Red Dwarf

Season 3 Episode 1


Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Nov 14, 1989 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
88 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The episode opens with 'Star Wars' style text explaining how Lister gave birth to twin boys that were returned to the other dimension, Holly has endured a breakdown which has caused him to become like his female counterpart from that universe, and that Kryten has returned and become part of the crew.

While Lister and Cat discuss the sexiness of Wilma Flintstone, Rimmer gives Kryten a space piloting exam in order for them to become more independent. They accidentally pass through a time hole and appear on Earth in modern times, but where everything is running in reverse order. While waiting for Lister and Cat to find them, they get work as a novelty act in a pub, showing off their 'forwards' acting capabilities. Lister and Cat finally track them down but by then Rimmer and Kryten don't want to leave, observing that the world makes more sense backwards, and list off several things like death and war. They are soon unfired for causing a pub brawl and then proceed to undo the results of the fight. At the ship, before leaving, Cat discovers one more unfortunate aspect of doing things backwards.moreless

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  • Very Silly

    This is a really funny episode. From Rimmer and Kryten being the sensational reverse brothers to Lister and the Cat riding the backwards bike. This episode did have it\'s moments, watching the people eat and drink backwards, like I mentioned before; the backwards bike riding, Nodnol 15 silem is great, the reverse brothers act where they attempt to eat an egg, \'forwards\' oooh, how do they do it? lol, also the whole explanation from Rimmer of how the world is backwards, Santa Clause! And the backwards bar room brawl, that\'s gotta be my favorite part of the episode, they must have put a lot of thought into that part. The episode does have it\'s faults, it\'s not exactly streamlined but hey, it is Red Dwarf!moreless
  • The crew fly through a time hole and into an alternate reality, which is a backwards version of Earth. Time moves in reverse, thusly everyone walks and talks backwards.

    This is not the smartest Red Dwarf episode, although the idea of visiting a backwards world is neat. There are a few errors. For example, Lister and Cat steal a bike and ride it backwards. The bike\'s owner angrily shouts back at them, when he really should have thanked them for returning the bike before they rode off with it.

    There are plenty of sight gags, like watching Lister and the Cat eat backwards.

    The rolling credits at the beginning of the episode explain the gaps between the last episode and this one. In the last episode, Lister was pregnant. This is the first episode in which Kryten appears as a regular character. His sudden appearance and the demise of Lister\'s children are explained in the rolling credits, but they go by so fast that none can read it.

    With this episode, the quality of the set design improves.moreless
  • A classic Red Dwarf episode with a great idea at it's heart. An all time favourite of mine.

    The Red Dwarf crew venture into a land where everything is backwards. Many examples of this are explored throughout the episode often with hillarious results. Such as life beginning with death and ending with birth as a n axample. A must see episode for any Red Dwarf fan if they haven't already viewed this already.
  • Fantastic

    Really funny.

    My Favorite episode.

    You Will burst out laughing at the famous backwards pub fight.

    It disgusting though when food comes out of their food, but it is still very funny.

    Normall you would think that an android would know everything, but not this one ,because he dosen't know the controls of stabug 1 and stabug 2, when they are both the same.
Rob Grant

Rob Grant

Man smoking cigarette (uncredited)

Guest Star

Maria Friedman

Maria Friedman


Guest Star

Arthur Smith

Arthur Smith

Pub Manager

Guest Star

Tony Hawks

Tony Hawks


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (10)

    • Error: Just after dropping Lister and Kryten in the park the man says "Sure I know this pub hop in",. but they just came from the pub. That's when played forwards.

    • Error: When the woman in the cafe is cleaning the table in reverse, she empties a box filled with garbage onto the table. This wouldn't happen forwards, because it would mean she simply held the box above the table and all the trash got sucked up into it

    • The scroll at the beginning of the first episode of the third series, "Backwards", explains all the changes from the second series, but goes by too fast to read.

      It says: 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 Baxley. However, because they 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 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-

    • In this episode, Lister mentions that he is 25, meaning he hasn't aged since series 1, as in "Future Echoes", Lister says he is 25.

    • When the guys are getting out of the cab at the end, the producers reversed the film so the licence plate would be backwards, but this makes the only example in the episode of backwards letters-in all others scenes the letters are normal, just spelled backwards.

    • If you have have the Series 3 DVD and put on subtitles for the "Backwards Forwards" feature, the word "Action!" at the beginning of the "Bar Room Tidy" is subtitled.

    • The wire that pulls Rimmer up and out of starbug can clearly be seen.

    • After the "bar room tidy" you can clearly see a man at the back table drink his beer forwards.Response: The level of beer in the glass does not change enough to clearly see if this is reversed or not.

    • If you reverse the bar fight scene you can clearly hear someone shout "Action!" at the beginning.

    • How can they be fired? On backwards Earth, wouldn't that mean that they started work? Shouldn't they have to be hired to lose their job?

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Lister: Cat?
      Cat: Mmm?
      Lister: Ya ever see the Flintstones?
      Cat: Sure!
      Lister: D'ya think Wilma's sexy?
      Cat: Wilma Flintstone?
      Lister: Maybe we've been alone in deep space too long, but every time I see that sharmi body, it drives me crazy. Is it me?
      Cat: Well, I think in all probability, Wilma Flintstone is the most desirable woman that ever lived.
      Lister: That's good. I thought I was goin' strange.
      Cat: She's incredible!
      Lister: What d'ya think of Betty?
      Cat: Betty Rubble? Well, I would go with Betty... but I'd be thinking of Wilma.
      Lister: This is crazy. Why are we talking about going to bed with Wilma Flintstone?
      Cat: You're right. We're nuts. This is an insane conversation.
      Lister: She'll never leave Fred, and we know it.

    • Kryten: Engage autopilot.
      Holly: (appearing on monitor screen) Autopilot engaged. Well -- I say "autopilot". It's not *really* "autopilot", is it? It's me. It's Muggins here who has to do it!

    • Lister: ...Or take Santa Claus! What a bastard!
      Rimmer: Eh?
      Lister: He's just a big fat git who sneaks down chimneys and steals all the kids' favorite toys!

    • Rimmer: We are the sensational 'Reverse Brothers'. ladies and gentlemen, we shall see you last night!

    • Cat: What's it say?
      Lister: I dunno, it's in some weird foreign language or something. That must be.. Polish or Bulgarian or something.
      Cat: You speak Bulgarian?
      Lister: Bulgarian? Me? I can 'ardly speak English!

    • Kryten: What're we going to do!? This place is totally crazy!
      Rimmer: There's nothing we can do 'til the others find us. (thinks) We'd better get a job. (thinks) ...but what jobs are there in a backwards reality for a dead hologram and an android with a head shaped like a novelty condom?

    • Lister: This is crazy! Why are we talking about going to bed with Wilma Flintstone? ....She'll never leave Fred and we know it.

    • Lister: Don't you care about anyone but yourself?
      Cat: Hell no! I don't even care about you. The way I see it, if Goalpost-head and Freak-face want to get themselves lost, that's their bag! I don't see why it should cut into my preening time.
      You realize with all this rescue stuff I haven't permed my leg hairs in a week? I'm a wreck!
      Lister: You PERM your leg hairs?
      Cat: Only as an aid to the natural curl.

    • Lister: Fasten your belt.
      Cat: Hey, I do NOT need fashion tips from YOU.
      Lister: SAFETY belt! (points out window) Look!
      Cat: Is that what I think it is?
      Lister: What d'you think it is?
      Cat: An orange whirly thing in space!
      Lister: It's a time hole. That's where they are. We're goin' in.
      Cat: Are you crazy? You can't go in there!
      Lister: Why not?
      Cat: Orange?! With this suit?!

    • Rimmer: (voice-over) Holly, what the smeg is going on?
      Lister: (vo) We're going backwards.
      Holly: (vo) It's perfectly consistent with current theory. Everything starts with a Big Bang, right? And the universe starts expanding. Eventually, when it's expanded as far as it can, there's a big crunch, right? And everything starts contracting. Perfectly possible that time starts running in the opposite direction, as well.

    • Kryten: (trying to keep a low profile on Earth) But if people see my face, what will they think?
      Rimmer: Tell them you had an accident. Tell them you took your car to the crushers and forgot to get out!

    • Kryten: There's no crime! The first night we were here, a mugger jumped us and forced £50 into my wallet at knifepoint!

    • Rimmer: Once you get over the initial shock, things actually make a lot more sense this way 'round. There's no death here. You have a funeral, and then you come to life. As each year passes you get younger and younger until you become a newborn baby. Then you go back inside your mother, who goes back inside her mother. Until, in the end, we all become one glorious whole!
      Lister: Rimmer, you already are one glorious hole!

    • Kryten: Take war. War is a wonderful thing here. In fifty years the Second World War will start - backwards. Millions of people will come to life, Hitler will retreat across Europe, liberate France and Poland, disband the Third Reich and bog off back to Austria!"

  • NOTES (9)

    • The only reason that Rimmer was given a hat with an 'antenna' on the top was to disguise the wire that pulls him up and out of starbug.

    • There is a new title sequence for Red Dwarf from this episode, with a new "rock guitar" arrangement of the theme music. From here on, the titles comprise images from the show (relevant to the particular sequence), culminating in the Red Dwarf logo (appearing on-screen for the first time in this episode).

    • Rimmer's "Captain Emerald" costume debuts with this episode, along with a new costume for Lister who began to look less like a slob and dressed rather smartly.

    • Much of the changes in the look of the show (new sets, etc) are due to the late Mel Bibby, the new Production Designer for Red Dwarf from this episode onwards. The Red Dwarf Series III DVD contains a tribute to his work.

    • If you reverse the scene where Kryten and Rimmer are sacked you will find that the Manager is actually saying stuff like "I'm not actually addressing you am I? I'm addressing the one poor, sad git in the country who has bothered to play this backwards and find out what I'm saying!" You can actually watch the entire episode of 'Backwards' backwards on the Series III DVD, and find out exactly what everyone is saying.

    • Although never stated on the show, the change in the Dwarfers living quarters this season is explained by the producers as them moving up to the Officer's Quarters and making use of the better conditions.

    • Originally the season opener was going to pick up the story of Lister's pregnancy, however Rob Grant and Doug Naylor realised that their script was becoming sexist and homophobic. Therefore the idea was shelved and it was left to the very fast scrolling text at the beginning of the episode to explain things.

    • In the backwards universe, the man shown smoking a cigarette backwards is series creator/writer Rob Grant; and the man playing the saxophone is Production Manager Mike Agnew.

    • Holly's head-sex change operation between seasons 2 and 3 was due to Norman Lovett wanting to reduce the rehearsal hours due to health and travel reasons. The producers agreed to give him the time but for a lower pay than the rest of the cast, which Norman refused. Paul Jackson then suggested looking for a new Holly and Hattie Hayridge auditioned for the role.


    • For you young whippersnappers: The mask Kryten is wearing when he first appears in the coffee shop is a Ronald Reagan mask, who had just completed his presidency when this episode was filmed. They were fairly popular in their time.