Tongue Tied

What might have been...

The Alternate Dwarfers were a group of citizens from the Fascist Earth who played the TIV game Red Dwarf.


When the Boys from the Dwarf thought that they had been killed by the Despair Squid, they found themselves in a video arcade. Andy, the arcade's maintenance technician, told them that Red Dwarf was a Total Immersion Video game that they had been playing for four years.

After being told that they had been playing very badly, a new group of four men entered the TIV suite to start their own game. They all appeared to be fitter and better-looking than the people they were replacing. They sat down and connected themselves to the gaming equipment while the others left.

Later, as Lister left the arcade believing himself to be called Sebastian Doyle, he looked into a viewer that allowed visitors to observe what was happening in the games. To his dismay, he saw the New Dwarfers performing acts of exceptional bravery and doing much better in their roles than his team ever had. The New Lister had a different Kochanski, whom he had somehow resurrected, who was angry with him for risking his crew for her survival. She quickly succumbed to his manly charms when he told her to shut up and kissed her.

The New Dwarfers were similar to the originals, but with minor differences:

  • The New Lister was a very good looking American with big muscles. He wore a studded leather vest and a headband and chewed on a cigar.
  • The New Rimmer was an Asian man with slicked back hair. His H had a circle round it, implying he was some kind of upgraded hologram like the holograms on Enlightenment.
  • The New Cat was a thin Caucasian male who appeared much more brave than his original counterpart.
  • The New Kryten had the same body as the original, but had a human head instead of the cuboid shaped head of his predecessor (this player was a human, rather than "Jake Bullet" who was part-mechanoid). He was bald, unlike the man playing him who had long hair.
  • The New Kochanski was very different to her predecessor, perhaps being based on the new Lister's ideal woman. She had long blonde hair and spoke with an English accent.

"Sebastian" found this very depressing, making just one more thing to get suicidally depressed about. Fortunately, the New Dwarfers were just part of the Despair Squid's hallucinatory vision designed to make the Boys from the Dwarf kill themselves. They were saved by Lithium Carbonate being released into the air at Holly's urging.

Due to the dimension theory of reality, the Fascist Earth continued to exist after the Dwarfers had been brought back to their own reality. In this dimension, it is possible the Alternate Dwarfers continued to play their game of "Red Dwarf" for many years. It may also be possible that there is a dimension where they are the real crew of Red Dwarf. ("Back to Reality")


The Alternate Dwarfers starred in their own comic strip featured in the Red Dwarf Smegazine. This showed how the New Dwarfers continued to explore space, being exceptionally brave, intelligent and successful. Among other things, they found the "Planet of the Nymphomaniacs" mentioned by Andy.

Behind the Scenes

Rob Grant and Doug Naylor wrote the script for "Back to Reality" with notes for the cast. They let the regular actors believe that they were going to be killed off and replaced with the New Dwarfers. When the replacements entered the TIV suite, the script note said "Are you worried yet, boys".

The New Dwarfers were played by:

  • John Sharian as New Lister
  • Anastasia Hille as New Kochanski
  • Julian Lyon as New Rimmer
  • David Lemkin as New Cat
  • Scott Charles Bennett as New Kryten

Only the new versions of Lister and Kochanski had any dialogue and were the only ones to have their names in the closing credits.