Identity Within, also called IDW, is a "lost episode" of Red Dwarf, scripted and story-boarded and originally intended for inclusion in Series VII, but ultimately shelved due to budgetary and time constraints.
A reconstructed version of the episode using the storyboards and the voice talents of Chris Barrie is available on the Series VII DVD.
Identity Within was originally the planned second episode in the seventh series (the episode ultimately replacing it as the second episode in this series was "Stoke Me a Clipper"). This episode was to focus on Cat as there hadn't been a "Cat episode" before; the episode was also to address the fact that Cat had become increasingly "domesticated" and less "independent" over the course of the show, and had become a slightly different character (leading to some annoyance amongst certain fans of the show). It would also have been the original Arnold Rimmer's adventure with the Boys from the Dwarf in the series before he left to become Ace Rimmer, although Rimmer was resurrected by the nanobots for the next series.
It was scripted and storyboards were produced, getting further than most "lost episodes". Ultimately the episode was never filmed, as it was a surprisingly ambitious script for the show and the sets would have been far too costly to produce — more than the whole series itself. However the budget for the seventh series was not for seven episodes but for eight episodes, therefore the less ambitious, simpler and cheaper episode "Duct Soup" (essentially a 'bottle show') was then written and produced in its place. "Duct Soup" became the fourth episode in the series.
A reconstructed version of the episode using newly-created storyboards by artist Neil Maguire based on the originals by John McKay, and produced by Doug Naylor, appears as a bonus feature on the 2005 Series VII DVD release. It was performed entirely by Chris Barrie, who is himself a professional voice artist and voices both his character, Arnold Rimmer, and the rest of the cast. The sound designer was Jem Whippey, who filled the same role on the crew of the television series.
The Cat is still a virgin; he has never even met another of his own race - Felis sapiens - except for an old, blind, dithering Cat Priest in his earlier years (the novel Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers says that the only other female Cat he met was his mother). The Cat's sexual frustration among humans and mechanoids is getting so bad that he has fallen ill, with toxins building up in him (as diagnosed by Kryten's nanobots), and if he doesn't mate soon, he will die. Apparently, as Kryten discovers, it is common for Felis sapiens to die if they don't breed by a certain age, and Cat has now reached that age. There is one way to cure Cat's illness - get him to have sex. Cat blames "owner" Dave Lister for his predicament, accusing Lister of "domesticating" him, suppressing his Cat instincts, and most of all for never looking for other Cats.
The Starbuggers set the Starbug scouters to probe for any Felis sapiens life-signs; some register up on the navicomp on a transport ship headed deep into GELF territory. With little choice, they set a course to follow the transport, which ends up on a pale-green planet with three bright moons. On the surface they find a bustling Brefewino trading outpost. There, a female Felis sapiens called Ora (or Aura in the original script) is being held prisoner for slave auction the next day, and a giant Brefewino named Zural (or Zurool in the original script) plans to buy her as a snack.
Cat has spent too much time around humans, and being half-domesticated and not smelling right, the imprisoned Aura refuses to believe that he is a Felis sapiens. Cat attempts to break her out, but is caught in the process and Aura re-imprisoned. Meanwhile, Lister comes up with a plan to win enough mushy peas - Brefewino currency - to buy Aura at the auction. The plan involves cheating at the Brefewino gambling den in four-dimensional pontoon (where you bet on the next hand dealt) using the zoom-in function on Kryten's eyes and a system of winking and sniffing. The plan fails due to Zurool suddenly sitting down next to Lister and getting dealt his unbeatable hand instead. This leaves them without enough mushy peas to buy Aura, or even the ignition keys to Starbug that Lister - drunk on GELF Hooch - had thrown in on the table.
At the auction, Zurool buys Aura, and Cat chases after them, and takes one of Zurool's swords from its scabbard. They engage in a swordfight, with Cat soon confusing Zurool by standing still like a statue, then overpowering him with super-fast cat instincts. Zurool's ornate belt is revealed to be a morphing belt, and his true form is not a GELF but really that of a male Felis sapiens. Aura, a former soldier, recognises Zurool as her former platoon captain from the Cat Arks, and the two begin to embrace, yet Cat throws his sword at Zurool, spearing him dead. The Cat notes a small dagger Zurool was hiding behind his back and was about to stab Aura with, and tells Aura that it must have been Zurool who betrayed her platoon, causing their deaths or enslavement.
The Cat and Aura leave Starbug in the escape pod, and Lister is sad to see him gone. However, Cat leaves Aura on a planetoid after mating, and returns 20 minutes later, reminding them that relationships don't last long in his species. He shows the rest of the Stabuggers that he got his pounce back by jumping up to the ceiling and sticking to it, asking if he can have a tuna bake.
- Zural and Ora are the only felis sapiens in Red Dwarf besides the main character of the Cat, his unseen parents, and the old, blind and dying Cat Priest.
- The episode makes it clear that at least some of the cats aboard one the Cat Arks survived in Deep Space. Zural and Ora were veteran military, referring to each other as 'comrade', and there was a clear military structure to whatever organisation they were with. They likely formed this military structure to fend off against attacks from Brefewino who preyed on them for slave labor, and as snacks.
- Rewrites of the script were conducted by John McKay and Kim Fuller, and at one point would have included an appearance by Duane Dibbley. In the story-boarded episode, The Cat's love interest and love rival are called Aura and Zurool, but in the original script they were called Ora and Zural, respectively.
- The episode was not produced due to the high cost of creating a marketplace inside a whole tribal village of Brefewino, other assorted GELFs and their Felis sapiens slaves.
- A script of this episode was auctioned for charity at a Red Dwarf convention in Melbourne, Australia before Series VII aired there.
- The Cat's relationship with Aura (or Ora) lasts 20 minutes. This is an exceptionally long relationship for Felis sapiens. In a deleted scene of the Series I episode, "RD: Me²", the Cat explains three minutes is a long time for a Cat relationship.
- Whilst Karen Newton gives the Cat a medical in the Series VIII episode "Back in the Red", Captain Hollister notes his six nipples and wonders what the female of the species must be like. Cat says "pretty easy to please in bed". Since Cat has never met a female of his species except in the lost episode "Identity Within", this is likely be referring to Ora/Aura, possibly making the episode canon.
- Almost identical to what happens in "Identity Within", Lister again loses a crewmember (in this case Rimmer) and Starbug in a poker game with GELFs later in the television series. This occurs with the BEGGs in the Series X episode "Entangled".
- A reference to Batman Returns is in this episode as the Cat was watching a slideshow as part of his "medicine", one set of slides were of Michelle Pfeiffer in the aforementioned film.
- The GELF gambling den would have resembled the famous Cantina in Star Wars, as described in an article on the Red Dwarf official website.
- The premise of this episode is similar to the Star Trek episode "Amok Time", during which Mr Spock has to undergo the Vulcan mating ritual of Pon'Farr with haste or die.
Interesting, funny or relevant dialogue in the episode.
- Lister: "Looks like a lot of girls in cheesy kitten outfits from the Kit-Kat Club, Bangkok. Hey, you must be feeling better if you've got the energy for all this."
Cat: "This is my medicine. This is a scientific prescription to reduce my temperature. My double dose is interactive stills of Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in Batman Returns."
- Nanobots: "This stuff is more poisonous than a day-old box of chicken dippers." [Kryten's nanobots, microscopic Kryten heads with propellers, are inside The Cat to diagnose his illness. They communicate with their master in a nasal, high-pitched sob]
- Kryten: "We could change Starbug search mandate from "Find Red Dwarf" to "Find Pussy", if you forgive me, Sir."
- Zurool: [growling to The Cat] "Sorry, I thought you were a Cat. You may enter."
- Kryten: "I wouldn't announce that you are a Felis sapien on this world, Cat. The Brefwino word for cat means "four-limbed crispy bar snack."
- Rimmer: "So we have to keep fully alert to find a lady Cat and not get distracted... Ooh look, a book on 21st century shuttle craft license plates..."
- Lister: "Gelf chunder, urgh!" [A Brefewino violently ejected from a saloon vomits on Lister's shoes; Lister then enters the saloon for a drink]
- Cat: "Baby!" [Cat spots Aura, the first female of his species he has ever encountered, trapped in a slave pen].
Aura: Panzil, Aura. Sub-lieutenant 2960B8651. That's all you're getting, imbecile.."
Cat: "Owww! She called me an imbecile. Nice cage. How do you get in it?"
- Aura: [to Cat] "You're a cat too? I thought you was a social worker."
- Cat: [to Lister] "All these years, you've been treating me like a funny animal; the cute domestic kitty, until I don't know who i am anymore. I slowly got timid, logical, almost human; I'm practically a Railtrack ticket clerk. I can't even leap anymore. Why was it always find Red Dwarf, find other humans,why was it never find Cat his people?"
Lister: "We would have got to it eventually!"
Cat: "Now, they don't know me. I'm an Uncle Tomcat. I'd hate to guilt trip you or anything, but I'm probably gonna die and it's all your fault."
- Lister: "You see gentlemen, you may have your crystal balls and psychic sub-ether enhancement implants, but only a real gambler knows how to play four-dimensional pontoon. I trained. I'm a graduate of Lotsalots Arcade, Birkenhead."
Zurool: "This guy is really getting on my tits."
Lister: "Kryten, you're amazing, we haven't lost once. It's like taking candy from a seven-foot, sword-wielding monster."
- Rimmer: "You're going up against two tons of fur and muscle? Err, Earth to Cat..."
Cat: "I'd rather die a cat than live as someone's pet."
Rimmer: "Suit yourself. Give me the collar and the worming tablets any day of the week."
Kryten: "Be logical sir, he's bigger and faster than you. He has more chewing gear than a White House shredder."
Cat: I don't need logic. I need cat instinct."
- Zurool: "I'm afraid you're dead, Mr Pretend Cat!"
- Kryten: "If I didn't know better, I'd say that a gratuitous act of jealous rage". [After The Cat has killed Zurool, who is really a Cat too and a potential suitor to Aura]
- Cat: [to Aura] "Hey, shut up and stick your tongue in my mouth."
- Rimmer: [taking the Starbug keys off Zurool's corspe] "Mind if I... No, not at all. Go right ahead."
- [Lister believes Cat is gone away with Aura for good, but Cat returns after 20 minutes.] Kryten: "Mr Cat, You must have loved Aura very much to undertake such a long-term relationship."
A list of the storyboards of the reconstructed episode