Classic Red Dwarf : Dave Lister

dave lister red dwarf space flu craig charles

Born : 2155 Liverpool

“I’m an animal. I’m
a tasteless, uncouth, mindless, tone deaf, randy, blokish, semi-literate
space bum.” Lister

Dave “Chizano Bianco” Lister was found in a cardboard box under a pooltable in the Aigburth Arms in Liverpool.

His childhood was unremarkable save for loosing his virginity at the tender age of thirteen to a girl called Michelle on the ninth fairway, in a sand bunker on Bootle municipal Golf Course. So surprised was he infact, that he dropped his skateboard.

Lister gained the nickname ‘Chinzano Bianco’ after his superior pool ability which was gained after consuming chinzano, White Hole – S4, 1991

young dave lister smeg and the heads

At the age of 19 he started a band called ‘Smeg and the Heads’, their only song was a Lister penned number called “The Om song”. He was something of an anachyst labelling everything and everyone “Crypto Facist”. Upon travelling back in time in Time Slides – S3, 1990 to meet his younger self, older Lister labelled him “a git!”.

As his music career didn’t take off, and he couldn’t be bothered to stick in at Art College due to unreasonable “lessons first thing in the afternoon”. Lister joined the Space Core as a Chicken Soup Machine technician 3rd class aboard the deep space mining vessel – Red Dwarf. His immediate superior annoyingly for him, was ‘smeghead’ Arnold “Judas” Rimmer. The two were bunk mates on Red Dwarf and were complete polar opposites. Lister was a bit of a slob, eating vindaloo’s constantly, biting his toenails and playing his guitar – badly. Rimmer’s idea of an entertaining night was a game of Risk whilst listening to the rousing Reg Hammond and his Hammond Orchestra.

Captains report : David Lister, Technician, 3rd class. Captain’s remarks: “Has requested sick leave due to diarrhea on no less than 500 occasions. Left his previous job as a supermarket trolley attendant after ten years because he didn’t want to get tied down to a career. Promotion prospects: zero.”

Lister had smuggled aboard his pregnant pet cat Frankenstein for company, which was completely against the ships rules, he stashed it in his locker The End – S1, 1988.

lister olaf petersen red dwarf craig charles mark williams

His best friends aboard Red Dwarf was Olaf Petersen and two individuals known as Selby and Chen. His main object of lust was Christine Kochanski who he hoped would go out with him and have his babies.

A radiation leak on board Red Dwarf killed the rest of the crew – which was attributed to Rimmer’s incompetence in fixing a faulty drive plate. Lister was saved though, as he was put into stasis as punishment by Captain “Paxo” Hollister, after the Captain had learned that Lister has smuggled a quarantined animal aboard.

Reawakened 3 million years later by the ships computer Holly once the Radiation levels had subsided, Lister was alone on the ship, trying to get his head around the fact everyone had died. Holly suggested that the ship could retrieve and sustain a holographic personality.

Against Lister’s will, Holly resurrected the most annoy person on the ship – Rimmer. In a mis-guided attempt to keep Lister sane.

Lister discovered a humanoid cat like lifeform aboard the ship he named ‘Cat’. Turned out Cat was descended many generations down from Lister’s cat Frankenstein and over the eons since, they had evolved into a humanoid like race, setting up a cat-like society and religion with Lister as their deity “Cloister”, Waiting For God – S1, 1988. The rest of the cats have long since left the ship to look for the promised land ‘Fuchal’ (Fiji – Lister was intending to retire here and open a hot dog stand). It was all based on stories of Lister handed down over generations until they became fantastical. Cat also told Lister that the Cat people were all wiped out, after a holy war over the colour of the Hotdog stand hat!

Sick of the constant squabbling with Rimmer, Lister takes the chef’s exam, just so he can outrank Rimmer and annoy him in Balance Of Power – S1, 1988, he fails it though but he doesn’t tell Rimmer.

christine kochanski red dwarf clare grogan

Lister: Why do women always leave me? Why do they dump me for men who wear turtle neck sweaters and smoke a pipe? I mean natural yoghurt eaters. Reliable, sensible, dependable and lots of others words that end in ible. They’re obsessed with house prices and spends half his life at antique fairs looking for bargains and drinking wine. It’s never beer is it, it’s always wine. ‘What do you want on your cornflakes darling’, ‘oh I’ll ‘ave some wine please’.

Using a gateway in time, Lister is transported back 3 million years to just before the accident and concocts a plan to change history by getting Kochanski to enter a stasis pod and save her life. Lister’s timeline gets confused here as Kochanski is already with a future version of Lister and they have already got married; Stasis Leak, 1988 – S2.

Lister also meets his future best buddy and cleaning servant mechanoid – Kryten, in Kryten – S2, 1988 who is tending a long dead sketetal female crew on a crashed space freighter.

The crew celebrated Rimmer’s ‘deathday’ in Thanks For The Memories, 1989 – S2 it was a particularly wild party this year, as Lister and the Cat both woke up with a broken leg in a cast each, a traffic cone and a policeman’s helmet. As a birthday present to Rimmer, Lister had supplanted some of his happy memories into Rimmer (without Rimmer’s knowledge) of an ex-girlfriend he had gone out with in Liverpool.

In Future Echoes, 1988 – S1 Lister sees himself carrying two baby boys out of the medi-bay and Rimmer thinks he sees Lister’s death. The crew are experiencing future shocks as they see an extremely old Lister who tells them it was one of Lister’s son who they had seen die.

In Parallel Universe – S2, 1988 Lister meets the female equivalent of himself from an ‘opposite sex’ reality and makes out with him/herself. Forgetting that in this reality, the men have the babies! He gets pregnant and gives birth to Jim and Bexley, named after his favourite Zero G football player. The children age rapidly (in this reality) so Lister somehow returns them back to the alternate reality, to their mother.

In Marooned, 1989 – S2 Lister and Rimmer are marooned in Starbug on an ice planet. Things look grim for Lister as the only food left is pot noodles and dog food. Whilst awaiting rescue, Lister and Rimmer seem to have a moment together whilst huddling around a fire. Having burnt all of Rimmer’s possessions to keep Lister warm, Rimmer pleads with him not to burn his antique camphor wood chest, stating that Lister’s guitar would burn equally aswell and that Lister can’t play it anyway!

Lister seems to relent and promises to burn his guitar but instead cuts a guitar shaped hole out of Rimmer’s camphor wood chest and burns that instead.

dave lister red dwarf bodyswap craig charlesIn Bodyswap – S3, 1989 Rimmer makes a deal with Lister to get him fit and healthy and off of the fags by swapping bodies. It works for a while, until the sensory overload makes Rimmer go mad stuffing his face with huge plates of mashed potato and smoking havana cigars. He then steals Starbug and crateful of junkfood, forcing Lister (in Rimmer’s body) to give chase.

In Polymorph – S3, 1989 an alien shapechanger invades Red Dwarf and preys on the crew by sucking out their emotions. Lister has all of his fear removed which turns him into a psychotic Rambo with ‘roid rage.

Lister goes back in time in Timeslides – S3, 1989 has a punchup with Hitler at Nuremberg and attempts to change his past by inventing an anti stress device called the ‘Tension sheet’ (bubblewrap painted red!).

In DNA – S4, 1991 Lister was accidentally turned into a chicken by an Alien DNA machine. He was frightened he might lay an egg after realising how small his chicken bum was and requested an epidural!

The crew then accidentally turned Lister’s Vindaloo into a curry monster, before restoring Lister. To attempt to combat it, the crew attempted to turn Lister into a superhero and partially suceeded, although he was only 3 inches tall!

Rimmer went and got himself banged up in prison in Justice World, 1991 – S4 leaving the rest of the Dwarfer’s to amount some kind of defence to try and save him.

justiceworld rimmer lister kryten cat red dwarf

Kryten: Name?
Lister: Dave Lister.
Kryten: Occupation?
Lister: [looks bewildered for a moment, then answers] Uh, bum.
Kryten: Sir, would you describe the accused [Rimmer] as a friend?
Cat: Take the Fifth!
Kryten: Sir, please answer the question. Remember you are under polygraphic surveillance: Would you describe the accused as a friend?
Lister: No, I’d describe the accused as a git.
Kryten: And who would you say feels most fondly for him?
Lister: Well, I do.
Kryten: And there are no others who have shared intimate moments with him?
Lister: Only one, but she’s got a puncture!
Rimmer: Objection!
Justice: Overruled.

In Back to Reality – S5, 1992 Lister is tricked into believing Red Dwarf is a virtual reality game he has been playing for the last 4 years, as a mass murderer on the run. Worse still, Rimmer is actually Lister’s brother! It turns out the crew have been attacked by the ‘despair squid’, which causes suicidal group hallucinations in its victims.

In Demons And Angels, 1992 – S5 during some experiments with a new device called a triplicator, the crew accidentally create another two versions of Red Dwarf. One is a ‘good’ version of the ship, fully working and clean with a morally clean version of the crew. The other is a scuzzy seedy ‘evil’ version of the ship with a nightmarish crew.

Lister is captured by the bad crew and implanted with a device which controls his will. They send him to kill the rest of the crew and when everything is back to normal. The Cat refuses to remove the device instead making Lister slap himself repeatedly.

dave lister red dwarf craig charles psirens pete tranter's sisterLister is attacked by a Psiren in Psirens – S6, 1993 which can alter the victims perception and then attempt to suck out their brains. Lister is presented with an image of Pete Tranter’s sister who attempts to incapacitate Lister by reminding him that he always wanted to “push together her buttocks and make one juicy peach”. Still under the belief it is Pete Tranter’s sister, Lister snogs the Psiren – full on!

Lister escapes and in the confusion two Listers get aboard Star Bug, one real and one a Psiren. The real Lister is finally deduced when Kryten gives him his guitar which Lister can’t play but the Psiren can. The Psirens mistake is copying Lister’s mindset that he can actually play and is not infact a ‘tone deaf mute’.

Lister used to while away his time in virtual reality games playing film noir style adventures, just so he could have sex with the female characters in Gunmen of the Apocalypse -S6, 1993. After the crew are attacked by a rogue Simulant ship, Lister and Cat attempt to trick the Simulants into thinking their are no humans aboard the ship by attaching Kryten’s eyes to their chins and being filmed upside down.

By claiming to the Simulants they are Tarka Dal and Bindi Bandi, of the Supreme Vindaloo-vian Empire! The crew are forced to enact a virtual reality Western, against a Simulant virus and Lister’s character – is an knife expert.

In Legion – S6, 1993 Lister has his appendics removed (again) by the supreme being Legion, even though he had already had them out according to something Lister said in Thanks For The Memories – S2, 1989.

In Emohawk: Polymorph II – S6, 1993 Lister got married to a big fat ferocious Gelf to trick the village chieftain into trading with the crew for an oxygen unit to fix a crashed starbug.

lister rimmer red dwarf blue craig charles chris barrieLister was pining for Rimmer (strangely) in Blue – S7, 1997 after Rimmer had left Red Dwarf to replace an alternate reality Ace Rimmer in Stoke Me A Clipper – S7, 1997. So much so, he was starting to have wet dreams about him! Kryten was on hand though to remind Lister why he hated Rimmer so much!

Ouroboros – S7, 1997 Lister finally learned his true origin, the box that he had been found in under the Aigburth Arms pooltable had had the word ‘ouroborus’ written on the side. Lister had always took that to mean “our Rob and Ross” – after his parents.

It turned out that Lister was fathered by an alternate reality Kochanski/Lister and Lister himself had left baby Lister under the pool table, writing ‘ouroborus’ himself on the box which signified a serpent eating its own tail.

Lister contracted the deadly Epideme virus and with no cure, Kryten was forced to cut Lister’s arm off to save his life in Epideme – S7, 1997.

Luckily though, Lister didn’t have long to wait as the crew discovered Nanobots hiding in the laundry basket who rebuilt Lister’s arm and Red Dwarf (in minature) in Nanarchy – S7, 1997.

Lister was back aboard a newly recreated Red Dwarf in Back In The Red – S8, part 1, 2 & 3, 1999 where he met the real flesh and blood Rimmer again, but the rest of the crew weren’t quite as forgiving, locking Lister up in the brig for being a stowaway.

He was also drafted into a prison workdetail suicide squad in Cassandra – S8, 1999 called “the canaries” to salvage from derelict space hulks.

lister rimmer naked pete red dwarf craig charles chris barrieHe got in more bother with Captain Hollister in Pete – Part 1 & 2 – S8, 1999 by utilising a virus that was intended to help Lister and Rimmer peel potatos on prison detail, but got out of hand and ate their hair and clothes aswell.

A continuity gap is present in this part of history, as Lister and crew had abandoned Red Dwarf again as a mysterious metal eating virus tore the ship apart Only The Good – S8, 1999.

We then catch up again with Lister back on Red Dwarf ironing his trousers in Back To Earth – S9, 2009. The crew investigating an anomoly below deck are attacked by a teleporting cousin of the despair squid.

Believing himself to be a fictional character Lister in a Red Dwarf TV show he goes on quite a surreal adventure, meeting the Corrie actor Craig Charles and the “creator” of the show.

The creator, living in a Blade Runner influenced world is intending to stop writing the show and put paid to the fictional Dwarf characters existence.

rimmer kryten lister car red dwarf back to earthSo Lister was the podgy, lovable rogue on board Red Dwarf. His bad start in life and his lowly position on Red Dwarf belied the fact he somewhat jumped in status when he became the last living human.

His natural dislike of Rimmer was at odds with some seriously unplumbed depths for his goal post headed bunk mate, after Rimmer left Red Dwarf.

He was quick to argue the virtues of personal freedom to choose as he taught Kryten to break his programming and new swear words to call Rimmer with!

dave lister red dwarf space flu craig charlesHis habits sometimes repulsed his crewmates, endless curries, smoking, his guitar playing, so much so, the crew made Lister put on a spacesuit and go into space to play the axe.

He wasn’t without his own self loathing problems, including his self manifested confidence and paranoia beings he created in Confidence And Paranoia – S1, 1988.

Overall though, as the last human alive, for all of his faults; Lister was the heart and soul of the ‘boys from the Dwarf’.