Confidence and Paranoia is the fifth episode of Series I of Red Dwarf.


Dave Lister contracts space pneumonia, which has the side effect of making the sufferer's fevered imaginings come to life. He hallucinates that two sides to his personality, his Confidence and Paranoia, are real people.


Aboard Red Dwarf, Lister is alone in the Drive Room watching a romantic film on a console, and getting so emotional about the film that he starts dribbling his beer milkshake down himself. Holly, who is bored, continually interrupts Lister's film through the console. Holly says that, in the last three million years which he spent alone, he has read every single book ever written by humans, and requests Lister to partly erase some of his memory so that Holly can re-read the books of Agatha Christie as though he is reading them for the first time again. Periodically, Holly interjects with how his progress in re-reading her books is going.

Lister continues watching his film in the sleeping quarters, but Rimmer interrupts and switches it off to berate him on his slobby lifestyle, accuse him of "turning into a middle-aged woman". Lister reveals to Rimmer that he has been rooting around in the Officer's Quarters since Rimmer said he was going to decontaminate it, and he looked at Kochanski's Dream Recorder that revealed she dreamed about Lister three times. However Rimmer also reveals that he hasn't gotten around to decontaminating the officer's quarters yet, and Lister begins to fall sick with space pneumonia and hallucinate in his sleep.

DustStorm Original (2)

Red Dwarf begins to enter a massive dust storm

Red Dwarf enters a massive interstellar dust storm, forcing Holly to batten down the hatches. As Rimmer dreams of Yvonne McGruder, Lister begins to feel worse. Lister wraps himself up in a Titan Hilton hotel towel and begins to walk off to the Medi-Bay, but collapses in White Corridor 159, He is found by Cat, but heis more interested in spraying things to "make them his" and getting (and playing with) food from the Vending Machines than helping Lister. Eventually Holly alerts Rimmer, who gets the Skutters to drag Lister to the Medi-Bay. The clapped-out old machines do a bad job, poking Lister in the eye and flinging him off the chair.

The conversation comes round to why Lister was in the Officer's quarters in the first place, his old crush, Kochanski - and Lister says that dealings with her were always a battle between his confidence and paranoia. His old friends Olaf Petersen and Selby and Chen believed that were like an angel and demon sitting on his shoulders. Rimmer says that he had as much chance with her as a rain of fish or the Exploding Mayor of Warsaw. Strangely, Lister's dreams become real when it begins to rain fish in the sleeping quarters, and the Mayor of Warsaw appears and then spontaneously combusts in front of Rimmer.


Confidence helps Lister deduce where Rimmer has hid Kochanski's hologram disc

Lister wakes feeling better but then finds that two men have appeared on the ship; one is a living manifestation of Lister's inner confidence, and the other of his paranoia. Confidence resembles a talk show host, Bing Baxter, and tries to make Lister feel like a king, whereas Paranoia tries to make him feel bad by bringing up embarrassing incidents from Lister's past.

They're Germs

"Lister, they are germs..."

Lister's Confidence gives him the strength to face Rimmer, and also helps him to deduce where Rimmer has hidden Kochanski's hologram disk (which Rimmer had hidden in "Balance of Power") - outside the ship, behind the solar panel right beneath their sleeping quarters port-hole window, so Rimmer can laugh at Lister. Since the dust storm has passed, Lister and Confidence get on their space suits and prepare for a space walk along the outer hull of Red Dwarf to retrieve the disk and replace Rimmer as ship hologram with Lister's old crush.


Lister tries to flee from Confidence during their space walk on the hull of the ship

However, before the space walk, Lister is unaware that Confidence would do anything to be with him - including destroying the Medicomp (so that Lister can't be cured) and killing Paranoia, feeding him into the Waste Grinder. Lister discovers this but cannot stop Confidence from foolishly trying to convince him that he can breathe in space, since "oxygen is for losers", and Confidence removes his space suit helmet, exploding himself into pieces.

Lister retrieves the hologram disk and loads it, but Rimmer had already anticipated that Lister may have found the personality disk and has already swapped it with another. As Lister prepares to activate it in the Drive Room, powering down all non-essential systems so that Holly can maintain two holograms at one, Rimmer warns him not to activate Kochanski's disc. What follows is far worse than being alone in space. A duplicate Rimmer appears instead of Konchanski. The original Rimmer mocks Lister for thinking he's be gullible enough to put Konchanski's disc in the right disc plate. Both Rimmers salute each other.

Guest Cast


  • According to the Series I DVD, this episode was intended to be the final episode of the series, with Kochanski's hologram appearing and thus becoming a regular character in Series II. However, an earlier episode featuring Rimmer trying to build himself a new body was scrapped and the plot of "Me²" was devised. Ultimately, although Clare Grogan would reprise Kochanski a couple more times in later seasons, the character would not become a regular until Series VII, when another actress, Chloë Annett, would play the role as a living version of Kochanski from another dimension.
  • Not counting the regular characters, or artificial intelligences such as the Revolving Toilet or Talkie Toaster, the Mayor of Warsaw, Confidence and Paranoia are the first human characters to be seen onboard Red Dwarf since the accident three million years earlier (the Cat Priest being a Felis sapiens).
  • Rimmer reveals that, as a hologram, he undertakes "Necrobics", hologramatic exercises for the dead. This may explain the exercise chart above the mirror in the sleeping quarters, since Lister and the Cat certainly never exercise. Rimmer is seen exercising frequently in the earlier series.
  • This episode reveals Kochanski's middle initial to be Z, however it is not revealed what it stands for nor is it ever mentioned again.

Background Information

  • Craig Ferguson and Lee Cornes originally auditioned for the parts of Lister and Rimmer, respectively. Ferguson later relocated to the US and became known for his work co-starring on The Drew Carey Show and, later, as host of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Hattie Hayridge was once a guest on his talk show.
  • The exterior of the ship seen during the space walk was a large, purpose-built set by designer Paul Montague.
  • Peter Wragg's effects team built a full-sized dummy of Confidence to explode outside the ship with a high pressure burst. Actor Craig Charles appeared to be hurt, but was only acting.
  • Red Dwarf composer Howard Goodall made a unique musical theme for the space walk scene. It is heard in the episode (as Confidence "cha-cha-cha"s) but the full isolated cue can be heard on the Series I DVD special features. It is a mash up of the 2001: A Space Odyssey-like opening cue of the old series with the "The Blue Danube Waltz".

Noteworthy Dialogue

  • Holly: The highest form of life in the universe is Man and the lowest is a man who works for the post office.
  • Holly: I've read everything written by anyone ever. Do you know what the worst book ever written is? "Football, It's A Funny Old Game" by Kevin Keegan.
  • Holly: I thought I might pass the time creating a perfectly functioning replica of a human woman, capable of independent decision-making and abstract thought, and be absolutely undetectable from the real thing.
    Lister: Why don't you?
    Holly: I don't know how. I couldn't even make the nose.
  • Lister: Ok, I've erased Agatha Christie novels from your memory, like you asked me to.
    Holly: Who's she? Why did you do that?
  • Lister: Oh come on Rimmer, your trousers were so short that when you crossed your legs you could see your knees!
  • Rimmer: Love is a device invented by bank managers to make us overdrawn.
    Lister: (sadly) Rimmerrrrr... love is (pause, thinks) love is what makes us different from animals.
    Rimmer: No, Lister, what makes us different from animals is we don't use our tongues to clean our own genitals.
  • Cat: Hey, this has been a good day. I've eaten five times, I've slept six times, and I've made a lot of things mine. Tomorrow, I'm gonna see if I can't have sex with something.
  • Cat: [sings] S-E-X, you know I want it! S-E-X, I'm gonna get it! Yeah! [Cat finds Lister unconscious on the floor.] S-E-X, I think I found it!
  • Rimmer: (Looking at the medicomp) That's odd, Lister. According to this reading, you're clinically dead.
  • Rimmer: [The Mayor of Warsaw had appeared then spontaneously combusted] It's going to be one of those days.
  • Paranoia: Did you know Lister used to practice snogging on his own hand?
    Rimmer: I like this guy.
  • Rimmer: Now! Quick! Stab him! Stab him! Stab him! STAB HIM! Ah, you haven't met Stabbim, he's one of our skutters. Stabbim, meet Lister's Paranoia, Lister's Paranoia, this is Stabbim.
  • Lister: What have you done with Paranoia?
    Confidence: [half-singing] I killed him, cha-cha-cha.
    Lister: What do you mean 'You killed him, cha-cha-cha'?!!
  • Confidence Oxygen is for losers. Let me show you. [Takes off his space suit helmet and explodes]


  • The episode contains the first mention of Dream Recorders; these would become significant in the Series II episode "Parallel Universe", where a one-off joke would transform into the "Tongue Tied" music video.
  • Rimmer reveals that he was part of the "Love Celibacy Society" because he believed "their philosophy that love is a sickness, holds back your career and takes all your money"; but Lister says it was because he couldn't get a date. Rimmer would later fall in love with Nirvanah Crane on-board the Holoship where love is also seen as something primitive.
  • Inside the spacesuit, Lister mentions his claustrophobia. This would be mentioned again in the Xpress Lifts, and would became a major plot point in the Series VII episode "Duct Soup".
  • To relieve his boredom, Holly deletes his memory banks of all of Agatha Christie's novels and then gets intensely involved with rereading Hercule Poirot novels; he mentions a mystery that he is reading which features Poirot getting off a train and Holly speculating that "they all did it" (although this cannot be accurate as the only Poirot novel where all suspects were guilty- Murder on the Orient Express- never features Poirot getting off the train after the crime).


  • When Lister is about to activate Kristine Kochanski's hologram disc in the Drive Room, her name is written on the box. Her first initial is incorrectly labelled as a "C" instead of a "K".
    This is perhaps referenced in the Series VII episode "Duct Soup", when Lister and Kochanski give Kryten a pendant with his name inscribed in the wrong way, similarly with a "C" instead of a "K".
  • Despite the fact that Lister and his Confidence were in outer space to recover the Hologram disks, they don't seem to be experiencing zero gravity. The only instance of "zero gravity" shown is a shot of Lister jumping the barrier in an effort to evade Confidence which was edited in slow motion.
    This is maybe not a goof. It is possible that whatever generates artificial gravity aboard Red Dwarf also works on the walkways along the outer hull. It is possible that the artificial gravity "stops" just past the hull, and is why Lister enters "slow-motion" when jumping the barriers further out.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.