Tongue Tied

Paranoia was a figment of Dave Lister's imagination, and a representation of Lister's inner insecurities, that was made solid aboard Red Dwarf by a mutated virus.


Lister and his friend Chen had a theory that there were two separate beings who existed inside the human mind: Confidence, who tells us "You're great, you're dead sexy and everybody loves you", and Paranoia, who says "You're stupid, you're useless, you're ugly and everybody hates you". Lister's Confidence was very strong, but his Paranoia would take over at inappropriate moments and ruin his plans.

When Lister contracted a mutated strain of pneumonia, his hallucinations began to take physical form. One of the dreams he had was of his idea of confidence and paranoia. When the fever broke, Rimmer informed Lister that two men had materialised in the Drive Room: One was Lister's Confidence personified and the other was his Paranoia.

Paranoia was a small, thin man who looked rather ill and dressed entirely in black clothes. He seemed to creep around, never quite standing up straight. He did not share Confidence's appetite, since all he ate was a runny yoghurt.

He took delight in pointing out all of Lister's shortcomings, admitting that he hated Lister. In this, he found Rimmer to be something of an ally. While Confidence socialised with Lister, Rimmer and Paranoia played cards in the Drive Room. This was just a ruse on the part of Rimmer, who saw Paranoia for what he was - a symptom of Lister's disease. Rimmer tried to get one of the skutters to inject him with a syringe, but Paranoia turned around just in time, as Rimmer screamed "stab him"; he then tried to explain it as the skutter's name is "Stabbim". When Lister thought of a way to generate two holograms at the same time, Paranoia claimed that he could smell that Lister was drunk.

When Rimmer later ordered Holly to locate Paranoia, Holly couldn't find him anywhere. Confidence then admitted to Lister that he had killed Paranoia, feeding him into the Waste Grinder and flushing him into space to protect Lister from his negative influence. Without the counterbalance, the unrestricted Confidence tried to get Lister to do the impossible and survive in open space without a spacesuit helmet. Confidence's demonstration of the idea removed him permanently from the equation. ("Confidence and Paranoia", Series I)


Behind the Scenes

  • According to the commentaries, Lee Cornes was one of the actors who auditioned for Rimmer.