Confidence and Paranoia

Confidence and Paranoia
"Confidence and Paranoia"
Red Dwarf episode
Confidence and Paranoia (Red Dwarf).jpg
Lister turns on Kochanski's hologramatic disk only to have another Rimmer appear
Episode no. Series 1
Episode 5
Directed by Ed Bye
Written by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Original air date 14 March 1988 (1988-03-14)
Guest stars
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

"Confidence and Paranoia" is the fifth episode from series one of the science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf.[1] It was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 14 March 1988.[2] The plot involves Lister's mutated pneumonia which manifests solid hallucinations.

Written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by Ed Bye,[3] the episode was originally going to be broadcast as the series cliffhanger but was moved down in the broadcast schedule with a new series finale taking its place.[4] Considered to be one of the weaker efforts from the first series,[5] the episode was re-mastered, along with the rest of the first three series, in 1998, to bring the episode up to a standard suitable for international broadcast.[6]



Lister (Craig Charles) falls ill after snooping through Kristine Kochanski's quarters, which have not been decontaminated yet. The pneumonia he contracts is a mutated strain and, while delirious, he has hallucinations which become solid -- fish rain in his sleeping quarters, the Mayor of Warsaw from 1546 spontaneously combusts, and two guests materialise in the drive room. These guests are Lister's Confidence (Craig Ferguson), a tall, tanned, flashily-dressed game show host type who calls Lister "the King", and Lister's Paranoia, (Lee Cornes) a stooped, pallid, black suit-clad little man.[7]

Despite Rimmer's (Chris Barrie) warnings that the two guests are symptoms of Lister's disease and therefore dangerous, Lister begins spending a lot of time with his Confidence, who helps him figure out where Rimmer has hidden Kochanski's hologram disc. Apparently it's in the solar panels outside their sleeping quarters. Rimmer is proven correct, however, when Confidence murders Paranoia and pressures Lister to perform suicidal acts of over-confidence, namely removing his helmet during a spacewalk. To prove that "Oxygen is for losers!" Confidence removes his own helmet, then explodes. Lister, having successfully retrieved the disc, nervously rehearses his first words to Kochanski. When he switches on the program, however, a second hologram of Rimmer appears.[8]


Split-screen technique - shots were done separately and cut together

The production team were very worried that they might get complaints about cruelty to fish regarding the raining fish hallucination scene. In fact no fish were actually harmed and none were dropped from any height, but placed on the floor.[4] The episode used split-screen techniques to show The Mayor of Warsaw approaching Rimmer and spontaneously combusting. The technique was used to minimise any potential threat to the actors. The mayor, Rimmer's reaction and the explosion were all carried out as separate shots and cut together.[9]

This episode was originally going to be the last of the series, and would have concluded with Kochanski being successfully resurrected as a "sort-of cliffhanger". The BBC electrician strike had disrupted the series production, but this gave Grant and Naylor time to re-think about an earlier script titled "Bodysnatcher", which was intended to be the second episode: the pair felt that "Bodysnatcher" was the weakest script of the six, and also suffered because they had not actually written an ending for it. Rob and Doug took the idea from "Bodysnatcher" of two Listers (i.e. him and his hologram) not getting along, and adapted it into the idea of having two Rimmers together. So the ending of "Confidence and Paranoia" was changed to have a duplicate of Rimmer resurrected instead, and this cliffhanger continued into the new series finale "Me²".[4]

The two main guest stars were Lee Cornes as Paranoia and Craig Ferguson as Confidence. [3]

Cultural references

  • Film references include The Wizard of Oz whose Munchkins are mentioned.[10]
  • The Alien tagline is also parodied "In space, no one can hear you cha-cha-cha".[11]
  • To relieve his boredom, Holly deletes his memory banks of all Agatha Christie's novels and then gets intensely involved with reading Hercule Poirot novels; he mentions a mystery that he is reading which features him speculating that "they all did it", but since this features Poirot stepping off a train after Holly makes this deduction, this cannot be correct as the only case where everyone did it was Murder on the Orient Express, which did not feature Poirot getting off a train at any point after the murder was committed.


The episode was originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 14 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.[12] The episode was considered to be one of the weakest from the first series by Red Dwarf Smegazine readers — it came in 28th place with 0.2% of the votes.[5]


The remastering of Series I to III was carried out during the late 1990s.[13] 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] Changes specific to "Confidence and Paranoia" include a new recorded Holly joke to replace the opening 'post office worker' gag, dramatic music cue added to Lister's collapse due to the mutated illness and a CGI scene of Red Dwarf travelling through the dust storm.[17]


  1. ^ "British Sitcom Guide — Red Dwarf — Series 1". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ a b "BBC Programme Catalogue RED DWARF — CONFIDENCE AND PARANOIA". BBC. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  3. ^ a b "Red Dwarf Confidence and Paranoia (1988) Full cast and crew". Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  4. ^ a b c Episode Guide: series 1, episode 5: Confidence and Paranoia, Red Dwarf Smegazine, volume 2 issue 5, September 1993, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  5. ^ a b Episode Survey Results, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  6. ^ "Sci-Fi-London Film Festival — The Bodysnatcher Collection". Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  7. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 49.
  8. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 50.
  9. ^ "Series I Effects". Archived from the original on 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  10. ^ "Confidence and Paranoia movie connections". Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  11. ^ "Red Dwarf movie connections". Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  12. ^ Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 8-9.
  13. ^ "Remasters of the Universe". Archived from the original on 2008-01-04. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  14. ^ "Red Dwarf Series I Remastering". Archived from the original on 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  15. ^ Remastering Crew (2007). The End Re-Mastered DVD Commentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset disc 1: BBC. 
  16. ^ a b Remastering Crew (2007). 'Re-Dwarf' Documentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset disc 1: BBC. 
  17. ^ Remastering Crew (2007). Confidence and Paranoia 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. 

External links

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