Tongue Tied

Quarantine is the fourth episode in Series V of Red Dwarf.

It is the twenty-eighth episode overall. It first aired 12 March 1992 on BBC2.


When Rimmer contracts a Holo Virus, Lister, Cat and Kryten are stuck in quarantine by an insane Rimmer.


Red Dwarf receives a distress call from the hologram Dr. Hildegard Lanstrom at a snowy Space Corps research base.

However, when Starbug lands at Lanstrom's lab Rimmer gets into a argument with Kryten, annoyed that the mechanoid obviously commands more respect from Lister and Cat when they ignore his order to launch the Scouter and is then further put out when he is asked to return to Red Dwarf due to Lanstrom potentially needing his hologram projection unit, with Kryten using Space Corps Directives against him. Entering the research station, Lister and the others bring Dr. Lanstrom out of stasis to find that she has contracted a mutated hologram virus that caused her to become insane and homicidal, but has also granted her hex vision and telekinesis. She attacks the Boys from the Dwarf with hex vision and speaks to Rimmer aboard Starbug via the radio. Happy to leave the others to deal with the danger alone, Rimmer takes the escape pod back to Red Dwarf

In the station, Kryten tells Lister and Cat that the holo-virus burns up life energy and Lanstrom only has a little life left. Lister suggests they just let her chase them until her time runs out, when Lanstrom suddenly catches them. Just before she can finish them, she succumbs to the holo-virus and dies. Returning to Red Dwarf, Kryten studies the fruit of Lanstrom's research, positive viruses. The mechanoid explains that these operate differently from regular viruses in that they actually improve the human condition and shows off a luck virus, which Lister demonstrates by using it to pick all the aces out of a shuffled pack of cards, beating odds of 270,725 to 1.

Suddenly, as Starbug approaches Red Dwarf, Holly finds herself unable to open the cargo bay doors as Rimmer is overriding them. Rimmer himself appears on the monitors and explains that he is instead sending them into Bay 47, the Quarantine area. Space Corps Directives insist that they spend twelve weeks in medical isolation to avoid giving Rimmer any diseases they may have picked up. He also insists that they share a one-person room, since only Lister qualifies as a crew member. Rimmer also obeys the directives dictating he supply basic nutrition and entertainment facilities, providing a diet consisting solely of sprout-based dishes and their entertainment choices include a wallpapering video, a knitting magazine, a chess set with one piece left and a completed puzzle book. They insist that they will be fine and promise to never get into so much as an argument...

Five days later, Lister has a black eye, Cat a broken nose and arm, while Kryten is panel beating his head back into shape following a brawl caused by the wallpapering video. The combination of Lister's disgusting habits, Cat's feeble brain, and Kryten's low tolerance of ignorance has the three ready to kill each other. Luckily, Kryten remembers that according to Space Corps Directives they can insist on being rescreened for disease after five days since they've shown no symptoms. Suddenly Rimmer appears at the window again, only this time he is wearing a gingham dress and has a penguin glove puppet called Mr. Flibble. It is now obvious he caught the holo-virus (having contracted it when he spoke to Lanstrom on the radio) and is totally insane, and after some babbling he switches off the oxygen in the quarantine suite to teach the rest of the crew a lesson for trying to deceive him.

The only way out is to key in the correct code on the door lock, and the crew suddenly remember the luck virus they have on them still. Using it, Lister guesses the code to unlock the door and they head for the hologram projection room to find a cure for Rimmer's ailment. Rimmer has now tapped into his psychic powers and tries to kill Kryten with a telekinetically-thrown fire-axe. He then blasts his hex vision at them, taking advice from Mr. Flibble. Thanks to the luck virus, all the equipment they need to restore Rimmer to normal - including a remote link to the hologram projection suite - just happens to be lying at their feet. As Rimmer corners them, Kryten succeeds in purging the virus and tells the others that Rimmer will be fine... causing Lister to note that the luck virus must have worn off.

Some time later Rimmer wakes up in quarantine, and finds Lister, Kryten and Cat all wearing gingham dresses ready for deal out some payback...

Deleted Scenes

Available on the Series V DVD:

  • Further examples of Rimmer's powerlessness in 'command', as he orders "launch scouter" and the others ignore him, and when Holly gives a copy of the Space Corps Directives book after Rimmer complains that they are "not good for him".
  • More Rimmer ranting and pretending not to hear the others calling for back-up.
  • Further lunacy and foreboding riddles from Dr. Lanstrom, which include "the man of the bottom of the stairs who wasn't there" and "how the wise man dies like the fool."
  • When under the influence of the luck virus, Lister finds his grandmother's wedding ring - which he has lost the year previously - behind his ear.
  • Extended dialogue when the Dwarfers are running from the insane Rimmer, talking about how they are going to deal with him. Kryten reminds them that the holo-virus has given Rimmer telepathic powers, and so Lister says "they need to think of a plan without thinking of one."


  • The Space Corps Directives were first established in this episode, although they had previously been referred to a few times as 'Acts and Articles of the Space Corps'. Rimmer is furnished with a copy of the Space Corps Directives book to study in this episode, and this would set up the running joke for later episodes that Rimmer would frequently and incorrectly quote them.
  • This is the first and only episode to contain Mr. Flibble, the insane hologramatic penguin glove puppet. However, the puppet appeared extensively in the Red Dwarf Smegazine and became a Red Dwarf icon. Mr Flibble now is the official interviewer on the official Red Dwarf website, along with Talkie Toaster. He has also become a toy glove puppet sold in numerous places.

Noteworthy Dialogue

  • Dr. Langstrom: Schopenhauer was right, wouldn't you say? Life without pain has no meaning. Gentlemen, I wish to give your life meaning.
  • Dr. Hildegard Lanstrom: I have a riddle for you. What's dead and dead and dead all over?
    Rimmer: Give in, Doctor Fruit Loop. Do tell.
    Dr. Hildegard Lanstrom: Yooooooooouuuuuuu!
    [Intercom blows up]
    Rimmer: Well, we know what to get you for Christmas. A double lobotomy and ten rolls of rubber wallpaper.
  • Rimmer: You don't think there's anything amiss? I'm sitting here wearing a red and white checked gingham dress... and army boots... and you think there's nothing amiss?
  • Rimmer: So let me get this straight: You want to ride on a magic carpet to see the king of the potato people and beg with him for your freedom. And you're telling me that you're completely sane?
  • Kryten: Most of the popular pastimes have always been ones males can enjoy alone. Angling, Golf and of course the all-time number one.
    Cat: It's not just humans. Look what happens when two male tigers are locked up together. One of them ends up on the other guy's toothpick!
    Kryten: Lions, tigers, scorpions, rats, even vultures when they're in captivity.
    Lister: What are you saying to me, vultures need personal space? They need time alone to put their feet up and read "What Carcass" magazine?
    Kryten: Sir, I think you're downplaying the gravity of the situation.
  • Mr Flibble: Uncle Arnie's gonna fry them alive with his hex vision.
  • Rimmer: Mr. Flibble is very cross. You shouldn't have run away from him. What shall we do with them, Mr. Flibble?
    Mr. Flibble: (Whispers into Rimmer's ear)
    Rimmer: *Gasp* We couldn't possibly do that. Who would clean up the mess?

Background Information

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

Guest Stars

Continuity Errors / Goofs

  • While the crew create the antidote, Craig Charles hits one of his legs on the side of the set and exclaims in pain.
  • When Dr. Lanstrom says 'Life without pain has no meaning' Kryten begins to speak but no words are heard before the shot changes.
    • Perhaps something happened to temporarily stop his voice box working
  • When Lister gets the second luck virus injection, his locks move from in front of his shoulder to behind his back.
    • They could have been moved out of the way for the injection.
  • When Lanstrom corners Lister, Kryten and the Cat, she is holding onto the fence. As she is a hologram, this would be impossible.
    • She could have been an expeimental Hard Light hologram[1]