Marooned (Red Dwarf)

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Red Dwarf episode
Red dwarf marooned bonding.jpg
Marooned on an icy planet Lister and Rimmer only have each other for company
Episode no. Series 3
Episode 2
Directed by Ed Bye
Written by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Original air date 21 November 1989
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"Marooned" is the second episode of science fiction sit-com Red Dwarf Series III,[1] and the fourteenth in the series run.[2] It premiered on the British television channel BBC2 on 21 November 1989. Written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by Ed Bye, the story is about Lister and Rimmer being marooned together on a bleak ice planet. The episode was re-mastered, along with the rest of the first three series, in 1998.


Red Dwarf is on a collision course with five black holes and Holly (Hattie Hayridge) recommends that it's time to abandon ship. Lister (Craig Charles) and Rimmer (Chris Barrie) make their getaway in Starbug while Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) and Cat (Danny John-Jules) take Blue Midget. But as Rimmer regales Lister with tales of his military interests, (he reveals that in a previous life he was Alexander the Great's chief eunuch), Starbug is struck by a meteor and crash lands on an icy planet. In these conditions, rescuers could be ten feet away and still not find them. Food is short and warmth is non-existent. As a hologram, Rimmer would not need either, but Lister can only hope he survives until help arrives. As personal stories are swapped Rimmer sees a side of Lister he never knew existed.[3]

To keep warm Lister starts burning Rimmer's 24,000 dollarpound notes and collection of books. When the fire burns low, Lister suggests to burn Rimmer's collection of 19th century war figures. Rimmer refuses and points out Lister's beloved Les Paul guitar would be perfect for burning. Reluctantly Lister agrees and asks for a "moment alone". Lister then quickly cuts a silhouette of his guitar into Rimmer's camphor wood chest, snaps the cut-out and puts it in the fire. Rimmer returns and sees a guitar shaped object burning away in the furnace. Rimmer states that he has made a "supreme sacrifice" and as a "man of honour" he will lay down his war figures "for the sake of friendship", after all that guitar meant the same to Lister as that camphor wood chest meant to himself. He then tells Lister exactly how much it meant to him and Lister feels guilty.[3]

Kryten and Cat eventually discover the crashed Starbug on the icy planet and come to the rescue. Holly then informs them that there weren't actually any black holes at all. They were five specks of grit on the scanner-scope.[3] Unamused, Rimmer then tells Kryten the great sacrifice that Lister made and how they grew closer. Just then Lister comes back in, looking at the floor, and walks over to the locker. He opens the locker, takes out his guitar and exits. Rimmer now realises what has happened and when Kryten opens the camphor wood chest there is clearly a guitar shaped hole at the back. He then tells Kryten to grab a hacksaw, saying they're going to do to Lister 'What Alexander the Great once did to me...'.[4]


The Starbug crash sequence was achieved by using a miniature ice planet and filmed on 35mm film stock in order to slow the footage down. The flaming meteorite was dropped from above onto the upward facing Starbug and filmed sideways on. This gave the impression of forward motion and made the meteorite's flames that desired flicker of zero gravity.[5] For the icy wastelands scenes with Kryten and Cat bluescreen was used, but a more realistic snowscape scene was created for Lister's blowing about scene. Soap powder was blown down the set by powerful fans.[5]

Scenes that were cut included the crew playing strip poker at the beginning (as seen in the Smeg Outs video released later) and the Cat's 'Mush Mush!' which was trimmed down from its larger initial state.[6] Despite popular rumours, the dog food eaten by Craig Charles in this episode was not real. It was actually tuna mixed with meat jelly to look like dog food.[7] The episode was originally titled "Men of Honour", referring to the theme of the story of the sacrifices Rimmer and Lister had to make. The title was later changed to the shorter "Marooned".[8]

Cultural references[edit]

Among Rimmer's possessions in his camphor wood trunk are his nineteenth century replicas of Napoleon's L'Armée du Nord. Rimmer references Lieutenant-General Baron Jaquinaux of the First Cavalry Division when Lister picks the replica up. Lister comments that Rimmer is obsessed with war, half his books being about Patton, Caesar and "various other gits". Lister references Road Runner in describing Rimmer's cowardly act in fleeing a bar room brawl. Rimmer references Newcastle Brown bottles when stating that Generals don't resort to violence. Rimmer said to Lister that he had visited Alexander the Great's palace in Macedonia.

Among the few edible items found aboard Starbug are a Pot Noodle, half a bag of soggy smoky bacon crisps, a tin of mustard powder, three water biscuits, a brown lemon, 2 bottles of vinegar, and a tube of Bonjela gum ointment. As Lister looks through Rimmer's books they all remind him of food; Charles Lamb, Herman Wouk (whose last name Lister pronounced as "Wok"), the complete works of Sir Francis Bacon, Eric Van Lustbader (arguing that food comes in vans) and Harold Pinter (Pint-er). As an alternative to the "Mayday" distress call, which he mistakenly believes is named for a bank holiday, Rimmer comes up with "Shrove Tuesday", "Ascension Sunday" and "The fifteenth Wednesday after Pentecost". In a continuity error in that scene, Rimmer is shown operating Starbug's distress call system, when as a hologram he should not be able to interact with the ship's controls. In another error it is not explained how Rimmer is able to smell burning camphor wood, despite being a hologram. Lister references the Ryder Cup while Rimmer compares Lister's bottom to that of two badly parked Volkswagens.

To keep warm Lister starts burning some of Rimmer's books including Biggles' Big Adventure and the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Rimmer name-checks Shakespeare's work as Lister gets ready to burn it: "Goodbye Hamlet? Farewell Macbeth? Toodle-pip King Lear." He states that he's seen West Side Story,[9] which is based on one of them and loathes the idea of burning Richard III with its "unforgettable" speech that starts with "Now..." (presumably referencing the "Now is the winter of our discontent" speech), although he cannot remember anything beyond that first word. Lolita is also burned on the fire, minus one particularly racy page. The song Lister plays on his guitar is "She's out of My Life" by Michael Jackson.


The episode was originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 21 November 1989 in the 9:00pm evening time slot.[10] In its review, DVD Talk stated that "the dialogue is witty and hilarious", and said that "there are tons of memorable lines and scenes from this episode, and is consequently a fan favorite as well."[11] The episode came 15th in a Red Dwarf Magazine readers poll, gaining 2.4% of the votes.[12] Chris Barrie has said that the episode is one of his all-time favorites.[11]


The remastering of Series I to III was carried out during the late 1990s with the intention of bringing the early production values up to a standard suitable for international television.[13] General changes throughout the series included replacement of the opening credits,[14] giving the picture a colour grade and filmising,[15] computer generated special effects of Red Dwarf[16] and many more visual and audio enhancements.[16]

There have been changes made specific to "Marooned". During the early shuttle bay scenes a blue-screen image has been added to Starbug's cockpit window. Shots of Blue Midget and Starbug departing Red Dwarf have been replaced with CGI versions. References to Cliff Richard and the ozone layer have been removed.[17]

Upon its release on VHS the new re-mastered episodes were generally received poorly by fans of the show, although it has been stated by critics that they are "actually an invigorating new take on a classic series".[18] The re-mastered series was later released, along with other material, on The Bodysnatcher DVD boxset, in 2007.[19]

See also[edit]

  • Better Than Life The second Red Dwarf novel which uses some of the "Marooned" plot for part of the story.[20]


  1. ^ "British Sitcom Guide - Red Dwarf - Series 3". Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  2. ^ " - Marooned summary". Retrieved 25 January 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 61.
  4. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 62.
  5. ^ a b "Red Dwarf Series III Effects". Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  6. ^ "Red Dwarf series III Writing". Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  7. ^ Red Dwarf: Series 3: DVD - All Change, BBC DVD, 2003
  8. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993)
  9. ^ "Marooned movie connections". Retrieved 8 January 2008. 
  10. ^ "BBC - Programme Catalogue - RED DWARF III THE SAGA CONTINUUMS - 2, MAROONED". BBC. Retrieved 11 December 2007. 
  11. ^ a b "Series III at DVD Talk". Retrieved 25 January 2008. 
  12. ^ Readers Survey Results, Red Dwarf Smegazine, p. 27., issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  13. ^ "Remasters of the Universe". Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  14. ^ "Red Dwarf Series I Remastering". Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008. 
  15. ^ Remastering Crew (2007). The End Re-Mastered DVD Commentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset Red disc: BBC. 
  16. ^ a b Remastering Crew (2007). 'Re-Dwarf' Documentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset Red disc: BBC. 
  17. ^ Remastering Crew (2007). Marooned text commentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset, Blue disc: BBC. 
  18. ^ "Sci-Fi-London Film Festival - The Bodysnatcher Collection". Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008. 
  19. ^ "The Bodysnatcher collection". Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008. 
  20. ^ "Red Dwarf Series III Aftermath". Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 25 January 2008. 


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

External links[edit]