Tongue Tied

Red Dwarf (ship)

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"Who would steal a gigantic red trash can with no brakes and three million years on the clock?"
- The Cat (RD: Psirens)

Jupiter Mining Corporation
Red Dwarf
Type Jupiter Mining Corporation

Solar Class Mining Ship

Origin Jupiter, Earth

6 miles (10 km) long, 5 miles (8 km) tall, and 4 miles (6 km) wide with over 2000 levels 120 cubic miles (480 cubic km)

Crew Compliment 169, 1,169 or 11,169(Depending on source)
400 inmates in the restricted prison on Floor 13, originally due for transport to Adelphi 12
Current Crew Numbers 4
Top Speed 200,000 mph (original specs), Over lightspeed (fastest clocked time)

The JMC mining ship Red Dwarf (briefly renamed the SS Howard Rimmer in Trojan) is a massive spaceship, the central setting of the franchise and namesake of the show. Her crew make up the main characters of the show.

Red Dwarf is the background for the Series I DVD Cover, whilst other series use other ships and locations from the show as backgrounds.

Early yearsEdit

The JMC Red Dwarf is an enormous mining craft roughly the size of a large city. It is one of the oldest and largest vessels in commission for the Jupiter Mining Corporation, crewed by the Space Corps and commanded by Captain Frank Hollister. The ship was designed to be far longer and larger but this design was changed after the JMC made considerable cutbacks. The resulting Red Dwarf was a short hexagonal prism painted a deep, blood red. At the ship's front is a large scoop that collects traces of hydrogen in space.

Lister inside Red Dwarf's front ramscoop in RD: Fathers & Suns

Assuming a fusion reactor powers it, the ramscoop would allow the ship to theoretically keep running forever.

The ramscoop and front is protected by reinforced "carbon-carbon" heat-shields, capable of withstanding solar radiation, minor asteroid impacts and interstellar dust storms, and some form of unspecified device which reduces the force of acceleration, so that the crew inside are not squished by the speeds of the ship (lilkely a form of stasis-based technology, like with much of the cargo and water supplies). Red Dwarf also creates its own artificial gravity, although it is never explained how.

Much of its earlier history is unknown, but its crew mined and ferried ores between the colonies of the Solar System, such as Jupiter, Io, Ganymede, Callisto, Titan, Mimas, Miranda and Triton at the edge of the Solar System. At some point what appears to be an asteroid collided with and embedded in the bottom of the ship, or this perhaps intentional to mine it, since two small moons were clearly and deliberately imbedded when the ship was recreated by the nanobots. By the time Dave Lister became part of the crew, the age of Red Dwarf had began to show, as it was one of the slowest ships in commission and technical faults were numerous.
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Early model shot




The CGI ship used in the remastered episodes, and in Series VIII after being reconstructed by nanobots

The Red Dwarf sapce ship as seen in series 10

The ship in Series X

Controlling much of the ship's systems is the main AI, Holly, who, supposedly, has an I.Q. of 6000. Holly usually appears as a balding man's head floating in a black background on the many screens on board (apparently he modeled the face on the greatest lover of all time). Holly controls and navigates the ship, maintains power levels and, most importantly, ensures the crew's mental and physical safety (or tries to, given his computer senility). The JMC On-Board Computer could run the ship in Holly's absence.

The ship's population, originally told to be 169, was later mentioned as 1,169. Also, the ship contains service robots called skutters that number in the thousands. These take care of most faults aboard except for incredibly useless tasks such as cleaning clogged chicken soup machines, which Second and Third Technicians of Z Shift take care of, mostly because it is below them and they have a better union than the technicians. There are dozens of Vending Machines, garbage droids, talking toasters and robot fish.

Of the 2000 floors in the ship, most are devoted to cargo, food and water, with the hold containing enough food to last 10,000 years at full crew and massive tanks storing supplies of water. Vending machines everywhere in the ship instantly deliver food from the lower levels. These machines either accept coins, or the crewmember's personal credit, accumulated from work.

Due to the massive power drain, Red Dwarf can only sustain one hologram at a time, usually the deceased crewmember most crucial for the mission at hand. As such, the appearance and personality of the entire crew is downloaded to disks and cataloged, with Holly having instant access.

For entertainment, the ship contains many bars, nightclubs, restaurants and cinemas. Despite its size, there are only two Stasis booths in the ship to freeze crew in time on interstellar flights. The ship has signs labeled in both English and Esperanto.

For minor infractions (e.g. smuggling contraband/unquarantined animals aboard), crewmembers are sent into stasis for a set, unpaid period. Paint detail, involving repainting the exterior of the ship, has also been known to be effective (although this is probably meant to be a joke because painting a starship while in space is impossible as paint will not stick to a cold surface; it is unknown whether the writers of the series knew this or not). Major infractions earn a period in The Tank, the ship’s classified prison on the restricted floor 13.

Due to the age of the ship, Red Dwarf can only do a max speed of 200,000mph, making a trip from Mimas to Triton then back around to Earth take around 4 and a half years.


Red Dwarf has dozens of shuttles (ship-to-surface vehicles) on board, of which are divided into four main types. In order of size, smallest-to-largest, they are White Midget, Blue Midget, Starbug, and White Giant, with many of each available mentioned in the television series, but only one of each mentioned in the novels. Many crucial scenes are played out in them. Having lost Red Dwarf, the Boys from the Dwarf spend Series VI and Series VII aboard Starbug. The final fight with the Simulant Generals in the last episode takes place with the crew in Blue Midget.

In the seriesEdit


Red Dwarf mission badge


Later mission badge

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Mission badge variant

At the series start, the crew of the Red Dwarf was lost after a Cadmium 2 radiation leak wiped out the crew except Dave Lister who was sealed in stasis at the time. The incident was apparently caused by Arnold Rimmer's failure to repair the faulty drive plates. However, it is made clear that Rimmer was not really to blame, as his own arrogance and self-loathing caused him to believe he was responsible. His exact role in the accident differs from media to media, with him playing no part in the books. The TV series settles that though Rimmer had some part in the leak, his superiors were more to blame for assigning such a crucial task to someone so incompetent and unqualified.

As the crew died, Lister's pet cat, Frankenstein, who Lister was sent to stasis for protecting, was safely sealed in the ship's hold. As millions of years passed, the cats evolved, bred, and formed an entire society in the ship's cargo levels, surviving on the sealed food on board after one discovered how to use a can opener. The cats eventually developed a religion based on Lister and Frankenstein, with Lister altered over time to Cloister the Stupid, a god who will lead the cats to the promised land Fuchal, which really was Lister's dream to open a farm and hot dog diner on Fiji, complete with funny hats with arrows through the head. The cats soon began a bloody holy war over what colour the hats should be (red or blue, though Lister wanted them to be green). After many losses on both sides, both factions left Red Dwarf in shuttles to find Fushal following what they believed to be star charts (which were actually Lister's laundry list), leaving behind their sick, disabled or useless.

Three million years after the accident, Holly released Lister from stasis and explained what happened. Due to the lethal amount of radiation in the ship, Holly kept Lister locked away until it was safe to free him and directed the ship away from Earth as per regulation to prevent further deaths. By the time Lister is free, Red Dwarf is in deep space, far from any mapped area, and now clocked its maximum speed to above or around light-speed. Holly's isolation during this time resulted in him developing computer senility. To keep his only remaining crew member sane, Holly resurrected Lister's bunkmate Rimmer in the form of a hologram. Holly reasoned that the conflict between the two would help Lister forget he is the last human alive. The Cat, the last of the Felis sapiens, who was born from a cripple and an idiot left behind on Red Dwarf, joins the two. Later, the group found Kryten, a Series 4000 mechanoid serving on a derelict vessel, the Nova 5. The group spends their time lazily as Holly guides the ship back to Earth, indulging in the ship's vast food supply and salvaging derelict ships for needed supplies.

A few years into this journey to Earth, Red Dwarf was stolen from the small crew by an unknown force, and they were reduced to dwelling onboard Starbug. During this time the hologram version of Rimmer gained a solid body (Legion), and later leaves. Soon after, at a temporal rift, the crew pick up an alternate version of Kristine Kochanksi - Navigation Officer and Lister's ex-girlfriend and lasting obsession.

Red dwarf planetoid

Starbug on the planetoid which was once Red Dwarf in "RD: Nanarchy", Series VII

They eventually discover that Kryten's nanobots, part of his self repair system, stole Red Dwarf due to boredom. Reshaping the ship to a smaller size, they turned the excess material into a planet, leaving any unneeded equipment on the planet's surface, including Holly. Once caught, Kryten made the nanos rebuild the ship. To make up for their earlier mutiny, the nanos rebuilt and improved Red Dwarf, returning it to its original intended design before the JMC's cutbacks, which included several new floors, a quark level matter/antimatter reactor, a bio-neural computer network and a karaoke bar on C Deck. Unknown to the group, Holly created a second set of nanos to resurrect the crew. He did this to keep Lister sane, but due to his senility, his plans failed and resulted in the entire group, including a resurrected human Rimmer, being sent to The Tank.

Some time after the group was sent to The Tank, Red Dwarf picked up an escape pod, which contained a Chameleonic Microbe that began to eat the ship from the inside out. Their attempts to find an antidote failed and Red Dwarf is last seen crumbling to pieces with the crew having fled and the group escaping to a parallel universe.

Nine years later Red Dwarf is found to be still intact, though changed, much more like the original cutback version, even regaining the impacted asteroid. The original non-resurrected crew of Rimmer, Lister, Holly, Kryten, Cat, and Kochanski had somehow returned and saved the ship. During those nine years Lister went off the rails, and began to engage in acts which Kochanski saw as slowly killing himself. Depressed by this, she flew off in a Blue Midget (the ship somehow regaining shuttles), with Kryten telling Lister and the others that she had been sucked out of an airlock.

Rimmer is found to be once again a hologram, though one with the memories of both the hologram and nano-resurrected Rimmers, and Holly is out due to a large amount of water damage caused by Lister leaving a bath running those whole nine years. The skutters are still trying to dry it out and reboot the computer, the larger resurrected crew are apparently still out there somewhere in their escape craft. After a bout with a Despair Squid, Lister learns of Kochanski's escape and vows to find her and win her back.

Locations aboard Red DwarfEdit

Deck Plan I&II

Deck plan for Series I and II, created By Daniel Barker of Barker Studios Entertainment

Section to be completed

Deck PlansEdit

Red Dwarf deck plans are extremely hard to get, in fact there has never been one released. But by watching Red Dwarf extremely closely you can start to link up the corridors and rooms. So here is the first ever Red Dwarf deck plan from series I and series II.

Known original crewmembersEdit

To be completed with crew from the novels


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