Tongue Tied

Mr. Ackerman was the warden of Red Dwarf's prison level, The Tank.

About Ackerman

Ackerman was a slightly effeminate, yet unbalanced, man who liked to think of himself as being extremely nice and friendly but was actually a brutal and sadistic bully. He claimed to have joined the Space Corps so that he could share his "sunny disposition" with people who did not have his start in life and insisted that "Nicey" was his nickname ("Pete, Part One").

At some point in his past, Ackerman had lost his left eye and wore a prosthetic replacement. He walked with a slightly effeminate gait and often talked in a slightly camp fashion, but was prone to sudden losses of temper and acts of extreme violence.

He was in command of The Tank and, by extension, The Canaries. He was first mentioned by Lister as "That weird geezer with the one eye and the funny tick" ("Back in the Red, Part Three"). On the Dwarfers first day in The Tank, he and Knot assaulted Cat for speaking out of turn.

Presumably Ackerman, along with everyone inside The Tank, was onboard the ship at the time of the radiation leak that wiped out the entire crew. He was resurrected some three million and eleven years later when Red Dwarf was reconstructed by nanobots.

When Dave Lister signed the Dwarfers up for The Canaries, Rimmer tried to weasel his way out by leading his friends in a singsong, claiming that they had entered the wrong hobby room. Ackerman made it clear that Rimmer had to "start acting like a man", something that Rimmer found difficult to imagine ("Cassandra").

Ackerman was later mugged by one of The Canaries and had his glass eye stolen. He had a date planned for the weekend and needed the eye back because his lady friend, Patricia, thought his eyes were his loveliest feature. Without the prosthetic, he insisted loudly "I'M ONLY HALF LOVELY". He threatened to suspend all Canary privileges unless someone returned the eye or informed him who had it. Rimmer was quite happy to inform on the guilty man to help Lister's appeal, an act that got him a good beating from the other prisoners.

Kryten later tricked Lister into trashing Ackerman's quarters, so that his date would be a failure, but Lister and Rimmer managed to put everything back right just in time for Ackerman's return ("Krytie TV").

Warden Ackerman under the influence of Boing, and unable to play basketball

Lister and Rimmer disliked Ackerman so much that they played an elaborate prank on him, inserting a capsule of truth serum into his asthma inhaler. The truth serum caused him to admit to the bridge crew that he was late for work because he had been having "jiggy-jiggy" with the wife of the Science Officer whilst wearing his Batman Outfit. As punishment for their prank, Captain Hollister made the Dwarfers play a basketball game against Ackerman and his guards, assuming that they would be defeated by the brutality of the prison officers. Lister and Rimmer had other ideas, managing to dose the guards drinks with Boing, a virility enhancement drug that caused the guards to play the second half of the game with enormous erections that slowed them down to a crawl. This allowed the Dwarfers to dominate the game and win ("Pete, Part One").

Ackerman later performed an inspection on Lister and Rimmer's cell, finding a large quantity of illegal hooch and two very drunk prisoners. Both of them insisted that they were sober, a claim that Ackerman was able to disprove by asking "Who fancies a kebab?", to which both Rimmer and Lister replied positively. He had them taken to the prison hospital for a super-suck stomach pump.

Ackerman evacuated Red Dwarf with the rest of the crew when the chameleonic microbe got out of hand. Like the rest of the nanobot-recreated crew, his ultimate fate is unknown. ("Only The Good...").

Behind the Scenes

  • Ackerman's violent nature was described in the script, but his camp nature and mincing walk were invented by Graham McTavish in rehearsals. He also came up with a lot of unofficial backstory for Ackerman, revealing in the DVD documentary "The Tank" that Ackerman had a strict upbringing, a wardrobe filled with strange uniforms and a sizeable arsenal.
  • Ackerman's rank was never stated, but he is described as being quite senior, with the insignia on his collar showing a high officer rank.