Tongue Tied
This article is about the Red Dwarf character. For the Red Dwarf episode, see RD: Polymorph.

"Danger! Do not attempt to open this pod. The creature inside is extremely hostile. It feeds off the human psyche, seeks out the deranged, the unbalanced and the emotionally crippled."
Genetic Waste Pod[src]



A polymorph in scuttling form ("Polymorph", Series III)

A polymorph is a shape-shifting organism that can change into anything it pleases, and lives by draining a person of a negative emotion. It was designed to be the perfect warrior, blending into any background, causing confusion and disarray amongst the enemy by playing with their emotions, but the creature mutated into something terrifying its creators couldn't control. One of the polymorph's forms appears somewhat similar to the xenomorph alien from the movie Alien. Rimmer, when he lost his anger to the creature, described it as "an eight foot armoured killing machine that salivates unspeakable slobber".

The Polymorph also appeared to have some form of sentience. Examples include where it speaks when excusing itself after a large burp. It also showed disgust at the sight of its own reflection and went through a number of shapes before settling on a fluffy white rabbit. Only then did it decide on a basketball because it had better mobility.


A deceased female polymorph after depositing her eggs in an accepting host ("Can of Worms"), Series XI

Female polymorphs lay their eggs in suitable humanoid hosts, through the use of a protruding tube out of their back that shoves its way down the mouth. Once inside these eggs grow into morphlings that eventually shoot out of any convenient orifice. Female polymorphs often die after successfully depositing their eggs. As a defence mechanism the morphlings will assume the shape of tumours when threatened by the risk of early extraction. Once born they try to become common household objects in order to blend in, and will also assume the shapes of cute animals when discovered. They also release an oxytocin hormone into the host's body in order to make them feel maternal. Due to their rapid development these defences only need to work for a short time before the morhplings become fully grown, often killing each other early on in order to reduce the competition between them.


The Kinitawowi chief with his pet Emohawk in his watunga on the Kinitawowi moon ("Emohawk")

The Emohawk is a partially domesticated form of polymorph used by Kinitawowi GELFs. The Kinitawowi use the bird-like Emohawks to hunt and torment their enemies through space. ("Emohawk", Series VI)

List of Forms taken by Polymorphs


  • Plodgy form
  • A teddy bear
  • bucket and spade
  • pot of red flowers (a bowl of petunias)
  • Tonka dump truck
  • a doll wearing a long hoop dress
  • white rotary-dial telephone
  • toy elephant
  • two-tone hat
  • a baseball mitt with ball
  • a toy boxer
  • a toy drum
  • a yellow lamp
  • a red toy Volkswagen beetle
  • a roller skate
  • a traffic cone
  • a lampshade
  • a toy penguin with a sign on its belly
  • a piggy bank
  • a Ken doll
  • a blue potty
  • an alarm clock
  • a tennis ball
  • a tennis shoe
  • a large pot
  • a yellow Koosh Ball
  • a floor-scrub brush
  • a bucket on its side
  • a tiny blue toy whale
  • a statue of Indian origin
  • an incandescent light bulb
  • a red old-style horn
  • bell end down
  • a yellow ball
  • a red sock
  • a fluffy white rabbit
  • a red-white-and-blue basketball
  • Shami Kebab Diablo
  • Lister's Underpants
  • Snake
  • Large Polymoph Monster - Sucks fear from Lister
  • Plodgy form
  • Geny {Human Woman}
  • Large Polymoph Monster - Sucks vanity from Cat
  • Arnold Rimmer
  • Large Polymoph Monster - Sucks guilt from Kryten
  • Mrs. Rimmer
  • Large Polymorph Monster - Sucks anger from Rimmer
  • Large Polymorph Monster - destroyed by the heat seeking Bazookoids

Can of Worms

The morphling children of Cat and Ankita, becoming "cute" to avoid harm ("Can of Worms", Series XI)

  • Ankita (a female Felis sapiens)
  • chatter teeth
  • a rubik's cube
  • a slinky
  • a rubber duck
  • a pineapple
  • a giraffe toy
  • a plush soccer ball
  • a fish toy
  • a jack-o-lantern
  • a toy boat
  • lager cans
  • a water dish
  • a Maneki-neko
  • a flower pot of roses
  • a plush duck with label
  • a toy car
  • a toy crab
  • a large red balloon
  • a chinchilla with a pink hat
  • hamsters on skateboards with hats
  • dalmatian puppies
  • a piglet with a bow
  • a white kitten
  • a hedgehog in a top hat sitting inside a mini shopping trolley
  • Cat
  • Lister
  • Kryten
  • Rimmer

Second Polymorph


The remastered version of Series III's "Polymorph" replaces the second Lister scene with another shot of a bouncing red, white and blue basketball, with a caption explaining that the second Polymorph, which was much less intelligent than the first, stowed away in Lister's clean underpants drawer, but died of old age many years later.

According to Doug Naylor, the reason the ending was changed in the Remastered version was that he was getting tired of Red Dwarf fans asking him what happened to the second Polymorph.


The Grant Naylor novel Better Than Life provides a slightly different origin to the polymorphs. According to that book, the surviving GELFs of a great war were dumped on a garbage world, actually future Earth, and left to die. Most did die, except for those specifically suited to survive in such an environment. The polymorphs evolved from these organisms.


  • Its hunting style, dietary preferences, and shapeshifting are all similar to the titular monster from Stephen King's It, like the polymorph, It can shapeshift into anything to emotionally damage and frighten its prey, feeding on their emotions, although It also eats its prey's flesh, too.