Timewave is the third episode in Series XII of Red Dwarf, broadcast on Dave on 26 October 2017.

It is also the seventieth Red Dwarf episode overall.


A ship from the 23rd century is washed up from the past, and the Dwarfers run into a crew where ineptitude is to be tolerated by law, audacious self-expression is encouraged, and all forms of criticism are illegal.


After the crew discover, name and take soil samples from a "Helium-7"-rich moon (Planet Rimmer), Starbug is hit by a time wave, bringing them into contact with a twenty-fourth century ship, the SS Enconium. However, there are two problems; the ship is set on a collision course with Planet Rimmer and, upon the ship, all forms of criticism are punishable by life imprisonment or "draining".

Main cast

Guest stars


  • This episode has been described as a satire on "safe space culture".[1]
  • Rimmer's Inner Critic is similar in concept to the Unspeakable One and the Rimmer Demons - manifestations of Rimmer's self-loathing - from "Terrorform"; the difference being that the Inner Critic is fundamentally meant to 'help' Rimmer, whereas the Unspeakable One simply reflected Rimmer's loathing of his own incompetence. In this manner, Rimmer's Inner Critic is also very similar to Paranoia from "Confidence and Paranoia".
    • Rimmer's Inner Critic has a resemblance to the James Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
  • There is apparently no command structure aboard the SS Enconium, with it being revealed that crew members can simply do whatever they feel like, and self-appoint themselves to other departments which they are not trained in (the explanation given for the engineers not being present in engineering when needed.)
  • Whilst not stated in the episode, it is revealed in the DVD special features by actor Jamie Chapman that his character Ziggy Briceman was indeed written in the script as being the captain of the SS Enconium. This explains how Ziggy was able to give orders on a ship where there no apparent command structure.
  • It is revealed in this episode that when Kryten is walking backwards, he is programmed to bleep out a similar sound to the warning signal of a large reversing vehicle.
  • The Cadmium II radiation leak that wiped out the crew of Red Dwarf in the pilot episode was mentioned multiple times in this episode.
  • When Rimmer was quoting a Space Corps Directive, he told Kryten to shut up, because he knew that he would correct him otherwise. Rimmer quoting a Space Corps Directive that was utterly irrelevant to the situation, then Kryten corrects him was a running gag in Series VI this was sometime after he read the Space Corps Directive Manual in "Quarantine".
  • Lister's Om song from "Timeslides" is mentioned.

Behind the scenes

  • "Timewave" was the second episode in Series XII to be filmed, strait after "Siliconia".
  • The brightly-lit, psychedelically-painted and garish corridors of the SS Enconium was a redressed set of the dark and moody SS Samsara from the previous series. It was writer Doug Naylor's idea to have the colour scheme resemble "lava lamps".[2]
    • Production Designer Keith Dunne has claimed that the SS Enconium scenes to be the most deliberately "camp thing I have ever done".
  • The "Planet Rimmer" scenes were shot in the studio and completed with green-screen, although tons of real sand was used. After every take, studio hands swept the sand to rub out footprints, a process which was very time consuming. Extensive reshoots meant Craig Charles nearly fainted from the heat in his space suit and under the hot studio lights.
  • Producer Kerry Waddell tried to send Kryten's actor Robert Llewellyn to hospital when he fell ill with a suspected kidney stone. Llewellyn, who was already in Kryten's make-up, refused to since he wanted to finish filming. Craig Charles addressed the live studio audience to ask them for their patience, since, as he told them, Llewellyn had a "leaky cock".
  • Actor Jamie Chapman based his performance of Ziggy Briceman on "Paul Lynde doing Penelope Pitstop".
    • It has been claimed that Ziggy's audacious uniform is the same one that was worn by Vulva (David Walliams), the performance artist in Series 1, Episode 3 of Spaced (1999).[3]
  • Johnny Vegas, as a life-long fan of Red Dwarf, described being in the show as one of the things on his "bucket list". During filming of this episode, Vegas was in the studio next door filming Still Open All Hours. When filming wrapped up on that set, he went next door and asked Doug Naylor for a role in the episode.
    • Johnny Vegas plays the role of the Crit Cop in the episode. Vegas claimed that the pink police uniform he wears was an old outfit that had been left over from an unused Monty Python sketch.
  • Menus were produced for the 1950s-style diner aboard the SS Enconium, which included meals and drinks that are satirical of "hipster" and "millennial" diets. These menus are easier to discern in the DVD special features rather than they are in episode itself.
    • The meals include, among others; sprouts, oats and artichoke breakfasts; celery and turnip pancakes; French toast with frog's legs (and heads); and horseradish chilli (served cold). Drinks include liquefied spam and egg whites; raspberry and bone marrow; and avocado, kale and chocolate shakes.

Notable dialogue

  • Lister: [Saluting "Planet Rimmer"] To Rimmer - so full of gas.
  • Rimmer: Leave this to me. As stand-in senior acting commanding officer of the J.M.C. mining ship Red Dwarf, and protected as I am under Space Corps Directive 381 286 - Kryten shut up - I demand that you release us all immediately. Or at least one of us as a gesture of good will, which I'd like to volunteer.
  • Kryten: Sirs, I'm detecting some kind of a solar storm moving in from the west. Suggest you engage "skedaddle" mode.
  • Rimmer: But the Helium-7, we need to mine it!
    Kryten: There's no time, sir!
    Rimmer: But Helium-7 is incredibly scarce! It's rarer than an ungroped bottom at the BBC in the 1970s.
  • Lister: If I'd got upset with every bit of criticism I got, where would I be now?
    Cat: Not single, not podgy, and not doomed to roam Deep Space with a bad haircut.
  • Lister: But criticism can be good, right? It forces people to become better.
    Kryten: Not always, sir, take you.
    Lister: What about me?
    Kryten: Well, as a guitarist, you've been criticized, belittled, decried, vilified, panned and slammed your whole life.
    Lister: And your point is?
    Kryten: You still utterly suck, sir.


The episode received a mixed to negative reception.

Ganymede & Titan said that, despite some good jokes, the message of the episode was lost due to it being a largely incoherent episode.[4]

Although Den of Geek described it as one of the weakest episodes in the history of Red Dwarf, a large number of fans were impressed at Doug Naylor's tackling of a highly sensitive culture.[5]


  2. "The 28 Years Later Affair", Series XII DVD making-of documentary