Tongue Tied

Dave Lister with his pet goldfish, Lennon and McCartney, in the sleeping quarters
("Future Echoes", Series I)

Lennon and McCartney are a duo of artificial, electronic pet goldfish owned by Dave Lister.

The two fish are kept in a tank in the sleeping quarters Lister shares with Arnold Rimmer aboard Red Dwarf.


The origin of the fish is unclear. Lister apparently bought them on Titan since there is a "souvenir of Titan" sticker on the fish tank, like much of Lister's "junk". However, the episode "Ouroboros" would suggest they were bought on Mimas (albeit this did occur in Kochanski's dimension). In the novel Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, Lister bought them on Miranda along with Talkie Toaster, and were said to be produced by Crapola Inc.

The two fish are identifiable because Lennon tends to work fine, with little to identify it from a real goldfish. However, McCartney is consistently shown to be defective, and swims backwards. When McCartney stopped working, Lister was able to fix him easily with a screwdriver after bashing him on the desk to determine his status. ("Future Echoes", Series I)


Cat believed them to be real fish, and later fished them out of the tank and tried to eat either Lennon or McCartney, only being stopped by Lister tackling him to try prevent a vision of the future he had seen. The Cat still lost a tooth in the incident anyway. The incident upset Lister, since it seemed to prove that the future was inevitable, and Rimmer had already seen an apparent future echo of Lister dying. ("Future Echoes", Series I)

Lister says to his female counterpart Deb Lister that one of his drunken acts the night previously was juggling Lennon and McCartney. ("Parallel Universe", Series II)

A group of larger fish are seen on the display screen of the Officer's Quarters in around Series IV. However, it is never made clear whether this is meant to be Holly's screensaver, more electronic fish, or real fish (albeit the latter being unlikely)

Like Red Dwarf itself and the original crew, Lister's robot goldfish make a return in the sleeping quarters at the beginning of Series VIII, having been restored by the nanobots. However, McCartney is still defective. ("Back in the Red I") In the deleted scenes of the episode, Lister is repairing McCartney by banging it against the side of the fish tank.

When Lister and Rimmer were imprisoned, the goldfish were later moved to their cell in The Tank. Rimmer said that the goldfish winced when Lister played his guitar, and hid under the plants when they heard Lister tuning up. ("Krytie TV" deleted scenes)

Lennon and McCartney are once again seen in the sleeping quarters of Series X, albeit easy-to-miss. They are located to the far right of the bunkroom, next to the kitchenette.

Rimmer once told Lister that he was becoming lazy and, as an example of this, reminded Lister that he couldn't be bothered to make a cup of tea, instead dunking his biscuits in the fish tank. ("Dear Dave", Series X)



  • The fish are named after John Lennon and Paul McCartney of The Beatles.
  • It is implied several times that Lister keeps artificial fish since he is incapable of maintaining live fish.
  • The novel Better Than Life says that Lister adored junk and electronic crap. Accordingly, he had collected the robot goldfish, an alarm clock, Talkie Toaster, a musical toilet-roll holder that plays "Morning has Broken", and an electronic chilli thermometer for measuring his curry from "Very Hot" to "Book A Plot In The Cemetery, Matie". The other items were acquired by Lister from a souvenir shop on Miranda, so it is likely Lennon and McCartney were too.