Dimension Jump (Red Dwarf episode)

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"Dimension Jump"
Red Dwarf episode
Episode no. Series 4
Episode 5
Directed by Ed Bye
Written by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Original air date 14 March 1991
Guest actors
  • Simon Gaffney as Young Rimmer
  • Kalli Greenwood as Mrs Rimmer
  • Hetty Baynes as Cockpit Computer
Series 4 episodes
14 February – 21 March 1991
  1. "Camille"
  2. "DNA"
  3. "Justice"
  4. "White Hole"
  5. "Dimension Jump"
  6. "Meltdown"
List of all Red Dwarf episodes

"Dimension Jump" is the fifth episode of science fiction sit-com Red Dwarf Series IV[1] and the twenty-third episode in the series run.[2] It was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 14 March 1991, written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by Ed Bye.[3] The episode, featuring the first appearance of Ace Rimmer, was intended to open the series but was postponed due to the Gulf War conflict.


The episode begins with a young Arnold Rimmer being told by his mother that the headmaster at his school was considering keeping him back a year. Having received the headmaster's notice in the post, she warns her son that this could affect the direction his life takes...

Years later, in a parallel dimension, another Arnold Rimmer exists. Commander 'Ace' Rimmer is a test pilot in the Space Corps: he is charming, good looking, intelligent, popular, brave and modest. Being the heroic type, he jumps at the chance to test-fly a dimension-jumping prototype spacecraft despite the fact he'll never be able to return home. After saying farewell to this friends, Ace takes-off and initiates a dimension jump.

Aboard Red Dwarf, Lister, Kryten and the Cat attempt to sneak away in the middle of the night to enjoy a fishing holiday on a nearby ocean planet on Starbug and escape Rimmer for a few weeks. However, Rimmer wakes up when everyone tries to leave and is hurt that the others would leave without him. Lister tries his best to talk their way out of it, but it's no use and he's forced to invite Rimmer along to everyone's chagrin. Aboard Starbug, Rimmer quickly starts to irritate everyone by constantly trying to tell Kryten what to do by piloting, then by offering to play his Hammond Organ CDs for Lister and the Cat. Thankfully, he is stopped when Starbug encounters a dimension disturbance... from which Ace's ship appears and collides with the ship.[4]

Starbug crash-lands on a water planet, but Ace does not desert them and follows down to help. Aboard Starbug he comes face-to-face with his counterpart Rimmer and an instant mutual dislike develops. In contrast, he and Lister quickly become good friends and, despite Ace's broken arm, the two brave the elements to fix the craft while Rimmer stays aboard and makes snide jokes about his counterpart.[5]

Meanwhile, the Cat has a broken leg, sustained during Starbug's crash, and is becoming delirious. Once aboard Red Dwarf, Ace says he can patch up the Cat with a bit of micro-surgery. Afterwards, Lister and Rimmer discuss Ace. While Lister is in awe of Ace, Rimmer feels nothing but disgust for his counterpart feeling that he got all the breaks in life. Lister tries to encourage Rimmer to be happy that there's a version of him who managed to do well during his life but Rimmer refuses.

Ace later tells Lister he's decided to leave, as he cannot stand to see the spineless, bitter and self-obsessed excuse for a man he could have become. Lister is surprised to learn that, despite Rimmer's belief that Ace got a break, in fact it was quite the opposite... unlike Arnold, Ace was held back a year at school. While Rimmer was allowed to progress and spent the rest of his life making excuses, while the humiliation of being kept down forced Ace to knuckle down and fight back. Ace bids Lister farewell, telling him there's many more universes to visit and many more Arnold Rimmers to meet and maybe someday he'll encounter one who is even more of an arsehole than the one he met aboard Red Dwarf... but he doubts it. [5]


Although Rimmer became Ace Rimmer temporarily in Season VI's Emohawk: Polymorph II in 1993, he didn't really appear again until Season VII's Stoke Me a Clipper in 1997 as another Rimmer, a hard-light hologram. As revealed, the Ace Rimmer seen in Dimension Jump was killed in Dimension 165 when he crashed into a neutron tank. The result was that another Rimmer became Ace. Eventually, millions were Ace Rimmer. The Ace Rimmer in this episode dies after his light bee is damaged by gunfire. At the end of this episode, Starbug chases Aces' failed lightbee coffin through a wormhole and the camera zooms out to reveal a gas giant, whose Saturn-esque rings are all coffins of various hologrammatic Ace Rimmers. The rings of the planet are similar to the rings on the Red Dwarf TV logo.


The idea behind this episode came as a result of Chris Barrie (who at the same time as filming this series was also playing Gordon Brittas, another character whose personality led to him being disliked by those around him, in The Brittas Empire) asking Rob Grant and Doug Naylor for the chance to play someone heroic, suffering from what he described as 'git overload'.

The ending scene went through numerous changes. The initial plan was to have Rimmer drop a load of kippers on Ace, but it didn't work on comic or practical levels. Since it was decided that this didn't work well, the text scroll was added in the post production.[6]

Several models for the episode were produced, including Ace's ship, the Io city dome and the Space Corps test space station. Filming of Ace's ship crashing into Starbug involved flying it through space on wires. The Starbug crash site was achieved using an ocean moon miniature construction.[7]

For the first time in the series run, the end theme tune was changed. The director, Ed Bye, had requested a "naff organ sound" to end the episode with. In keeping with the Rimmer theme Howard Goodall performed an instrumental arrangement which played over the end credits.[8]

The regular cast all get to play their alternative universe roles. Chris Barrie plays Ace Rimmer, Craig Charles is Spanners, Danny John-Jules is the Chaplain, Robert Llewellyn is Bongo and Hattie Hayridge got the chance to play more than just a computer head when she appeared as Mellie.[9] Kalli Greenwood appeared as Mrs. Rimmer and Simon Gaffney appeared as Young Rimmer—reprising their roles from Polymorph (and Simon also appeared as young Rimmer in "Timeslides"), while Hetty Baynes voiced the Cockpit Computer.[3]

Cultural references[edit]

The spaceship scene that introduces Ace Rimmer parodies the 1986 Tom Cruise movie Top Gun and even features similar heroic music.[10] Jaws is mentioned by Lister as to where they're going in the middle of the night with fishing rods. After hearing Lister's nickname given by Ace, Rimmer references Skippy, "'Ace and Skipper?' You sound like a kids' TV series about a boy and his bush kangaroo!"[11]


The episode was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 14 March 1991 in the 9:00pm evening time slot,[12] although it was initially intended to be shown first as the series opener, but the Gulf War hostilities at the time meant that the BBC held back the episode along with "Meltdown". When the hostilities ceased the show was able to be broadcast later in the run.[13]

Considered to be one of the best episodes by many,[9][14] it also topped the Series IV list in a Red Dwarf magazine poll—with 7.3% of the overall votes.[15] In the Series IV DVD, Chris Barrie names this as his favourite episode.

The BBC decided to use the popularity of the episode to head the second part of the Series IV video tape release, despite "White Hole" being fourth in the running order.[16]

See also[edit]

  • Backwards - the fourth Red Dwarf novel which features the plot of "Dimension Jump" as well as other episodes.[17]


  1. ^ "British Sitcom Guide - Red Dwarf - Series 4". www.sitcom.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  2. ^ "TV.com - Dimension Jump summary". www.tv.com. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  3. ^ a b "Dimension Jump cast and crew". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  4. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 72.
  5. ^ a b Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 73.
  6. ^ "Red Dwarf Series IV Production". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  7. ^ "Red Dwarf Series IV Effects". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-01-10. [dead link]
  8. ^ Interview: Howard Goodall, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn 0965-5603
  9. ^ a b Series IV on Video, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 11, January 1993, Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn 0965-5603
  10. ^ "Red Dwarf Series IV Music". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  11. ^ "Red Dwarf movie connections". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  12. ^ "BBC - BBC - Programme Catalogue - RED DWARF IV - DIMENSION JUMP". BBC. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  13. ^ Howarth, Chris; Steve Lyons. Red Dwarf Programme Guide. Section 1: The History: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-86369-682-1. 
  14. ^ "Red Dwarf Series III review at Sci-fi Dimensions". scifidimensions.com. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  15. ^ Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  16. ^ "Series IV Aftermath Aftermath". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-01-07. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Series VI Aftermath". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2008-01-04. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 


  • Howarth, Chris; Steve Lyons (1993). Red Dwarf Programme Guide. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-86369-682-1. 

External links[edit]