Tongue Tied

Tikka to Ride is the first episode in Series VII of Red Dwarf.

It is the thirty-seventh episode overall. It first aired 17 January 1997 on BBC2.

"Tikka to Ride" features the last adventure of Arnold Rimmer, or at least the original version of Rimmer, as one of the Boys from the Dwarf before he leaves for the series in the next episode. This due to actor Chris Barrie wanting a lessened role in Series VII (although later episodes of Series VII would feature Rimmer in flashbacks, dreams and virtual reality simulations. Rimmer would return proper in the next series, resurrected by the nanobots).

"Tikka to Ride" was originally to have been followed by "Identity Within", but this was changed to "Stoke Me a Clipper" instead, wherein Rimmer leaves to become Ace Rimmer.


While attempting to travel back in time to stock up on curry, Dave Lister accidentally prevents the assassination of John F. Kennedy.


Lister sets up a camcorder and decides to record life on board Starbug, his increasing maturity (he hasn't tried to urinate on Rimmer from the B Deck gantry since Friday), and especially the Dwarfer's battle with their future selves in the previous episode.

Lister explains that the evil future selves of Lister, Rimmer, Future Kryten and Future Cat killed their present versions and also destroyed the Time Drive. This however has the effect of erasing the future Dwarfers from existence, and since the future selves were erased from existence the present day one had no one to kill them. In the temporal chaos and reordering that followed dimensional anomalies have emerged to cope with the paradox, such as expanding the cargo deck of Starbug by 212%, among other areas, and the ventilation pipes are now like giant wind-tunnels. The ship is now larger, with many more personal quarters and other new rooms. This could be explained by a possible merger between elements of the much upgraded future Starbug with the present Starbug, with the resulting being much larger on the outside than on the inside. Unfortunately for the camcorder, it cannot handle the complex explanation of the time paradox and explodes. As Kryten reminds Lister, the machines just can't take it.

In the process of this temporal reordering however, all the supplies of the new B Deck (mainly curries, poppadoms and lager) were obliterated in a flood from the damaged water tank - there wasn't even any debris. Lister is completely devastated and mourns the loss. As the Dwarfers inspect the gigantic new ventilation tunnels in the rear of Starbug, Lister suggests they simply reacquire the Time Drive to allow him to go back in time and acquire more curry supplies, however everyone else refuses, having seen how immorally their future selves used it, and concerned about creating any more paradoxes. Determined to get his own way, Lister gets up in the middle of the night, removes Kryten's main head while he is off-line, and replaces it with Spare Head 2. Lister goes into the spare head and removes the guilt chip, removing all behaviour protocols so that Kryten will agree to Lister's plan.

The next morning, Kryten startles Rimmer and Cat with his behaviour as he has started smoking, drinking alcohol, cooking unhealthy food, using his groinal attachments to stir tea, and using phrases like "bet your ass". Kryten claims to have changed his mind about the Time Drive and dismisses any concerns of any time altering paradoxes.

The posse travel to the 28th-century wreck of the Gemini 12, now easily navigating through the unreality bubbles they had previously encountered, and they board the derelict and reacquire the Time Drive. The posse prepare to head back in time, with the planned course taking them to a Indian restaurant behind the J.M.C. building in London during Lister's original era.

Since Kryten's Spare Head 2 doesn't know how to properly operate the Time Drive, and Rimmer shows confusion as to why Kryten is suddenly unfamiliar with controls on the Time Drive remote, Kryten taps in the last recorded time coordinates. However, this brings therm to the previous jaunt of the Gemini 12 crew - the Dwarfers are brought to Dallas, Texas, United States of America, on the historic day of 22nd of November, 1963. Accidentally, they stop the assassination of the current United States President John F. Kennedy by knocking his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald off a 5th floor window of the Texas Book Repository.

The Dwarfers in an alternate 1966 on the brink of nuclear war, all due to Lister wanting a curry

To escape the FBI gunmen who think the Dwarfers had attempted to assassinate the President, Kryten jump forwards in time to 1966, where they find that Dallas is deserted. The crew find the body of Eric White, a man trampled to death in a stampede, and later a newspaper that allows Kryten to extrapolate what their influence on history has been. The consequences of this was that in 1964, John F. Kennedy was impeached when his legendary womanizing is discovered, resulting in the biggest scandal in that version of American history. He was sentenced to an open prison in July 1965, resulting in the mafia controlling the U.S. via their puppet president J. Edgar Hoover, blackmailing him with a picture of him at a transvestite orgy.

The Soviets were able to successfully install a nuclear base in Cuba, escalating the Cuban Missile Crisis and resulting in all major southern U.S. cities being deserted. As a result, Russia won the Space Race and the Soviets landed on the moon first, due to the U.S. being traumatized by Kennedy's impeachment. Thus the history of human space development changed, the Russians were probably the first to land on the moon, and subsequently neither Red Dwarf nor Starbug was ever built.

Kryten as it turns out knew something like this would happen all along, however because Lister removed his guilt, he didn't care enough to prevent it. Lister admits that Kryten is wearing Spare Head 2 without his guilt chip. Rimmer is disgusted and furious at Lister's actions and orders Kryten to find food for the night. While Cat and Lister are enjoying what they believe is chicken over a camp fire, Kryten confesses that it's actually the corpse of the man they found. Lister and Cat are revolted at accidentally becoming cannibals. Rimmer sniggers as Kryten explains because he has no behaviour protocols, he assumed that cannibalism is fine among humans. The time drive suddenly starts working again.

To fix this, the team realize that they must figure out how to re-assassinate President Kennedy. Their first attempt is to get Oswald to the sixth floor to prevent their earlier selves from knocking him off, but that results in the same effect, but a different cause due to the sixth floor not being a suitable vantage point for the shot. Lister finally gets an idea and uses the time drive to meet Kennedy while he is being imprisoned.

Lister explains to Kennedy about how in the true reality, he was seen as a great President, and, in order to restore his reputation in history, he must be killed. He persuades Kennedy to be the gunman on the grassy knoll (and create a scenario that will drive conspiracy theorist nuts). Kennedy reluctantly agrees, and taking position, shoots his younger self, and is clearly disturbed by his actions. He thanks the Dwarfers for giving him a chance to be reborn, and sadly disappears, correcting the timeline. History is restored... but Lister then bemoans that he never asked where he could get a curry. Seeing that Lister has learned nothing despite the hell he put them through, the others gang up on him and deliver a well-deserved savage beating.

Guest Stars

Tikka to Ride Xtended

An extended version of the episode entitled "Tikka to Ride Xtended" was produced in 1997 for the VHS releases, and is also available on the Series VII DVD. The 'Xtended Edition' presents the episode was originally intended. It is significantly longer than the aired episode, with some of the deleted scenes re-incorporated, new effects - including improved Starbug fly-bys (and the emptying of it's toilet into the rings of a planet) and the 'canon' appearance of the Gemini 12 - and the audience laugh track is optional.


Tikka to Ride Xtended Ending

Most notably for the 'Xtended Edition' of the episode, it has a different ending to the broadcast ending which continues after the assassination of JFK and the Dwarfers return to Starbug in their own time. The additional ending was filmed later than the rest of the episode, with Ed Bye and Doug Naylor recalling the cast for extra filming for it.[1]

In the rear section of Starbug, Rimmer and Kryten are testing the electrics, with Rimmer using Kryten as a makeshift volt-meter by ordering him to repeatedly put his hands into wall sockets. This fires Kryten's eyes across the room, which Rimmer then catches with a baseball glove. Lister interrupts to tell them he has realised what happened to all the curry supplies. Since their was no debris, it cannot have been the flood which destroyed the curry supplies - Lister uses the Time Drive to go back in time to just before the flood and recover the curries, beaming them into the cargo deck in the rear section of the present Starbug. Increasingly annoyed with Lister, Rimmer goads Lister into pulling a lever to see what it does. In his curiosity Lister pulls it, and an airlock slams down in front of him, separating him from Rimmer and Kryten. Magnetic locks then begin decoupling the rear section of the 'bug. Kryten is shocked, but Rimmer seems very happy and tells Kryten that it was deliberate and that he has been planning it for some time. The front section of the 'bug then ignites some small boosters and flies away as Rimmer waves at Lister from the porthole. Lister is ecstatic that he is sealed away alone with all the curry supplies, but as he begins eating, he begins to sink into sadness.[2]

Extended Ending Gallery

Deleted Scenes

  • The original introduction with Lister beginning his video journal, explaining how they were resurrected after the battle with their future selves, and Starbug is bigger, due to temporal paradoxes. This was originally filmed with Lister sat in the log-recorder suite and speaking into a computer monitor. Smoke begins to bellow out of it as he continues to explain, since the confused machine doesn't understand temporal paradoxes. Kryten warns Lister to stop, but he continues, before numerous fires start in the suite.
    • This was later re-shot for the broadcast episode to 'inject more energy' into the start of the new series and introduce the new set better. The opening to the aired episode is basically the same scene, but with Lister explaining it all into a portable video camera whilst he wanders Starbug, although the camera still explodes.
  • An extension to the scene where Kryten tells Lister that all the curry supplies have gone missing. Kryten offers to make Lister a pasta, to which Lister says he is "sick." Lister then further says that pasta is for people who have "table mats."
  • In the galley, Rimmer is painting his Napoleonic models and toy soldiers from his camphor wood chest. Lister and Kryten walk in with Lister bemoaning the fact there are no more curries, saying that they were his life, whilst he makes a pasta. Lister compares it to the end of the Renaissance although much worse. Lister tells them a story, to constant mocking from Rimmer, about the time he was on planet-leave on Orion. Lister says that he he drank a yard glass of vindaloo sauce and then went "on the pull" in a club called "The Crazy Astro", all for a bet (presumably with Olaf Petersen). He began dancing with a Space Corps nurse with buck teeth, but their tryst was cut short when Lister had to run to the bathroom. They couldn't close the club as they were waiting for Lister to finish, and he didn't get out until 7:00 in the morning. As Rimmer leaves the galley, Lister dunks Rimmer's soldiers in green paint, before starting to eat the green paint.
    • This scene was later re-shot inside the cockpit for the "Xtended" edition of the episode, with the intention of incorporating Cat into the scene. The cockpit version of this scene, different to the original take but retaining mostly the same dialogue, albeit without the toy soldiers, is included in the "Xtended" episode on the Series VII DVD.
  • An extension to the scene where the Dwarfers go back aboard the Gemini 12 once more to pick up the Time Drive, and Lister tells Kryten to take them to the Taj Mahal Tandoori Restaurant in London. As Spare Head 2 struggles to acquaint himself with the controls, Lister wonders if their space suits will be accepted attire.
  • Three removals from the crew's scenes in Dallas, 1963. The scenes were removed for reasons of quality, and were not restored for the "Xtended" edition. These include Cat asking the FBI not to shoot his suit, then changing his mind because he doesn't think it's fashionable anyway. Later, as they walk through the deserted streets of Dallas, Rimmer tells the others what a hero JFK was in his own reality. Lister says that Kryten's Spare Head 2 has 'the morality of a piranha. No, worse, a tabloid photographer'.


  • Starbug is larger than in the previous series, which Kryten explains is the result of their resurrection after the battle with their future selves. Anomalies from both dimensions have emerged to cope with the temporal paradox, enlarging the cargo bay and engineering decks of Starbug by 212%. Other areas have also had an upgrade, such as the AR suite.
  • This episode was originally to have been followed by "Identity Within", an episode revolving around Cat, but with Chris Barrie wanting a lessened role, the next episode would eventually be "Stoke Me a Clipper" to explain Rimmer's lessened role in Series VII.
  • As in Polymorph, with his ability to feel guilt at his reactions removed Kryten immediately turns into a sarcastic sociopath.
  • In the Series III episode "Timeslides", Kryten made a poorly received joke suggested that they go to Dallas in November 1963 to shout "duck!" while standing on the grassy knoll, clearly foreshadowing this episode.
  • The Dwarfers would return to a time-altered, dystopian USA in the Series XI episode "Twentica".

Background Information

  • Even though the previous series had ended on a cliffhanger, fans had been forced to wait three years for the resolution. This was due to a number of factors, which included Craig Charles being wrongly imprisoned on charges of rape, Chris Barrie making no secret of his desire to leave the show, and most notably Rob Grant deciding to leave the series, ending his and Doug Naylor's long-standing writing partnership. Naylor was left with the choice of either ending or continuing the series on his own. Although tempted to end it, he later agreed to write two more eight-episode series of the show, as this would allow the episode count to reach 52 and therefore be eligible for syndication. In 2008–2009 he also wrote a three-part special called Back to Earth, making the episode count reach 55.
  • Earlier scripts regarding Kryten with the Spare Head 2 would have had him wandering Starbug "naked" in Bermuda shorts, with his black plastic over-coating removed showing the flesh-colored underneath. This would go unrealised, since the pink rubber suit was a different shade to his face and hands, and they didn't have time to change it. Ironically, such a scene had been filmed for an earlier episode, but cut in the editing. The scene is in the deleted scenes of "Marooned".
  • "Tikka To Ride" ushered in new production values. The cinematic quality and filming of the new episodes meant that the studio audience was no longer viable (however the show was shown to an audience at a later date and their laughter was added). Also the special effects were increasing every series and the majority of the episodes were pre-recorded. One of Naylor's desires for a seventh series was the prospect of international syndication and a movie. This vision was helped with the return of Ed Bye to the director's chair, having previously left due to a scheduling clash with directing his wife Ruby Wax's new TV show at the time. He agreed to return to helm the seventh series, his first Red Dwarf episode since Series IV's "Meltdown".
  • Beginning with this episode and continuing for the remainder of Series VII, the look of Red Dwarf changes as the show, though still being videotaped, has been digitally reprocessed to look like film when broadcast (this would also be done with Doctor Who when it returned to TV in 2005).
  • The streets of Farnborough, just down from RAF Northolt, stood in for Dallas in 1963.[3] The recreation of the JFK assassination was so detailed and realised that creator Doug Naylor considered disregarding it in post-production, since he thought that people would assume they used actual footage of the event.[4]
  • The arrival of the seventh series was also promoted by the show making its first appearance of the front cover of the Radio Times.
  • This is also the first episode to not be produced in front of a live audience. To get authentic laughter response, the episodes of Series VII were shown to audiences and their laughter recorded, though some "director's cuts" that have been released to DVD omit the laughter track. This practice would be dropped for Series VIII, which was shot in front of a live audience again.

Noteworthy Dialogue

  • Lister: Kryten, what have I done man?
    Kryten: Well, you've brought the 20th century to the very brink of extinction, sir. Gum?
  • Kryten: But it seemed to me that if humanoids eat chicken then obviously they'd eat their own species; otherwise they'd just be picking on the chicken.
    Rimmer: One minute you're down, the next you're right back up again.
  • Lister: Well, come with us back to Dallas, November 1963, be a second gunman. The gunman behind the grassy knoll.
    Kennedy: You mean, assassinate myself?
    Lister: Yeah! It'll drive the conspiracy nuts crazy, but they'll never figure it out.
  • Lister: Smeg! I forgot to ask if there were any curry houses in Dallas. [Angry, the others then grab him, shove him down and give him a well-deserved beating]

Inconsistencies / Continuity Errors

  • At the start of the episode, Lister explains that the crew survived the previous cliffhanger because of a temporal paradox, which made it impossible for them to be killed by their future selves. However, later in the same episode, Kennedy is able to kill his younger self without creating the same paradox. There is no explanation of why there is one rule for the crew of Starbug and another for Kennedy.
    • As per the multi-dimension theory, time paradoxes are actually impossible, as every eventuality will be played out in different dimensions. Accordingly, the dimension where the future JFK came from (where JFK was impeached, the mafia ran Hoover, and the Soviets installed missile bases in Cuba) will still exist out there, albeit in another dimension. However, JFK's re-assassination in the Dwarfers' dimension reset the timeline to normal for them within their own reality. In essence, the "prime" dimension was restored to its previous state. It has been seen numerous times in the series (at least within Red Dwarf's own rules) that the future of one's own timeline can be altered, although it would also create the alternate dimension into existence. The same could be said for the earlier battle between the present Dwarfers and the future Dwarfers. The future Dwarfers will still exist in an alternate dimension, but for the present Dwarfers, their future selves no longer exist, at least in their own timeline. Perhaps relevantly, seconds before the final blast from the future-Starbug blew up present-Starbug, present-Rimmer blew up the Time Drive with a Bazookoid, erasing it all from happening for them and resetting the Dwarfers' timeline back to normal. This is made more clear in the extended ending to the previous episode, available for viewing on the Series VI DVD, where the Dwarfers are seen celebrating their resurrection and the erasing of their future selves from their own timeline.
  • In the previous episode it was made clear that the Time Drive was only a time drive and not a space and time drive, so the crew could travel forward or backward in time but were still stuck in Deep Space. It was not explained in "Tikka to Ride" how the time drive can suddenly transport them through space too.
    • One possible explanation is the anomalies. The battle with their future selves created the anomalies which enlarged and upgraded Starbug to be more like the future-Starbug. These same anomalies may also have altered the Time Drive (since elements of their resurrection including technology obtained by their future selves, and their future selves could travel through both time and space). Another explanation is that the Time Drive utilised components from the Teleporter obtained be the Dwarfers in the episode before that, "Rimmerworld". The Teleporter was shown to be able to travel anywhere in the universe, and could even be used for time travel, although it was unreliable for time travel. The Time Drive combined with the Teleporter would be such a device Kryten was talking about when he said they could any-where and any-when.
  • One would think that with the time drive being able to double as a faster-than-light drive, the crew from the Starbug fifteen years into the future could just as easily have traveled to any planet of their choosing and seek repairs there rather than risk corrupting their own timestream.
    • Where could the future Starbug have gotten repairs? Future Rimmer says himself that the Time Drive is one of a kind, and to repair it they needed "calibrations on the mass compactor" from the previous version of the Time Drive to repair their own, leaving them with the ability to only travel forwards in time. The Future Dwarfers jumped to a time and place they knew a fresh Time Drive would be - strait after they first acquired it. And, as shown, the future Dwarfers don't care much about corrupting the time-stream.
  • Why would the Dwarfers materialise at such a specific time and place, as right next to Lee Harvery Oswald when he's about to shoot?
    • The Time Drive was taken from the Gemini 12, a ship that came from the 28th century and was originally on a reconnaissance / observation mission to the 20th century. It it therefore likely that the original handlers of the Time Drive had those co-ordinates set in to observe the JFK assassination, and Kryten's spare head 2 did not put in he new co-ordinates (he was shown struggling with it since he had never used it before, and Lister told him to hurry up as to keep up the ruse).
  • The Dwarfers are still in Starbug chasing Red Dwarf, when they could travel back and prevent Red Dwarf from being hijacked by Kryten's nanobots.
    • At this point, they didn't know who had taken Red Dwarf, or even whereabouts Red Dwarf had been stolen, except it had happened sometime around investigating the ocean planet where they found the SSS Esperanto. Remember, Lister had already spent two centuries in stasis since then, and they had already traveled through a wormhole in "Rimmerworld" which accounted for a further six centuries (1,200 years when they came back through the other side.) Pinpointing a time when Red Dwarf was taken would be nigh impossible, so using the Time Drive to try reacquire Red Dwarf would be a bit of a fruitless exercise.
  • Why, given that they could travel to 1963 Earth, didn't the Dwarfers simply return to 22nd century Earth as per their original plan.
    • Kryten, Rimmer and even Cat were wary of using the Time Drive again given what happened with their future selves. It was only Lister who was willing to take the risk, and he only got Kryten's help by swapping one of his Spare Heads for a one without a morality chip. Given what then occurs again with getting mixed up with the JFK assassination, it is likely they would been even more against using the time drive any further. As for Lister's plan, well that had changed as far back ago as "Future Echoes" when Lister saw visions of his adult son aboard Red Dwarf, and himself still aboard as a 171-year-old, so they know they aren't leaving. It should also be noted that in a deleted scene of "Tikka to Ride", it is shown that Dwarfers in fact kept the time drive (perhaps in case of an emergency where they could warn themselves of a disaster) and Lister used it to bring the curry supplies and lager forward in time to prevent them from being destroyed in the flood. There is only one other time they decide to use it, in "Ourroboros", when Lister goes back to leave his baby self at the Aigburth Arms in 2155. Such an act was necessary for Lister to exist.


  1. "Back from the Dead", making-of documentary on the Series VII DVD
  4. Series VII DVD booklet