Tongue Tied

Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821), also known as Emperor Napoleon I of France during the Napoleonic wars which engulfed the continent of Europe, was a notable figure from Earth's history.

Three million years later, Arnold Rimmer of the Red Dwarf, who was obsessed with military history, claimed that Napoleon was his "all time favourite fascist dictator".


Rimmer claimed in the video eulogy of his own death that, if Napoleon had been put in sleeping quarters with Dave Lister as he had, then Napoleon would "still be in Corsica peeling spuds". Rimmer also compared his career on Z Shift to that of Napoleon's career in his diary. ("Me²", Series I)

Rimmer gets Napoleon's autograph, signed out to "my old pal Arnie"

When the boys from the Dwarf entered the T.I.V. "Better Than Life", Rimmer met Napoleon who was looking out to sea and dipping his toes in the ocean. Becoming greatly excited, Rimmer ran up to him and awkwardly asked Napoleon for his autograph. Napoleon did not say anything and did not seem thrilled to meet Rimmer, but signed Rimmer's book anyway. Rimmer claimed that it was for his niece who he called "Arnie". ("Better Than Life", Series II)

Lister burns Rimmer's Napoleonic figures to keep warm

One of the few things Rimmer's father had even given to Arnold was a group of antique wooden Napoleonic soldier figurines, depicting the Armee du Nord, which Arnold kept in an antique camphor wood chest. When marooned on a desolate planet, Dave Lister ended up burning the priceless figures for warmth to keep alive, rather than burn his guitar. ("Marooned", Series III)

One of the waxdroid antagonists of Waxworld was a likeness of Napoleon. ("Meltdown", Series IV)

The version of Ace Rimmer that the Dwarfers met many years later has spent years hiding out in Napoleonic times. ("Stoke Me a Clipper", Series VII)

Behind the scenes

  • Napoleon was portrayed by Reece Clarke, a theater manager. Red Dwarf remains his only acting credit.

See also