Balance of Power (Red Dwarf)

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"Balance of Power"
Red Dwarf episode
RD Balance of Power.jpg
Lister tries to pass the chef exam so he can outrank Rimmer.
Episode no. Series 1
Episode 3
Directed by Ed Bye
Written by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Original air date 29 February 1988
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of all Red Dwarf episodes

"Balance of Power" is the third episode of science fiction comedy Red Dwarf series one.[1] It was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 29 February 1988.[2] Written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by Ed Bye.[3] The story revolves around Lister's desire to bring his one true love, Kristine Kochanski, back as a hologram.

Considered to be one of the weakest from the first series,[4] the episode was re-mastered, along with the rest of the first three series, in 1998. This was an attempt to change the standard of the episode suitable for international broadcast.[5]


The officious Rimmer wants everything on ship to be spick and span and has taken Lister's cigarettes hostage to ensure his obedience. But Lister just wants to slob around preferably with a hologram of his old flame, Kristine Kochanski. Lister sits at a table on his own reminiscing about the past when his friends were teasing him about Kochanski. Lister asks Holly why he revived Rimmer as a hologram and not one of his drinking buddies or Kochanski. Holly stated that Rimmer was the best person to keep him sane. Meanwhile, Cat has discovered a tray of boxes containing cigarettes, which Rimmer had hidden from Lister, although the Cat merely wants them because they are "shiny things". Rimmer then gives him a deal; if he puts them back he can get all the fish he needs. Cat is soon receiving fish after fish from the food dispenser.[6]

Lister wants Kochanski brought back as a hologram, just for a few hours, but as this would mean turning Rimmer's hologram off he does not agree to this. Amid much arguing, Lister states that he's going to pass the exams and outrank Rimmer so he'll have to obey his orders. Rimmer is naturally incredulous, as if he couldn't pass the Astronavigation Exam, what chance does Lister have? Turns out that Lister has no intention to pass the Astronavigation Exam, as he plans to take the chef's exam. It's the easiest exam available, but if he passes Lister will be made an officer and outrank Rimmer.[6]

Rimmer enters the room in which Lister is taking the chef's exam, corrupting his image so he looks and sounds like Kochanski. Disguised as Kochanski, Rimmer tries to convince Lister that he is wasting his time because she would never be interested in someone like him. Lister figures out Rimmer's disguise after his un-Kochanski-like, and very Rimmer-like, actions. The exam is finished and Lister receives his results. Rimmer asks how he did and Lister implies that he passed.[7]


The story was written as pure sitcom at the request from the BBC who didn't want the show to be too heavy on science fiction elements. [8]

Lister's disco music, "Fakin'", was by Motor City Diva and Danny John-Jules.[9]

Returning Red Dwarf crew members, and Lister's drinking buddies, included Paul Bradley as Chen, David Gillespie as Selby and Mark Williams as Peterson. Clare Grogan also returned as Kochanski.[3]


"Balance of Power" was originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 28 February 1988 in the 9:00pm evening time slot.[2] Although the pilot episode "The End" drew in over five million viewers, this figure was now tailing off slightly as the series progressed.[10] The episode was considered by Red Dwarf Smegazine readers to be one of the weakest from the first series, coming last in a readers poll with 0.1% of the votes.[4]


The remastering of Series I to III was carried out during the late 1990s.[11] Changes throughout the series included replacement of the opening credits,[12] giving the picture a colour grade and filmising,[13] computer generated special effects of Red Dwarf[14] and many more visual and audio enhancements.[14] Changes specific to "Balance of Power" include a new shot of Lister riding his bike down the ship's corridor,[15] new re-shot scenes with new dialogue from Holly, pieces of dialogue removed entailing the 'black card' situation lines.[15] A music cue has been added to scenes of Rimmer, when using Kochanksi's hologramatic body, trying to distract Lister during his chef's exam.[15] Also certain shots and some inconsistent dialogue have been removed from the same scene.[15]


  1. ^ "British Sitcom Guide — Red Dwarf — Series 1". Retrieved 31 January 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "BBC Programme Catalogue RED DWARF — BALANCE OF POWER". BBC. Retrieved 5 December 2008. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Red Dwarf Balance of Power (1988) Full cast and crew". Retrieved 22 January 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Episode Survey Results, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  5. ^ "Sci-Fi-London Film Festival — The Bodysnatcher Collection". Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 47.
  7. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 48.
  8. ^ Episode Guide: Series 1 episode 2: Balance Of Power, Red Dwarf Smegazine, volume 2 issue 3, July 1993, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  9. ^ " Cast & Crew - Series I". Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 8-9.
  11. ^ "Remasters of the Universe". Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  12. ^ "Red Dwarf Series I Remastering". Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008. 
  13. ^ Remastering Crew (2007). The End Re-Mastered DVD Commentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset disc 1: BBC. 
  14. ^ a b Remastering Crew (2007). 'Re-Dwarf' Documentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset disc 1: BBC. 
  15. ^ a b c d Remastering Crew (2007). Balance of Power Re-Mastered text commentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset disc 1: BBC. 


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

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