sexual and romantic fantasy... which, of course, means nobody respects you for being you. It also causes confusion when dealing with groups of people, as it appears and converses differently to everyone. Plus, with the power turned off, they look like a hideous Blob Monster.
  • Blob Monster: Their real appearance resembles a large pile of snot.
  • Non-Human Non-Binary: Being androgynous, they don't actually have any genders, although Camille uses female pronouns and Hector male.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: Sex workers who appear as the perfect mate to anyone they talk to.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Symbimorphs in "Last Human" are quite similar to them, being shapeshifters whose abilities are largely used for sexual desires, although their appearance is more human in nature.
  • Token Heroic Orc: In a sense, they are the only form of GELF to not antagonize the Dwarfers, with Kryten even getting into a brief Interspecies Romance with one.

    Despair/Hope Squid 
Creatures which usually come about as part of an accelerated evolution process on uninhabited moons, these creatures survive through their ink, which has adverse effects on whoever they squirt it on the case of the males, it's despair, whilst in the case of the females, it's joy. The trouble is that they're too efficient at their role, and moons where they evolve at usually end with all other lifeforms dead.

  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The effects of the ink vary depending on the sex - if it's a female, it induces pleasure, whilst a male will induce despair.
  • Driven to Suicide: The general fate of anyone squirted with the ink of a male, killing themselves out of despair. Even animals do it.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: They came about as an attempt at creating life on an ocean planet. It worked all right, but it led to a creature that spread destruction wherever it went.
  • Hallucinations: Their ink induces hallucinations of either joy or despair as a defense tactic.
  • Tentacled Terror: They are squid-like creatures that can induce whoever they induce their ink to kill themselves. They even largely appear as tentacles in their appearances.

Insectoid monsters created for unknown reasons, these creatures hang around asteroid belts, crashing ships with their illusions and luring them in so that they can suck out their brains.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Giant cockroach-like monsters which suck out brains.
  • Brain Food: They usually suck out the brains of any victims who fail to evade them. They even have a slurpy straw to do so.
  • Master of Illusion: Their form of luring in prey involves using illusions to trick them into their homes.
  • Our Sirens Are Different: These sirens are giant genetically modified insects that use psychic illusions to lure in spaceships.

One of the more intelligent and friendly race of GELFs, these furry creatures lead a tribal existence in deep space, although have managed to hoard a variety of technology over the years. They are happy to trade with others, although this usually comes with a forced marriage...
  • All There in the Manual: The website provides an explanation for how they appeared in deep space - they were considered genetic waste and sent off to space due to their abundance of mucus. They were told that they were to become great space explorers to get them to agree to this.
  • Attack Hello: If they're feeling friendly, they fire an arrow at you. If they're not feeling friendly, they skin you alive and turn you into a beanbag.
  • Dumb Muscle: They're not exactly smart, but it's not exactly a good idea to piss them off, or they will kill without remorse.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Described as such in the RPG, apparently having tempers as "short as a pigmy's wedding tackle".
  • Handshake Substitute: Their idea of confirming a deal with someone is for both parties to grab each others' ankles and hop up and down.
  • Killer Space Monkey: They resemble giant apes and are described as resembling gorillas in Last Human.
  • Marriage of Convenience: According to the RPG, they have a habit of doing this, sometimes exchanging their children for marriage for something as minor as a novelty hat. This is expanded from their original appearance, where one specimen is willing to give the Dwarfers a necessary component of their ship in exchange for Lister marrying one of their members.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: They're described as a cross between Gorillas and Hippos in Last Human.
  • The Unpronouncable: To humans, Kinitawowi names sound like someone clearing their throat.

    Biologically Engineered Garbage Gobblers (BEGGs) 
Designed to consume garbage, these forms of GELFs have a habit for gambling, which proves to be an issue for Lister when he accidentally gives away Rimmer and Starbug to them.
  • Aliens Speaking English: They are capable of speaking English, with the explanation given that they were taught it by a person who went to English school before going on to consume the poor guy.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Being designed to consume garbage, they are capable of eating "sediment, sludge and slop", although this leaves them permanently drunk. This proves to be their undoing when they all die thanks to choking on the electric wires they were chewing.
  • The Gambler: They usually participate in friendly poker games, which proves to be an issue for Lister when he gambles away Rimmer and Starbug.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: They are perfectly willing to consume the occasional human, as one person who went to an English Boarding School found out.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: They have a groinal exploder in spite of their otherwise basic culture, which they had recovered from the ERRA station.
  • Smarter Than You Look: They're clearly not intelligent enough to have created the groinal exploder, but they do see through Lister's rouse of getting them to accept the "spoon of destiny" and ask for another game.

    The Sakenyako 
A tribe of GELFs very similar to the Kinitawowi, they end up taking Butler on as an honorary member when he saves them.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Butler was able to cure them of their "skin demons", leading them to consider him an honorary member of their tribe, make him godfather to their chief's daughter, and giving him a lifetime's supply of GELF Berry Wine.
  • Fantastic Racism: The one specimen we see doesn't have a high opinion of humans, considering them scum.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Their appearance is somewhere between the Kinitawowi and the BEGGs, and have a similar mix of cultural and technological aspects of the former.

Other Races:

In this universe, holograms were once human, being the echoes of dead humans who uploaded their neural patterns before their demise. They look identical to humans, so are differentiated by a large H on their forehead. The most prominent member of this race in the series is Rimmer, but other holograms do occasionally pop up.
  • Android Identifier: They look identical to humans, so need the H to distinguish themselves. The tie-in novel Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers describes it as "the stigma of the dead".
  • Awesome, but Impractical: With someone's brain patterns recorded, being a hologram is effectively resurrection. However, the computer runtime and power requirements to generate a hologram are astronomical, meaning that your only two options are to be either a mission critical crew member on a Space Corps vessel or very rich.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": They have a giant H on their forehead to distinguish them from normal humans. That said, it is possible to remove it, as seen with the hologrammatic version of Ace Rimmer.
  • Fantastic Racism: In the first book, it's stated that holograms are discriminated against and treated as second-class citizens because they are seen by the living as a reminder of their own mortality. Holograms often hold equal rights marches. Given the power and computer run time requirements, only the mega-rich and mission-critical Space Corps personnel are resurrected as holograms. Rimmer had once thrown a stone at one of these marches as a child and one of his early thoughts after his death is that he's now a "dirty deadie". The series briefly touches on this too, where Channel 27's employment of a hologram as a newsreader is considered progressive.
  • Hard Light: Series 6 introduces "hard light", which allows holograms to be capable of touching things. Rimmer gets upgraded with it by Legion and later holograms such as Ace Rimmer, Katerina Bartokovsky, and Howard Rimmer are seen using the technology.
  • Hologram: They are the projected simulations of dead people after all.
  • Intangibility: "Soft-Light" holograms are unable to touch or interact with anything unless it is specially adapted for them. It does come with the benefit of allowing them to pass through doors or walls.
  • Virtual Ghost: They're hologrammatic simulations with the memories of dead humans inserted into them. How they take it varies.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: According to Katerina in "Back to Earth", killing a hologram is fine. Unfortunately for her, she is a hologram, and Rimmer has no qualms about tossing her under a bus. It's examined more seriously in "The Promised Land", where Rimmer realizes that he is just a simulation and tries to kill himself.

Killer robots designed for a war that never took place, some escaped the dismantling program and now prowl around deep space. They have a strong hatred for humans and will torture and kill any they come across.

The episode "Twentica" introduces a subspecies called "Expanoids". Unlike normal Simulants, they seek to enslave humanity.

  • Adaptation Name Change: They're called "Agonoids" in the novel "Backwards".
  • Adaptational Heroism: One of things the crew buy from the Kinatowawi in Last Human is a squad of reprogrammed simulants in various states of disrepair that accompany Lister on his raid of the Cyberia prison complex. In the RPG, a player can also choose a simulant as their character.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: It's telling that the kindest of the Simulants is the still insane Inquisitor.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: They usually do this to humans they don't instantly kill, stocking their ships up with supplies to keep them alive with. Some humans have even been tortured for four decades in complete agony.
  • Fantastic Racism: They despise humans, and will relish any opportunity to torture and kill them in cold blood. Especially notable since they get along well with other species, and have even teamed up with GELF species.
  • Insistent Terminology: Remember: Simulants, not androids. The key distinction is an android would never rip off a person's head and spit down their neck.
  • Killer Robot: They're more interested in crushing the bones of anyone they come across than being nice guys. Especially humans.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Some simulants, particularly the ones from "Gunmen Of The Apocalypse", "Trojan", and "The Beginning" can pass for human. So much so that Lister even tries to ask one out on a date. Others, most notably the classic Simulant from "Justice, who appears to be partially damaged to begin with, and the Agonoids from Grant's solo book, who are described as having once looked human but age has discoloured their skin and removed the facade from their teeth.
  • Robot Soldier: They were built for a war that never took place although they still have the strength and manpower to attack anyone who stands in their way.
  • Torture Technician: The Agonoids in Backwards, knowing that it could be a long time, if ever again that they have an opportunity to kill, devise various methods amongst themselves to draw out Lister's death using various elaborate and painful means.
  • To Serve Man: The Simulant in "Beyond A Joke" notes that humans taste good in mint sauce.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: It didn't take long for them to turn on humanity, since they never got to go to war and they definitely weren't Three Laws-Compliant. The Agonoids got their war in the Grant literary continuity, but it was all too brief and they ended up rebelling when the Space Corps ordered them to be decommissioned.

These robots were designed to be robot maids, coming in several varieties such as the remarkably human Series 3000, the standard Series 4000, and the advanced but easy-to-drive insane Hudzen-10. The most prominent member is Kryten, but others have appeared as well.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Series 4000 mechanoids don't have genitals, something which gets Kryten classified as a woman. Apparently averted for mechs assigned to Italian starship with the reasoning that they fit in better if they could stand around cupping themselves like their human crewmates.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots:
    • The Series 3000 robots looked so much like humans that they were replaced for being unsettling, although it is claimed that some escaped and hid in society.
    • The Series 4000 robots are capable of things such as guilt, belief, lying, getting addicted to drugs, etc, usually due to installed chips.
  • Robot Maid: They were designed to do domestic daily tasks and have attachments such as a groinal attachment to help them out with cleaning.
  • Robot Religion: They were programmed to believe in "Silicon Heaven" to keep them docile.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: The idea of "Silicon Heaven" is intended to induce non-violence from these robots by convincing them that if they work hard enough, they will go up there. They are also programmed more straight-forwardly to not kill humans, although it is possible to get around this as seen with the one Hudzen-10 droid we see figuring out workarounds to killing the Dwarfers (including deciding that Lister is "barely human")

    Felis Sapiens 
This race is descended from Lister's cat Frankenstein, who managed to survive the radiation leak which killed almost everyone else. They view Lister as their god and ended up in a Holy War over him. In the end, the survivors decided to leave Red Dwarf to search for their Promised Land of Fuchal. Their main representative in the series is the Cat, although the fate of the species as a whole is left unclear until "The Promised Land".
  • Adaptation Expansion: The first novel expands a lot on their species, their evolution and their nature.
  • All Hail the Great God Mickey!: They consider Lister to be their god and have had Holy Wars based around how he was going to set up his fast food business.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: They have colored organs, a heartbeat that sounds cooler than a human's and a decorated stomach wall.
  • Cat Folk: They're descended from a single female cat and show traits of their feline ancestors, including cat flap doors, and eating meat from tins.
  • Cute Little Fangs: The one thing which distinguishes them from humans psychically is their small cute fangs protruding out of their mouths.
  • The Fashionista: They are obsessed with fashion, with it being said that they invented the trouser press before the wheel. Averted among the more religious cats, who attempt to follow the teachings of Cloister by dressing like Lister.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The only distinguishing them from humans is their small fangs.
  • Multi Boobage: Six nipples, on men and women. Apparently having good piano-playing skills makes for interesting foreplay among them.
  • Silly Reason for War: Had a war about whether the hats that Lister was going to use for his business were going to be red or blue. The worst part is that they were both wrong - they were meant to be green.
  • Too Dumb to Live: After their war, the two factions built ships to carry them back to Fuchal, planning their directions based on "holy writing", which was actually Dave's old shopping list. The ones who followed this list flew smack-dab into an asteroid. The others took this as a sign their course was righteous, and flew on.
  • Wolverine Claws: They have retractable claws as a carry-over from their cat heritage. The Cat has them as well according to a deleted scene in "The Promised Land" but they are smaller and more ineffectual.

A "race" made up by Dave Lister in order to bluff some simulants. However, in one reality out there the Great Vindaloovian Empire truly does exist, having evolved from discarded curries to a semi-humanoid state.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: What with being evolved curries and all.
  • The Empire: Their main government is the Great Vindaloovian Empire.
  • Fantastic Racism: They despise all humans, considering them vermin and have dedicated themselves to wiping out whatever's left.
  • Theme Naming: Vindaloovian names sound suspiciously like curry dishes consumed by humans.

Alternative Title(s): Red Dwarf USA