Tongue Tied

"She was massive, her stockings used to rub together when she walked; when she was in a hurry it sounded like a steam train pulling out of a station!"
- Dave Lister (Beyond a Joke)

"Gran" was the name Dave Lister gave to his late adoptive grandmother, who was his legal guardian and raised Dave from the age of six.


Mrs. Lister Sr. lived in Liverpool, England, Earth, at some point in the mid-to-late 22nd Century. The matriarch of Lister's adopted family, she was covered in tattoos, chewed tobacco and smoked a pipe.

After the death of his adoptive father at the age of six, a young Dave went to live with Gran instead, and was mostly raised by her throughout his later childhood and teens.

Much later in life, after her death due to getting hit by a truck, Lister often remembered his Gran fondly, although he also remembered her as a large woman and a "battle-axe".


Gran was quite aggressive, and once head-butted Lister's headmaster when he was marked poorly in French class. This got him expelled from school. Three million years later aboard Red Dwarf, when Cat saw her photograph, Cat assumed that she was a man. ("Future Echoes")

In later life Gran was morbidly obese, and fed Lister so much he was starting to get morbidly obese too, earning him the childhood nickname "fat boy". She was killed when a truck struck her, and the Coroner had to go back for a second piece of chalk when he was drawing the chalk line around her body. Lister didn't want to end up like that - a "double-chalker" - and so laid off on the fatty foods and lost a lot of weight. ("Beyond a Joke") Lister would have weight problems again sometimes. ("Bodyswap")

Lister later told Kryten about a time when he did his Gran a favour by fixing her squeaky, rusty gate. Kristine Kochanski is horrified when Kryten relays the "funny rusty gate story", with Kris mistakenly believing that Lister has told Kryten about her "sounding like a rusty gate when making love." ("Duct Soup")

When a dangerous SOS virus was downloaded to the computer core of Red Dwarf, Arnold Rimmer was furious with Lister since Lister had downloaded it, distracted by Renegade Monks. Rimmer then played a nasty game with Lister, promoting him to "Second Technician 2.5", saying how proud his Gran would be, and then demoted him back to Third Technician. ("Mechocracy")

Additional Mentions

  • A deleted scene for the Series II episode "Thanks for the Memory" reveals that Lister once pawned his Gran's false teeth for money to take Lise Yates out on a date. He justified this to himself by saying that she didn't use them, except to open bottle tops and chew tobacco. Three months later, he got her some more, only they didn't fit and she looked like Ed the Talking Horse.
  • Gran is also mentioned in a deleted scene from the Series V episode "Quarantine". When under the influence of the luck virus, Lister finds his Gran's wedding ring - which he had lost the year previously - behind his ear.


  • "Eleven to thirteen when I was living with m' gran. She was massive, her stockings used to rub together when she walked; when she was in a hurry it sounded like a steam train pulling out of a station! I started getting fat too. It really hit home when she died. She got knocked down by this truck, and the chalk outline guys had to go back to the truck for a second piece of chalk! I thought: I don't want to end up like that, double-chalker!" -Dave Lister ("Beyond a Joke")

Behind the Scenes

  • Gran has yet to appear as an actual character, though her photograph does appear in the Series I episode "Future Echoes". The individual who portrayed Gran in the photograph was not credited, and neither Ed Bye nor Rob Grant were able to recall the name when rewatching the episode for the Red Dwarf Quarantine commentary series.