Tongue Tied

A panorama of the sleeping quarters (Series X)

The Sleeping Quarters aboard Red Dwarf is where Rimmer and Lister live on the mining vessel, and spend much of their time conversing. Their sleeping quarters feature in every series, although the boys from the Dwarf utilised several different rooms as their quarters over the years.

The original, grey sleeping quarters are used as the animated menus on the DVD for Series I and Series II.

The cream-coloured Officer's Quarters used by the boys from the Dwarf from Series III onwards are used as the Series III DVD cover artwork.

The red sleeping quarters featured from Series X onwards are featured on the Series X DVD artwork.

Changing Venues

Z Shift Quarters

The original quarters used by Lister and Rimmer in Series I and Series II were painted a uniform dark grey, known as "Ocean grey", and were reminiscent of an old Earth submarine interior. 

These quarters were located either on, or close by to, White Corridor 159

The quarters were quite small, befitting Rimmer and Lister's lowly status aboard the ship as members of Z Shift. There were two bunks, one above the other, cut into the wall, and a simple metal table and chairs and a small sofa. There were lockers for the inhabitants to use next to the door, which slid into position on command. They often put pictures of Marilyn Monroe in their lockers. The only window was a small elongated hexagonal porthole.

The mirror above the washbasin could double as a video screen on which Holly could project himself. When voice activated, this plinth revolved to reveal a talking lavatory with a sign saying "Now Please Irradiate Your Hands", and toilet paper. Above the mirror was often an exercise chart that Rimmer used in his Necrobics. There was also a status readout above the bunks that explained what the occupants were doing. It read such things as "Asleep", "Drunk" and "It's too naughty". In the first series, Talkie Toaster was placed on the table in the middle of the room, although it is gone by Series II (for a time at least).

To the right side of the original sleeping quarters, and behind the washbasin and mirror, are a section rarely seen, and only glimpsed. This seems to contain a bookshelf, or library of video cards, various flags, and plants.

Both Lister and Rimmer decorated the quarters with personal items to give it colour and character (especially from Series II). These included photographs, posters, certificates, an inflatable banana and Lister's guitar. Lister's robot goldfish, Lennon and McCartney, which he had acquired on planet Leave on Mimas, were kept in a small tank next to the sink.

Wherever Lister's bunk is in the sleeping quarters (Series I-V, BTE and Series X) as well as various posters. These include posters for Rastabilly Skank, the Zero Gravity Football team the London Jets and their star player Jim Bexley Speed, his Jupiter Rise shot, his photo of Gran, and also a poster of a woman in a white dress riding a horse on a beach in Fiji, much like in Lister's plan.

There was a California license plate hung on the outside of Lister's bunk, suggesting that during his time on Earth Lister had at some point visited the United States of America. Many of Lister's possessions say "Souvenir of Titan" on them, presumably because that's where he stole them from, such as his blanket, which said "Titan Hilton" suggesting he'd taken it from a hotel on the moon, and also his alarm clock and fish tank were from Titan.

Rimmer's bunk included his Hammond Organ sheet music, "no smoking" signs (although he couldn't stop Lister smoking, Rimmer found them 'striking'), intricate revision timetables, his swimming certificates, and sometimes a pair of old muskets and a "vending machine repairman of the month" award.

At one point, Rimmer moved in with his holographic duplicate in the neighbouring quarters. They had separate bunks, but otherwise the room was very similar to Lister's bunkroom. ("Me²") In a deleted scene from "Me²", Lister invites Cat to move in since Rimmer had vacated the quarters. Cat declines to stay in one place, preferring to sleep anywhere he wants.

The sleeping quarters were the same set in Series II as Series I, although it was made more colorful with more personal effects hung up around the room, for example the inflatable banana. This was in line with the rest of Series II, which tried to make an effort to move away from the "WWII submarine" look of Series I by adding more color into the sets.

Kryten once tidied and redecorated the original sleeping quarters in chintzy drapes and flowery wallpaper on Rimmer's instructions. This did not last very long. ("Kryten")

There was a Dream Recorder present in the sleeping quarters. ("Parallel Universe")

Later Appearances

The original Z Shift sleeping quarters were recreated in Series VIII when the nanobots rebuilt Red Dwarf and resurrected the rest of crew. Lister found himself briefly confined there when he was arrested for stealing and crashing a Starbug. Soon after the regular characters are placed in The Tank. ("Back in the Red I", Series VIII)

Many years later, Rimmer used a Quantum Skipper to explore different dimensions and he came across a universe where Lister was captain of Red Dwarf, yet himself and Lister were still using the original Z Shift sleeping quarters. They appeared identical to the original bunkroom seen in Series II. ("Skipper", Series XII)

Z Shift Sleeping Quarters Gallery

Officers' Quarters

Rimmer and Lister later moved to the much more upmarket Officers' Quarters, and remained there from Series III to Series V. The move would have been included in "Dad", the intended original opener for Series III.

Before being decontaminated, the Officers' Quarters had earlier been explored by Lister ("Confidence & Paranoia", Series I), and he caught space pneumonia there.

The only thing that the Officers' Quarters had in common with the Z Shift bunkroom was that there was still a bunkbed arrangement. The new bunkroom was larger and a much brighter affair, decorated in white and cream shades. Although, much of Lister and Rimmer's personal belongings from their earlier bunkroom were still present.

There was a larger screen for Holly to use, a shower to the right of the bunks, a kitchen area further to the right, and much more space. There was no obvious window, but much of the room was not seen. Fish were often projected on the screen when Holly was not present.

Lister tried to upgrade his culinary arrangements by employing equipment from the medical unit. This included an embryo storage unit that he used as a fridge. ("Polymorph") Kryten kept these quarters much more tidy than Lister ever could alone. He frequently vacuumed and dusted the room. ("Polymorph")

The sleeping quarters in the Red Dwarf Smegazine were based on the Officers' Quarters. The Officers' Quarters are also the background to the Series IV DVD artwork.

Rimmer mentions to Katerina Bartokovsky in Back to Earth that a bath left running by Lister in the Officers' Quarters was the cause of the destruction of Holly's databanks.

Officers' Quarters Gallery

Series VIII

Although the original sleeping quarters appear briefly in Series VIII, Lister and Rimmer's bunk throughout most of Series VIII is actually a cell in The Tank.

Back to Earth

By the time they encountered the second despair squid, Rimmer and Lister had moved to a new bunkroom. It was a bright and technologically advanced room, possibly another one of the Officers' Quarters, or one that had previously been rebuilt by the nanobots at the beginning of Series VIII.

The table in the room doubled as a computer console. There was more than one door into the room and a large porthole window that covered one entire wall of the quarters.

These quarters were still in a state of disarray, scattered with personal belongings and rubbish. One major feature was a large motorcycle, presumably being restored by Lister. Since Rimmer was still in the process of putting up his certificates, it is possible that they had only just moved in. (Back to Earth)

Back to Earth Gallery

Series X

After many years, Lister and Rimmer had moved again. The latest sleeping quarters are used by the Dwarfers from Series X onwards.

According to the Series X DVD documentary "We're Smegged", these sleeping quarters were located towards the front of Red Dwarf, close to the front ramscoop. The new drive room the gang use throughout Series X was located nearby. These quarters were close to A Deck and B Deck, towards the top of the ship.

The decor was primarily in shades of red, as was much of this version of Red Dwarf. Lister and Rimmer retain all their previous posters, signs and photographs from previous bunkrooms next to their beds. Although there is a porthole window looking out into space ("Fathers & Suns", "Entangled", "The Beginning"), it is rarely seen compared to previous bunkrooms.

These quarters seemed somewhat less sophisticated, with exposed wiring and less advanced technology, although there is still a number of large monitors and consoles next to the entrance door, which kept Lister and Rimmer updated on the ship status from the JMC On-Board Computer.

There is a central table and chairs in the room, and the table has its own lighting. Lister had somewhere acquired a large red sofa, shaped like the rear end of a 1950s car, with the same theme running into the kitchenette area. There were many retro appliances including a small fridge filled with Leopard Lager, and a miniature dispenser. Lister had also got himself a video games console which he played regularly, such as Zero G Football games. Lister's electronic goldfish Lennon and McCartney are once more in place ("Dear Dave"), although they are not seen.

For a brief time, Lister installed Sim Crawford in the kitchenette as a stirring machine for his coffee. However, she did not remain for very long. ("Trojan")

Later Series

These quarters change slightly between Series X, XI, and XII. Although they retain the same basic layout, colour and appearance, the wall panels, monitors and back lighting are different in each series. The biggest difference in this bunkroom between each series is the central table, which is a different one and has different lighting in each series. In Series X, it has a raised metal column in the middle, with many a number of small lights facing down around it. In Series XI, the table has a glowing dome in the middle. In Series XII, the table is completely flat, with a circle of light around the edge.

The Series XII finale "Skipper" has Rimmer using a quantum skipper to explore different dimensions. In one scene, Rimmer enters the sleeping quarters to see a perfect recreation of the earlier grey quarters from Series I-II.

In The Promised Land, the basic layout of the sleeping quarters are the same as the red quarters from the previous few series. However there is no table or sofa in the centre of the room, and instead the room is filled up to the ceiling with a dozen piles of random items and empty Leopard Lager cans and bottles. This is explained as Lister having sunk into another depression, and "salvaging antiques" (or hoarding junk, as his crewmates say) which he has found in Cargo Bay 15.

Series X Onwards Gallery

Behind the Scenes

The bunkrooms were places where much of the dialogue took place, particularly between Rimmer and Lister. The writers admitted being inspired by the prison cell scenes from the classic British sitcom Porridge, where limited space required the actors to engage in long discussions.

The first quarters were designed by Paul Montague to mimic a submarine's cramped and uninspiring living conditions. The writers were always looking for ways to include more colour in the grey set, hence the colourful props like the inflatable banana and Rimmer's revision timetable.

The second quarters were part of Mel Bibby's redesign, and were able to be left as a standing set at Shepperton Studios, rather than being dismantled after shooting had finished.

The quarters in Back to Earth were the work of Mark Harris, who had worked as Art Director on several James Bond films.

The red sleeping quarters for Series X were designed by Michael Ralph, who decided to move a way from the more futuristic designs towards the original, darker tones.

The recreation of the Series II bunkroom in Series XII's "Skipper"[2]

For Series XI-XII, production designer Keith Dunne recreated the Series X quarters, albeit larger and more brightly lit. The redesign included a larger table with its own lighting, and a bigger console and monitor on the wall.

For the Series XII finale "Skipper", Dunne also recreated the Series I-II sleeping quarters alongside the new one.

See Also


  1. From the website of Matthew Clarke, chief graphics designer on Series XII
  2. From the website of Matthew Clarke, chief graphics designer on Series XII