Tongue Tied

Rimmerworld is the fifth episode in Series VI of Red Dwarf.

It is the thirty-fifth episode overall. It first aired 4 November 1993 on BBC2.


Arnold Rimmer is stranded on a deserted planet alone for six hundred years after falling through a wormhole. When the rest of the crew comes to rescue him, they find the planet has been completely taken over by Rimmer clones!


After getting a medical and finding out that Rimmer is suffering from a stress related nervous disorder, which his family have a history of (in a deleted scene, he remarks that there's only been three blood vessels that haven't exploded at some point), he is given some Chinese worry balls from Kryten to help him cope if distressed. Kryten warns that, although rare, it is possible for a hologram to die, and his T-count (the hologram equivalent of blood sugar) is through the roof. Kryten suggests using the Chinese worry balls, spending more time in his hard-light form, and doing some exercise.

Meanwhile, Starbug is running dangerously low on supplies, forcing Lister and Cat to survive on disgusting fungi scraped off asteroids. Starbug arrives at the wreck of the Simulant Battle Cruiser they crippled with the laser cannons a couple of weeks before (during the events "Gunmen of the Apocalypse") to board it for supplies, which include large stocks of food and much needed fuel. Rimmer is wary that some of the Simulants may have survived, but Lister tells him that they need to since Starbug will be out of power in a day if they don't find any fuel on-board, since the main fuel tank was punctured when they landed on the Kinitawowi moon (in "Emohawk"). Rimmer nearly has a panic attack.

Starbug docking with the wreck of the Simulant Battle Cruiser

Once in the wrecked Simulant ship, they are told by Lister that they can't fire their bazookoids and that they are there for psychological reasons only since a loud noise could destabilize structural integrity and destroy the ship. After some exploring they find a teleporter and use it to teleport any supplies they can find to back to Starbug, before they are then held at gunpoint by a surviving simulant, where even offers of a date by Lister fail to lower her guard. Rimmer is spotted by the group behind the simulant and Lister shouts out coded messages to him, trying to convince him to ambush the simulant. Although he initially seems to be doing so, he spots an escape pod and decides to save himself instead. However launching the pod triggers the destruction of the ship, which does take out the simulant but forces the others to escape with the improperly calibrated teleporter. Before it sends them back to Starbug it sends them to Starbug at a time before they encountered the simulant ship. After dealing with this rude breach of temporal continuity, they proceeded to track the escape pod.

Rimmer's pod entering the wormhole

Rimmer launches the Eco-Accelerator Rockets, beginning his own planet...

They learn that it was looted from a colonization seeding ship that was programmed to find a planet with a breathable atmosphere. Initially it could only find one that is a year and a half away but then it later finds a nearer one through a wormhole, which is only a few hours away. Unfortunately due to the time dilation effect (or reverse time dilation effect as time moves faster rather than slower), Rimmer has to wait six hundred years for the others to reach him. While he waits for the others to arrive, Rimmer finds himself on a desert planet, then he fires Eco-Accelerator Rockets from the pod to rapidly terraform the planet into something with more inhabitable and rich in plant life.

Stranded for six hundred years, Rimmer creates a clone of himself for company...

Once formed after six days of storms, he names the planet "Rimmerworld" and then tries to create a fully grown female clone using his own DNA as a template, based on genetic engineering tools and manuals in the pod. He realises that the clone would technically be his sister and wouldn't be able to take him as her lover... however he quickly gets over the ethical conundrum by simply deciding to not tell her. Unfortunately he makes an exact clone of himself but then decides to try it again...

"Halt the abomination!"

"Let The Great One judge them..."

The Great One's concubines...

Rimmer's home for 557 years

When Starbug lands on "Rimmerworld", Cat, Kryten and Lister are ambushed by clones of Rimmer dressed as Roman soldiers, who refer to them as "travesties" and are shocked that they "dare to address a norm using that face." They are then taken to the "great one", who is a clone of Rimmer who wears the "H" as a symbol of power. Thereafter they are charged with "gross deviancy", as not looking like "the true image" they show behaviour freakish by the clone's standards such as charm, bravery, compassion and honour while appearing to lack any signs of normality such as cowardice, pomposity, snideness, smarm, double-dealing two-facedness and attempting to sell each other out for their own freedom. After asking for the original "true" Rimmer, they are sentenced to death and taken to a cell where the original Rimmer rots (after so long, he believes his crewmates are 'Derick Custer', 'Kit' and 'Titan'). Over this time he has ground the Chinese worry balls into Chinese worry ball-bearings. He reveals that he has been locked in there by his clones for 557 years after they overthrew him and realised they couldn't damage his hard light drive. He then explains that the smallest physical flaw results in banishment from society and behaviour "un-Rimmer like" is punished by death, much to Kryten's shock at their lack of respect for needed genetic diversity.

Once Rimmer finishes explaining all of this, Lister comes up with a complex and multi-staged escape plan, only for Kryten to suggest using the teleporter. His more ambitious plan obviously redundant they activate the device, which appears to be a portable unit of the larger one. This time it sends them to Starbug in the future, apparently "weeks" after they visited "Rimmerworld". Here they learn that something hideous will happen to Lister, Kryten sends them back to the present before anything else can be learned.

Deleted Scenes

Available on the Series VI DVD:

Extended scene of Rimmer's medical

  • During Arnold Rimmer's medical examination he discusses with Kryten what became of his apparently-successful brothers, John, Frank and Howard Rimmer. Arnold tells Kryten that, in his family, "they were taught to be winners. Four boys. Every morning, three breakfasts. You learn pretty darn quickly that losers don't eat. I've still got the fork marks to prove it." Kryten says that it sounds more like "Charles Manson: The Early Years". Arnold says that "three out of those four Rimmer boys became the cream of the Space Corps. Seventy-five percent hit rate, you can't knock it." Kryten then reminds Arnold that all his brothers went insane, and that they destroyed the craft that they were commanding, and killed the entire crews (ironically something Arnold himself did, albeit accidentally, aboard Red Dwarf. Kryten also did this aboard Nova 5.) Arnold says "that's a bit personal, isn't it?"
    • The Dwarfers would later meet Arnold's brother Howard in the Series X episode, "Trojan". Howard is a hard-light hologram like his brother. When Howard is encountered, he claims to be the captain aboard Columbus 3 which he said he has been attacked by Simulants, killing everybody aboard except Sim Crawford. It is heavily implied that it was Sim Crawford who killed the crew, not Howard. Later, Howard gives up the ultimate sacrifice, and in his dying moments admits he is just a Vending Machine repairman like Arnold. For his heroic actions, the JMC on-board computer decides to award Howard the highest honours - the Platinum Star of Fortitude, and suggests renaming Red Dwarf after Howard, much to Arnold's resentment.
  • A second and shorter extension of Rimmer's medical examination, with Rimmer talking more about the poor health in his family history, due to anxiety, stress, heart and blood pressure problems.
  • An extension of the scene where Lister tries to talk down the female Simulant Lieutenant at gunpoint aboard the wreck of the simulant ship, giving veiled requests to Rimmer for help as Rimmer is silently sneaking to the escape pod behind her. As Rimmer struggles to open the escape pod door, the Simulant Lieutenant makes it clear to Lister that isn't going to let them them live, before Rimmer gets out and starts off a shipquake and some girders fall on her. Before she dies the Simulant Lieutenant says that her shipmates "burned alive in hideous agony", after Lister says that "all we've been through, doesn't that mean anything to you?"
  • An extension of the scene where Lister, Kryten and Cat accidentally warp a week into the past with the teleporter. Perhaps as a reference the fact that Cat's wardrobe budget had been cut for Series VI, meaning a lesser amount of costumes for Cat to wear, Cat is embarrassed to be in a room with another version of himself as they are both wearing the same outfit.
  • Rimmer begins a personal journal or log when he first arrives on what will become Rimmerworld. The first entry was shown but trimmed down substantially for the aired episode. The full transcript of this is:
    • "This is the personal log of Space Corps hologram Arnold J Rimmer, formerly of the Jupiter Mining Corporation vessel Red Dwarf. Day 1. After landing, I ventured forth to explore the place I would be calling home for the next two thirds of a millennia. A desert planet; the only life-forms the most basic single-celled protozoa and me. Relationships would be difficult, but not impossible. I remembered the story of Alexander the Great; how when he heard that there were no more worlds left to conquer, he broke down and wept. It gave me strength. I thought, If it's OK for Big Al to cry, then it's OK for me."
      Rimmer is shown, on his knees, sobbing uncontrollably.
      "I sobbed like a child for nearly two hours. Afterwards, I felt strengthened and resolute. And decided to commit suicide immediately. But how? After much thought, I elected to shoot myself through the head with a flare gun. The attempt failed. When my sanity finally returned, I repaired to the pod to appraise the supply situation..."
  • A more 'dramatic' introduction for Lister, Kryten and Cat into the ruler's throne room. They are led in by the Rimmer-Centurions, and a crier demands silence for His Most Excellent Majesty's entry. Lister sniggers, to which one of the Rimmer-Centurions demands at spear-point that Lister "stand to attention, mutant scum, while they play the anthem!" The "anthem" is in fact a terribly cheesy Hammond Organ fanfare as The Great One is enters with his Rimmer-Concubines. The Rimmer-Centurion behind Lister does the Rimmer Salute as his king takes his seat at the throne.
  • The aired ending to "Rimmerworld" has the Dwarfers accidentally teleporting into the future, where Lister is apparently missing, and future-Rimmer says that something terrible has happened to him. Present-Kryten then beams the others out so as to not know any more of their future. It was kept like this as the writers believed that it would work as a clever teaser for Lister's apparent 'brain-in-a-jar' fate in the next episode. The original ending to "Rimmerworld" had Lister emerging from the toilet just after their past selves beam back out, and Kryten calling Rimmer slime for the prank.


  • This episode was filmed before "Gunmen of the Apocalypse" which is ironic given that in many ways it is a direct sequel to the events of that episode. It is also a direct followup to "Emohawk" as the piece of equipment featured in that episode is mentioned as having now broken down.
  • It is one of the only episodes in the series to give a firm indication as to how much time has elapsed between episodes, as Lister states that the destruction of the Simulant ship occurred "a couple of weeks ago", meaning the events of "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", "Emohawk: Polymorph II" and now "Rimmerworld" occurred (for Lister, Cat and Kryten, at any rate) within a timeframe of only a few weeks. By comparison, there are episodes in earlier seasons that can be interpreted as suggesting months may have passed between episodes.
  • The original ending features future Lister returning from the bathroom after the past crew leave, asking what were those voices, though this idea was scrapped when the production crew realized that it would make nice foreshadowing for the events of "Out of Time"
  • The ability of the teleporter to travel in time would seem to add some interesting continuity problems with "Out of Time", particularly noting that the teleporter apparently can move through space and time. Though it is likely that its range in both cases is quite limited and thus it is not much of competitor with the time drive in terms of temporal travel (the time travel aspect is more unstable as they can return to the present easily enough, but control over when in the past or the future they travel to is the unstable part).
  • In a deleted scene it is revealed that Rimmer's brothers all suffered psychotic breakdowns. So while he was the least successful he was the most stable. This is supported in the episode as broadcast by the fact Rimmer appears to almost instantly recover from his nearly 600 years of incarceration.
  • This is the last episode until "Entangled" in Series X that Rimmer is shown in soft light form as he is in hard light for all of Series VII and is a human (a copy of the original prior to the events that followed from the Cadmium 2 leak) for all of Series VIII.

Noteworthy Dialogue

  • Kryten: Grind those balls Sir, grind them!
  • Lister: As ruthless, deranged killing machines go... you're a bit of a babe. What are you doing tonight?
    Simulant Lieutenant: Dying, care to join me?
  • Kryten: We could slow Mr Rimmer's escape pod down with a blast from the laser cannons.
    Cat: Form an orderly queue behind the gun sight!
  • Cat: All in all, one hundred percent successful trip!
    Kryten: But sir, we've lost Mr Rimmer.
    Cat: All in all, one hundred percent successful trip!
  • Rimmer: ...My own Jane in my own Garden of Eden. Technically, she would be my sister, and therefore unable to take me as her lover. After much soul searching, I decided... what the hell. I just wouldn't tell her.

Background Information

Any behind the scenes information or any other information that doesn't fit in the other categories.

Guest Stars