Tongue Tied

After flying through a Time Hole, the Dwarfers land on Earth where time is running backwards.


Holly explained to a perplexed Kryten and Rimmer that time was now running backwards because they had arrived at a point in time where the Big Crunch reversed the flow of time. This time period was accessible via a time hole. To people from the forwards reality, this reality appears like a reversed movie.

Rimmer and Kryten in the cockpit of Starbug as the Time Hole approaches


The people of the backwards reality seem to be aware that time once played forwards. Writing is printed backwards, and concepts and moral actions are depicted in opposites. For example, a notorious bank robber had killed three people sometime before 1993. In the reverse reality the crime is described as the victims having bullets sucked out of them, and the bank robber forcing the staff to accept £10,000. The crime is featured in the newspaper “yadretseY” published in the year 3991 (1993).


In the Series III episode "Backwards", Kryten and Rimmer enter a Time Hole in Starbug 2 and crash land on "htraE". At first, they believe they have found home, until they find a sign reading "Nodnol, 871 Selim". After "unhitching" a lift, they quickly discover that they are indeed on Earth but at a point where this universe is contracting to cause the Big Crunch, causing time to run backwards. In a small cafe, they discover that the year is 1993 (or as the locals would write it, 3991). They decide to work as a novelty act known as The Sensational Reverse Brothers as they can use their forwardness to great effect. The act became a regular hit at the Nogard dna Egroeg eht.

Three weeks later, The Cat and Lister find the same time hole and land on htraE. After discovering Starbug 2 in a lake, Lister is surprised that he leaves the water dry. He also seems to have several injuries, including a black eye and a cracked rib. The two of them find the sign for Nodnol and Lister deduces that they must be in Bulgaria. After a bizarre incident "un-stealing" a tandem, they managed to "un-hitch" a lift to be taken to the pub where Rimmer and Kryten are performing (after finding a poster of the Reverse Brothers).

Lister and the Cat are completely unimpressed by the Reverse Brothers act, as it involves mundane acts such as eating a boiled egg and drinking a glass of water. They are further bemused by how much the locals love the act (Lister believing that Bulgarians have simple tastes). Eventually they discover that they are actually in a backwards universe, after seeing the Pub manager "un drinking" a pint of bitter).

Backstage, Rimmer and Kryten decide that they want to stay in the reverse universe. On the first night, Kryten had £50 forced into his wallet at knifepoint. There is no disease or death, and events such as World War II would be considered great events, as millions would come back to life, and Hitler would bog off back to Austria. Lister is not so keen on staying, as he will age backwards, until becoming a sperm. Also he believes that people like St Francis of Assisi and Santa Claus would be considered evil, as their action in the normal universe would be reversed.

Suddenly they are confronted by the manager, who in an angry backwards tirade, seems to blame Kryten and Rimmer for a fight, and are then sacked. All are bemused by this. Lister and the Cat decide to "un-eat" a pie, which upsets the man who has "un-bought" the pie. He attacks Lister which heals his rib and eye. Kryten realises that the fight they started is now about to start. Lister cries "Un-rumble" and a massive backwards brawl emerges, where tables and chairs are mended, Lister is reversed thrown through a window, which mends it, and "un-punches" a man, repairing his tooth. The Dwarfers decide to leave the planet for their own universe. (RD: Backwards)

See also