Tongue Tied

" If the crew discover I'm really just Dennis the Doughnut Boy, I'm finished."
-Captain Hollister ("Back in the Red III")

Captain Frank Hollister is a commanding officer in the Space Corps, and was the captain of the JMC interplanetary mining vessel Red Dwarf during its ill-fated final voyage. Hollister lost his life along with the rest of the 1,169 crew (except David Lister, who Hollister had ordered to be put in stasis at the time) when Hollister sent the inept Arnold Rimmer to do a critical job. This resulted in a radiation leak that turned the crew to dust.

Three million years later, Hollister was resurrected by the nanobots, along with rest of the 1,169 crew, and re-assumed command of the Red Dwarf, sentencing the Boys from the Dwarf to The Tank.

Hollister escaped Red Dwarf along with the rest of the crew on a armada of Starbugs and Blue Midgets to escape the Chameleonic Microbe. The Boys from the Dwarf however defeated the Chameleonic Microbe, and now again alone on the ship they afterwards had the run of Red Dwarf (assuming that the Dave era version of the mothership is the same one as that of series 8). The current whereabouts of Hollister and the rest of the crew is unknown, but given that Lister has once again taken to referring to himself as the last human in the universe as of Series X, it doesn't bode well for Hollister and the others.


Early Life

In an interview[2] with Talkie Toaster on the official Red Dwarf website, Hollister revealed some details on his earlier years, although he made up some tall tales before admitting the truth. After he was fired from working in a diner in Kentucky, USA, for eating all their burgers, Hollister sold doughnuts on Callisto as "Dennis the Doughnut Boy". From there, Hollister moved onto Phobos, where he got his first posting as a Third Technician aboard a JMC spaceship, McGovern, making sure the Vending Machines were fully stocked as part of that ship's Z Shift. Hollister would eventually work his way up to become captain of the ill-fated Red Dwarf, using confidential information on his crewmates to get promotions in the field (as mentioned in "Back in the Red Part III", Series VIII)

Series I

Captain Hollister asks Dave Lister about his cat in his office ("The End")

Arnold Rimmer was explaining why he hadn't repaired the drive plate properly... ("Me²")

Captain Frank Hollister hit by the Cadmium II leak.

The remains of the Captain and Rimmer

Captain Hollister in fancy-dress, during a flashback ("Stasis Leak")

Captain Hollister gives a eulogy for a recently deceased crewman, flight coordinator George McIntyre in the Drive Room. Before firing off the canister with McIntyre's ashes, Hollister plays some cheesy music he had asked to be requested played. Hollister then holds a "resurrection party" for McIntrye when he is brought back as a hologram.

Later, lowest-ranking crewmember Dave Lister, heartbroken over his break up with Kristine Kochanski, breaks Space Corps Directives by smuggling an unquarantined animal aboard in the form of a black cat named Frankenstein that he bought on shore leave on Mimas for company. The ship's computer, Holly, detected an inhuman lifeform aboard, and Hollister found out what it was when Lister took photographs of himself with the cat and sent them off to the ships lab to be processed. Hollister had Lister in his office, citing the example of what happened "on the Oregon with the rabbits" but Lister refuses to give the cat up, and is sentenced to eighteen months in stasis as punishment.

Lister wakes up three million years later to discover the crew are radioactive dust, Holly has gone insane, Arnold Rimmer is the current ships' hologram, and Frankenstein's kittens had evolved and one of the progeny, Cat, remains on board. ("The End")

Lister later watches a video of the moment the crew got wiped out. Rimmer was in the Drive Room explaining to Captain Hollister why he hadn't repaired the Drive Plate properly, and accepting full responsibility, when the full force of the radiation hit them. Rimmer's last words were "Gazpacho Soup", referring to an embarrassing dinner Rimmer had with the captain and the officers. ("Me²", Series I)

Series II

In a sequence of pre-accident flashbacks, Hollister sentenced Lister to two weeks of punishment detail for drugging Rimmer with Titan Mushrooms (more popularly known as Freaky Fungus) which he used as an ingredient in a breakfast he'd cooked for him. Rimmer was outraged by such a lenient punishment, jamming the rubber end of his pencil up Hollister's nose, requiring it to be surgically removed, before ripping up and eating the photo of Hollister's wife (which Rimmer believed was a publicity shot for Planet of the Apes). This caused Hollister to sentence Rimmer to eight weeks of PD. Hollister would show up later on in the sleeping quarters whilst dressed as a chicken (his costume for the party later that night), attempting to apologise for the punishment. Rimmer, believing himself to be under the influence again after seeing his future self emerge from the table, promptly insulted Hollister before kneeing him in the groin, resulting in Hollister sentencing Rimmer to eight months of paint duty, then eight years after Rimmer talks back again. Rimmer promptly paints a reminder on the costume and throws an entire bucket of paint into Hollister's face. Hollister gives Rimmer two years punishment detail. ("Stasis Leak", Series II)


Accidentally given the programmable virus by Rimmer, the captain loses his hair and clothes, and orders Rimmer and Lister to two months in The Hole.

In the beginning of Series VIII, with the crew resurrected by nanobots, Mac McDonald returns as Captain Hollister to become a main character for the duration of Series VIII. This is also the series where Hollister reveals in his private log that he is in fact "Dennis the Donut Boy", and had abused confidential crew files in order to work his way up the ranks and become captain.

Hollister sentences the boys from the Dwarf to time in The Tank for, ironically, what he himself was guilty of. For the rest of Series VIII, Rimmer and Lister as convicts constantly find ways that cause him trouble, eventually leading him to succumb to post-traumatic stress disorder in the episodes "Pete I" and "Pete II".

(Second) Fate

Captain Hollister and the officers evacuate a disintegrating Red Dwarf in an armada of Starbugs and Blue Midgets
(Series VIII finale)

In the last episode of Series VIII, Red Dwarf is slowly being destroyed by a corrosive material. When Captain Hollister hears this, he immediately evacuates the crew and leaves all prisoners to die, these include Lister, Rimmer, Cat, Kryten and Kristine Kochanski. He then escapes in his own private shuttle. Hollister and the rest of the crew are not seen again.

The last time Hollister is seen, helpless as a saved Red Dwarf speeds away from the shuttles, in the alternate ending to "Only the Good..."

An alternate ending scene for "Only the Good...", available on the Series VIII DVD, would suggest Rimmer defeated the chameleonic microbe, and Red Dwarf sped on away. Rimmer told Kryten not to slow Red Dwarf down to pick the rest of the crew back up, since they had put them in the Tank and then left them to die; leaving Captain Hollister and the other officers stranded on the fleet of Starbugs and Blue Midgets. Hollister is last seen looking on through a porthole window, seemingly worried, as Red Dwarf flies by. The alternate ending would apparently fit best with what occurs in the 1999 - 2009 Bridge than what occurred in the broadcast episode.

Captain Hollister is not mentioned again in Back to Earth or Series X, and given that Lister once again refers to himself the last human being alive, suggests that Hollister is once again deceased. However, numerous things still don't add up, since Red Dwarf once again has a full compliment of shuttles (which were supposedly taken by Hollister and the rest of the crew to evacuate). What occurred with the Chameleonic Microbe is referenced in Series X, but then the subject is conveniently skirted when the explanation is about to be given, as an in-joke to how it has never been resolved.

Series XII

Rimmer finds Captain Hollister in the escape pod

Rimmer manages to "skip" just in time before the Cadmium II leak hits him

When Rimmer used a Quantum Skipper to explore different dimensions, he "skips" into a reality where the Cadmium II radiation leak happened much later. As the radiation leak abruptly begins to happen soon after Rimmer's arrival, Rimmer discovers that universe's version of Captain Hollister trying to launch an escape pod. Hollister makes an excuse that he tripped and accidentally pressed the launch button while trying to get out of the pod. Rimmer asks Hollister to let him in with him, but Hollister refuses, saying that "it's a four-seater, so there's only room for me." Rimmer then says that all good captains go down with their ship. Hollister agrees, and simply says "See ya". However, the pod jams, trapping Hollister. Rimmer manages to escape with the Quantum Skipper just in time by "skipping" into another dimension, just as flames engulf the escape pod, and Hollister exclaims "Oh, nuts!" ("Skipper", Series XII)


Captain Hollister in the Red Dwarf Smegazine

Captain Hollister is a very stressful man and can be easily annoyed, he serves very harsh punishments to people who compromise his ship or annoy him.

Many people see him as a good Captain although Lister and Rimmer view it differently (although Lister shows more respect for him in the earlier series than he does in VIII).

He has a stress-related disorder from all the problems the crew give him, and he doesn't cope very well under stress.


  • "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.." - "Back in the Red Part III", Series VIII
  • "Two weeks PD Lister, dismissed." - "Stasis Leak", Series II
  • "As you know, Red Dwarf is being destroyed from within by a corrosive material, and there isn't enough crafts for everyone, so most of you be left here to die. Oh, and there's an apology about that in the bulletin." - "Only the Good...", Series VIII
  • "Get out of here! NOW!" - "Pete I", Series VIII
  • "That's it, two months in The Hole!" - "Pete I", Series VIII
  • "Do you know what happens, when a Dinosaur eats Cow Vindaloo and then eats two and a half tons of Mint-Choc Ice Cream and then consumes four-hundred crates of Orange Ice Pops and then swills it all down with two-thousand gallons of a popular fizzy drink." - "Pete II", Series VIII
  • "If I ever, ever, ever see you in this office again, you're dead!" - "Pete II", Series VIII
  • "Errr, I was trying to go down with the Dwarf, do the right thing, when suddenly I tripped into this escape pod; I thought I was pressing the 'Get Me Out of This Damn Thing I Wanna Die Nobly With My Crew' button, only it turned out to be the 'Get Me Home Fast' switch. Now it's launching." - "Skipper", Series XII


  • Captain Hollister was seemingly the only American on a ship full of mostly British, European and Russians.
  • Mac McDonald appeared as Captain Hollister in short scenes during some episodes in Series I and Series II mostly in flashbacks as his character was dead. In Series VIII, McDonald became almost a regular cast member, as his character was brought to life and appeared in the majority of the Series' episodes.
  • Hollister used to be 'Dennis The Donut-boy': with a reputation as a great eater, as MacDonald had put on weight since his last appearance in the Series II episode "Stasis Leak". Though even then, Rimmer had referred to him as "Mr. Fat Bastard, 2044".
    • The term "Dennis the Donut Boy" references "Pete the Donut Man" from the first pilot for the failed Red Dwarf USA.

Behind the Scenes

  • MacDonald has appeared in the films Memphis Belle and Fifth Element and in a episode of the BBC television shows Spooks, Black Books, and My Family.
  • He also had a small role in Batman (1989)
  • He also appeared in a scene in the extended cut of Aliens.
  • In the Red Dwarf novel Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, the captain of Red Dwarf is not Frank Hollister, but a woman with the (unfortunate) surname 'Kirk'.