Tongue Tied

RD: Psirens

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Series VI
Written By Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Director Andy de Emmony
Guest Star(s) Jenny Agutter, Samantha Robson, Anita Dobson, Clare Grogan, Zoe Hilson, Elizabeth Anson
Episode Chronology
Episode 31
Previous Episode: Back to Reality
Next Episode: Legion


Discovering that they have lost Red Dwarf, the Starbug crew have to negotiate a dangerous asteroid belt filled with carnivorous GELFs.


Lister awakens with amnesia and Kryten explains that he's been in Deep Sleep aboard Starbug for the past 200 years. When Rimmer and Cat both recover from their hibernation, Kryten updates them on the situation: Red Dwarf itself had been stolen by an unknown party and the original crew had been chasing the ship's vapour trail ever since. Red Dwarf has currently been forced to circumnavigate an asteroid belt, giving the crew the opportunity to reach the ship by shortcutting through the belt. However, the belt turns out to be a spaceship graveyard inhabited by Psirens, telepathic GELFs who lure unwary travellers to them and suck out their brains.

Cat is almost lured by two attractive women and Lister sees Kochanski, who tells him that she has two children, Jim and Bexley, that are his. A flaming meteor then appears hurling towards the ship, but Kryten deduces it to be an illusion as Starbug's sensors do not detect it. Unfortunately, Rimmer is left in charge and assumes another flaming meteor to be fake; the illusion this time, is the lack of response from the ship's sensors.

Starbug is struck and crashes onto an asteroid. Lister exits the ship to blast the front landing gear out. Outside he encounters a lustful figure from his adolescence (the sister of one Pete Tranter). Lister snogs with the woman not knowing it is actually a hideous Psiren. He is ironically saved by another Psiren disguised as Kryten, whom murders the first one in order to steal its victim and is in turn killed when it exposes itself to Lister by calling him 'Dave', something the real Kryten would never do. Lister manages to get back on board Starbug safely, only for a second Lister to arrive claiming he is the real article. With no-way to know which is which, the second Lister is allowed to board. After a series of tests to determine which is the false Lister, the crew ask them to play guitar. The first Lister they give the guitar plays it extremely well, and the crew don't hesitate in blasting the Psiren away. Kryten explains that when the Psiren read it Lister's mind it believed Lister's delusion that he is guitar god and therefore could play very well, and the real Lister's attempts to prove that he can also play the guitar nearly get him shot as well. During the distraction, the Psiren escapes to the decks below.

A trail of yellow Psiren blood leads to the engine room. Lister and Cat stay behind to deal with a meteor shower, while Rimmer declines the offer to help, leaving Kryten to follow the psiren blood trail alone. When Kryten finds the Psiren it changes into Professor Mamet, his creator. With no choice but to obey her commands, he climbs into the waste compactor and starts it up. Lister, Cat and Rimmer quickly appear to find Kryten's psi-scan and bazookoid, abandoned on the floor. Rimmer suddenly fades out as his hologramatic light bee battery runs flat. Now just the two of them, Lister and Cat walk up to the Psiren disguised as a vending machine. As the Psiren decides which to eat first, Kryten, now cube shaped from his experience in the waste compactor, waddles over to the edge of the walkway from the deck above and crashes down on top of it. The threat ended, the crew continue onward, following the Red Dwarf into a vast nebula as the still cuboid Kryten offers his services to the crew to act as a table and a dice before repairing himself.


  • The name of the illusionary captain in this episode, Tau, was also the name of Red Dwarf's captain from the failed American pilot.
  • Among the wrecked spaceships in the asteroid field are models of the Narcissus shuttle from Alien, the Eagle from Space: 1999 and a Klingon Vor'cha class attack cruiser from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • Clare Grogan appears as Kochanski for the final time; this is also the last appearance of the original version of the character introduced in Series I. When Kochanski next appears in Series VII, she will be played by another actress and be, effectively, a completely new character.
  • This is the first episode to have an open-ended conclusion, leading into the next episode.

Noteworthy DialogueEdit

  • Kryten: The poor devil scrawled it in his death throes, using a combination of his own blood and even some lengths of his own intestines.
    Rimmer: Who would do that?
    Lister: Someone who badly needed a pen.
    Cat: What I don't understand is why he went to the trouble of using his kidney as a full stop.
    Rimmer: I don't think he meant to do that. It probably just plopped out.

Background InformationEdit

Any behind the scenes information or any other information that doesn't fit in the other categories.

Guest StarsEdit

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, ErrorsEdit

  • If everyone bar Kryten has been in stasis for 200 years, what rubbish would he have to throw out at the start of the episode? Possibly burned out ship parts, waste organic matter, things of that sort to finish off cleaning the ship prior to awakening the crew.
  • Why does Starbug have two stasis pods when previously stated that Red Dwarf in a whole has only two? They are Deep Sleep units, which only slow time down rather than stop it completely (80%-95%), in Out of Time, Kryten established a temporary "Stasis seal" on the Deep Sleep units.
  • A few details are omitted from the episode. We never see Cat coming out of stasis, it's never explained how Starbug is able to sustain itself and a crew - even with the living crew in deep sleep for 200 years -when Demons & Angels established it could only stay away from Red Dwarf for a few hours.
  • In this episode Kryten says his brain is entirely synthetic but in DNA it is said to be part organic
  • At the end of series seven, it found out that red dwarf has been turned into a planetoid and it was a microscopic Red Dwarf which they were chasing. However, in this episode it is explained that Red Dwarf must avoid the asteroid field due to being top large, but if it isn't, why did it avoid the asteroids? It didn't. Don't forget, the crew didn't know they were chasing a microscopic so assumed that the full-sized ship would be going around the asteroids.


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