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That Dave Lister Is Fictitious

Craig Charles, aka Dave Lister of 'Red Dwarf' If you were to search the web for my name, you could get thousands of matching hits. Very few of those links, however, would actually refer to me. (I'm not jealous, nor am I complaining. I'm just stating the facts.) In this hypothetical search, you would find that the overwhelming majority of "Dave Lister" links refer to the lead character in the British Sci-fi Sitcom "Red Dwarf." That fictitious Lister is played by actor Craig Charles. (See photo at right.)

Being a fan of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "Doctor Who," I've also found "Red Dwarf" to be comparably delicious fun. I'd learned about the "Listy" character a few years before I got to see any of the programs. Then I bought a videotape containing 3 of the shows through Book of the Month Club. But since my cable company started providing the BBC America channel, I've probably seen most of the programs a couple of times each by now. Delicious fun.

If you're unfamiliar with the show, here's a short synopsis: Dave Lister is the last living earthling in the universe. How he attained this distinction was a matter of quirky fate. As penalty for smuggling a pet cat aboard his duty spaceship, Red Dwarf, Dave was sentenced to 18 months of suspended animation in a stasis chamber. While he was in stasis, an accident exposed the rest of Red Dwarf's crew to lethal radiation. The ship's computer, Holly, waited till the radiation subsided to a safe level before reviving Dave. Waited and waited and waited and.... When Dave is revived after 3 million years of stasis, he learns that he has outlived his crewmates and all other humans. And life goes on.

Dave's traveling companions are: The aforementioned ship's computer, Holly; Rimmer, the holographic re-creation of Dave's former bunkmate; Cat, an evolved descendant of the feline Dave had smuggled aboard ship; Kryten, an android encountered early in Red Dwarf's travels; and Kristine Kochanski who, being from a parallel universe, is the double of a former shipmate that Dave had dated for a few weeks before being put into stasis.

Story lines are typically funny and often very clever. For example, the plot device for one episode featured a time-travel paradox. It was humorously absurdist, yet thought-provoking. Dave, an orphan who never knew who his parents were, learns that he is his own father! And Kochanski is his mother! Then, by returning to the Liverpool of his childhood and leaving his infant self in a box under the pool table in a pub, he creates a temporal loop that insures the survival of the human race.

But that Dave Lister is fictitious. Other than sharing the same name, Red Dwarf's Dave Lister and I have nothing in common. He loves Indian food. He's a lousy guitar-player. He's a slob who is lost in space. I, on the other hand,... uh, er,... hmm.... Well, I'm not that keen on Indian cuisine. Okay!? DL/BD

Red Dwarf: The ship, series logo, and crew

The Red Dwarf names,* characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of The British Broadcasting Corporation, Rob Grant & Doug Naylor. All rights reserved.

*(However, with regard to the name "Dave Lister," I, David R. Lister, do affirm my claim to ownership of the aforementioned appellation, for "fair use" in perpetuity, and as precedent to any intended proprietary claims of the BBC or of Misters Grant & Naylor. So "grandfather" that, you smeggin' Limeys! "Ha!" I say. "Ha!" I'm building my own Time Machine in the basement so I can go back in time, trademark my own good name, then come back and sue you all! Just wait, you'll see! Ha!)

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