|Red Dwarf character|
Chloë Annett as Kochanski
|First appearance||"The End"|
|Last appearance||"Red Dwarf: Back to Earth (Part Three)"|
|Portrayed by||Clare Grogan (series 1, 2, 6)
Chloë Annett (Series 7, 8, 9)
|Significant other(s)||David Lister|
Kristine Z. Kochanski is a fictional character from the British science fiction situation comedy Red Dwarf. Kochanski was the first console officer in the navigation chamber on board the spaceship Red Dwarf. As well as appearing in the television series, she is also a major character in the Red Dwarf novel Last Human. In series 1, 2, and 6 she was played by Clare Grogan. In series 7 and 8 and Back To Earth she was played by Chloë Annett.
Series 1 to 6
Liverpudlian actress Alexandra Pigg was originally cast in the role of Kochanski, but was unavailable for new recording dates following an electrician's strike, so the part then went to Scottish actress and lead singer of the new wave band Altered Images, Clare Grogan. She appears in the first episode of Red Dwarf "The End"; in the third episode "Balance of Power"; in the second series episode "Stasis Leak", and in the sixth series episode "Psirens".
In the first two series it becomes apparent that Dave Lister lusted after Kochanski (as played by Clare Grogan) from a distance and occasionally flirted with her but never had a relationship with her, never having had the courage to ask her out. Indeed, he was told by Holly that he had shared a total of 173 words with her, fewer words than he had shared with his rubber plant. Nonetheless, Lister includes Kochanski in his fantasy of buying a farm on Fiji. Lister likes to think that Kochanski was infatuated with him too, such as when he finds out that she dreamed about him three times, but is also insecure enough to believe it when Rimmer, posing as Kochanski, tells him "I just don't like you."
When Lister is revived from stasis, one of the first things he wants to do is revive Kochanski's hologram. But as the ship can only officially generate one hologram at a time Rimmer refuses to allow it, and goes so far as to hide all the personality discs of the crew including Kochanski's. In the episode "Confidence and Paranoia", Lister (along with a physical manifestation of his confidence) hits upon an idea of how to generate two holograms at once and also deduces where Rimmer has hidden the personality discs – only to discover too late that Kochanski's personality disc has been switched for a duplicate of Rimmer's.
In a possible future seen in the episode "Stasis Leak", Lister finds out that his future self from five years hence had gone back in time and married Kochanski three weeks before the accident, implying that the couple will somehow make it back to the Solar System within five years time. However it is unclear if this future will still come to pass as the timeline has been altered numerous times over the following series. Stage manager Donna DiStefano briefly portrays Kochanski near the end of this episode. In a behind the scenes interview on the Bodysnatcher DVD set, DiStefano says that Clare Grogan had only been scheduled to appear in the pre-recorded scenes and not in the studio scenes. DiStefano has no lines, and her face is mostly obscured by the brim of a hat.
Series 7 and 8
In the seventh series, Kochanski was brought onto the show as a main character, coinciding with the departure of Arnold Rimmer in the latter half of the series. The show's creators recast the role with Chloë Annett. Annett's portrayal of Kochanski was more explicitly posh. She is introduced in the seventh series' third episode, "Ouroboros", crossing over from a parallel universe and being stranded on Starbug. In her world, she discovered the cat Lister smuggled on board and took her, but was unable to kill her and hid her instead. She was discovered and frozen in stasis in Lister's place, emerging from stasis millions of years later to find the crew wiped out and the ship far from home. Holly brought back Lister as a hologram instead of Rimmer. Initially a soft light hologram, this Lister was unable to physically interact with his world, forcing him to mature and become more sensitive and cultured. When Lister became a hardlight hologram, he and Kochanski rekindled their relationship. The unreconstructed Lister from the "main" universe comes as quite a shock.
It appears that Kochanski is also paradoxically Lister's mother, and Lister is his own father, due to an unlikely combination of in vitro fertilisation and time travel. ("Krissie is me ex-girlfriend and me mum!") However, in later episodes, this does not deter Lister from trying to renew his relationship with her.
After being trapped with the "Dwarfers" in their universe, the alternate Kochanski adds something of a new dynamic to the show. Much of the humour in her scenes comes from the difference between her frame of reference and that of the others. Although Annett lacks Grogan's Scottish accent, the series now reveals that she was from the Gorbals (apparently the trendiest part of 23rd century Glasgow), and had spent her childhood in "Cyberschool" with perfect computer-generated settings and perfect computer-generated friends and a pony named "Trumper" before entering Space Cadet School. Her initial reaction to the meagre conditions of life aboard Starbug is one of utter despair, as well as disdain for the "Dwarfers" as inferior versions of the people she knew in her dimension. Over the course of the seventh series she becomes acclimatised to her new situation, and becomes integrated as a member of the crew.
The eighth series features both Kochanski and Rimmer as main characters over the entirety of its run. Although she was originally determined to find a way back to her own universe, in the eighth series she seems to accept being part of the crew in this dimension. Indeed, her origin in the parallel universe is only mentioned once in the eighth series.
Back to Earth
In Red Dwarf: Back to Earth, Lister believes Kochanski to be dead, but a conversation between Lister and two children in a hallucination caused by a despair squid reveals that her death is a cover story and that in truth she dumped Lister by fleeing Red Dwarf in a Blue Midget shuttle and that Kryten hid the truth by claiming she was sucked out of an airlock. This is later confirmed by Kryten. Annett appears briefly in the special, as a hallucination of Kochanski created by Lister's desire to be reunited with her. In the end Lister rejects the hallucination, in the hope of one-day finding the real Kochanski again.
Kochanski is mentioned by Lister in the first four episodes of Series X, where it is implied she is not on board Red Dwarf and that the crew do not know where she is. It was originally intended that the final two episodes of Series X would see the reintroduction of Kochanski, but production problems meant that the plan had to be ditched, with replacement stories found at short notice.
Lister's fantasy of his perfect companion in "Camille" was initially intended to be Kochanski (played by Clare Grogan once again), but it was felt that the inexplicable and implausible re-appearance of Lister's true love (or at least enduring obsession) would tip him off too early as to the true nature of the creature that Kryten rescued. The character was changed in clothing and attitude to more or less a female version of Lister, played by Suzanne Rhatigan; however, the fact that Rhatigan bore a physical resemblance to Grogan still allowed her to be identified as playing "Kochanski Camille" in the credits. A line of dialogue by Lister explicitly referencing their resemblance was ultimately cut from the broadcast episode, and later included in deleted scenes on the Series IV DVD.
The backstory with Kochanski is different in the first novel, published after the first two series. In the book she seems somewhat more intelligent and witty, is learning Japanese in her spare time, and holds her own against arrogant young officers. Lister has a brief but intense relationship with her, spending most of the time in her quarters making love and watching It's a Wonderful Life, their favourite movie. Kochanski, however, reveals she is still hooked on her ex-and-future boyfriend Tim, a catering officer. She was dating Lister on the rebound, and goes back to Tim, leaving Lister heartbroken. It is Kochanski's rejection of him that leads Lister to his plan to be caught with his cat Frankenstein and be sent to stasis for the rest of the trip, resulting in Lister being the sole survivor of the radiation leak.
Kochanski also appears prominently in the Red Dwarf novel Last Human, written by Doug Naylor. In the novel, following being reunited with Lister as an aged couple in a world where time runs backwards (following the death of Dave Lister in the "real" universe), Kochanski and Lister have entered into a loving relationship with each other. Now part of the Red Dwarf crew, Kochanski is in a clear position of authority as the highest-ranking member of the crew – a fact that Rimmer clearly resents (having been robbed of what minuscule authority he could claim in that position), although the others either appreciate or at least do not mind due to her clear intelligence and competence. The novel ends with Kochanski and Lister, stranded on an idyllic world in an unknown parallel universe, attempting to start a family with help from the Luck virus.
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