Tongue Tied
This article is about the Red Dwarf character. For the Red Dwarf episode, see RD: The Inquisitor.

"You have been found unworthy of having existed. Your life and all memory of you will be wiped from history. The void you occupied in the space-time continuum will be allocated to a person who was never given the gift of life. May they spend their time more wisely."
-The Inquisitor ("The Inquisitor")

About the Inquisitor

Like all who are judged by the Inquisitor, your judge shall be - yourself..."

Little is known about The Inquisitor's origins, other than horror tales, urban legends and astro campfire tales. As far as is known, he was a self-repairing rogue Simulant, who had survived until the end of time itself, coming the conclusion there was no God. This then led him to the belief that life is all that there is, and that the point of existence is for each individual to make their life as fulfilling as possible. He creates the Time Gauntlet and then travels through time, visiting each individual in turn. Each is judged, and those he found to be unworthy are erased from the time-space continuum, and their existence replaced by another who never had the chance of life. One of his known victims was Thomas Allman.

To this end, the Inquisitor was apparently able to access the psyches of his 'victims' so that they were judged by themselves to determine whether they were worthy of life, thus ensuring that those he visited received a fair hearing. When judging people, he would take on their exact likeness. ("The Inquisitor", Series V)

The Inquisitor came to erase Jan Ludwig Hoch from history, and asked him what he had done with his 68 years of life. Hoch explained that he had helped rebuild his adopted country after the worst war in history, and had fathered two civil leaders. The Inquisitor explained that fifty years previous Hoch had the chance to become an important figure in the world, but went down a different path and failed to fulfil his potential. The Inquisitor erased Hoch from history, to be replaced with an alternate version of himself.

The Inquisitor came to inspect Hoch's replacement, and found that this Hoch was guilty of fraud and sexual intimidation. Regretting that he erased the last version of Hoch, the Inquisitor pushed the new Hoch off his yacht, killing him. (Mirror Image)

This trip around the universe continued until he reached the Red Dwarf gang, judging Lister, Rimmer, Cat and Kryten, concluding from their own analysis of themselves that Lister and Kryten deserved erasure; by Cat and Rimmer's low standards and self-centredness, they couldn't possibly have done better, but Lister and Kryten could have been so much more.

The Inquisitor regrows his hand, likely through nano-technology

Fortunately, the two were rescued by the sacrifice of a future version of Kryten who sent himself back in time to save them, allowing Lister and Kryten to ally themselves with Rimmer, Cat, and two alternate versions of Lister and Kryten. Rimmer doesn't remember the "prime" Lister and Kryten, and suggests throwing them in the ship's brig. The rest of the crew were soon ambushed and killed, but in the subsequent fight Lister was able to take the Inquisitor's time-manipulating gauntlet when Kryten sawed off the Simulant's hand with a holo-saw.

"The old, back-firing Time Gauntlet trick"...

Lister used it temporarily freeze the Inquisitor while Kryten reprogrammed the gauntlet before sending himself back in time. As a result, when the Inquisitor attempted to erase Lister, the gauntlet backfired and erased the Inquisitor himself, reversing the deaths of the crew and every other action he had ever committed from history. ("The Inquisitor", Series V)


By Simulant standards, he is almost impartial towards humans (most others believe that humans are the "vermin of the universe") as he is willing to give each sentient life-form a fair trial. Despite being supposedly mutual and judging others fairly, this is not always true. He becomes very annoyed when Kryten questions his own self-assigned judgement, and equally so when Lister refuses to justify himself. This is possibly the real reason he erased them. He also takes pleasure in his work and is mocking toward Lister at the end, seeming to enjoy the prospect of erasing him.


As a time travelling Simulant, his primary skill is manipulating the timelines, replacing those unworthy of existence with those who are, appearing as the individual that he is judging to give them a fair hearing. He was able to repair any injury almost instantly, which enabled him to outlive the rest of the universe.


  • "I have the power to snap your body in two like a dry reed"
  • "Tremble at my name, for I am The Inquisitor"
  • "So, the mortals seek to challenge my mastery"
  • "Nooo, all my work will be undone..."


  • Given the Inquisitor's task of erasing and replacing people's existences, his own death might account for many of the series' continuity errors after this point. If we assume that everything we have seen before this episode takes place with the Inquisitor existing, then all that we knew has come about due to the changes he has made. With his existence erased, these changes never took place, and there is no limit to how much this new (albeit original) Time Line differs from before. One example of this is when Lister's appendix is removed in "Legion", despite the fact that we had previously been told in "Thanks for the Memory" that it had already been removed. With the death of The Inquisitor occurring after "Thanks for the Memory", it is entirely possible that in this timeline, Lister's appendix was never removed in the first place.
  • The Inquisitor was the inspiration behind the name of a competitor from the UK television series Robot Wars, presented by Craig Charles. When quizzed, the team begrudgingly told Charles about the origin of the name "Inquisitor", before Charles denied having ever heard of Red Dwarf.

Behind the Scenes

  • Jack Docherty was originally to have revealed his face when talking to Lister at the end of the episode. He had his face made up to look pale, with red-rimmed eyes and red veins. The scene was shot, but didn't look effective. A re-shoot of the scene was performed that left the visor down. The original scene was included as a deleted scene on the DVD release of Series V. 
  • Docherty was credited as John Docherty, his full name, which he used when acting early in his career.