Space Corps Database

Your complete guide to the characters, ships, gadgets and, erm, diseases in Red Dwarf.

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Lister, David

Captain's Comments
Has requested sick leave due to diarrhoea on no less than 900 occasions. Left his previous job as a supermarket trolley attendant after ten years to avoid being tied down to a career. Promotion prospects - zero.

As one might have expected from the infant Lister, he was not so much 'born' as 'found'.

He was discovered in a cardboard box beneath a pool table in the Aigburth Arms public house, Liverpool at approximately six weeks of age.

He was adopted by a Mr and Mrs Wilmot, but his stepfather died when Lister was six. (Note: To get away from the young Lister? I don't think we can rule this out.) By the age of 11, Lister was living with his grandmother - a rotund lady with a penchant for head-butting French teachers.

Lister, David

Lister's early friendships - most notably with "Duncan," whose family fled to Spain after their father pulled a bank job - seem to have encouraged the criminal side of his personality. Most people steal towels from hotels, Lister stole a bed; he was also repeatedly caught scrumping for cars. (Note: Why does he never steal soap, or clean socks?)

Education was limited to 97 minutes in art college. (Note: Actually adequate time to cover what is otherwise a 3 year syllabus.) Previous work experience includes playing gigs as worse-than-Steps rock band 'Smeg and the Heads,' and parking trolleys at a Megamart.

During a drunken pub-crawl based on the Monopoly board, Lister somehow ended up on Mimas in a gingham dress and fishing waders sporting a worrying rash and a passport bearing the name Emily Berkenstein. He spent the next months living in a luggage locker. (Note: If he can fold himself that small, I should have had him cleaning the ship's ducts.)

Joining the Space Corps in the hopes of finding free passage home, Lister discovered that Red Dwarf would not reach Earth for four and a half years. He smuggled a Cat into the ship's air ducts in order to take advantage of the statutory punishment - 18 months in stasis. (Note: They used to call it suspended animation, until somebody pointed out that some technicians were never really that animated in the first place.)

A cadmium II leak killed the crew shortly thereafter. (Note: See my report on the incompetence of 2nd Technician Arnold Rimmer, files 5 through 948) Lister was revived after the radiation half-life had faded - approximately three million years later. (Note: He prefers to count it in ice-ages, that way it's only four.)

During the subsequent five years, Lister was joined by Rimmer, a hologramatic version of his former bunkmate, Holly, the ship's senile computer, a life-form evolved from his cat, Kryten, a rescued series 4000 mechanoid, and a version of navigation officer Kristine Kochanski from a parallel dimension. (Note: Order industrial strength paracetamol.)

Skipping through some fairly grotesque occurrences (including the worst, and messiest, case of space mumps ever recorded), and the rather bizarre fact that Lister is his own father (with his ex-girlfriend Kochanski emerging as his Mom), Lister was partially responsible for a nanobotic rebuilding of the Red Dwarf ship - which he had carelessly mislaid - and its crew. (Note: This means me.)

Lister served two years in the ship's brig for misuse of confidential files. He shared a bunk with the resurrected Arnold Rimmer. (Note: Talk about hard time!)

Years later, he was still adrift aboard Red Dwarf, winding Rimmer up by using sneezes as a water substitute during ironing. He believed Kochanski had died in an airlock accident, and mourned her passing by reading Jane Austen novels in her memory. (Note: Turns out this was a Kryten lie. He's never been very good at those.)

In an attempt to instil some fatherly discipline in himself, Lister recently resigned his commission aboard Red Dwarf in order to force his "son" (Note: That is, himself) to buck up his ideas and enrol in the Space Corps robotic engineering programme. While this almost resulted in his fiery death in the flames of a nearby sun, the JMC onboard computer was eventually delighted to welcome aboard Dave Lister Jr. as a newly-enrolled crew member (Note: Remind me to launch an investigation into whether this was all just an elaborate scam to wangle a fresh welcome pack out of us).