Tongue Tied

Queeg is the fifth episode in Series II of Red Dwarf, and the eleventh episode overall. It first aired 4 October 1988 on BBC2.


A maniacal backup computer replaces Holly and takes over Red Dwarf.


"Oh, that's what it was, I remember now. A meteor is about to hit the ship..."
- Holly

Holly (Norman Lovett) addresses the crew in the sleeping quarters, but forgets what he was going to say. Arnold Rimmer continues playing checkers with a skutter, to whom Rimmer is technically losing but biding his time until the shutter has to go back on duty. In an instant, a dull red light shines through the porthole, the lighting goes down, and the whole ship shakes under a tremendous impact. The sleeping quarters are thrown into disarray, and the gang are thrown from their from the bunks to the floor. Holly now remembers what he had meant to say - to warn the crew to brace themselves since the ship was about to be hit by a meteor.

Rimmer's (Chris Barrie) legs start going walkabouts on their own and Holly asks Lister (Craig Charles) to go down to the Hologram Simulation Suite on Floor 592, where the meteor hit, to repair the damage. Rimmer's hologram continues to glitch and he begins impersonating the dead members of the crew, such as Brannigan, the ship's psychologist. He then impersonates Lister, Holly and Cat. However, following Holly's advice, Lister connects the wrong cables and causes an explosion which makes him fly over the consoles, and almost kills him.

Holly's increasing mistakes start to irritate the crew; after all he's supposed to have an IQ of 6,000. After complaining about Holly's stewardship, a mysterious face appears on the monitor screen where Holly's face is usually seen. Rimmer thinks it's aliens, but he introduces himself as Queeg 500, the Red Dwarf back-up computer. According to Queeg he is to replace Holly for gross negligence leading to the endangerment of personnel, as per Space Corps Directives. He makes certain claims about Holly, such as his IQ is not 6,000 but a paltry 6, and that he gets his information from a children's space encyclopaedia. Queeg assumes control of the ship. Holly is removed from the mainframe, and instead placed into a mobile monitor on tracks and demoted to night-watchman duties.

The crew, initially pleased at the efficiency of their new ship's computer, soon grows dissatisfied, as Queeg requires them to work hard and follow the Company's regulations to the letter, which requires Rimmer to do exercises whether he's conscious or not, as well as revise and be tested as the company is paying for his hologrammatic survival. Lister and Cat are refused food from the Vending Machines unless they work all day, and even then they only get a slice of dry toast and a pea each day. Lister sees Holly and bemoans their situation, but Holly is still upset how no one defended him. Holly suddenly has an idea on how he can take over the ship again. Rimmer and Lister argue about the concept of friendship and loyalty, feeling guilty about their treatment of Holly.

Holly, prevailed upon by the crew to return, challenges Queeg to a game to determine which of them will run Red Dwarf and which one will be erased. Queeg chooses chess, despite Holly's numerous alternative games. The game is tense, especially as Holly seems to get it confused with poker. Queeg wins easily, and declares that Holly is to be wiped completely from the ship's systems.

The crew are devastated about Holly's departure. Holly comes on screen and says his goodbyes to Lister, Rimmer, and Cat, wishing them that all their desires come true, and raise a glass to him next time they're at the disco. He also gives the answer to a maths question from ages ago. He slowly disappears from the screen, poignantly going out on a song.

However moments later, Queeg appears on screen, snarling "there's only one thing I have to say to you suckers...alright dudes?" Queeg's face changes to Holly's and, to the crew's extreme surprise and exasperation, he explains that Queeg never existed - Holly was Queeg all the time. He smugly declares that he has played the "jape of the decade" and an "April, May, June, July and August fool". He reveals that it was all merely an elaborate prank, and to make the point that they should appreciate what they have and not take him for granted, because, as Holly puts it, "I'm fantastic."

Deleted Scenes

Available on the Series II DVD:

  • An extended sequence of a malfunctioning Rimmer impersonating many more of the dead Red Dwarf crew outside the Hologram Simulation Suite. Whilst Rimmer begs for help his voice and actions imitate Holly (saying that he is mad); Captain Hollister (asking Lister for his cat); a deep-voiced Scottish man; a Brummie (Birmingham accent); a begging and praying animated Italian man; and a woman with a high-pitched London accent.
  • The full length '6am wake-up call' discussion between Rimmer and Queeg was cut for time.

Guest Actors


  • This is the last episode of Red Dwarf to feature the original opening titles.
  • This is the first episode in which Chris Barrie, a skilled impressionist, is given a chance to impersonate other members of the cast. His impersonation of Craig Charles is particularly accurate. He later put these skills to use when he recorded audio book versions of some of the Red Dwarf novels.
  • Lister mentions seeing "Inflatable Ingrid" behind Rimmer's back. This is the first reference to Rimmer's sex doll, a recurring gag throughout the television series (although later episodes would refer to it as 'Rachael').
  • According to Queeg, it has been eighteen months since Red Dwarf turned around and set a course for Earth, and in fact during this time the inept Holly has been taking the ship around in circles.
  • The explosion which nearly kills Lister in the Hologram Simulation Suite is possibly the same explosion Rimmer previously saw a future echo of in "Future Echoes", although that vision took place in the Drive Room it appears identical and hasn't occurred again (yet).
  • Holly's computer senility will later come to a head in the Series IV episode, "White Hole" (where she can't count without banging her head on the screen).
  • In Back to Earth, there appears to be a similar clause regarding holograms that requires a replacement if the current one has committed acts of gross negligence leading to endangerment of personnel.

Background Information

  • Craig Charles performed his own stunts in this episode where Lister is thrown from his bunk as the ship is hit by a meteor, and then when he flies over the console in the explosion.[1]
  • This is the final episode to feature the opening sequence of Lister painting the hull accompanied by a sombre rendition of the theme tune, and the last one to feature Holly's opening monologue explaining the premise and making a joke afterwards, due to "Parallel Universe", the episode that follows, replacing the opening credit sequence with a musical number.

Noteworthy Dialogue

  • Holly: Our biggest enemy is going space crazy through loneliness. The only thing that helps me maintain my slender grip on reality is the friendship I share with my collection of singing potatoes.
  • Rimmer: You are a total, total...a word has yet to be invented to describe how totally...whatever it is you are, but you are one, and a total, total one at that!
    Holly: Alright, keep your hair on.
    Rimmer: I'm lucky if I can keep my legs on with you in charge.
  • Lister: Is there any damage?
    Holly: I dunno the damage report machine has been damaged.
  • Holly: Yeah, right on!
  • Queeg: Is THAT what he told you? It has a six in it, but it's NOT six thousand.
    Lister: Well what is it then?
    Queeg: Six.
    Holly: Do me a lemon, that's a poor IQ for a glass of water.
  • Holly: We are talking Jape of the Decade! We are talking April, May, June, July, AND August fool! That's right: I am Queeg.
  • Holly: And the moral of the story is appreciate what you've got, because basically, I'm fantastic.

Remastered Differences

  • When Rimmer is first woken up at 6:00, his line "Off!" is different compared to the original version of the scene.


On the Internet Movie Database, "Queeg" has a weighted average rating of 8.8 out of 10. Out of the 73 total episodes in Red Dwarf, this rating places it 5th highest rated out of the 73.[2]

In late 2017, prominent fan site Ganymede & Titan ran the Pearl Poll from among hundreds of fans. The aim of the Pearl Poll was to produce a 'definitive' list of all 73 episodes of Red Dwarf in order of their popularity. In February 2018 the list was published, and "Queeg" was voted 5th out of the 73 episodes.[3]