Tongue Tied

This article is about the episode. Not to be confused with the phenomenon of the same name.

Timewave is the third episode in Series XII of Red Dwarf, and the seventieth episode overall. It first aired 26 October 2017 on Dave.


A ship from the 24th century is washed up from the past, and the Dwarfers run into a crew where ineptitude is to be tolerated by law, audacious self-expression is encouraged, and all forms of criticism are illegal.


Red Dwarf comes across a barren moon orbiting a gas giant, and the boys discover that the moon is rich in Helium-7, the most rare and valuable commodity in the Universe. They take a Starbug down to the surface, and Arnold Rimmer sticks a JMC flag in it. However, Rimmer claims it for himself and names the planetoid Planet Rimmer, and the nearby star it orbits "Sunny Rim", giving a very botched dedication speech as he does.


Planet Rimmer's flag planting and naming ceremony

When Kryten detects a powerful Solar Storm coming in from the west, the Dwarfers are forced to leave, much to Rimmer's disappointment as he wants to mine the Helium-7. Cat begs Rimmer to stay in the hope that the Solar Storm will wipe Rimmer's hologram. Rimmer begrudgingly joins the others back to the 'bug, but takes a jar of sand rich in Helium-7 with him, since any potential finder's fee will still make him richer than his wildest dreams if he ever gets back to 23rd-century Earth.

Time Wave - Starbug

A Time Wave approaching Starbug

Upon leaving Planet Rimmer, the Solar Storm is increasingly looking like it is not a Solar Storm, and Rimmer orders a full Space Corps-verified diagnostic, but the navicomp simply comes back as "a big wibbly-wobbly tidal wave thing". A massive distortion then passes through Starbug, and although they are mostly unaffected, Kryten recognises the phenomena as a Time Wave. Kryten explains that it is waves of contorted space-time, similar to a tsunami, caused by an imploding Black Hole. The first round of waves - the expansion - can wash up artifacts and vessels from the past into the present, whilst the second round of waves - the contraction - can suck up artifacts from the present and wash them up in the past. Cat wonders where they can put Rimmer so that the second wave will sweep him away.


Starbug chases after SS Enconium

Lister then notices something has shown up in vector four on his scans - a massive starship. Kryten easily and quickly hacks into its computer and discovers that it is SS Enconium, a ship from 24th-century Earth with a faster-than-light drive. Rimmer is horrified when informed that Enconium is seemingly adrift, and on a direct collision course with Planet Rimmer - and any crash would ignite the Helium-7, causing an explosion of such magnitude to kill everything in the vicinity. With Enconium unresponsive to communication, the Dwarfers decide to dock Starbug with Enconium in an attempt to avert a crash - Lister is excited at the prospect of meeting others humans, whilst Rimmer merely wants to save his new planetoid namesake.

With half an hour until the rendezvous, Kryten gathers the Dwarfers in the mid-section of Starbug to share the intel he has uncovered on Enconium. Kryten tells the others that that all forms of criticism are illegal aboard the ship, which Lister and Cat find incredulous - will they keep this law after meeting Rimmer? Rimmer says that he will feel at home aboard Enconium, since it reminds him of Saint Trembles - a prep school his parents sent him to when he was six, to get his confidence back after being bullied. Competitiveness was discouraged at St. Trembles, where you could run in any direction you wanted in the hundred-meter race, or paint a picture, or stay at home and watch TV; and afterwards everyone got a "You're Really Special" trophy and a party bag. Lister muses that hard knocks in life are character-building, even an essential part of growing; and that criticism can be constructive, helping one to better themselves - all this despite criticism of his guitar playing over the years spurring him on to learn only three new chords.

Kryten explains that, according to their databanks, Enconium outlawed criticism since complaining causes people to feel esteem-inflating superiority, and the pleasure chemical dopamine to be released in the brain. The dopamine over-excites the receptors between brains cells, causing hyperactivity and engorged self-worth; similar to the effects of cocaine. Subsequently, people can become addicted to criticising. Cat muses that, in order to follow their laws, they are going to need to pack earplugs and six rolls of duct tape.


Childish drawings on the walls on SS Enconium

Starbug docks with Enconium and the Dwarfers enter to find an apparently empty ship. The corridors are bright and garish, painted in lava lamp-like psychedelic patterns. The Dwarfers notice that there are badly-hung pictures on the walls everywhere, which have been drawn in crayon and in an infant-like manner. The Dwarfers are surprised that there must be little children aboard. Lister inspects one more closely, a picture of a rocket ship which has the misspelled title of "Joureny to the Stars". However, the picture is signed by "First Lieutenant Edward Moore, age 34 and a half". Rimmer says that, like Saint Trembles, any old garbage gets to go on the walls. They also see a video recording of a very bizarre "Guru" singing a nonsensical song with a flute.


Chief lawmaker Ziggy Briceman greets the Dwarfers

Suddenly a man appears wearing an extremely camp outfit, replete with a pink tutu, and Kryten says that the duct tape is on standby. The man introduces himself as Ziggy Briceman, and apologies for not answering the attempted handshake from Starbug, explaining that the ship's hairdressers are working on repairing the broken communication system, and haven't yet determined the problem. Ziggy also says that they must take the stairs out of there, since the catering department are servicing the elevators. Rimmer questions if it would be better if the lift service people serviced the lifts instead, but Ziggy says that they are all too busy working at the hospital, trying to figure out why nobody is getting better.

Lister tries explaining to Ziggy that he has been washed up three million years into Deep Space, and his ship is on a crash course strait into a helium seven moon, but Ziggy is more interested in Lister's "cute accent", which he says is cuter than a kitten with a toilet roll. Ziggy then says that he will take them to wait in the diner, while he goes and looks for the captain. As Ziggy walks, he makes a bird-like motion with his hands, and Kryten suggests the Dwarfers do not ridicule him but copy his behaviour.


Greta waits on the Dwarfers in the diner

The Dwarfers enter into the diner, which has large porthole windows and resembles an old 1950s American-style diner, and they take a seat. The waitress, Greta, is serving food on roller-skates, and there are numerous diners dressed in colourful, extravagant and audacious outfits and hats; for example, one resembles a red chicken, one resembles a large round fruit, and one is in a long phallic white bodysuit. One of the suited diners is playing a guitar very off-key, and Cat says to Lister that he should stick around since the "Om" song could go platinum here.


Greta burns Rimmer's crotch

Rimmer says that he could get used to a society where you cannot criticise, and there is no such thing as right and wrong. Rimmer uses the example of when he mis-repaired a drive plate aboard Red Dwarf, causing the Cadmium II leak and killing over a thousand people. In his own culture, that sort of thing is really frowned upon, but here, 'you just move on'. As Rimmer is musing on this, Greta brings over a pot of coffee and pours a cup all over his crotch. Rimmer is angered, but Greta skates away without apologising.

Greta comes back with more food and drinks, including a processed sausage with sprouts in a radish jus, and one warm goat salad. When they complain that they haven't yet ordered food and drinks, and Rimmer asks for a new pair of un-broiled love spuds, Greta asks them if they are looking to criticise her. Lister then says that he is indeed criticising her, since the food looks gross. Greta runs off screaming "critics!", and gets on the phone behind the counter. Kryten suggests that they skedaddle, and Cat agrees with "Easter Island head" that they should indeed scoot while they still can. Lister says they should get back to Starbug and get out of that region of space, angrily exclaiming as they leave that nothing works on the ship, especially the people.


The Crit Cop questions the Dwarfers

Before they get back to Starbug, the Dwarfers are stopped by a pink suited Crit Cop who questions them if they have been criticising. Although they deny this, he forces Lister to blow into a breathalyzer-like device which confirms the accusation. He says that he is going to take them down the station, and the Dwarfers attempt to interrupt him to warn him that the ship is on a collision course with Planet Rimmer. The Crit Cop is indifferent to this, and after a bit of back-and-forth, says that instead he is going to write them up a mere caution. However, Cat loses his temper and much to the horror of the others, calls him 'Lieutenant Asshole', and says that if he doesn't "move your dumb-ass spaceship, we're gonna be flatter than your wife's droopy-ass titties, capisce?" The Crit Cop then tasers Cat twice, and takes the Dwarfers to the ship prison, locking them in a cell.


Tutt Johnson is delivered into the Dwarfer's cell

Inside the prison, another inmate is delivered into the cell in a straight-jacket and a Hannibal Lecter-like mask. The Crit Cop unbuckles the restraints of the other prisoner from outside the cell using a long stick, telling the Dwarfers that nobody cares about their safety, and then leaves. The other prisoner, "Tutt Johnson", reveals that he has been given a life sentence for "tutting" after being refused service at the diner. Cat says that he wonders what will happen to him, since he just called the Crit Cop 'Lieutenant Asshole'. Tutt Johnson says that he will probably be "drained", although he is not criticising being drained since it is "probably really lovely".


Kryten scrapes Helium-7 from Lister's moon boots

Lister suggests a plan - they escape the cell, get to the engine room and turn the ship around from its crash course, and then flee on Starbug. Kryten asks for one of Lister's moon boots, but Lister says that his boots cannot cause diversions like they used to, and Cat reminds Kryten that Lister wears "Odour-Eaters" now. Kryten says that they are misunderstanding him - he wants to scrape some of the sand from the bottom of Lister's boots that he had inadvertently picked up on Planet Rimmer earlier. Kryten explains that he will use the Helium-7 infused sand to create an explosion to aid in their escape. To contain the explosion, he will use deuterium from the isotope sample store in his arm. Rimmer says that Kryten's hobby of storing isotopes is weird, but Kryten counters that at least it has come in useful unlike Rimmer's hobby of storing Napoleonic figurines in his locker. Kryten says that next time they're in a jam, and one of Rimmer's Sixth Regiment trumpeters saves them, Kryten will eat his crevice brush.


Tutt Johnson asks the Dwarfers to take him with them

The explosive device works, blowing the cell door open. As the Dwarfers move to leave, Tutt Johnson asks the boys to take him with them, since he is no longer a danger to the outside world, and will never tut again. Unfortunately, the Crit Cop momentarily appears with two other pink-uniformed officers, and they aim and activate their blasters. Tutt Johnson tutts at the inconvenience.


The Dwarfers led away in chains

The Dwarfers are then led away in chains by the Crit Cop, to be taken to "where all the worst criticisers go; the back-seat drivers, they are all there." The Dwarfers try to reason with him, saying that criticism is essential for the function of society. The Crit Cop says that the anti-criticism law has saved the ship from constant conflict and votes of no confidence in differing captains.


The Crit Cop overjoyed when he remembers how to criticise

However, the Crit Cop also says that, since nobody can argue against the law, the lawmakers are 'idiots'. Feeling incredibly excited by his sudden newfound ability to criticise, the Crit Cop then tells Cat he does not like his shoes, tells Lister that he is to old to be wearing leather pants, and tells Kryten that his head looks like something from the television program When Circumcisions Go Wrong.


Ziggy: "We need to drain them..."

When the Dwarfers tell the Crit Cop that the ship is on a crash course with Planet Rimmer, he agrees to help them. The Crit Cop points them towards the bridge and says that he'll pretend they escaped - after all, he won't get into trouble for not doing his job. However, Ziggy Briceman has overheard the conversation and appears with another officer. The Crit Cop admits to "betraying his badge", and making his pink uniform "an object of ridicule". Ziggy says that there is no shame in making mistakes, and lets the Crit Cop go.

The Dwarfers are then led to be "drained" in the Criticism Extraction Room. Here, they are placed in booths and linked up to metal helmets and wires. A machine in the center of the room is designed to extract a person's critical faculties by removing the "inner critic". Ziggy says that this is the self-doubting voice inside your head which criticises, stops you loving all things, and fears failure and humiliation therefore stopping you from fulfilling your full potential. The 'inner critic' is also personified into a small, ranting humanoid which is kept inside a glass bottle. Ziggy demonstrates this by showing the Dwarfers the bottled inner critic of the hippy Guru from earlier. Ziggy tells the Dwarfers that his real name was Derek, and that he was a theater critic. Derek's inner critic rants about how his former self is useless and will fail without him.

Rimmer is terrified that he is going to be made a hippy, and invokes Space Corp Directive 381-286 - telling Kryten to shut up so as to not point out any misquote - that he be let go as a gesture of goodwill. However, Ziggy says that the procedure will make him happy, and that he will be first. Ziggy asks that Rimmer talk about his family and childhood. As the electricity begins to surge, Rimmer panics that he may start to love his parents and admire his brothers. Kryten tells Rimmer that he will have nothing left to remain dead for, and to resist the machine.


In the Criticism Extraction Room, Rimmer's negative energy is "drained"

Rimmer begins to lie, talking about his happy childhood, saying that his father and mother were supportive, and that he has achieved all his dreams, and that he is respected. However, the machine begins to zap Rimmer with more electricity, and Rimmer's will begins to falter. He then goes off an a tirade against his 'bastard' brothers, the fact that he failed all his exams due to a lack of support, and how Yvonne McGruder refused to go on a second date with him. He also mentions that his brother Howard told him the most important thing was the clitoris - which Rimmer misheard as "always remember to spit on the wrist", resulting in a shambolic sex life.


The criticism extractor cannot cope with Rimmer's mind

The machine begins to malfunction. Ziggy asks Rimmer to slow down, since Rimmer is going faster than the extractor can cope, and Rimmer's inner critic is too powerful to process. However, Rimmer says that he is just getting started. When he refers to the extractor as a "cheap, damned, Minervan, negative-energy, inner critic bottling machine", the extractor and the bottles explode. A physical manifestation of Rimmer's Inner Critic then arises from the smoke. It resembles Rimmer, only it is bald with a heavily scarred face.

Rimmer tells his Inner Critic to go away and leave him alone, but the Inner Critic says that he needs him, since he protects him. The Inner Critic uses the example of when he was twelve years old and wanted to Morris dance at the school talent contest, but his Inner Critic made him chicken out and stopped him from humiliating himself. It also uses the example of Ann Marie, a woman who Rimmer wanted to ask out on a date but the critic claimed was out of Rimmer's league as "a solid four out of ten".


Argueing with Rimmer's Inner Critic

Lister joins in, telling the Inner Critic that it has failed in it's task, since Rimmer is always humiliating himself. Lister also points out that it should have told Rimmer he wasn't up to the job of fixing the drive plate; the faulty job which led to the accidental Cadmium II leak aboard Red Dwarf. The Inner Critic does not take kindly to being criticised itself, and is hurt by the recriminations. Rimmer also joins in on criticising the Inner Critic, calling it a failure. The Inner Critic then begins to destabalise, and eventually disappears with a whimper. Kryten says that it is just wounded, and will be back.

Ziggy is astounded at what he has witnessed - the use of criticism to achieve a positive end, and to vanquish a foe. Ziggy then admits that his philosophy is flawed, and calls a meeting of the High Chamber to tell them he is going to repeal the law against criticism. The Dwarfers remind Ziggy that the ship is still on a collision course with Planet Rimmer, and Ziggy says that he will simply order the engineers back to their posts in the engine room.


SS Enconium diverts its course from Planet Rimmer

SS Enconium alters its course at the last moment, averting the crash with Planet Rimmer. Back in the diner, Ziggy says that he wants to do something for the Dwarfers to thank them for showing him a new way to live. He offers to upgrade Kryten or give them a faster-than-light drive for Red Dwarf, but says that this doesn't feel special enough to truely show the depth of his gratitude.


Ziggy's "finest work"

Ziggy then has Greta reveal a very childish drawing of a rocket ship, saying that it is his "finest work". Lister tells him that it is not very good. Ziggy stands up and loses his temper, saying that he his reinstating the law on criticism, and shouting for the Dwarfers to be "drained", as the Dwarfers leave the diner in a hurry and flee back to Starbug.

Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]

Deleted Scenes[]

  • Extended dialogue between the Dwarfers and the Crit Cop. As the Dwarfers attempt to reason with the Crit Cop and warn him of the danger his ship is in, the officer instead repeatedly twists everything they say into sounding like criticism. When Kryten says that they are getting hung up on minor misdemeanors whilst a major threat to the ship hangs over their heads, the Crit Cop says that they are criticising the minor misdemeanors for only being minor.
  • The crew are ushered into a jail cell with a pair of "negaholic moaner stoners", addicted to criticising. They appear similar to movie critics and are criticising well-beloved hallmarks of popular culture such as Citizen Kane, and appear to in the throws of extreme pleasure as they do. The Crit Cop then arrives and takes them off for their morning "slag-offer dawn medication".


  • This episode has been described as a satire on "safe space culture".[1]
  • Rimmer's Inner Critic is similar in concept to the Unspeakable One and the Rimmer Demons - manifestations of Rimmer's self-loathing - from "Terrorform"; the difference being that the Inner Critic is fundamentally meant to 'help' Rimmer, whereas the Unspeakable One simply reflected Rimmer's loathing of his own incompetence. In this manner, Rimmer's Inner Critic is also very similar to Paranoia from "Confidence and Paranoia".
    • Rimmer's Inner Critic has a resemblance to the James Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
  • There is apparently no command structure aboard SS Enconium, with it being revealed that crew members can simply do whatever they feel like, and self-appoint themselves to other departments which they are not trained in (the explanation given for the engineers not being present in engineering when needed.)
  • Whilst not stated in the episode, it is revealed in the DVD special features by actor Jamie Chapman that his character Ziggy Briceman was indeed written in the script as being the captain of SS Enconium. This explains how Ziggy was able to give orders on a ship where there no apparent command structure.
  • It is revealed in this episode that when Kryten is walking backwards, he is programmed to bleep out a similar sound to the warning signal of a large reversing vehicle.
  • The Cadmium II radiation leak that wiped out the crew of Red Dwarf in "The End" was mentioned multiple times in this episode.
  • When Rimmer was quoting a Space Corps Directive, he told Kryten to shut up, because he knew that he would correct him otherwise. Rimmer quoting a Space Corps Directive that was utterly irrelevant to the situation, then Kryten corrects him was a running gag in Series VI this was sometime after he read the Space Corps Directive Manual in "Quarantine".
  • Lister's "Om" song from "Timeslides" is mentioned.

Behind the Scenes[]

  • "Timewave" was the second episode in Series XII to be filmed, strait after "Siliconia".
  • The brightly-lit, psychedelically-painted and garish corridors of SS Enconium was a redressed set of the dark and moody SS Samsara from the previous series. It was writer Doug Naylor's idea to have the colour scheme resemble lava lamps.[2]
    • Production Designer Keith Dunne has claimed the SS Enconium scenes to be the most deliberately "camp thing I have ever done".
  • The "Planet Rimmer" scenes were shot in the studio and completed with green-screen, although tons of real sand was used. After every take, studio hands swept the sand to rub out footprints, a process which was very time consuming. Extensive reshoots meant Craig Charles nearly fainted from the heat in his space suit and under the hot studio lights.
  • Producer Kerry Waddell tried to send Kryten's actor Robert Llewellyn to hospital when he fell ill with a suspected kidney stone. Llewellyn, who was already in Kryten's make-up, refused to since he wanted to finish filming. Craig Charles addressed the live studio audience to ask them for their patience, since, as he told them, Llewellyn had a "leaky cock".
  • Actor Jamie Chapman based his performance of Ziggy Briceman on "Paul Lynde doing Penelope Pitstop".
    • It has been claimed that Ziggy's audacious uniform is the same one that was worn by Vulva (David Walliams), the performance artist in Series 1, Episode 3 of Spaced (1999).[3]
  • Johnny Vegas, as a life-long fan of Red Dwarf, described being in the show as one of the things on his "bucket list". During filming of this episode, Vegas was in the studio next door filming Still Open All Hours. When filming wrapped up on that set, he went next door and asked Doug Naylor for a role in the episode.
    • Johnny Vegas plays the role of the Crit Cop in the episode. Vegas claimed that the pink police uniform he wears was an old outfit that had been left over from an unused Monty Python sketch.
  • One of the childish drawings on the wall is signed by "First Lieutenant Edward Moore, age 34 and a half". This is named after Ed Moore, the cinematographer for Series XI and Series XII, and also director of photography on a number of episodes, and was the chief camera operator for Series X. Ed Moore directs his own behind the scenes featurette on the Series XII DVD.

Notable Dialogue[]

  • Rimmer: As we stand here this morning, in an unknown Galaxy, on the outer reaches of the Solar System, and I claim this planetoid, rich in Helium-7, on behalf of the Jupiter Mining Corporation, it is only fitting we remember the generations that came before us. It is to their memory, their greatness, their infinite, glorious accomplishments, that I humbly name this moon "Rimmer". In the same spirit of benevolence, I've also graciously agreed to lend my name to the star this moon orbits, which from this moment on shall be known as Sunny Rim. Gentlemen, to Rimmer, a moon rich in Helium-7, the most valuable gas in the universe.
    Lister: [Saluting "Planet Rimmer"] To Rimmer - so full of gas.
  • Kryten: Sirs, I'm detecting some kind of a solar storm moving in from the west. Suggest you engage "skedaddle" mode.
  • Rimmer: But the Helium-7, we need to mine it!
    Kryten: There's no time, sir!
    Rimmer: But Helium-7 is incredibly scarce! It's rarer than an ungroped bottom at the BBC in the 1970s.
  • Lister: If I'd got upset with every bit of criticism I got, where would I be now?
    Cat: Not single, not podgy, and not doomed to roam Deep Space with a bad haircut.
  • Lister: But criticism can be good, right? It forces people to become better.
    Kryten: Not always, sir, take you.
    Lister: What about me?
    Kryten: Well, as a guitarist, you've been criticized, belittled, decried, vilified, panned and slammed your whole life.
    Lister: And your point is?
    Kryten: You still utterly suck, sir.
  • Crit Cop: Do you know why I've pulled you over, sir?
    Lister: No, haven't got a clue.
    Crit Cop: Been doing any criticising this evening, sir?
    Lister: Criticising? No, not at all, no.
    Crit Cop: Well, it's just that we had a report of some illegal castigation in the diner this evening, sir. What about you lads? - You been doing any criticising this evening?
    ALL: No, no.
    Crit Cop: A little bit of chiding, perhaps? Chiding, no.
    - How about blaming, sir? - No.
    - Harping? Little bit of panning? - No.
    - Not even scoffing? - Nothing.
    Wouldn't mind blowing into this criticiser for me, then, will you sir?
  • Crit Cop: I may have to take him down to the station.
    Lister: Now wait a minute!
    Crit Cop: You telling me to wait, sir?
    Lister: Well, yes.
    Crit Cop: Implying that I am going too fast and therefore criticising me?
    Lister: Look...
    Crit Cop: Are you telling me to look?! Insinuating that my attention isn't focused in the correct direction? Therefore implying that my focus -
    Lister: I am not criticising you, okay?
    Rimmer: Look, we're here to warn you that your ship is on a collision course with a very important moon called Planet Rimmer.
    Crit Cop: I'm gonna let you off with a caution.
    Cat: Caution?! How dumb is this guy? Hey! Lieutenant Asshole, If you don't move your dumb-ass spaceship, we're gonna be flatter than your wife's droopy-ass titties, capisce?
  • Rimmer: Leave this to me. As stand-in senior acting commanding officer of the J.M.C. mining ship Red Dwarf, and protected as I am under Space Corps Directive 381 286 - Kryten shut up - I demand that you release us all immediately. Or at least one of us as a gesture of good will, which I'd like to volunteer.
  • Rimmer's Inner Critic: I'm Rimmer's inner critic. I'm the voice inside his head that reminds him he's an idle, good-for-nothing, under-achieving idiot, who surrounds himself with cretins to mask his own inadequacies.
    Cat: He hangs 'round with other guys, besides us?


The episode received a mixed to negative reception.

Ganymede & Titan said that, despite some good jokes, the message of the episode was lost due to it being a largely incoherent episode.[4]

Gazpacho Soup said that, despite a great performance by Johnny Vegas as the Crit Cop, the over-the-top pantomime quality of the episode was too much, and the character of Ziggy Briceman so jarring as to be uncomfortable. Overall, the site rated it the worst episode of all the Dave-era Red Dwarf.[5]

Although Den of Geek described it as one of the weakest episodes in the history of Red Dwarf, a large number of fans were impressed at Doug Naylor's tackling of a highly sensitive culture.[6]