Claustrophobia is an intense fear of enclosed spaces. Dave Lister of Red Dwarf, the last human being in the galaxy, suffered terribly from the anxiety disorder.

Lister's claustrophobia

Lister's claustrophobia began when he was 17, c.2172, and he was having an affair with a married cashier at the supermarket where he worked parking trollies. Her husband caught them in the act and kidnapped him, putting a naked Lister in a crate. After pleading to be let out, thinking he was going to die, his captor did release him - right in the middle of the Bootle Amateur Player's production of the The Importance of Being Earnest. ("Duct Soup", Series VII)

Confidence+Paranoia - SpaceWalk (5)

Dave Lister feels very claustrophobic in his space suit ("Confidence & Paranoia")

Three million years later on Red Dwarf, Lister took a space walk to find Kochanski's hologram disc, that had been hidden by Rimmer. He found it, but was accompanied by Confidence who told him that he had killed Paranoia by feeding him into the waste grinder. Lister suddenly felt very claustrophobic in his space suit. ("Confidence and Paranoia", Series I)

When Lister found some curious passages in Rimmer's old diary, and an inexplicable picture of himself marrying Kochanski, the gang took an Xpress Lift down 2,567 floors to Floor 16 to solve the riddle. Unfortunately, Lister became very claustrophobic during the long journey in the lift, which wasn't helped by the Lift Hostess offering cyanide capsules. ("Stasis Leak", Series II)


Lister gets anxiety in the ducts of Starbug ("Duct Soup")

The gang were once forced by dire circumstances to crawl through miles of maintenance ducts which wound their way around Starbug. Lister had a panic attack, forcing the others to sedate him. Kristine Kochanski attempted to help by taking his mind off it, but The Cat didn't help since he talked about how you couldn't swing him around in there. Later, when Lister thought he had his anxiety under control, the ducts began washing and drying themselves, nearly drowning Lister and throwing him around the ducts. When Lister found out that it was all Kryten's fault, Lister promised they would discuss it over a nice hot branding iron. ("Duct Soup", Series VII)

Lister mentions his claustrophobia again as he crawls through the ducts of Red Dwarf to Warden Ackerman's quarters in the deleted scenes of "Krytie TV", Series VIII.

Lister's claustrophobia once again flared up when he became trapped with the Cat in the underwater wreck of the SS Samsara. With them experiencing ever larger incidents of bad luck due to the proximity of the Karma Drive, Lister began to feel worse and worse. The idiotic conversation of the Cat didn't help either. ("Samsara", Series XI)


  • Lister's claustrophobia may also explain why the crew often seemed to move into sleeping quarters that have always been close to their controls centers such as various drive rooms (the later science room was also close to the Officer's Quarters, and the Series X drive room and sleeping quarters are both near the front of the ship) - since Lister doesn't like using the Xpress Lifts. This could also explain why Lister's preferred method of transportation around Red Dwarf was the space bike and not the Xpress Lifts.

See also