Waiting for God (Red Dwarf)

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"Waiting for God"
Red Dwarf episode
Episode no. Series 1
Episode 4
Directed by Ed Bye
Written by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Original air date 7 March 1988
Guest appearance(s)
Series 1 episodes
15 February – 21 March 1988
  1. "The End"
  2. "Future Echoes"
  3. "Balance of Power"
  4. "Waiting for God"
  5. "Confidence and Paranoia"
  6. "Me²"
List of all Red Dwarf episodes

"Waiting For God" is the fourth episode from science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf series one.[1] It was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 7 March 1988.[2] The episode's theme is religion: atheist Rimmer succumbs to a passionate belief in a superrace of aliens with the technology to give him a new body, while Lister reflects on his role as god of the Cat people.

Written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by Ed Bye,[3] the episode was 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, to bring the episodes up to a standard suitable for international broadcast.[5]


Lister lied about passing the chef's exam. But there are more important things to worry about as Holly tracks an Unidentified Object and brings it aboard. Rimmer believes it to be a stasis capsule carrying a dormant member of an alien race. He even invents a name for this race, "the Quagaars", and convinces himself that they can give him a new body. After a closer inspection, Lister discovers that the capsule is actually nothing more than a jettisoned Red Dwarf garbage pod. The pod's lettering was partially obscured by space dust. When he asks Holly why he didn't tell Rimmer what the pod really was, Holly replies "Well, it's a laugh, innit?" Lister decides not to tell him either.[6]

Lister learns more about the Cat people's god, "Cloister the Stupid" who was "frozen in time" to save the Cat race, and informs the openly skeptical Cat that he is their God, only to subsequently become depressed when he learns that the entire Cat race destroyed itself in holy wars over minor details of 'Fuchal' — the Cat heaven, really based on Lister's plans to open a hot dog and doughnut shop on Fiji — and that they lived their lives according to five sacred laws of which Lister himself has broken four (also admitting that he would've broken the fifth, except that there wasn't a sheep on board). Later, the Cat, who is known to go "investigating", goes off on one of his excursions, and Lister follows him, deep into the cargo hold. There Lister discovers an old blind cat priest, the only one of their race left other than Cat, who is dying and proclaims that he has lost his faith, feeling that he has wasted his life following Cloister. The priest takes his hat off, asking Cat to burn it. In his final moments, Lister shows up and convinces the priest that he has led an admirable life and has served Cloister well, and as such will reach 'Fuchal'. Lister takes the hat back from Cat and puts it back on the priest's head. Convinced by this "miracle", the Cat Priest joyously exclaims that this is the happiest day of his life and promptly dies.[7]

Back in the observation room, the quarantine period for the pod is over. Lister opens the pod and pulls out a decaying chicken carcass, which Rimmer proclaims to be the preserved remains of a Quagaar warrior who must have looked "something like a roast chicken". He then begins to look doubtful; the credits roll—then twice in quick succession pause for a moment as Rimmer shouts "It's a garbage pod!" and then "It's a smegging garbage pod!"[7]


Written by co-creators/writers, Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by series regular Ed Bye,[3] the episode features the first real appearance of the skutters. They were considered unreliable props because they would frequently go out of control and even attack the crew and cast. Chris Barrie had been attacked around the knee and groin area. It was thought that nearby taxi radio signals were interfering with the remote control signals.[8]

Noel Coleman starred as the Cat Priest and John Lenahan returned to voice the Toaster.[3]

Cultural references[edit]

  • Besides the overall religion theme of the Cat species, the episode also references the film Alien when Rimmer mentions "squiggly, slimy aliens sticking to the face".[9]
  • The title of the episode is a reference to the Samuel Beckett play Waiting For Godot.


The episode was originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 7 March 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 as the series progressed.[10] The episode was considered to be one of the weakest from the first series by Red Dwarf Smegazine readers — it came in 27th place with 0.4% 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 "Waiting For God" include new music to accompany the Cat's early scenes, echo added to the pod quarantine scenes, continuity error of Rimmer's folded arms corrected, Cat religion artwork added to Holly's explanation of the Cat race, some lines removed and certain scenes tightened up, shots of Lister with donut and golden sausage removed and new ashes canister leaving Red Dwarf inserted.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "British Sitcom Guide — Red Dwarf — Series 1". www.sitcom.co.uk. Retrieved 31 January 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "BBC Programme Catalogue RED DWARF — WAITING FOR GOD". BBC. Retrieved 5 December 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c "Red Dwarf Waiting for God (1988) Full cast and crew". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 22 January 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Episode Survey Results, Red Dwarf Smegazine, p. 27, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  5. ^ "Sci-Fi-London Film Festival — The Bodysnatcher Collection". www.sci-fi-london.com. Retrieved 30 January 2008. 
  6. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 48.
  7. ^ a b Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 49.
  8. ^ Red Dwarf series 1 guide: episode four: Waiting For God, Red Dwarf Smegazine, volume 2 issue 4, August 1993, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  9. ^ "Red Dwarf movie connections". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 8 January 2008. 
  10. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 8-9.
  11. ^ "Remasters of the Universe". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  12. ^ "Red Dwarf Series I Remastering". www.reddwarf.co.uk. 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. ^ Remastering Crew (2007). Balance of Power Re-Mastered text commentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset disc 1: BBC. 
  16. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 206.


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

External links[edit]