White Hole (Red Dwarf episode)

Infobox Red Dwarf episode
name = White Hole

number = 4
airdate = March 7, 1991
writers = Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
director = Ed Bye
guests = David Ross
series = 4

"White Hole" is the fourth episode of science fiction sitcom "Red Dwarf" Series IVcite web | url =http://www.sitcom.co.uk/red_dwarf/series4.shtml | title =British Sitcom Guide - Red Dwarf - Series 4 | publisher =www.sitcom.co.uk |accessdate =2008-01-28] and the twenty-second episode in the series run.cite web | url =http://www.tv.com/red-dwarf/white-hole/episode/10966/summary.html | title =TV.com - White Hole summary | publisher =www.tv.com |accessdate =2008-01-28] It was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 7 March 1991. Written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by Ed Bye,cite web | url =http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0684187/fullcredits | title =White Hole cast and crew | publisher =www.imdb.com |accessdate =2008-01-28] the episode features the crew's attempt to escape the gravity pull of a white hole.


When Kryten repairs Talkie Toaster, Lister is disgusted as it always coaxes them to have toast, but there's method in the mechanoid's work. It's all part of an experiment in intelligence compression - a way of restoring IQ whilst reducing operational time. The ultimate aim is to cure Holly's computer senility, and it works too, but there's a bit of a miscalculation. Holly's IQ is increased to 12,368 but her life expectancy is reduced to three minutes. Holly quickly realises that to preserve her life she must switch herself off.Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 71.]

As the crew make their way back up to the science room they discover that the ship is running on emergency backup systems. The engines are dead, there's no power, even the doors are down. They use Kryten as a battering-ram to get through the doors, but then discover that time is doing strange things. The cause is a nearby white hole, towards which the ship is helplessly drifting. As Kryten explains, this is a very rare spacial phenomenon - for each action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and whereas black holes suck matter from the universe, white holes spew time back into it.

Holly is briefly reactivated, by Rimmer, and informed of the situation. She then quickly devises a plan before switching herself back off - A thermonuclear device will be fired at a nearby sun in order to catapult a planet into the mouth of the white hole and close it up. However, Lister is not happy with Holly's calculations and, after a vote, he is elected to use his pool playing skills to fire the bomb to its correct destination. After a fluked pool trick shot, planet is knocked against planet and the white hole is plugged - reversing all time ejected from it, and reverting time back to its previous state.Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 72.]


This was the last script written for Series IV and originally included a story line revolving around Garbage World, which first appeared in the second novel "Better Than Life". With the plot featuring giant cockroaches and huge garbage world sets it was considered too expensive to shoot. A new script was quickly written, taking another idea from that same novel only the black hole was now changed to a white hole.cite web | url =http://www.reddwarf.co.uk/deck05/series_4/writing.html | title =Red Dwarf Series IV Writing | publisher =www.reddwarf.co.uk |accessdate =2008-01-10]

Although Ed Bye is credited as having directed this episode he was actually unavailable due to attending the birth of his son. The show's producer, Paul Jackson, stepped in to cover the direction duties with a Christmas party hangover and all.cite web | url =http://www.reddwarf.co.uk/deck05/series_4/Production.html | title =Red Dwarf Series IV Production | publisher =www.reddwarf.co.uk |accessdate =2008-01-10] Danny John-Jules, infamous for being late, thought it was a joke by crewmembers when he was told that Paul Jackson was directing, since Paul was known for his short temper and insistence on being punctual. He still turned up late, and as expected, enraged Jackson. According to Chris Barrie, Paul Jackson's presence alone caused the crew to suddenly double in size. Robert Llewellyn even commented on a soundman walking precariously along the gantry above the set, "risking life and limb," and various other crewmembers removing nails with their teeth and hammering in other nails with their heads, a humorous reference to the fear that Paul Jackson struck into the hearts of the crew.Red Dwarf IV: White Hole, DVD Commentary. BBC DVD, 2004]

The new super intelligent Holly was visioned as having a bald head and small spectacles. This was changed to just having her hair smoothed back.cite web | url =http://www.reddwarf.co.uk/deck05/series_4/costumes.html | title =Red Dwarf Series IV Costumes | publisher =www.reddwarf.co.uk |accessdate =2008-01-10] To film the new look Holly Hattie Hayridge was filmed in front of blue-screen wearing a blue polo-neck. This allowed her disembodied head to be superimposed to the episode footage.cite web | url =http://www.reddwarf.co.uk/deck05/series_4/effects.html | title =Red Dwarf Series IV Effects | publisher =www.reddwarf.co.uk |accessdate =2008-01-10]

David Ross, the actor who originally played Kryten, returned to the show as the voice of Talkie Toaster. He found it a much simpler task than when he previously endured the Kryten make-up. To play the Toaster required no rehearsals, he stood in front of a microphone and read the lines.Red Dwarf Magazine, issue 1, March 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn 0965-5603]

Cultural references

Rimmer references Napoleon as the historical figure that he'd like to back and work with. He also cites Captain Oates and Scott's diary when defending his cowardice to relinquish his life.


"White Hole" was originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 7 March 1991 in the 9:00pm evening time slot,cite web | url =http://catalogue.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/programme/NMRI078X | title =BBC - BBC - Programme Catalogue - RED DWARF IV - White Hole | publisher =BBC |accessdate =2007-12-12] and is the only Series IV episode to go out as originally planned. The other Series IV episode broadcast dates were altered due to the Gulf War hostilities.cite book |last=Howarths |first=Chris |authorlink= |coauthors=Steve Lyons |title=Red Dwarf Programme Guide |year=1993 |publisher=Virgin Books |location=Section 1: The History |isbn=0-86369-682-1]

The episode was generally considered as one of the best from Series IV - just behind the series' favourite "Dimension Jump"Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603] - although it has been described as the "dullest Red Dwarf episode ever made" by one reviewer.cite web | url =http://www.reviewsbygavrielle.com/dwarf4.shtml | title =White Hole review | publisher =www.reviewsbygavrielle.com |accessdate =2008-01-28]

ee also

*"Better Than Life" - the second "Red Dwarf" novel which features the influence for the episode "White Hole".
*Novikov self-consistency principle



*cite book |last=Howarth |first=Chris |authorlink= |coauthors=Steve Lyons |title=Red Dwarf Programme Guide |year=1993 |publisher=Virgin Books |location=|isbn=0-86369-682-1

External links

* [http://www.tv.com/red-dwarf/white-hole/episode/10966/summary.html Red Dwarf: White Hole - TV.com]
* [http://www.reddwarf.co.uk/deck03/season4.html Episode Guide - Series 4 at RedDwarf.co.uk]

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