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I'm pretty cool, I don't take any smeg, and even though I'm disgusting, sometimes I can be quite brave.
~ Lister leaving the hallucination, vowing to win back Kochanski

Dave Lister is the main protagonist in the British sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf. He was a third class technician (the lowest ranking crewman) on the mining ship Red Dwarf spending his time performing tasks under the hated supervision of his bunkmate Arnold Rimmer or getting drunk with his friends Olaf Peterson, Selby and Chen. Lister was imprisoned in a stasis booth because he smuggled his pregnant unquarantined cat Frankenstein aboard the ship.

While Lister was in stasis, a release of lethal radiation occurred on board as a result of a faulty repair carried out by Rimmer, killing all the crew. Holly, the ship's computer kept Lister in stasis for three million years until the radiation levels returned to normal. Lister was left as presumably the last human in the universe, accompanied on Red Dwarf by a hologram of Rimmer and a humanoid creature called Cat who evolved from Frankenstein and in later a mechanoid called Kryten.

He is played by Craig Charles in the television show, who also provided the audio-version of the third novel, Last Human, written by the show's co-creator Doug Naylor.

Good Deeds/Heroic Acts

  • In Waiting for God, Lister is told the origins of the Felis sapiens and how they evolved from Lister's cat, Frankenstein, over the course of three million years while Lister was in stasis. Lister learns they hailed him as a god, Cloister the Stupid. They had a religious war based on inaccurate information concerning Lister's plan to start a new life on Fiji (Fuchal to the Cat people); discovering it all culminated in the two main factions leaving Red Dwarf in two arcs, using directions based on Lister's laundry list. One arc crashed into an asteroid, the other survived; assuming they were indeed correct. Lister later discovers, besides Cat, another Felis sapien is onboard Red Dwarf; an elderly, blind former priest who has lost faith in his religion and given up hope. Lister lies to the priest, telling him he hasn't failed him and that he'll pass on to Fuchal. The priest is overjoyed, but dies shortly afterwards.
  • In Me², following the previous episode where Rimmer tricked Lister into activating a second hologram of Rimmer; Rimmer moves out of Lister's quarters and with his duplicate. However, Rimmer eventually grows to hate the duplicate Rimmer. Rimmer and his duplicate fight and argue with each other till Lister says enough, randomly selecting between the two to see who he'll have to delete. The original Rimmer is selected, and a ceremony is held where the original Rimmer will be deleted. Lister orders the duplicate Rimmer to leave, much to his disappointment. The original Rimmer arrives, decked in an admiral uniform prepared to be deleted. Prior to deletion, Lister asks Rimmer what his final words meant, to which Rimmer emotionally explains. However, Lister reveals he won't delete the original Rimmer, and really he deleted the duplicate while the original was explaining the origin of his final words.
  • In Kryten, the crew board the Nova 5 and discover a mechanoid servent abandoned for three million years by the name of, Kryten. The crew recruit Kryten aboard Red Dwarf, where Rimmer repeatedly abuses Kryten's loyalty and forces him to do his bidding. Lister tries to help Kryten break his programming, showing him movies such as Rebel Without a Cause to try and influence him. At the end, when Lister thinks he's failed and Kryten will forever be a pushover; Kryten rebels; painting a portrait of Rimmer in an admiral uniform taking a dump on a toilet. Kryten leaves, flipping Rimmer the bird.
  • In Better Than Life, after Rimmer learns of the passing of his father, Lister attempts to comfort him by recalling when his step-father died and the amount of gifts he got when he died, recalling how he wished more people could die so he could complete his lego set.
  • In Thanks for the Memory, as a deathday present, Lister gives Rimmer the memories of when he dated Lise Yates. However, Rimmer soon figures out Lister also dated Lise and that Lister artifically gave him those memories; this resulted in Lister having to wipe the memories of every crew onboard and burying Red Dwarf's black box to cover-up the incident.
  • In The Last Day, on the day Kryten's new replacement is due to arrive and eliminate Kryten; Lister, the Cat, and Rimmer all back Kryten and refuse to accept the replacement. When the replacement, Hudzen-10, reacts with violence, Lister attempts to stop him with a bazookoid but fails. Kryten, however, manages to save the day.
  • In D.N.A., when the crew accidentally create a genetic abomination bent on killing them, Lister volunteers to be turned into "Man Plus." In this form, Lister is able throw a can of lager into the beast's mouth and, using a bazookoid, blasts the lager and in-turn destroys the genetic mutant.
  • In Justice, Lister is able to defeat the homocidal Convict Simulant convict by using the Justice zone to his advantage. Every attack the Simulant makes reflects back on him, and as the Simulant convict continues attacking Lister, he slowly kills himself.
  • In Meltdown, after Rimmer lead the hero waxdroids into a battle with the evil waxdroids killing every inhabitant of waxworld, Lister teaches him a lesson and swallows Rimmer's lightbee, saying he'll come out later.
  • In The Inquisitor, Lister, with the help of Kryten, defeats the delusional Inquisitor by reverse-engineering his guantlet, so when the Inquisitor uses it it hits him, reverting every action the Inquisitor has made as now he never existed.
  • In Terrorform, Lister, alongside Cat and Kryten, launch an ambush on the Unspeakable One to save Rimmer.
  • In Gunmen of the Apocalypse, Lister, along with Rimmer and Cat, enter Kryten's electronic hallucination to aide him in his battle against the Apocalypse Boys. However, once the Apocalypse Boys strip Lister, Rimmer, and Cat of their AR-enhanced powers, they are forced to retreat.
  • In Out of Time, after learning of their future selves and their evil exploits through use of the Time Drive, Lister equips a bazookoid and orders they leave the ship. When their future selves launch an attack, Lister, alongside Rimmer, Cat, and Kryten, counter; however, Lister is the first to be killed from oncoming fire.
  • In Stoke Me a Clipper, after being convinced by Ace Rimmer, Lister decides to help boost Rimmer's confidence in-order for Rimmer to become the next Ace by donning the attire of an assailant looking to kill Lister (A call-back to the beginning of the episode). Rimmer, equipping a mini-bazookoid Lister strategically placed and filled with blanks, fires on the disguised Lister and is encouraged enough to succeed Ace. Later, Lister gives Rimmer a pep talk and helps organise a funeral for Rimmer (In reality, the previous Ace Rimmer).
  • In Ouroboros, as Kristine Kochanski falls into non-space after a split in the dimensional tear caused by attacking GELFs, Lister hurries to save Kochanski with help from Cat and Kryten. Using floss hanging from Lister's teeth, aided by the lack of laws applying to conventional physics due to the circumstances of their location, Kochanski is able to dangle from it and, following a painful shot from a crossbow, pulled back up and taken back to Starbug.
  • In Fathers and Suns, Lister is depressed when he realises he hasn't been motivating himself properly, which is made worse by the fact he is technically his own father as established in Ouroboros. After Rimmer and Kryten download a new AI super computer for the ship, Pree, Lister gets drunk and tasks her with teaching a sober Lister a lesson for the following day. Utilizing pre-recorded video messages drunk Lister planned the night before, Lister is lectured, berated, and punished for not obeying tasks drunk Lister (or Lister's "father") ordered him to complete. As a final punishment, drunk Lister de-registers Lister (Technically himself) as a crewman onboard the JMC, which leads to Pree striping away Lister's oxygen privileges and jettisoning him out into deep space (Though, Lister luckily had enough time to equip a spacesuit). Due to no registered human occupants present onboard Red Dwarf, Pree directs Red Dwarf toward the oncoming path of a nearby sun to kill Rimmer, Cat, and Kryten; however Lister propels himself using his spacesuit's booster packs and travels into Red Dwarf's ramscoop and rendezvous with the gang. As Pree attempts to kill all four of them using garbage droids, Lister remembers he previously attempted to register his son (Himself) as a crewmember and all he needs to do is sign-off on the document. As such, Lister does so and orders Pree deactivate herself as she is programmed to undertake every wish of the crew, which she does.

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