Ain’t no place in the whole of cyberspace…



Future Echoes



Capsules Index

The End

Future Echoes

Balance of Power



| Info & Synopsis | Detailed Notes & Observations |

Scene Summary | Reviews | Miscalleneous Notes |

Plot and Production Errors | Credits |



Recorded: 18/10/1987, Broadcast 22/2/1988

Written by: Rob Grant and Doug Naylor

Directed by: Ed Bye


What is it?


When Red Dwarf breaks the speed of light, time dilates and the new crew begin to experience visions from their own futures. Sadly for Lister his future appears to include being reduced to his component atoms by a rather large explosion. Happily for Rimmer, Lister’s appears to include being reduced to his component atoms by a rather large explosion.


[ top ]


Observation Dome.


Production Notes:


The show was originally intended to the fifth episode broadcast, but it was brought forward because it was deemed the strongest of the series.


This show was notoriously difficult to rehearse - two days was given purely to rehearsing the 'Double Rimmer' scene.


The pre-recorded elements for this episode were: the future echo of the aged Lister, Lister holding the babies, Rimmer's haircut and, of course, the Double Rimmer scene.


This is the first episode to alter the closing titles, with a polaroid of Lister's sons replacing the long tracking shot of Red Dwarf.


Book Version:


A section of Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, (Part x, Chapters y-z), was a novelisation of Future Echoes. The major plot difference was that the person who really died was Lister's grandson, as opposed to his son. Rob and Doug had always felt that Lister's casual response to news that his son will die young was out of character, and so by distancing the relation, they rectified this.


The advantages offered by the novel as a media were something that Rob and Doug were always aware of. They use the ability to be an omniscient observer, reading the thoughts of a character, by running us through Lister's train of thought as the news of his death sinks in. All those things he'd never done, like never reading a book. But then again, he had been briefly idolised by Kochanski and became a legend on the Aigburth Arms pool table. How many men could say that?




More sound-effects on things like the vending machine and Rimmer's changes of uniform and hairstyle.


A new CGi shot showed Red Dwarf's jump to light speed as much more sudden, and a motion blur was added to the fist few seconds of the next scene.


A new piece of background was added to the scene of Lister fixing the Navi-Comp, in an attempt to heighten the tension.


[ top ]


Sanity F.M.


1. Holly’s Distress Call.


HOLLY: I am Holly, the ship's computer, with an IQ of 6000.  The same IQ as 6000 PE teachers.


2. Red Dwarf Corridor. Lister has a conversation with a broken vending machine, before meeting up with Rimmer, who is exercising.


RIMMER: Morning, Lister!  How's life in hippie heaven, you pregnant baboon bellied space cookie?  What's the plan for the day then? Slobbing in the morning, followed by slobbing in the afternoon, then a bit of a snooze before the main evening's slob?  God, you're a disgrace to the species. 


3. Teaching Room. Rimmer takes stock of his morning and orders a new haircut. He is given a bouffant.


RIMMER: Clock stop!  (Checking his watch) 6:47, not a bad little time for the mile.  Pity I was only doing the 300 metres.


4. Sleeping Quarters. Lister is showing Cat his photos, when Rimmer comes in with his new haircut.


LISTER: Rimmer, what have you done to your hair?
RIMMER: Holly did it.
RIMMER: Because I ordered him to.
LISTER: It looks ridiculous.
RIMMER: It may look ridiculous to you, Lister, but I like it like this. It makes me feel like a man.
LISTER: Yeah, and you'll probably get one, looking like that.
RIMMER: There's nothing wrong with short hair, Lister.  It gives a man a sense of dignity, a sense of discipline.
LISTER: Rimmer, have you seen it?
RIMMER: I don't need to see it.  I didn't get this haircut to look good. This is a haircut designed for action, not poncing around in.  It may be a bit severe, a bit too green beret, but you are how you look, and I look (finally seeing himself in the mirror) like a complete and total tit!  Holly!  Holly!
HOLLY: (A still picture of HOLLY comes up on the monitor) This is a recording.  I'm afraid Holly is busy at the moment.  If you'd like to leave a message after the bleep, he'll get back to you.  Bleep.


5. Drive Room. Lister tells Rimmer of his plans to go into stasis for the rest of the journey home.


RIMMER: Oh, yes, I expect they cured death the instant we left Earth. I expect doctors' surgeries are packed with the dead.  "Hello, Mrs Johnson, take one of these three times a day, you'll soon be living again.  Carol, next corpse please."


6. Model shot of Red Dwarf in space.


7. Sleeping Quarters. Lister freshens himself up by applying deodorant and shaving foam, though not necesserily in the correct place.


8. Model Shot. Red Dwarf breaks the light barrier and jolts quickly forward.


9. Sleeping Quarters. Holly confirms that Red Dwarf has broken the light barrier, and Lister sees reflections of things that have not yet happened in the mirror.


HOLLY: Look, we're travelling faster than the speed of light. That means, by the time we see something, we've already passed through it. Even with an IQ of 6000, it's still brown trousers time.


10. Stasis Corridor. Lister informs The Cat that he can only take two suits into stasis, on pain of death.


CAT: Two suits?  Then I'm staying!
LISTER: You can't stay.  By the time I come out, you'll be dead.
CAT: Two suits *is* dead!


11. Drive Room. Lister has a plerpexing conversation with Rimmer, made all the more perplexing by Rimmer's instant re-apperance and repetition of exactly what he just said. No wonder Rob and Doug got headaches when they wrote this.


LISTER: Rimmer, you've just come in and said exactly these things.
RIMMER: What things?
LISTER: You said that!
RIMMER: I said *what*?
LISTER: And that!  You said that!
RIMMER: You are space crazy!
LISTER: And then you said, "Well it probably is deja vu."
RIMMER: Well, it probably is deja vu.  It sounds like it.
LISTER: Well, go on then.  Shake your head and walk out.


12. Corridor. As Rimmer and Lister, leave the Drive Room, the Cat runs past in the opposite direction, having lost his tooth.


13. Sleeping Quarters. Rimmer and Lister walk in on Cat trying to catch a goldfish. Holly (with the help of the Toaster) explains that these phenomena are 'future echoes', that is glimpses of the future, a side effect of light speed.


RIMMER: What are 'future echoes'?
HOLLY: How simple do you want this?
RIMMER: So Lister can understand it.
HOLLY: Oh dear.


14. Lister tries to persuade the skutters not to kill themselves. All of a sudden he hears a massive explosion.


15. Various Corridors. We see a succession of quick shots of Lister running around manically, trying to find the source of the explosion.


16. Drive Room. Rimmer has seen Lister die in a future echo. Rimmer is pessimistic about Lister's future, but he decides that if he can stop the Cat from breaking his tooth, something can be done about him dying.


RIMMER: Lister, it *has* happened.  You can't change it, any more than you can change what you had for breakfast yesterday.
LISTER: Hey, it hasn't happened, has it?  It has "will have going to have happened" happened, but it hasn't actually "happened" happened yet, actually.
RIMMER: Poppycock!  It will be happened; it shall be going to be happening; it will be was an event that could will have been taken place in the future.  Simple as that.  Your bucket's been kicked, baby.


17. Sleeping Quarters. Lister bursts into the room, wrestling the robot fish from the Cat. Unfortunately, Lister knocks him on to a table, breaking his tooth. Lister is then summoned to meet his fate in the Drive Room.


LISTER: I'm going out like I came in -- screaming and kicking.
RIMMER: You can't whack death on the head!
LISTER: If he comes near me I'm gonna rip his nipples off!


18. Corridor. Lister walks to meet his maker.


19. Drive Room. Lister needs to fix the Navicomp. This consists of flicking six switches. With each switch, the background hum gets louder an more high-pitched. Lister knows that each switch might be his last. He flicks the last switch. Nothing happens. Then Lister is dragged to the floor. It's The Cat.


CAT: Aaargh!  Dog attack!


20. Model Shot - Red Dwarf, starting to slow down.


21. Sleeping Quarters - A jubulant Lister and a disappointed Rimmer come in to see a 178-year-old version of Lister on the bunk. He explains that it was Lister's son Bexley who died, not Lister. He then tells them to run to the Medical Unit.


OLD LISTER: I've got to tell you about Bexley.
RIMMER: Who's Bexley?
LISTER: I was always going to call my second son Bexley, after Jim Bexley Speed.
RIMMER: Your second son?  What were you going to call your first son?
LISTER: Jim.  After Jim Bexley Speed.


22. Medical Unit. Lister duly arrives, complete with camera, to see a not-too-much-older version of himself holding two babies.


FUTURE LISTER: I can't see you, but I know you can see me.  I'd like you to meet your two sons.  This is Jim, and this is Bexley.  Oh, stop crying and say "cheese," boys!


[ top ]


Thanks For The Memory.


Ian Symes: This episode has always been special to me. To my eternal shame, I forgot to tape it when it was repeated, so I didn't see the episode until 1995 when Six of the Best was released. Even without this special importance, it's a corking episode. The Double Rimmer scene was one that was continually repeated for weeks after seeing it. It's also a great sci-fi concept: seeing glimpses of the future and not knowing when they will take place. The echo of Lister's death made this plot exceptional for one written so early into the run. And Rimmer's silly haircuts, along with Lister's reactions were guaranteed to get huge laughs. And the song that Lister sings while shaving has inspired one of the best websites of all time.


[ top ]


People... I've Met.


First Appearances:


 o The Toaster (I) (also featured in...)

 o Talking dispensing machines (also featured in...)

 o Future versions of the crew (also featured in...)

 o References to Jim and Bexley (also featured in...)

 o Alternate Closing Titles (also featured in...)


Elements from past episodes:


 o The Skutters (also featured in A1)

 o Stasis (also featured in A1)




Einstein, Albert:  (1879-1955) Pretty famous physicist.


Bennett, Gordon:  (1841-1918) James Gordon Bennett, Jr., American newspaper magnate (whose father, James Gordon Bennett, founded the New York Herald in 1835).  Bennett was known for his extravagant and capricious behaviour, and his name has become synonymous with a feeling of exasperation such as he frequently caused in people.


Frankenstein:  Novel by Mary Shelley, published 1818.  A scientist (Frankenstein) creates a monster by reanimating corpse tissue, and then suffers the consequences.  Apparently, truly stupid people erroneously believe that it was the monster, not its creator, who was called Frankenstein.


Moss Bro(ther)s:  Clothing/suit hire establishment.


Teasy-Weasy:  A hairdresser, of course.  Here's hoping they're better at it than Holly is.


Filofax:  Personal organiser.  For those not important enough to warrant having a secretary.


Lennon, John:  (1940-1980) Singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist with The Beatles.


McCartney, Paul:  (1942-  ) Singer, songwriter and rhythm/bass guitarist with The Beatles.


Green Beret:  Crack military group, Special Forces of the US Army.  In 1961, the best of the Special Forces were granted the honorific "Green Beret" by President Kennedy.


Shapiro, Helen:  (1946-  ) British singer and actress.  Famous for having a hit single at the age of 14, and for wearing bouffant hair.


Ladybird Books:  Children's books, both fictional and informational.


Starlight Ballroom:  Club in Las Vegas.


The song Lister is singing at the beginning:  A spaced-up version of "My Darling Clementine ".


The song the Toaster is singing:  "Fly Me To The Moon ", recorded by Frank Sinatra.


The tune Rimmer is humming as he contemplates Lister's demise:  The "Death March Of Saul " (1738) by the German composer George Frideric Handel.


Rimmer's second hairstyle:  Holly has made him into a Beatles wannabe.




The episode is (or at least was) availiable on the following releases: 


Red Dwarf I Byte I: The End. Released in 1993 by BBC Enterprises. Catalogue No. : BBCV 4914


Red Dwarf Six of the Best I. Released as part of a box set in 1995 by BBC Worldwide. Catalogue No. : BBCV 6160


Red Dwarf Series One Re-Mastered: Episodes I - III. Released in 1998 by BBC Worldwide. Catalogue No. : BBCV 6436


Red Dwarf I - The Original Series. Released in 2002 by BBC Worldwide. Catalogue No. : BBCDVD 1117


Free episode of Red Dwarf, Plus Special Features. A VCD given away free with DVD Review #45 (December 2002).


[ top ]


Yow Twonk!


Plot Inconsistencies:


? Lister has a picture of his father, but he said he was abandoned in a pub (The Last Day, 3-6) and never knew his biological parents.


- Lister's familial life is quite strange. This could either be a picture of his foster father, or perhaps his real father left him a picture when he abandoned him.


? When Cat is wheeling his suits in front of Lister by the stasis booth, it says 'Level 159.' After witnessing Bexley's 'death' in the Drive Room, the sign is 'Level 147.' It is also 'Level 147' in Me2.


- There is a continuity break between the Cat and Lister calling to him from the Drive Room, so it is conceivable that the Cat wasn't at the Drive Room yet, and the Drive Room and stasis booth are on different levels.


? Lister goes from the sleeping quarters (Level 348) to the Drive Room (Level 147) via Level 132. Why?


? Why would Lister put his stuff into long-term storage now, seeing as it had survived for three million years the way it was?


- There is no proof that his stuff *wasn't* in long term-storage to begin with, and just removed by the skutters previous to his awakening.


? If the food dispenser's vocabulary unit isn't working, why can it hold a complex and intelligent conversation with Lister, actually above and beyond what its vocabulary unit should normally have to deal with?


? In the scene where Rimmer is talking to himself with Lister watching, Lister should be able to see himself as well in the future echo.


- Lister stands by the doorway at a point where the Echo Lister would also be were he visible, and perhaps this 'overlapping' of a physical being with its Echo doppelganger cannot occur in the space-time continuum. Thus Lister can only see those parts of the future echo that would never be involved in such a situation.


? The malfunctioning food dispenser produces boots and a bucket. How does a *food* dispenser have access to these items?


- Assuming that the dispensers either create the objects themselves or have the objects delivered to them, it is feasible that the malfunction caused a cross up in the ordering/creation matrix of the machine and switched it with that of a maintenance dispenser or the like.


? There is a problem with the whole idea of 'future echoes.' Namely, why do they appear on the ship? If they are from the future, they should appear where the ship is *going* to be at that time in the future, not where the ship currently *is* in the past. This is because the ship is travelling in space. For example, at the speed of light, the ship would travel 90 million kilometres in five minutes, therefore an echo from five minutes in the future would also occur *more than* 90 million kilometres *ahead* of Red Dwarf (because at the time it was travelling faster than light).


- Since no one has ever travelled faster than light, it is *extremely* likely that most common-sense applications of physics would go out the window since you are doing something that is impossible by the laws of physics.


? Lister can't see himself in the 'space crazy' future echo. One explanation may be that the present situation cannot see the future echo if the future echo ever crosses the path of the present situation (see above). Why then can Lister see his future-echo reflection in the mirror when he is shaving? If this 'crossing the path' explanation holds, then the present reflection should cancel out the future-echo reflection.


- This rule apparently applies to corporeal things, but not necessarily to reflected light images (whether it works with the hologram light projection of Rimmer is unknown, as a relevant situation does not arise).


Production Errors:


? The sign above the stasis booth seems to have changed colour as opposed to The End.


? For the future echo in the Drive Room, Rimmer first says 'You're space crazy,' then the second time clearly says '*You** are space crazy.''


? Lister and Rimmer both use a door in the Captain's Office that wasn't there before this episode.


? When the skutters are hitting their heads on the wall, one skutter (the far one) constantly misses, and the person controlling it cannot get it straightened up correctly during the shot (even though he tries).


? As Holly gives Rimmer a clean uniform after Rimmer's jog, Holly's image can be seen to jump, due to his transposition between the two shots not being perfect.


? The gashes on the non-working goldfish are not visible when it is seen swimming around in the tank seconds later.


? Sound travels much, much slower than light. Why is the sound in synch with the future echo speakers, when some sounds are supposed to be coming from in excess of 140 years in the future? 


[ top ]




Rimmer  Chris Barrie
Lister  Craig Charles
Cat  Danny John-Jules
Holly  Norman Lovett
Toaster  John Lenahan
Dispensing Machine  Tony Hawks
Written by  Rob Grant
                 Doug Naylor
Music  Howard Goodall
Developed for Television by  Paul Jackson Productions
Graphic Designer  Mark Allen
Visual Effects Designer  Peter Wragg
Properties Buyer  Mike Fallon
Assistant Floor Manager  Dona Distefano
Production Assistant  Alison Thornber
Unit Manager  Mario Dubois
Production Manager  George R. Clarke
Costume Designer  Jacki Pinks
Make-up Designer  Suzanne Jansen
Vision Mixer  Jill Dornan
Camera Supervisor  Mike Jackson
Technical Co-ordinator  Ron Clare
Videotape Editor  Ed Wooden
Lighting Director  John Pomphrey
Sound Supervisor  Tony Worthington
Designer  Paul Montague
Executive Producer  Paul Jackson
Produced & Directed by  Ed Bye


Uncredited Extras: Remi Brocks and Jordan Russell (Jim and Bexley)


[ top ] 


This page last updated: 18th January 03

Website: © Ian Symes 2002

Red Dwarf: © Grant Naylor Productions


This website is unofficial and non-profit making. All content may be freely distributed, but only with express permission from the author.