Red Dwarf

Season 1 Episode 1

The End

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Feb 15, 1988 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
136 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Aboard the Jupiter Mining Corporation vessel Red Dwarf, Dave Lister, a lowly 3rd Technician, smuggles aboard a cat and is consequently confined to suspended animation for a severe violation of ship's regulations.
During his time in stasis his bunkmate Arnold Rimmer, an equally, if not more lowly 2nd Technician, is forced to perform the maintenance duties alone and inefficiently repairs a drive plate, causing it to fail and subjecting the entire crew to deadly radiation that kills them all almost instantly. 3 million years pass until Holly (the ship's computer) decides the radiation levels have lowered sufficiently and releases Lister from stasis and tells him of the accident and also resurrects Rimmer as a hologram to be a companion for Lister. After the initial shock, Lister realizes that he has the run of the ship, allowing him to be, basically, himself: a lazy, easygoing slob without a care in the world. In addition, Rimmer and Lister discover that his cat was pregnant, and had been sealed in the ship's hold during the accident and her descendants have bred there for the last 3 million years and have evolved into a humanoid, only one of whom is still on the ship. When he discovers his new friend, Lister decides to complete his dream of owning a farm on Fiji and orders Holly to set a course for Earth. THE BEGINNING!moreless

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  • The slims coming Home.

    Ok so it's not the best looking start. I like the old BBC set. I think they did well on a low budget.

    It wasn't super funny but they put a lot in this pilot. Establish the whole plot of the show. If you missed this one the rest of Red Dwarf doesn't make as much sense.

    Like Lister being put into Stasis for having a cat on board the ship. Also his relationship with Kochanski. Well non existant here but important for ongoing love interest for Lister. Also Rimmers on going interest with errr ... himself. his drive to becoming an officer and his failure to do so. And also the Cat evolving from listers cat in this cargo bays. Plus there was a few laughs in there.moreless
  • The beginning

    Not rolling in comedy, this first episode, but its still good, and once the crew are all (almost) dead, it picks up considerably. The banter between Lister and Rimmer is the haert of the show in this first season especially, and it is well established here. The Cat and Holly are well introduced too. Model-work wise, Red Dwarf looks pretty cool, but design wise, the grey sets and grey costumes and grey everything kinda drag things down a bit.

    Good beginning.moreless
  • Very well written, introduces all of the main characters without a lot of distractions from what the show truly is.

    The nearly the entirety first 8.5 minutes of the episode begin showing the viewers the relationship between Rimmer and Lister, also establishing right away that everyone thinks that Rimmer is a "smeg-head". Rimmer introduces his ambition to become a more superior officer and already starts blaming his life on the parents he came from.

    Since as we all know that the show revolves around 3-4 characters, we also know that the other characters aren't all that important, this is why the episode only shows them briefly. In those few minutes they introduce the cool fact that Holly has the ability of sustaining one hologram of dead crew members, and also that there is a non-human life aboard the ship.

    Long story short the most important relationships and characters of Lister and Rimmer are show before everyone is dead. When Lister comes out of stasis, they are able to introduce the other characters freely (Holly and the Cat). The Cat is great, loves himself and his shadow, hes curious and has the instincts of a real cat.

    This is pretty much as good as it gets for a pilot episode, very well written.moreless
  • Good Start to a Great Show

    This is a good episode to start the show. it lets u know where all of the main characters come from and sets the scene for the rest of the shows.

    basically it all starts with a character called dave lister and his cat frankenstine, they are on a mining ship in space when he is in statis there is a radiation leak that kills the crew and he is saved by this.

    The cat is evolved into a human form and the only surviving characters are lister, rimmer who is a room mate of his who is bought back as a hologram and the evolved cat.

    This is not the greatest episode in the series or the show but it does set a good scene and lets you know what is going on.moreless
  • I started to watch this series, and to be honest, the episode felt run-of-the-mill sitcom. It had character introductions, and nothing special was happening. Then, Dave Lister got sentenced to stasis for 2 years. Something magical happens...moreless

    I started to watch this series, and to be honest, the episode was boring. It felt run-of-the-mill sitcom. It had character introductions, and it felt like nothing special was happening. Then, Dave Lister went into stasis for "2 years". This is when the episode started to turn around. In fact, now that I look back, the boring bit might have been intended that way. Life was just so boringly plain then "wham!", everything changed. What happens from here becomes comedy gold. Everything that happened in that boring bit slips into the next few seasons. Bottom line: I scored it a 6.0 because it might be hard to get someone to sit down and watch the whole thing. I did feel like it was dull, but something made me come back for episode 2. I wanted to know what happened next to Dave Lister. Red Dwarf went from boring sitcom to a fast-paced action-comedy that just kept surprising me. The show reminds me of Xena. It has a serious back story, but doesn't take itself too serious so that it can have a little fun.moreless
Robert Bathurst

Robert Bathurst

Frank Todhunter

Guest Star

Mark Williams

Mark Williams

Olaf Peterson

Guest Star

Paul Bradley

Paul Bradley


Guest Star

Mac McDonald

Mac McDonald

Captain Hollister

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Throughout Red Dwarf, you notice that all the signs to certain areas of the ship are labelled in English, then underneath in Esperanto, in smaller text.

      This "international" language, created/devised in the late 19th century, has never known much success. Like the Universal Calendar, it was more of a solution in search of a problem, and thus has inspired people to avoid it in droves.

    • When Lister tries and locks the door, if you look at the window which shows a picture of space, you can see an arm or an elbow moving. This even shows up on the remastered version

    • If Rimmer is a hologram, how could he have crashed into stuff in the next room when he tried to attack the Cat, unless there is such a thing as holographic stuff in the future. The likely answer is the same as "what does he stand on"? The holocaster must have a notion of the fixed aspects of the ship, such as walls, and these limit him from doing things like walking through walls, falling through floors, etc.

    • When Lister and Rimmer back into the Teaching Room after meeting the Cat, and Lister bumps into the table, the piles of dust that Lister was eating before are not there. Also, earlier there were three tables in a row directly in front of the door. When Dave comes back later, one of the tables, the one closest to the front, has disappeared.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • (Lister walking around tasting some powder that's lying around)
      Lister: And why is it so dirty around here, Hol? What is this stuff?
      Holly: That is catering officer Olaf Petersen.
      Lister: Pffftawww! I've been eating half the crew!

    • Lister: Where is everybody, Hol?
      Holly: They're dead, Dave.
      Lister: Who is?
      Holly: Everybody, Dave.
      Lister: What, Captain Hollister?
      Holly: Everybody's dead, Dave.
      Lister: What, Todhunter?
      Holly: Everybody's dead, Dave.
      Lister: What, Selby?
      Holly: They're all dead. Everybody's dead, Dave.
      Lister: Petersen isn't, is he?
      Holly: Everybody is dead, Dave.
      Lister: Not Chen?
      Holly: Gordon Bennett! Yes! Chen, everybody. Everybody's dead, Dave.
      Lister: Rimmer?
      Holly: He's dead, Dave. Everybody is dead. Everybody is dead, Dave!
      Lister: Wait. Are you trying to tell me everybody's dead?
      Holly: (beat) I should've never let him out in the first place...

    • (Upon being informed by Captain Hollister that his cat, Frankenstein, will be killed and dissected)
      Lister: So, with respect, Sir, what's in it for the cat?

    • Rimmer: (Talking to Lister) Right, that's it! (Starts writing on clipboard, then reads off what he wrote) 'Lister, D -- third technician. Offence: obstructing a superior technician by humming, clicking and being quiet.' When the Captain sees this, you're dead.

    • Rimmer: (Talking to Lister) You touch that guitar Lister, I'll remove the E string and garrotte you with it.

    • Rimmer: I've got to pull myself together, but you've got to help me. You gotta be my hands and my touch.
      Lister: I know the things you like to touch! -- No way Rimmer! Forget it!

    • Lister: [discussing his plan to buy a farm in Fiji] Yeah! The prices there are unbelievable.
      Rimmer: Yes, because they had a volcanic eruption and now most of Fiji' is three feet below sea level!
      Lister: It's only three feet. They can wade. That's why the animals are gonna hafta be quite tall.
      Rimmer: Nice plan, Lister. Excellent plan! Brilliant plan, Lister! What about the sheep? What are you going to do, buy them water-wings? Fit them with stilts? Better still, you could cross-breed them with dolphins and have leaping mutton. [Gesturing to represent a dolphin leaping out of the water] Baa, splash, baa, splash.

    • Lister: You see, I try, sir. I'm not an insubordinate man by nature. I try and respect Rimmer and everything, but it's not easy, 'cause he's such a smeghead.
      Rimmer: [To Todhunter] Did you hear that, sir? [Turns back to Lister] Lister, do you have any conception of the penalty for describing a superior technician as a smeghead?
      Todhunter: Oh, Rimmer.... You are a smeghead!

    • Lister: Not until you pass your engineer's exam. And you won't do that because you'll just go in there and flunk again.
      Rimmer: Lister, last time I only failed by the *narrowest* of narrow margins.
      Lister: You what? You walked in there, wrote, "I am a fish," four hundred times, did a funny little dance, and fainted.

    • Rimmer: Is that a cigarette you're smoking, Lister?
      Lister: No, it's a chicken.

    • Rimmer: What are you going to do? Breed sheep and dolphins and invent wet-look knitwear?

    • Rimmer: Being a hologram is fine, Lister. I still have the same drives, the same feelings, the same emotions, but I can't *touch* anything. Never again will I be able to brush a rose against my cheek, cradle a laughing child, or interfere with a woman sexually.
      Lister: Rimmer, you never used to do any of those things anyway!

  • NOTES (12)

    • This pilot episode was written in 1983 during a stay in a Welsh cottage belonging to Doug Naylor's father.

    • This pilot episode almost never happened due to an electricians strike at the BBC in 1987 which prevented filming and the project was shelved. Filming eventually went ahead in early 1988 after the industrial action was resolved but only after Doug Naylor and Rob Grant had lobbied intensely for it.

    • As a joke to the re-appearance of George McIntye as a hologram, Holly plays the song See You Later Alligator by Bill Haley and the Comets at his funeral.

    • It is revealed here that Lister smuggled his cat on board from Titan, Titan is Saturn's largest moon, and is the only one with an atmosphere bordering on "thick".

    • This is the first time another JMC ship is mentioned, the Oregon.

    • Flight co-ordinator George McIntyre is the first hologram we see in the series.

    • Mark Williams, who played Peterson, has since become a familiar face on T.V. screens in the UK as part of the ensemble sketch show The Fast Show. He also has found immortality in the Harry Potter films as Ron Weasley's father.

    • Todhunter states that Rimmer has made 247 complaints against Lister, these were; 123 counts of insulting a superior technician, 39 counts of dereliction of duty, 84 counts of insubordination and 1 count of mutiny (Lister jumped on Rimmer's toe!)

    • In the opening titles, the man in the space suit painting the letters of Red Dwarf is Craig Charles.

    • Holly's character was originally intended to be just a voiceover, and the entire first series was filmed without any vision of his head. After some lengthy complaining by Norman Lovett, the crew reshot many scenes where Holly is present. However, some scenes included only inserts of Holly, like in Balance of Power where Lister is addressing Holly by looking at the ceiling, even though he is on the viewscreen.

    • In 1997 Grant Naylor Productions took the first three seasons and upgraded the episodes with new special effects and CGI, new sound effects and music, and a few new scenes with Holly. These updated episodes were screened as Red Dwarf Remastered.

    • The original script for the Red Dwarf pilot was actually written in 1984 but kept getting passed over by BBC executives and never got on its feet until 1987.


    • Lister: (singing) To Ganymede and Titan, yessir I've been around...

      Ganymede is the largest of Jupiter's moons, at 5262 km in diameter. It was discovered by Galileo in 1610 and named after a Trojan boy whom Zeus made a cup bearer to the gods.

      Titan is the largest moon of Saturn, at 5150 km in diameter and discovered by Huygens in 1655. It is named after the deities of Greek Mythology, the precursors to the Olympians. Saturn (aka Chronos) was a Titan and father of Jupiter (aka Zeus). Both these moons are larger than Mercury and Pluto.

      Apparently in the Red Dwarf universe many of the Solar System moons have been colonized, as Lister buys Frankenstein (Cat's ancestor) on Titan, and Lister and Cat visit the Ganymede Holiday Inn in Stasis Leak.