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Arnold Judas Rimmer is the deuteragonist of the BBC sci fi comedy franchise Red Dwarf and debuted as the main antagonist of series one, although his role was indeed the same as it was the initial scripting stages, he was originally written as being far more malicious and insane than he ever was in the final product.

As with the final version of Red Dwarf he would have been played by Chris Barrie and was also voiced by the latter in the animatic made for the abandoned episode.

Biography

Backstory

Although his backstory involving his very tragic past and poor family history was not yet written by the time of this episode, Rimmer's backstory as it was presented thus far in series one of the show remains the same as what was going to be shown in this episode, with him being an incompetent and hapless vending machine repair man acting as second technician aboard the JMC ship Red Dwarf although with high aspirations to become an officer. He is only in charge of one other crew member on board the ship, David Lister a third technician and the self proclaimed slobbiest man in the universe who often butts heads with his superior over their conflicting personalities and the two ultimately gain a frenemy type relationship.

Following many failed attempts to pass the officer's exam Rimmer is given time away from Lister after the latter is forced into suspended animation as a result of smuggling a pregnant cat on board the ship, during this time he was eventually ordered by Captain Hollister to perform routine repairs on the ship's drive plate due to the primary technicians for the job being unavailable. Although Rimmer does the job in the end his work is incredibly shoddy and results in the deaths of everyone on board the vessel including himself with the exception of Lister who was still in suspended animation and his cat Frankenstein who was safely sealed in the ship's hold along with her kittens.

Three million years following the accident Lister is freed from stasis once the radiation levels died down long enough for him to safely live on the ship and after a briefing from Holly Rimmer is restored to existence as a hologram in order to keep Lister company and keep him sane onboard the ship and the two are soon met by a lifeform simply known as "The Cat" a man who evolved from Frankenstein's kittens. Although initially annoyed and sceptical at Lister's attitude towards the situation and his plan to go back to earth Rimmer reluctantly agrees although ensures to keep the balance of power between them as strong as ever.

Bodysnatcher

Shortly following the previous events Rimmer has began losing his mind over and growing, bitter, angry and resentful towards Lister for being stuck as a hologram that's unable to touch or feel anything and although he does keep his spirits up by regularly annoying Lister via keeping everything done on the ship by the book in spite of the sheer pointlessness of it he also begins developing a new plan for restoring himself to genuine life, stealing Lister's DNA to make himself a new body.

After training the ship's robot helpers the skutters to help him in his plot he sends one of them after Lister to take a few strands of his hair in order for him to clone a new body out of both it and multiple gallons of water, however the skutter misunderstanding his instructions shaves Lister's entire head making Rimmer panic to the point where he orders the same skutter to tear a wig and throw portions of it all over Lister's bed to make him think that his hair fell out overnight instead. Although this trick works for a while Lister eventually realises that the hair from his head and the wig don't match in texture and asks Holly to confirm this, leading to Lister deducing that Rimmer had stolen his hair.

He is proven right when that night another skutter arrives in his bedroom, this time to take a strand from his eyebrow, inadvertently ripping half of it off instead, prompting an infuriated Lister to chase down the skutter and confront Rimmer who explains his plans while growing increasingly insane and deranged, prompting a frightened and angry Lister to turn him off, citing the fact that his plan would be impossible for a noble prize winning physicist nevermind someone as incompetent and dim-witted as Rimmer.

Before being turned off however Rimmer begged Lister for time to prepare himself which the latter allowed, unfortunately however this led to Rimmer removing all of the other hologram personality disks from the ship prior to Lister shutting him down, meaning that even if he was turned off Lister would eventually have to come back to him. Although at first disheartened Holly then informs Lister that there is actually one disk Rimmer missed as he was unaware of its existence thanks to Lister's living status; a disk featuring Lister himself.

Although happy at the company at first Lister quickly realises how much he can't stand living with himself due to his annoying and disgusting habits and is eventually driven to the point of trying to shoot his hologram with a flare gun, the ensuing chaos makes Lister realise he ultimately does need Rimmer in the end due to his obsession with order and fixation on rules meaning situations like this wouldn't arise, he ultimately turns Rimmer back on and the panicking Rimmer instructs him to use an extinguisher on the flames and the episode ultimately ends with the two reconciling.

It is unknown how the rest of series 1 would have been affected should this have been the final product released.

Trivia

  • The version of Rimmer seen in Bodysnatcher is very likely an early incarnation of the character which would explain why he's so much more malicious in comparison to the version we see in the final version of series one.
  • The characterisation of this version of Rimmer is actually more in line with Rimmer's duplicate seen in the final version of series one's closing episode "Me2" which makes sense given that most of this episode's second half was cannibalised into the final script for "Me2".

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