Tongue Tied

Officer Rimmer is the fourth episode in Series XI, and the sixty-fifth overall episode of Red Dwarf. It was first released on 7 October 2016 on UKTV Play and first aired 13 October 2016 on Dave.


After a scandalous piece of good fortune, Arnold Rimmer saves the life of a bio-printed Space Corps Captain and is promoted, fulfilling his life-long dream of becoming an officer. He immediately opens a new Officer's Club, which is out of bounds to the lower orders, and uses the bio-printer to fill it with versions of himself.[1]


Whilst the Dwarfers are cruising in Starbug, Lister falls asleep at the controls and has a bizarre dream about flying with a woman named Inga and a giraffe called Gerald. Kryten offers some Freudian interpretation of the dream, suggesting that flying dreams represent sexual frustration. Rimmer disagrees, since he always dreams of being sat in a Boeing 727 which can't take off, and as he accidentally explodes bags of nuts.

Suddenly, the navicomp detects a nearby unmanned scout vessel, SS Nautilus. Nautilus has a burnt out engine, is carrying veranium - explosive nuclear waste - and is dangerously drifting into a class C asteroid storm. Aboard Nautilus, a bio-printer blinks on, and in an emergency automated procedure begins printing out a copy of the long dead captain, Edwin Herring. However, the ancient and faulty machine temporarily jams, resulting in a badly deformed copy of the captain - with his head elongated, and his face on the top of his head.


Captain Herring's faulty bio-printed clone hails Starbug

Captain Herring hails Starbug, requesting assistance, explaining that all the droids aboard the Nautilus have already jumped ship with the escape pods. After a brief exchange of dialogue in which Herring is unable to see the Dwarfers, Rimmer annoys Herring with his unhelpful suggestions, but gives his name as Lister when Herring asks for it.


Rimmer accidentally saves SS Nautilus instead of destroying it

Kryten deduces that if Nautilus explodes in its current position, then Starbug will be safe - but if it drifts any closer and explodes, then Starbug will be caught in the explosion too. Panicking, Rimmer launches a mining torpedo at Nautilus to destroy it, thinking it is the only option to save Starbug (and, more importantly, himself). However, in a completely chance occurrence, the torpedo hits a stray asteroid first, throwing it slightly off course. The torpedo detonates destroying only one of the wings of Nautilus yet leaving it intact, and knocking the ship away from the asteroid storm and danger.

Herring hails the 'bug, thanking them for a "ballsy, genius" maneuver, with of course Rimmer taking full credit. When Herring asks for Rimmer's rank, he gives it as second technician. However, Herring says that he intends to promote Rimmer to full officer in reward for his bold tactics, and sends over the authorization. The other Dwarfers are horrified.

The Dwarfers go back to Red Dwarf, and prepare to swing by and pick up Herring, whose ship is some eight hours away. In the Science Room Rimmer begins making a to-do list of everything he will do as an officer, beginning with an accolade - as per Protocol 712 - which he tells Kryten he wants to be held in the "Hall of Heroes" with a six gun salute, and an hour long tribute to himself. Secondly, Rimmer wants to instigate a new "class system" beginning with a new, elegant and stylish Officer's Club on D Deck, which will be off-limits to everyone else except himself. Kryten asks Rimmer how he feels about about achieving his promotion through gross deception, although Rimmer feels no guilt about it.

In the sleeping quarters, Lister and Cat are trying to watch some of their television programmes - but find they cannot. Zero Gravity Football is now an "officer only" channel. The only channels they can access are the knitting channel, Amish MTV, and the premier league of croquet, and they decide to watch a "grudge match" in the latter while eating hot dogs. Rimmer interrupts the "lower orders" to go and meet Captain Herring as he enters Red Dwarf at the Landing Bay on B Deck.


Rimmer thoroughly enjoying his new position

Lister and Cat find that their elevator is extremely dilapidated and grimy, with faulty doors and the artificial intelligence somehow even ruder than normal, and the high heat causes Cat's hair to lose volume, height and bounce. Meanwhile, Rimmer sits in a new and luxurious "officers elevator", with air conditioning, classical music and champagne, whilst Kryten waits on him with face spray and hot towels. As Lister, Kryten and Cat walk to the meeting on B Deck, Rimmer goes by in a new "officers corridor" that he has had the skutters refurbish with moving floors so that Rimmer does not have to walk.

When Herring comes aboard, he touches Lister's face, telling him that he can tell Lister is "no good" just by feeling him. He turns to Rimmer and tells him that he was too hasty in promoting him to officer - and instead is promoting him even higher, to that of first flight lieutenant. An elated Rimmer tells Herring that the skutters are unloading the cargo from Nautilus, although the ship itself is done for. Herring exclaims that means his mission is now complete, and his cloned body suddenly collapses into a heap of gooey synthi-cells. Cat sadly exclaims that they now have no way of getting Rimmer demoted.

As Rimmer plans his new Officer's Club, he tells Kryten that he intends to use the bio-printer to create copies of the crew of Nautilus and fill out his officer's club, but only those who rank below him, so he can order them about. Kryten goes down to the bio-printer to find Lister and Cat looking through its database, with the intention of finding someone they could print who could demote Rimmer. As they look, they find Lister's genome in the database - apparently, Lister had sold his genetic make-up in his youth to his mate "dodgy" for 100 and half a packet of cigarettes. Lister then realises that "all those smart-arse Scousers in call centers" are actually copies of himself.

Officer club planning

Rimmer in JMC Admiral's uniform planning out his new Officer's Club with Kryten and the skutters

Although Kryten is programmed to obey Rimmer's orders, much to his own distaste, he is not adverse to telling Lister how to erase the bio-printer's genome database, so that Rimmer cannot undertake his plan. However, Rimmer is still determined to have a new crew to command, and so Rimmer decides that he will make fifty copies of himself - his own mind is on file in the Hologram Simulation Suite, and his genetic material is still on his old belongings. Kryten reminds him that in the past he has not got on well with copies of himself, although Rimmer tells Kryten that they will be officers and duty bound, and as flight lieutenant himself, they will have to do what he says. Rimmer orders Kryten to hide the bio-printer from Lister and the Cat, and get to work on his plan.


The Rimmer barbershop quarter

Soon after, a mortified Lister and Cat come across of dozens of Rimmer clones heading down to D Deck, and decide to follow them. Arriving at Rimmer's new Officer's Club, with the original acting as doorman (and wearing a JMC Admiral's uniform), they discover numerous Rimmers having a party, with their own maître d' and singing barbershop quartet of Rimmers. Deciding he has had enough, Lister barges his way past despite "not being on the list", and begins looking for the bio-printer in the club.

Frustrated, Rimmer runs away and orders Kryten to print four more Rimmers to act as bouncers on the door at his new club, requesting that they must be "huge, muscular and brave Rimmers". Kryten says that this will take the bio-printer some time to do the adjustments. Rimmer gets impatient, and continually hits the machine and jabs at the buttons. The machine jams as it feeds through the synthi-cells, and Rimmer and Kryten pull at the feet which have emerged - only to realise that the new clones have been horribly fused together into a Rimmer monstrosity as they pull it from the printer. Rimmer and Kryten then flee in fear, with Kryten using the stairs, and Rimmer using one of the dilapidated elevators he had reserved for Lister and Cat.

Lister, Kryten, and Cat gather in the Science Room, and watch a visual representation of the ship supervision field. From this they realise that the newly-formed Rimmer Monster is stalking all the other Rimmer clones around the ship, cornering them and them absorbing them into it's mass, becoming larger, stronger and more deranged as it does. Kryten has theorises that the Rimmer Monster has amalgamated all of the original Rimmer's lust for power, impatience, insecurities, stupidity, greed and arrogance, magnified dozens of times. The crew go on to find the original Rimmer, who has been trapped inside his own "officer's corridor", and force him to relinquish his position and become a second tech again before they free him. With the Rimmer Monster fast approaching, he is very begrudgingly forced to accept.


The Rimmer Monster: "We always have a pen"

Lister comes up with a plan to kill the Rimmer Monster, using the original Rimmer as bait, pushing him back out into the corridor and sealing the door after fetching some bazookoids. As the original (and now also last) Rimmer is cornered by the creature and about to be absorbed by it, the others appear behind it. Lister shouts after the creature, asking it what it will do once it has absorbed the final Rimmer. The monster says that it is not sure, and Lister chides it for not making a to-do-list or having a pen. Dozens of hands then go up holding pens, and dozens of Rimmer voices say "we always have a pen", and the monster begins writing its list. All this gains the original Rimmer enough time to slip by and out of danger without being noticed as the monster is distracted. Lister tells the monster to put the next thing on the to-do list as "dying". The episode ends as the Dwarfers begin to open fire with the bazookoids.

Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]

Deleted Scenes[]

  • Lister and Cat are relaxing in Lister's sleeping quarters and watching recordings of old Earth television programs. After bringing out tequila slammers and making a mountain of popcorn which has filled a microwave, Cat refuses to indulge, saying that he will wait for Lister to make the candy floss in the tumble dryer. Lister shows Cat one of his favourites - a cheesy Turkish game show. Lister cannot speak Turkish, but he has remembered all the dialogue phonetically from watching it when he can't sleep. Rimmer enters, bidding them good morning and asking if Lister has forgotten anything, to which Lister replies yes - limes for his tequila. Rimmer asks him about his watch - and Lister says that he has found it under his bunk. Rimmer says that he means Lister's duty watch, 1900 hours last night, he was supposed to be on watch. Lister says he forgot because he lost his watch under the bunk. Rimmer says that Lister only had one major task to carry out - the ramscoop conversion engine MOT, which has not been done before. Lister replies that nobody had told him, and that he is not psychic.


  • The fact that the hologram Rimmer was able to use ancient genetic material from his old body to clone biological copies of himself represents a possible continuity error. In the Series IV episode "D.N.A.", Rimmer tried to do exactly the same thing with the DNA Ship, but all he was able to find from his old body on the whole of Red Dwarf was an old piece of dandruff. Cat accidentally sneezed that away, so Rimmer could not use it.
    • However, since that time Rimmer was resurrected by the Nanobots in "Back in the Red I"; while he appears to have died since that time, it may be that his death on this occasion left a greater amount of biological matter that he could use for this purpose.
  • When Kryten advises against Rimmer's plan to bio-print copies of himself, he states that history has shown that Rimmer interacting with himself is a very bad mix, a reference to either "Me²", where Rimmer tricked Lister into activating a copy of his own holographic disk, "Dimension Jump" where Rimmer got along badly with the original Ace Rimmer, or "Rimmerworld", where he created an entire civilization by cloning himself.
    • This event is more likely a reference to Rimmerworld, as Me² happened in the last episode of series I, just one episode before Lister, Rimmer, and Cat find Kryten on Nova 5.
  • As well as having similarities to "Me²" and "Rimmerworld", this episode also has similarities to "Quarantine" - another episode where Rimmer uses his authority over the other Dwarfers to try and make their lives miserable.

The Pac-Man spoof

  • The visual representation of the Rimmer Monster chasing and consuming the other bio-printed Rimmers through the ship resembles the video game Pac-Man, although it also bears some similarities to the original Castle Wolfenstein, especially in how it renders people.

Background Information[]


Ray Peacock on the sleeping quarters set of this episode

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Noteworthy Dialogue[]

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External Links[]