Tongue Tied
"I also suspect that someone, possibly Lister, has given Rimmer access to the crew's confidential files, and he's using this information to blackmail his way up the chain of command. It's sickening. It's unforgivable. But it's a technique that can work. I should know; I used the same method myself to become captain. If the crew discover I'm really just Dennis the Doughnut Boy, I'm finished ..."
- Captain Hollister ("Back in the Red Part III", Series VIII)

The captains of JMC spacecraft were required by Space Corps directives to produce reports on all their individual crew members. These were meant to include background history to the crew members, detailed performance appraisals, comments on their strengths and weaknesses, records of sessions with the therapist, and the captain's personal observations. These reports were meant to be private and confidential.

Series I

Arnold Rimmer regrets asking Holly what it says in his own file... ("Waiting for God", Series I)

Three million years after the radiation leak which killed the crew of Red Dwarf, the hologram Arnold Rimmer went into the Drive Room and demanded access to the captain's confidential crew files from the ship computer, Holly. Holly told Rimmer that they were for the captain's eyes only, but Rimmer pointed out that the captain had been dead for three million years, and Rimmer is now the highest ranking crew member aboard. Holly conceded and showed the files on a monitor, and Rimmer asked Holly to read out the statements to him, beginning with the last human alive, Dave Lister. Holly quoted:

Has requested sick leave due to diarrhea on no less than 500 occasions. Left his previous job as a supermarket trolley attendant after ten years because he didn't want to get tied down to a career. Promotion prospects: zero.

Pleased, and admiring the captain's "judge of character", Rimmer then asked for his own file:

There's a saying amongst the officers: if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well. If it's not worth doing, give it to Rimmer. He aches for responsibility, but constantly fails the engineering exam. Astoundingly zealous. Possibly mad. Probably has more teeth than brain cells. Promotion prospects: comical.

At first, Rimmer refuses to believe that it is his own file, then gets angry, claiming that Captain Hollister was jealous of his "popularity". ("Waiting for God", Series I)

Series VIII

Rimmer finds the crew's confidential reports on disc in the wreckage of Starbug (Back in the Red, Series VIII)

Many years later, Red Dwarf was reconstructed by the nanobots, and its original crew were resurrected in the flesh, including Rimmer, although the resurrected crew had no idea what had occurred previously. Lister, the Cat, Kryten, and Kristine Kochanski crashed their Starbug into a hangar of the new Red Dwarf. Captain Hollister then ordered the Dwarfers arrested for stealing and crashing a Starbug. Lister tried to get Rimmer's help in escaping, telling him to search the wreckage of Starbug to convince him to help. In the wreckage, Rimmer found a number of items from the previous version of Red Dwarf to help him get promoted, including the Positive Viruses and a copy of the captain's confidential files stored on a disc. ("Back in the Red I", Series VIII)

Rimmer is later seen using the Positive Viruses and the information gleaned from the confidential files to get promoted. This included Rimmer giving the captain a blueberry muffin just like his wife used to make, and also gave him some "anus soothe pile cream" and a rubber glove. Rimmer was also able to manipulate security officer Thornton with some very personal information. ("Back in the Red II", Series VIII)

Lister, Rimmer, the Cat, Kryten, and Kochanski were soon found innocent of their original charges of stealing and crashing a Starbug, but instead found guilty of abusing confidential information and were sentenced two years in The Tank. ("Back in the Red III", Series VIII)

Captain Hollister himself admitted in a private video - meant for his eyes only - that he was originally known as "Dennis the Doughnut Boy" aboard the McGovern and that he himself had used classified crew files to get promoted to captain in the first place. ("Back in the Red III", Series VIII)

Series XII

Rimmer is annoyed that the Captain's crew files say Lister is 'bright' ("Skipper", Series XII)

Many years later, Lister and Kryten went through the Human Resources and found physical copies of the captain's crew appraisal files. Bringing them to Rimmer's attention, which Rimmer told them to leave since they are private, Lister was excited to tell Rimmer what it said about himself: "although Dave Lister is clearly quite bright, he is lazy, slovenly, rebellious, unreliable, rude and disorganized." Lister is quite happy to have been called 'bright.'

Rimmer then reads the comments on himself, which states that he "comes from an outstanding military family; all three of his brothers (Frank, John and Howard) hold positions of command and are hugely respected members of the Space Corps. Arnold however has not succeeded to the same degree due to incompetence, and blames everybody else for his failings." Angered, Rimmer says that he got the blaming off his mother, since she is a massive blamer. Rimmer counters that he should have surrounded himself with people brighter than him in order to succeed, and Lister retorts that he did - since the captain said that Lister was bright, and no praise was bestowed on Rimmer at all.

The negative comments about Rimmer are one of the reasons why he becomes very despondent and soon after uses the Quantum Skipper to search The Multiverse for a dimension where he is not such a massive loser. ("Skipper", Series XII)

Behind the scenes

Todhunter's original clipboard (pilot episode) / The Captain's personnel files in "Skipper"

  • The files seen in the Series XII final episode "Skipper" were recreated using the same style and font types used in Series I.