|Place of Origin||Earth|
|Appearances||Full List of Appearances|
|Alter Egos||Queeg 500, Hilly, Mellie, Rebuilt Holly, High Holly, Low Holly, Hab|
|Family||Sinclair ZX81, ex-girlfriend|
|Actor||Norman Lovett / Hattie Hayridge|
— Holly (RD: Future Echoes)
Portrayed by Norman Lovett (male incarnation) and Hattie Hayridge (female incarnation), Holly was one of the original Boys from the Dwarf in Series I to Series V, briefly in Series VII, and in Series VIII.
The computer ran Red Dwarf for the three million years after the radiation leak which killed the crew and the ship wandered the galaxy unmanned, except for the cats evolving on-board. Holly, having gone half-crazed by the aeons of solitude, later brought Dave Lister out of stasis and resurrected Arnold Rimmer as a hologram.
After Red Dwarf was rebuilt by the nanobots in Series VIII, a different Holly ran the ship, with the original, senile version of Holly stored in Lister's watch. As of Back to Earth and Series X, both versions of Holly are currently offline.
Holly was originally is played by Norman Lovett in Series I and II. Following a "head sex change" to look like his parallel universe alter ego Hilly in "Backwards", Holly is played by Hattie Hayridge in Series III–V. Holly does not appear in Series VI, but reappears in the final episode of Series VII as the original male version, played once again by Lovett, which continued into Series VIII.
Holly originally had an I.Q. of 6,000 (RD: Future Echoes), but this degraded into 6 over three million years, with him often needing to read The Junior Encyclopedia of Space and Dummie's Guide to Astro Navigation to fly the ship. (RD: Queeg). Holly's user interface appears on ship screens as a disembodied human head on a black background, and can also be downloaded into a watch worn by Lister. In Series I his face appears pixelated, but this idea was dropped in Series II. As a male, Holly appears to be approximately 50 years old and has receding brown hair. He was completely bald by Series VIII. Holly chose his face (that of Norman Lovett) based on "the greatest and most prolific lover who ever lived", to which Rimmer replied that "he must of worked in the dark a lot." (RD: Balance of Power). His original appearance was presumably similar to the Rebuilt Holly. (RD: Back in the Red III)
Holly had a love of practical jokes, perhaps because of his senility. One of the most notable of these would be when he pretended to be a back-up computer that allegedly deleted Holly, Queeg, which was nasty to the Dwarfers. Holly would however be kind to the Dwarfers, letting them have free electricity and supplies without working for them, or lying in, amongst other things, which was all against JMC rules.
After meeting his female counterpart, Hilly (RD: Parallel Universe), he fell so madly in love with her that he had a "computer sex change" and based his new face on hers (RD: Backwards). As a female (portrayed by Hattie Hayridge), Holly appears to be approximately 30 years old and has shoulder-length blonde hair and red lipstick.
After the last episode of Series V, Red Dwarf was stolen by the nanobots, and the regular characters spent the next two series looking for it on Starbug without Holly. In the last episode of Series VI, They eventually find the planetoid which the nanites had turned Red Dwarf into. The original, senile version of Holly was found stored in a wristwatch. When caught in Lister's laundry basket, the nanites turn Red Dwarf back into a ship, even improving on it's original design, resurrecting the original crew and rebuilding a new version of Holly to run it. This new Holly is a genius, like Holly was intended to be, and has no memory of what has transpired over the past three million years. Throughout Series VIII, the regular characters are imprisoned in The Tank, whilst the Rebuilt Holly runs the ship, and the original senile Holly remains in Lister's wristwatch, often coming up with pathetic plans to help them escape, such as telling Lister to become a dog to reduce his sentence.
Neither version of Holly appears again in Back to Earth, with him stated by Rimmer to be down due to water damage after Lister left a bath running for nine years, although other explanations are the Despair Squid currently inhabiting the water tank, or damage done by the Chameleonic Microbe in the former episode. Rimmer was possibly referring to the nanobot-resurrected Rebuilt Holly who was formerly uploaded to the ship, with the original Holly stored in Lister's watch and they are presumably unable to upload this Holly to the ship (the rebuilt-Holly did not seem like an ally, so it unlikely they would have re-uploaded him; it is possible that the wristwatch with the original Holly is still in the Mirror Universe). The Skutters are trying to dry out Holly's databanks, or so says Rimmer to Katerina Bartokovsky in their Despair Squid-induced hallucination, when Bartokovsky asks where the missing ship computer is.
Throughout Series X, Red Dwarf is run by the faceless, silent, non-sentient default JMC Mainframe that communicates with the crew through skutters and by post. The crew briefly try to replace Holly with another computer called Pree in "Fathers & Suns", placing Holly's future in the show in further question (even though Pree turns out to be a failure). Rimmer does however mention Holly, saying that he misses Holly's level of cock-ups.
Holly is the ship's Tenth Generation AI holographic computer. After releasing Dave Lister from stasis in "The End", Holly told him that the crew have been wiped out by a radiation leak and that he had spent three million years in stasis.
Holly prides himself on the fact he had an IQ of 6,000 (apparently the same IQ as 6,000 PE teachers or 12,000 car park attendants), but after three million years by himself, he had become computer senile, or as Holly put it, "a bit peculiar", so that now, he only has an IQ of 68. The crew often ridicule Holly on his senility, but Holly often comes out on top. He often plays practical jokes on the crew, such as fooling Lister into thinking that "NORWEB Federation" space fighters were after him and wanted £180 billion in arrears for leaving his bathroom light on three million years ago, as well as wanting to arrest him for "Crimes against Humanity" as he had left some German sausages alone in his apartment for three million years and they now covered a large proportion of the Earth's surface.
This love of practical jokes culminated in his generating an alternate personality, "Queeg", and passing him off as the ship's backup computer which was seizing control of the ship. The prank was also Holly's way to teach the crew to "appreciate what [they've] got, because basically, I'm fantastic."
Holly was friends with another computer called Gordon, who had an IQ of 8,000 and was an Eleventh Generation AI hologrammatic computer. He and Gordon were playing a long-distance chess game, Holly only received the first move 3,000,000 years later in the episode 'Better Than Life' Series II. Gordon resembled Holly, had the same manner, and he seemed to be at least as senile.
Holly runs most of the Red Dwarf systems, although in several episodes such as "Quarantine", Holly is shown to not have complete control of Red Dwarf, and in Holly's absence in Series VI and VII, a computer is mentioned by the crew, and is seen to control autopilot, possibly a non-AI computer designed as a back-up should Holly go senile or mad (the Series X opener "Trojan" refers to a JMC on-board computer). Among Holly's systems are the service droids known as skutters, which clean, perform engineering tasks, and function as Rimmer's hands since he couldn't touch anything non-holographic until he was converted to "hard light" in second episode of Series VI "Legion".
While on his own for three million years, Holly invented "Hol Rock", where he decimalised music (having ten notes instead of eight — although he admits that this would result in "piano keyboards being the width of a zebra crossing, and women being banned from playing the cello"), and wrote an A-Z guide of the universe. He proclaims that Kevin Keegan wrote the worst book ever ("Football, It's a Funny Old Game"). He is proud of the fact that he can do moon impressions just by lowering his face on the screen. He often greets the crew with "All right dudes!" Indeed, when he was recovered after many episodes of absence the first thing he said to the surprised Lister is "All right dudes", marking his triumphant return.
He hates being on a watch, especially on Lister's wrist, and particularly when Lister's hand goes in his pocket. One of the more worrying aspects of Holly's senility is that he has developed a blind spot for the number 7. When he invents the "Holly Hop Drive", he claims that one mistake in his 13 billion calculations and they would be blown up. He then misses the seven in his countdown, possibly the cause of the error that sent them to the parallel universe.
Holly was lost for some time, along with the ship, which had been stolen by Kryten's nanobots. He was found on a planet made of junk from Red Dwarf, having reverted to his male form, and was downloaded into Lister's Holly-watch (see "RD: Nanarchy" and "Prelude to Nanarchy"). When the nanos rebuilt the ship, there were two Hollys: the original, who generally remains in the watch, and a rebuilt version who had not suffered the effects of three million years alone. The non-senile version only appeared in one episode, "Back In the Red, Part III", and was distinguished by having an enormous forehead shaped like an egg to reflect his superior IQ. Despite his other self's intellect, the original Holly was able to remain active on Lister's watch, occasionally trying to help out by offering suggestions for how Lister could shorten his sentence.
Between Series VIII and Back to Earth, Holly was rendered offline due to water damage after Lister flooded his databanks due to him leaving a bath running for nine years without turning it off. Although the crew have attempted to activate a new sentient A.I. to replace him, the resulting computer- Pree- proved to be a failure, prompting them to remain operating with just the silent, faceless, on-board JMC mainframe. Whether Holly will return in any form in the future remains to be seen.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Stand-up comedian Norman Lovett initially took the role of Holly to advance his career, but was perturbed to discover it was just a voice-over role. Lovett then badgered the writers to have his face appear on-screen, which eventually they agreed to, although his face was pixelated in Series I.
- The actor was changed from Norman Lovett to Hattie Hayridge in the beginning of Series III because it was filming in London, and Lovett had moved to Edinburgh, and did not want the long commute, among other reasons. In the making of documentaries, Lovett is often said to be a born-moaner by the rest of the cast and crew, stating that it was difficult to get him back for "RD: Nanarchy" and Series VIII. Hayridge is still a frequent attendee at the Dimension Jump conferences; Lovett not so much.
- The book Better Than Life states that Holly had no belief in Silicon Heaven when he had an I.Q. of 6,000, but as he became computer senile, his belief in it became reaffirmed and it kept him going for the three million years he was alone.
- "Oi. What's happening, dudes?" (RD: Better Than Life)
- "He's dead, Dave. Everybody is dead. Everybody — is — dead — Dave." (RD: The End)
- "I should never have let him out in the first place." (RD: The End)
- "Six? Do me a lemon, that's a poor IQ for a glass of water!" (RD: Queeg)
- "We have enough food to last thirty thousand years, but we've only got one After Eight mint left. And everyone's too polite to take it." (RD: Me)
- "Gordon Bennett, it's lucky he's not a gynaecologist." (RD: Thanks For the Memory)
- "Prawn takes horsie." (RD: Queeg)
- Rimmer: "Why do we have to have you as the ship's computer? We'd be better off with a bucket full of sheep slop running things."
Holly: "If you've got a complaint, just come straight out with it. Don't hide behind innuendo and hyperbole." (RD: Confidence and Paranoia)
- "Emergency, emergency, there is an emergency going on." (RD: Me²)