Holden was a very stupid youth, coming bottom in geography class because he thought a glacier was a man who fixed windows. Because of this, his classmates gave him the nickname "Thickie". He suffered from acne and had a problem with flatulence after eating cauliflower cheese.
Holden however took an idea to the Ionian patent office for a stress relief aid, which he called a "Tension Sheet". It was just common bubble wrap packaging painted red, but his invention made Holden a self-made multi-billionaire by the age of 26. Holden later moved to live in the biggest mansion in London, England, Earth. Holden also married Lady Sabrina Mulholland-Jjones, the daughter of the Duke of Lincoln, and a novelist, model and international jet-setter, described by Rimmer as "the most desirable woman in the Western Hemisphere".
Three million years later aboard Red Dwarf, the last human Dave Lister was feeling depressed about being marooned in Deep Space. After hearing the story about Thickie Holden from the hologram Rimmer, and also after Lister discovered that he could change history with pictures of the past, Lister stole Holden's idea and gave the Tension Sheet to his younger, 17-year-old self as he played with his band in the Aigburth Arms, Liverpool. This worked, altering the timeline and caused Lister to disappear from Red Dwarf since he never joined the JMC, and presumably caused Thickie Holden to re-materialise into a nondescript life back on Io, or with the JMC. Instead, Lister became the billionaire business tycoon, even marrying Sabrina instead of Fred.
Rimmer then tried to copy Lister's success. He traveled back to his school, Io House, and woke his younger self to give him the idea for the Tension Sheet before Lister. Fred Holden was in the next bunk and heard the entire conversation. Rimmer repeatedly told Holden to shut up, but Holden listened intently. Holden managed to beat the young Rimmer to the patent office, because Rimmer had to take extra rugby practice in the morning, due to the coach believing him to be too "wet".