Tongue Tied

"Every man has his weak spot, his Achilles heel; Kennedy's was just higher up."
- Kryten and Rimmer ("Tikka to Ride")

John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (29 May 1917 – 22 November 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States of America.


Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, to an influential and politically connected family. He attended Harvard College, graduating with a BSc in International Affairs.

After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Kennedy was elected to the House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 and then served as a Senator from 1953 to 1960.

In 1960 he became the youngest elected President of the United States at the age of 43. His administration was a turbulent time for America, including the Cuban Missile Crisis and the early stages of the Vietnam War.

In 1963 he was shot and killed while on a political trip to Dallas. There were numerous conspiracy theories about who had killed Kennedy and why, but the facts remained unclear until the Boys from the Dwarf changed the timeline.

Time Drive

When Lister insisted that the Dwarfers should use the time drive to order an enormous amount of curry, Kryten made a miscalculation and landed them in the Texas School Book Depository during the shooting 22 November 1963. They prevented Lee Harvey Oswald from firing his third rifle round by knocking him out of the window and changed Kennedy's death to a wounding.

The Dwarfers jumped forward two years, only to discover that Kennedy's womanising had caused him to be impeached and removed from office. J. Edgar Hoover became President and allowed the Soviet Union to place nuclear missiles in Cuba, due to being blackmailed by the Mafia for being a transvestite.. This caused a massive difference in the timeline and made it impossible for the time travellers to return to Starbug. Kennedy's wife left him and he was sent to prison for sharing a mistress with a prominent mobster.

After attempting to correct their mistake by moving Oswald to a different floor of the depository, Lister realised that the only way to ensure Kennedy's death was to arrange for a second gunman to shoot from a nearby "grassy knoll". Lister thought of the perfect shooter - Kennedy himself. He travelled forward to Kennedy's prison transfer and convinced him to sacrifice his own life to ensure that he became the liberal icon that people needed. Lister took him back and gave him the rifle. Kennedy ensured his own assassination was successful and thanked them for the chance to put things right before fading away. (RD: Tikka To Ride)

Kryten had earlier made a joke about preventing the assassination of JFK using a timeslide to visit Dallas, standing on the grassy knoll and shouting "Duck". Nobody found it funny, making Kryten realise that he had bypassed his "good taste" chip. (RD: Timeslides)


Kennedy was a liberal and charismatic man with both a love of family life and a high libido that led to extramarital affairs with several women, including Marilyn Monroe and Judith Campbell, whose photograph appears in the newspaper read by Kryten.

He appeared to be genuinely distraught at the chaos his impeachment had wrought and was willing to kill his past self to ensure a return to the correct timeline.


  • "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." ("Tikka to Ride") Originally from Kennedy's inaugural address.

Behind the Scenes

  • Michael J. Shannon had already played JFK on stage before his casting in Red Dwarf.
  • The recreation of the shooting of JFK was shot meticulously using the Zapruder film as a reference. It was originally shot in black and white, but was so realistic that people thought it was the original footage. Director Ed Bye then reshot it in colour.

External Links

John F. Kennedy at Wikipedia