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Red Dwarf episode
Holoship (Red Dwarf).jpg
Rimmer leaves the holoship Enlightenment after resigning his commission.
Episode no. Series 5
Episode 1
Directed by Juliet May
Written by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Original air date 20 February 1992
Recurring/Guest appearances
Episode chronology
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"Holoship" is the first episode of series 5 of the science fiction sit-com Red Dwarf Series V[2] and the twenty fifth in the series run.[3] It was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 20 February 1992.[4] Written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by Juliet May.[5] The episode, which was the third filmed,[6] was brought forward to open the series.[7]


Aboard Starbug, the crew finish watching a movie. While Lister is left in tears and Cat has lost interest after the cartoon that preceded the film, Rimmer is disgusted at the plotline. Rimmer tells everyone that he finds it unbelievable that a man would give up his dreams for a woman he loves even though he'll never see her again. The discussion is halted when Starbug comes into contact with another craft that doesn't show up on the monitors. It is a Holoship called the Enlightenment, consisting of a vessel and crew that are entirely computer-generated holograms. What is more, the crew are holograms of Space Corps elite personnel. The fact that the ship's regulations impose sex twice a day is an added bonus. Rimmer falls in love with one of the Enlightenment's crew members, Commander Nirvanah Crane. With an existence where he can eat, drink, touch, feel and taste, Rimmer feels that the Enlightenment is his true spiritual home.

However one obstacle stands in Rimmer's way: Enlightenment already has a full crew and new members can only join on a dead-man's-boots basis. If Rimmer succeeds in an intelligence contest it will be at the expense of a fellow hologram's existence. Rimmer might not be excessively bright but he is shrewd and furthermore he's got a perfect plan — he'll cheat. With the assistance of a reluctant Kryten, Rimmer uses a mind-patching operation to significantly increase his IQ. But during the contest the mind-patch fails, as his mind rejects it. Despite this, he is assigned to the Enlightenment when his opponent suddenly withdraws from the challenge. Rimmer bids farewell to his acquaintances on Red Dwarf.

Rimmer arrives on the Enlightenment and is given Nirvanah Crane's quarters. Rimmer didn't realise that Crane was his opponent in the intelligence contest — she had sacrificed herself so that he could live the life of his dreams. Going back on his earlier statement that career would always come before love, Rimmer resigns his new commission and returns to Red Dwarf, so that Nirvanah can be re-instated.


Although "Holoship" was filmed third,[6] it was chosen to lead off the series as it was felt that it would draw in viewers the same way as "Camille" had done the previous series. It worked in the sense that the viewing figures increased as the series progressed.[7]

The Holoship model was built by Paul McGuiness. The transparent perspex miniature was a casualty of the editing cut.[8] One of the cut scenes showed the ship changing shape.[9] Besides the holoship special effects, other scenes and lines were cut out or trimmed down, including many holoship crew scenes and Holly's unhelpful speech to Rimmer.[10]

Guest stars included Jane Horrocks as Cdr. Nirvanah Crane, Matthew Marsh as Capt. Hercule Platini, Don Warrington as Cdr. Binks, Simon Paisley Day as Cdr. Randy Navarro - Number Two, Jane Montgomery as Cdr. Natalina Pushkin - Number One, and Lucy Briers as Harrison.[5] The two (uncredited) actors heard in the film at the beginning of the episode were Kate Robbins and Steve Steen.[5]

Cultural references[edit]


The episode was originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 20 February 1992 in the 9:00pm evening time slot.[4] Despite going out first the episode was considered the worst in this series, gaining 0.2% in the Red Dwarf Smegazine poll.[11] With its injection of pathos towards the end, Sci-Fi Dimensions described it as "less like Red Dwarf and more like a rejected Star Trek episode."[12]

Continuity Goof[edit]

Rimmer runs back onto Red Dwarf in the midst of his examination aboard The Enlightenment. When he does this, he runs back to the sleeping quarters where there is another hologram (to be used as Rimmer's replacement). This proves a continuity goof in that Red Dwarf is capable of sustaining one hologram (this is further noted in the "Quarantine" episode later in this season), and there are more than one in the room. However, the last episodes of season 1, which showed the ship having 2 Rimmers, explain that with non-essential systems turned off Red Dwarf can sustain 2 holograms.


  1. ^ "Red Dwarf Scripts - Holoship". Retrieved 2014-08-17. 
  2. ^ "British Sitcom Guide — Red Dwarf — Series 5". www.sitcom.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  3. ^ "TV.com — Holoship summary". www.tv.com. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  4. ^ a b "BBC — BBC — Programme Catalogue — RED DWARF V — HOLOSHIP". BBC. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  5. ^ a b c "Holoship cast and crew". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  6. ^ a b Series V Preview, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 1, March 1992,Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn 0965-5603
  7. ^ a b Grant and Naylor Look Back, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 11, January 1993, Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn 0965-5603
  8. ^ "Red Dwarf Series V Effects". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  9. ^ Chris Howarths & Steve Lyons. Red Dwarf Programme Guide. Section 1: The History: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-86369-682-1. 
  10. ^ "Red Dwarf Series V Production". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2008. 
  11. ^ Red Dwarf Smegazine: Survey Results, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  12. ^ "Series V review at Sci-Fi Dimensions". www.scifidimensions.com. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 

External links[edit]