Tongue Tied

Holly presents Arnold Rimmer with a hologramatic SCD regulation book in "Quarantine". Rimmer subsequently studies the book to indulge in some petty revenge against the others.

The Space Corps Directives, or SCDs, also sometimes referred to the "Articles, Acts or Protocols" of the Space Corps, are a running joke in the Red Dwarf television series. The Space Corps is somewhat analogous to Starfleet from Star Trek, and is responsible for the administrative organisation of all space travel in the Red Dwarf universe; the Directives are a list of this organisation's regulations. They may be a parody of the Prime Directive from Star Trek.


A prelude to the Space Corps Directives were featured in the episode "Queeg", where Holly, masquerading as "Queeg 500", would use "Articles" to force the crew to work, as well as perform other unsavoury acts. As "Queeg" was merely an illusion, the authenticity of the Articles and their influence remains suspect.

When first introduced, the Directives were used by Kryten to coerce Arnold Rimmer into acting for the common good, or to highlight the less than exemplary behaviour of the rest of the crew. The normal pattern would be for Kryten to quote the number of regulation and then, in response to a challenge, he would quote the entire regulation to which one of the crew would respond with some pithy comment or other.

Later on, Rimmer attempts to fight back by quoting from the same regulations (starting in "Quarantine"), but his imperfect recall of the Directives means that he normally quotes the wrong paragraph number and instead references obscure and bizarre Directives that have little or no relevance to the situation at hand. An additional source of humour usually comes from the fact that the directive Rimmer wishes to quote is in fact the next or previous one, and hence should be at least similar in subject matter, but are in fact wildly different.

For example:

  • RIMMER: "I don't know what it is you think you're doing, but boarding this vessel is an act of war. Ergo, we surrender, and as prisoners of war, I'm invoking All-Nations Agreement Article 39436175880932/B."
  • KRYTEN: "39436175880932/B? 'All nations attending the conference are only allocated one parking space?' Is that entirely relevant sir? I mean, here we are, in mortal danger and you're worried about the Chinese delegates bringing two cars."
  • RIMMER: "Can't you let just one go? I was talking about the right of POWs to non-violent constraint."
  • KRYTEN: "But that's 394361758880932/C, sir."

List of Known Directives


  • It is our primary overriding duty to contact other life forms, exchange information, and, wherever possible, bring them home.' (Not given a number on-screen but listed as a primary overriding duty.) ("Polymorph")
  • In order to prevent gender ambiguity, all prisoners without a penis will be classified as female. ("Back in the Red, Part Two")
  • Space Corps super chimps committing acts of indecency in zero gravity will lose all banana privileges. ("Back to Earth, Part Two")
  • 'Derelict ships have to be made safe before the senior officer ventures on-board.' ("The Promised Land")
  • Any unnecessary ship should dispose of itself by flying straight into the nearest sun. ("Fathers & Suns"). (Stated as JMC policy pursuant to the Space Pollution Act)
  • During disposal, the ship's nuclear reactor should be fired into a black hole, along with the ship's hologram. ("The Promised Land")
  • Individually, holograms may be off-lined and erased, with their hard-drives shot out and detonated by nuclear fusion. ("Back to Earth")
  • The on-board computer is tasked with appraising a ship's worth to the Jupiter Mining Corporation and decommissioning it if it serves no useful purpose. This does not happen while a ship has crew performing essential duties, or even duties to an adequate level. ("The Promised Land")
  • JMC protocol states. 'No ship may be decommissioned that contains living crew members who are listed on the manifest.' ("The Promised Land")
    • Criminal acts, including violating quarantines, forfeit crew privileges in such considerations, such as rights of residency.


  • 003. 'By joining Star Corps each individual tacitly consents to give up his inalienable rights to life, liberty and adequate toilet facilities.' (Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book)
  • 005. 'Computers guilty of gross negligence, leading to the endangerment of personnel, may be replaced by a backup computer.'(although titled as an article) ("Queeg")
  • 112: States that a living crew member always outranks a mechanoid. ("Terrorform" deleted scene)
  • 121 - No food or liquids around in the work stations (this is labeled as a health and safety protocol instead of a space corps directive). ("RD: Entangled")
  • 142. States that in a hostage demand situation, a hologrammatic crew member is entirely expendable. ("Terrorform" deleted scene)
  • 147. 'Crew members are expressly forbidden from leaving their vessel except on permission of a permit. Permits can only be issued by the Chief Navigation Officer, who is expressly forbidden from issuing them except on production of a permit.' ("Ouroboros", Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book)
  • 'Protocol 175' - No running in the corridors. This was a rare occasion where Rimmer actually got a SCD right; at the time Kryten was going off to fetch some clothes for a naked Irene Edgington. ("RD: Entangled")
  • 195. States that in an emergency power situation, a hologrammatic crew member must lay down his life in order that the living crew-members might survive. ("White Hole")
  • 312. States that crew members in quarantine must be provided with minimum leisure facilities, which Rimmer takes to mean: 'a chess set with 31 missing pieces, a knitting magazine with a pull-out special on crocheted hats, a puzzle magazine with all the crosswords completed and a video of the excellent cinematic treat, "Wall-Papering, Painting And Stippling — A DIY Guide". ("Quarantine")
  • 349. 'Any officer found to have been slaughtered and replaced by a shape-changing chameleonic life form shall forfeit all pension rights.' (Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book)
  • 497. 'When a crew member has run out of credits, food or drink may not be supplied until the balance is restored' (although titled as an article) ("Queeg")
  • 592. 'In an emergency situation involving two or more officers of equal rank, seniority will be given to whichever officer can programme a VCR.' (PBS ident, also included on the DVD for Series VIII, Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book)
  • 595. A quarantine regulation (probably something like "any member of the crew who has been in anywhere that carries disease must go into quarantine). ("Quarantine")
  • 596 The crews files are for the eyes of the Captain only. ("Waiting for God", ""Back to Earth, Part Two")
  • 597. One berth per registered crew member. ("Quarantine")
  • 699. States that crew members may demand a re-screening after five days in quarantine showing no ill effect. ("Quarantine")
  • 712. All new officers must have an accolade on promotion to be fully accredited as an officer. When Rimmer found himself temporarily made an officer through an act of gross deception, Rimmer told Kryten that he wanted his own accolade to be held in the "Hall of Heroes" with a six gun salute, and an hour long tribute to himself. ("Officer Rimmer")
  • 723. 'Terraformers are expressly forbidden from recreating Swindon.' (Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book). In the United States, 'Swindon' is changed to 'Cleveland'. (PBS ident, also included on the DVD for Series VIII).
  • 997. 'Work done by an officer's doppelganger in a parallel universe cannot be claimed as overtime.' (Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book)
  • 1694. 'During temporal disturbances, no questions shall be raised about any crew member whose time-sheet shows him or her clocking off 187 years before he clocked on.' (Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book)
  • 1742. 'No member of the Corps should ever report for active duty in a ginger toupee.' ("Psirens", Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book)
  • 1743. 'No registered vessel should attempt to traverse an asteroid belt without deflectors.' ("Psirens")
  • 5796. 'No officer above the rank of mess sergeant is permitted to go into combat with pierced nipples.' ("Psirens")
  • 5797. Possibly something to do with a crew member being unable to enter the ship for the safety of the crew when in an area of chameleonic lifeforms, although it could be that Kryten just decided to give up arguing with Rimmer rather than Rimmer quoting a valid directive. ("Psirens")
  • 7214. 'To preserve morale during long-haul missions, all male officers above the rank of First Technician must, during panto season, be ready to put on a dress and a pair of false breasts.' (Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book)
  • 7713. States that the log must be kept up to date at all times with current service records, complete mission data and a comprehensive and accurate list of all crew birthdays so that senior officers may avoid bitter and embarrassing silences when meeting in the corridor with subordinates who have not received a card. (Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book)
  • 34124. 'No officer with false teeth should attempt oral sex in zero gravity.' ("Legion", Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book)
  • 43872. 'Suntans will be worn during off-duty hours only.' (Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book)
  • 68250 Is never quoted, but is known to be impossible without at least one live chicken and a rabbi and involves sacrificing poultry, presumably the Jewish ritual "Kapparot". ("Emohawk: Polymorph II")
  • 76239. 'Extreme caution should be taken on the naturist deck when peeling carrots.' ("The Promised Land")
  • 196156. 'Any officer caught sniffing the saddle of the exercise bicycle in the women's gym will be discharged without trial.' ("Rimmerworld", Red Dwarf 1996 Log Book)
  • 1947945. 'A mechanoid may issue orders to human crew members if the lives of said crew members are directly or indirectly under threat from a hitherto unperceived source and there is inadequate time to explain the precise nature of the enormous and most imminent death threat.' (quoted by Kryten in the original script for "Back to Reality")
  • 5724368217968B. 'At all times show your allegiance to Red Dwarf in the US by picking up your phone and calling your local public television station with your pledge.' (PBS ident, also included on the DVD for Series VIII; Kryten complains that Rimmer has just made it up)
  • 39436175880932/B. 'All nations attending the conference are only allocated one parking space.' (Although this is given the title ' The All-Nations Agreement') ("Gunmen of the Apocalypse")
  • 39436175880932/C. 'POW's have a right to non-violent constraint.' ("Gunmen of the Apocalypse")

Rimmer Directives

There are also a number of Rimmer Directives, which Rimmer makes up to counter Kryten's use of the regulations:

  • 271. 'No chance, you metal bastard.' Used to counter Space Corps Directive 195 in the episode "White Hole".
  • An unspecified directive (Simply referred to as "The Rimmer Directive"): 'Never tangle with anything that's got more teeth than the entire Osmond family.' ("Polymorph")