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Tongue Tied

RD: Backwards

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EPISODE
Backwards
Series III
Sdrawkcab
Written By Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Director Ed Bye
Guest Star(s) Arthur Smith as the Pub Manager

Tony Hawks as the Compère

Maria Friedman as Waitress

Anna Palmer as Customer

Episode Chronology
Episode 13
Previous Episode: Parallel Universe
Next Episode: Marooned

Plot SynopsisEdit

Whilst Kryten is taking his Starbug driving test, Holly, serving as autopilot, accidentally transports herself, Rimmer and Kryten through a Time Hole, only to discover a version of Earth in the early nineties where time is running backwards.

Plot SummaryEdit

Following last series' thrilling climax, Lister has given birth to twins, Jim and Bexley (as prophecied in Future Echoes), but returned the children to their mother/father Deb Lister. Holly underwent a sex change operation to look more like the computer he fell in love with, and after a brief time rebelling against nothing, Kryten crashed Lister's spacebike and was rescued by the crew of Red Dwarf, where he has now taken residence.

Rimmer takes Kryten for his driving test in Starbug One and despite one or two hitches (flinging Rimmer out of the vehicle) which can be attributed to Kryten learning to drive in Starbug Two, things seem to be going well. Until they chance across a time hole which transports them to Earth, but something is amiss. They find a roadsign which reads "Nodnol, 871 selim" and after a brief discussion they deduce that they are 178 miles from London, and everything is backwards. They "un-hitch" a ride to London, (which looks bizarrely like late eighties Manchester) where Holly explains that because every action has an equal and opposite reaction, the big bang should conversely lead to the big crunch and time is running backwards.

In a cafe, after watching a woman regurtitate a cream finger, they discover that it's 3991 (or 1993) and that as Starbug is destroyed they should get jobs and find an advert for a pub who want "Novelty acts", and on a planet where time is running backwards, anything a hologram and a robot do is pretty much a novelty.

Meanwhile, Lister and The Cat are hot on their heels. They follow them through the time hole and land safely. But Lister's ribs appear to be cracked and he has developed a black eye. They however are not as quick to work out their surroundings, all they know is that they are indeed on Earth...Lister is home. After seeing the "Nodnol" sign they deduce that they are in Bulgaria and do the Red Dwarf Shuffle to celebrate their excellent deduction skills. They find a poster for an act called "The Sensational Reverse Brothers" and go to find Rimmer and Kryten. They hike a ride to the pub and sit and wait for the show to start.

Rimmer and Kryten's show is a hit, including such tricks as eating a boiled egg fowards and drinking a glass of water.

After the show Lister and the Cat go backstage (after witnessing someone "undrink" a pint of Bitter, they realise they're in England in a world where time goes backwards) where Rimmer and Kryten tell them they want to stay, but after a talking to from the manager, they are fired for being in a fight, a fight no-one remember's having.

They return to the pub to decide what to do next. When Cat and Lister un-eat someone's pie, the reason for Kryten and Rimmer's dismissal becomes clear...they are about to have a fight. Lister has his ribs un-cracked and his black eye sucked from his face. The bar room fight (or as Lister calls it a 'bar room tidy') is now in full swing, with Rimmer cowering under a table, Cat fixing a chair over someone's head and Lister's unique way of repairing a broken window pane.

The crew decide to return to Starbug, but not before "giving" money to charity.

Just before they leave they realise they are a man down. Lister, however informs Kryten and Rimmer that Cat is "in the bushes", whereby he emerges seconds later, with a shocked expression and a stilted walk.

"Don't ask"

Link to Series IIEdit

A Star Wars style scroll is used to explain all the occurrences that had happened between Series II and III.

The text is as follows:

RED DWARF III

THE SAGA CONTINUUMS

THE STORY SO FAR...

Three million years in the future, Dave Lister, the last human being alive discovers he is pregnant after a liaison with his female self in a parallel universe. His pregnancy concludes with the successful delivery of twin boys, Jim and Bexley. However, because the twins were conceived in another universe, with different physical laws, they suffer from highly accelerated growth rates, and are both eighteen years old within three days of being born. In order to save their lives, Lister returns them to the universe of their origin, where they are reunited with their father (a woman), and are able to lead comparatively normal lives. Well, as normal as you can be if you've been born in a parallel universe and your father's a woman and your mother's a man and you're eighteen years three days after your birth.

Shortly afterwards, Kryten, the service mechanoid who had left the ship after being rescued from his own crashed vessel, the Nova 5, is found in pieces after his space bike crash lands onto an asteroid. Lister rebuilds the 'noid, but is unable to recapture his former personality.

Meanwhile, Holly, the increasingly erratic Red Dwarf computer, performs a head sex change operation on himself. He bases his new face on Hilly, a female computer with whom he'd once fallen madly in love.

And now the saga continuums

AND NOW THE SAGA CONTINUUMS...

RED DWARF III

THE SAME GENERATION

- NEARLY -

Noteworthy DialogueEdit

  • Rimmer: Flobby-Dob-Blib-Blob-Bleep!
  • Lister: I didn't come here lookin' for trouble, I just came to do the Red Dwarf shuffle.
  • Lister: It's not a bar room brawl, it's a bar room tidy! Un-rumble!
  • Rimmer: What is that? (holds book to Kryten)
    Holly: It's a time hole!
    Rimmer: Don't help him!
    Kryten: It's a time hole!
    Holly: It's a time hole!
    Rimmer: It is clearly not a time hole. It is clearly a blue giant about to go supernova. (Looks out of window) THAT is a time hole. (Turns head back to Kryten) Oh. (Turns head slowly to rapidly-approaching time hole)
    Rimmer, Kryten and Holly:
    Aaaaaargh!
  • Lister: And Santa Clause, what a bastard! He's just a fat git who goes down chimneys and steals all the kids favourite toys!

Background InformationEdit

  • This episode introduces a new opening sequence replacing the original sombre opening of the first two series with a more upbeat instrumental rendition of the theme tune, and scenes from assorted Series III episodes (except, for some reason, a shot from the Season II episode "Thanks for the Memory" - showing Cat and Lister carrying a tombstone - is also included). This version of the opening theme music would be retained for the Series III to VIII, the "Back to Earth" miniseries, and Series X. Henceforth episodes no longer featured Holly explaining the concept of the series, either.
  • A number of visual and subtle changes are introduced with this episode. The color scheme of the costumes and sets is increase, with a new set introduced for the bunkroom. Rimmer now wears a uniform based upon the SPECTRUM uniforms of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. The Cat is depicted as having somewhat greater intelligence than in previous seasons, as evidenced by the fact Lister is actually able to carry on a conversation with Cat in several scenes, such as the opening Wilma Flintstone discussion.
  • Exactly how Rimmer's hologram works remains a mystery. In "Thanks for the Memory" Rimmer needs a holographic cage to maintain his form when outside a vessel, yet in this episode he freely walks the streets of nodnoL. He also takes cover during the brawl, even though there should be no way for anyone to harm him (although it's likely that this is simply force of habit after a lifetime of abject cowardice). the episode meltdown reveals that he has a light bee that progects his image.
  • (However, as mentioned in 'Marooned' - Rimmer has been given the body of 'an abject coward' and would hide from a bar room brawl even if there was no possibility of him being injured.)
  • The episode relies on an optical illusion for many of the reverse sequences involving signs and printed words. Instead of actually printing them backwards, things like the newspaper headline Kryten reads and the nodnoL place sign are simply spelled backwards, but the letters look normal. However, if you look at the masthead (title graphic) of the newspaper, it is actually printed backwards, both words and lettering.
  • The man who appears to "un-smoke" a cigarette is an uncredited Rob Grant.
  • This episode has more swearing than any other episode, only it's all backwards.
  • The Series 3 DVD set comes with a section called "Backwards--Forwards" in the bonus DVD, which shows this episode from end to beginning, thus we get to see what the people speaking backwards are actually saying. Most notably, the actor playing the angry bar manager (Arthur Smith) is revealed to be breaking the fourth wall and poking fun at any viewers who actually managed to get a recording of the scene and play it backwards to hear what he's actually saying (a rare occurrence of an "Easter egg" actually being broadcast in the pre-DVD era).
  • If one plays the "Bar Room Tidy" starting from the point that the room is tidy again, although backwards, they'll hear one of the directors yelling "Action!"
  • The opening scroll creates a continuity error as it indicates that Bexley returned to his original universe and his mother, Deb Lister, although "Future Echoes" established that Bexley lived on Red Dwarf with his father until he was killed in the incident witnessed by Rimmer in the past. This is the first of several examples of the chronology on Red Dwarf becoming skewed as the series progressed. (Although it's possible that, in an unchronicled adventure, Bexley was reunited with his father aboard Red Dwarf.)
  • During the first few scenes after Rimmer and Kryten arrive on the backwards earth, while Chris Barrie is filmed on location, it's obvious that a body double is used for Kryten, with Robert Llewellyn dubbing his voice over later (though the actor is seen in a later shot showing Kryten and Rimmer walking the streets of nodnoL.
  • Holly disappears from the narrative after making the joke about what time it is. The episode leaves it unclear as to whether Lister and Cat had access to a version of Holly during the three weeks they were searching for Rimmer and Kryten (who was piloting Red Dwarf?). The episode also never explains how they were able to return through the time hole.
  • Kryten dons a Spitting Image mask of Ronald Reagan. Chris Barrie was a veteran of the comedy series.
  • When the waitress at the cafe empties the contents of her waste paper bin, she does so in the conventional direction and the contents fall out of the bin, obeying gravity whereas it should have been the opposite way round.

Guest StarsEdit

Actor and character they played.

ReferencesEdit

Other articles of things featured in this particular episode



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