Tongue Tied

Arnold Rimmer and Kryten in the cockpit of Starbug as the Time Hole approaches ("Backwards", Series III)

A Time Hole was a phenomenon rarely seen in space that transported anything that passed through it to another place and time.


Exiting the Time Hole into the atmosphere of a backwards Earth

Time holes were extremely rare and not studied in any great detail. Rimmer stated that what they knew of time holes came from legend. They resembled swirling, glittering, orange wormholes.

When Rimmer took Kryten for his pilot's test, Holly served as auto-pilot while they performed the recognition tests. Rimmer pointed to symbols of space phenomena and asked Kryten what each one signified. When he pointed to the symbol for a Blue Giant star, both Kryten and Holly said "Time Hole" repeatedly. Rimmer told them they were mistaken, but they were referring to the large, whirling orange vortex about to swallow the ship.

Starbug flew into the time hole and out the other side. They crashed into a lake, damaging Starbug 1. Rimmer realised quickly that they had been transported to Earth where time was running backwards.

Lister and Cat searched space in Starbug 2 for the next three weeks for signs of the other ship. When they spotted the time hole, Cat asked Lister if it was truly what he thought - "an orange whirly thing in space". Lister realised that it was a time hole and entered it. Upon landing on backwards Earth, they located Rimmer and Kryten and convinced them to return through the time hole to Red Dwarf. ("Backwards", Series III)


When the first three series were remastered in the late 1990s, the special effects for the Time Hole were significantly redone with computer generated imagery for the remastered version version of "Backwards".


  • Given that the crew were trying to reach Earth in the previous episode using the Holly Hop Drive (but instead traveled to a parallel dimension where they met female versions of themselves), it is possible that the Time Hole encountered in "Backwards" was a remnant of those events.
    • Alternatively, the creation of the Time Hole could have been due to the interference of the Infinity Patrol in "Dad", which was supposed to have taken place between these episodes.

Behind the Scenes

  • In the original version of the episode, the Time Hole was created by one of the television crew filming a cup of tea that had been vigorously stirred.
    • When the episode was remastered, it was created using computer generated effects.