Space Corps Database
Your complete guide to the characters, ships, gadgets and, erm, diseases in Red Dwarf.
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There's a saying amongst the officers: "If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well. If it's not worth doing, give it to Rimmer." He aches for responsibility but constantly fails the engineering exam. Astoundingly zealous, possibly mad, probably has more teeth than brain cells. Promotion prospects - comical.
Rimmer is the youngest of four brothers - the others being John, Howard and Frank, all of whom are high-flyers in the Space Corps - and seems to have been the victim of some extraordinarily psychotic parenting. His father was a half-crazed military failure, who made up for his own inadequacy (being one inch below Corps regulation height) by stretching his sons on a rack. (Note: By the time Frank was 11 he was 6'5".)
His mother seems to have spent a great deal of time with more successful officers in positions that would baffle most balloon-modellers, (Note: Contact Rimmer's mother, mention you're a captain) and Rimmer divorced his parents at the age of 14, only retaining access to the family dog every fourth weekend.
The at best ambivalence, and at worst outright hostility, shown towards Arnold by Rimmer Sr. is perhaps explained by the fact that his true father was, in fact, the family's gardener, Dungo (Note: The birth certificate in Rimmer's personnel file suggests Dungo's real name was Dennis. A fine name.) Rimmer was blissfully unaware of this, however, until some three million years or so after his father's death.
Graduating from Io House (the boarding school which enforced his wearing of boxing gloves while in bed), Rimmer enlisted in the Samaritans. In one morning, six people committed suicide, including a wrong number who only called for the cricket scores. (Note: The papers dubbed the day 'Lemming Sunday.')
For a time, Rimmer studied at Io Polytechnic, but reports from his tutors were less than glowing - with one lecturer declaring him to be the most idiotic, lame-brained student he'd ever come across. He eventually transferred to Saturn Tech, where against expectations he passed his maintenance course, electing to enrol in the Space Corps and work his way up the ranks.
Rimmer entered the Corps at the level of third technician, and managed to climb the ladder all the way to... well, second technician. (Note: I owe Todhunter $£10 on that bet.) He has taken and failed the astro-navigation and engineering exams 13 times - the most fascinating of which resulted in him writing 'I am a fish' 400 times on his paper. (Note: Send the paper to Dr. McClaren for psych evaluation.)
Despite this failing, Rimmer continued to lie to his mother. While his father suffered a series of strokes (Note: Accusations that this was caused by Rimmer's perpetual failure are unfounded), he told her that he had reached the position of 'Rear Admiral Lieutenant General.' In reality he was still making sure the vending machines didn't run out of fun-size crunchy bars.
At best an incompetent fool, it was Rimmer's failure to repair a drive plate correctly which caused the cadmium II leak that killed the ship's crew.(Note: Drag Rimmer over the coals for killing me.) He died also, but was revived as a hologram to keep surviving crew member Dave Lister sane. (Note: Check Holly's sanity chip.)
Rimmer's personality was replicated exactly. His fascination with 20th century telegraph poles, his love of Hammond organ music and morris dancing and his enthusiasm for war-based board game Risk continued. (Note: As did his curious pride for his swimming certificates.)
Ironically, Rimmer's life has improved immeasurably since he died. He had sex for a second time (Note: Apparently the woman, Nirvanah Crane, was in no way hampered by mental illness. Can this be right?) and was posthumously promoted to officerhood. (Note: Although I'm not entirely sure that Second Tech David Lister - current occupation 'bum' - is permitted to promote within the field.)
Rimmer was last seen heading off into the big black, replacing his heroic counterpart 'Ace' when the latter was mortally wounded. His inability to tell the ignition from the ejector seat may hamper his chances as a hero for infinite dimensions. (Note: Make a new bet with Todhunter.)
Following the nanobotic revival of the Red Dwarf crew, a new, living Rimmer emerged. Lacking the five years of growth the previous version had experienced, he promptly attempted to cheat his way up the ziggurat of command and condemned himself and his companions to two years in the ship's brig. (Note: Possibly the best place for them.) He was last seen, erm, dying. Maybe.
Some time afterwards, a hologram Rimmer rejoined the crew. (Note: The section of the ship's records that would indicate whether this is the original Rimmer returned, or the revived Rimmer deceased again, are maddeningly incomplete.) This Rimmer claimed responsibility for having rescued crew from the deadly microbiotic virus that threatened to destroy the ship. (Note: The section of the ship's records that would indicate whether he's telling the truth are, again, maddeningly incomplete.)
Having recently learned the truth about his parentage, Rimmer was strangely emboldened, and made a bold and uncharacteristically heroic decision that again saved the lives of his crewmates. Time will tell whether or not this will herald a permanent change in his personality, or if he'll go back to being a snivelling, weaselly toad (Note: I'll give you $£10 on the latter).