Gilbert the Butler was the personal butler/secretary of a billionaire David Lister, in an alternate timeline where Lister had altered his past through the use of timeslides. In this alternate timeline, Lister had never joined the Space Corps and Red Dwarf, and instead stayed on Earth.
Gilbert was constantly irritated by Lister's juvenile behaviour (especially the construction of a giant urinating statue to "slay" his guests for a planned royal visit), but Gilbert appeased his employer's ego nonetheless. He possessed a very dry, sarcastic manner, which seemed to pass over Lister's head. Gilbert was always professional, but did roll his eyes at Lister behind his back.
When Rimmer appeared at Lister's mansion to try and persuade Lister to rejoin Red Dwarf, he called "Mr. Roomer" a nutter, since he had never actually met him in this timeline, and had Gilbert throw Rimmer out.
- Lister: "Gilbert my man, you're looking bad, baby!"
- Gilbert: "I'm assured it will be functional for the royal visit next week. I'm barely recovering from the hilarity of the gag myself, Sir. Almost Swiftian in its rapier-like subtlety." [Discussing Lister's giant urinating statue in the courtyard of his mansion.]
- Gilbert: "For Madame, lobster a la Grecque. For Sir, a sausage and onion gravy sandwich, flown in from Liverpool's Luigi's Fish n Chip Emporium. An artist without comparison, Sir."
- Gilbert: "Apparently the gentleman's name is Rimmer, Sir." [After Rimmer has appeared in the timeline, and repeatedly said his name, although this Lister has never met Rimmer]
- Given that Arnold Rimmer undid this timeline for selfish reasons, the question of Gilbert's existence in the 'mainstream' timeline is unresolved. It is likely that in the 'prime' timeline, Gilbert was the butler of the original billionaire and creator of the Tension Sheet, Thickie Holden, whose invention (and life) the Dwarfers had tried to steal.
Behind the Scenes
- Gilbert's observation of the "Swiftian" nature of the fountain is literal, since, in the unexpurgated text of his masterpiece, Gulliver deals with a fire in the Lilliputian royal palace in precisely this manner.