Tongue Tied

Mr. Lister (Snr) (first name unknown), otherwise known as Dave Lister's adoptive father, is an unseen character in the Red Dwarf franchise.

Lister Sr. was a human male who lived in Liverpool, England, Earth, with his family, the Listers, at some point in the mid-22nd Century.

Lister Sr. is notable for having legally adopted a young Dave Lister, who went on to become the last human being alive. Dave Lister still carried his adopted father's surname three million years into the future aboard Red Dwarf.


Little has been revealed of Mr. Lister's past in the television series.

Mr. Lister legally adopted a boy named Dave from an orphanage (who had been abandoned as a baby in the Aigburth Arms), giving Dave Lister the surname he would use throughout the rest of his life.

Dave sometimes referred to his adoptive father as his "step father". At a young age, Mr. Lister senior "taught" him how to play guitar. The first song he learned was "She's out of my life" by Michael Jackson. This which would become a life-long, if ill-advised, passion for Dave. (Marooned)

He died when Dave was six, along with his unnamed wife soon after, both in unknown circumstances; and Dave went to his adoptive grandmother instead. (Better Than Life)


Lister Sr. (background left) walks Hannah (foreground), the Lister family dog

Dave Lister had lost all the photographs of his adoptive father. He did still have a photograph of him walking the family dog Hannah, but only his father's beige overcoat and gloved hand could be seen, holding Hannah's leash.

Three million years later, in the sleeping quarters aboard Red Dwarf, Lister showed some of his old photographs to the Cat. Believing Hannah to be Lister's biological father, the Cat said that it was no wonder Lister was so ugly. ("Future Echoes", Series I)

Within a few short years, Mr. Lister and his spouse had both died in unstated circumstances, and Dave went to live with his adoptive grandmother instead. Gran Lister told the young Dave that his parents had both gone to "the same place his goldfish had gone". Dave was then found reading his father the football scores down the toilet, and was sent to a child psychologist.

Three million years later, Dave related this story to Arnold Rimmer in the Observation Dome of Red Dwarf, when Rimmer was sad at receiving belated news of his own father's death. ("Better Than Life", Series II)

Dave would eventually discover that he had no biological father, and that he was essentially a clone of himself, having left himself as a baby in the Aigburth Arms. ("Ouroboros", Series VII)

A drunk Lister in the persona of "his father"

When Lister felt as though his life wasn't going anywhere, he got drunk enough on GELF Hooch so that he would not remember anything he did while drunk. The next day, Lister found a series of recordings made by himself the night previously that he could not remember filming. Taking on the persona of "his own father", the drunk Lister tells him that he is a big disappointment to himself, and orders him to turn his life around - starting with getting his tooth fixed, enrolling in the JMC engineer program, and looking for Krissy. Anticipating that the sober Lister wouldn't listen, the messages get increasingly angry as the sober Lister forwards through them. The last message from the drunk "father" Lister informs him that his guitar has been ejected into outer space, as a "tough love" punishment for not getting his act together. ("Fathers & Suns", Series X)