Tongue Tied

Terrorform is the third episode in Series V of Red Dwarf.

It is the twenty-seventh episode overall. It first aired 5 March 1992 on BBC2.


Rimmer is faced with his inner demons on an artificial planetoid that reconfigured itself using his sub-conscious.


Kryten damaged after a moon-quake

Starbug crashed on the Psi-Moon

The Hooded Hoards, Rimmer's inner-demons made real

Kryten finds himself in the wreckage of a Starbug, the nearby magnetic-coils having erased his memory and where in 67 minutes the fuel tanks will explode. With his legs trapped, he detaches one of his hands with an eye connected to his finger, creating a "hand spider". He orders it to get help via an Ore Sample pod before he goes offline.

Later, aboard Red Dwarf, Holly detects a non-human life-form and security footage reveals it to be tarantula-like. Holly tells Dave Lister, who has a deep fear of large spiders, and just as it begins to crawl up his leg. After a computer console based conversation between him and Cat, the hand crawls into plain view to explain Kryten is in danger. They arrive at Kryten's location and after cutting him in two and putting him back together, he explains what has happened. He and Rimmer landed on the planet, which started to erupt (interrupting Rimmer's singing of all 23 stanzas of the Space Corps anthem, which in Kryten's opinion "came as something of a relief"), and they then travel in Starbug on land by lowering the caterpillar tracks.

The handmaidens prepare Rimmer for the Unspeakable One

During their drive through this hellish landscape, Kryten tells them they are on a Psi-Moon, an artificial planetoid that changes itself to mimic an individual's mental state, in this case - Rimmer's mind. Rimmer was taken by all his inner demons and that each individual's mental landscape is dominated by one drive. Rimmer is also in very real danger as he has a physical form while on the Psi-moon. Meanwhile, Rimmer is taken to the lair of The Unspeakable One where he is bound and then oiled by scantly clad handmaidens (to make his body better at conducting electricity) and then "the master" is summoned.

Lister, Kryten and Cat travel across the swamp in a dinghy and travel to Rimmer's location on foot to encounter a graveyard filled with dead personality traits (Self Respect - Age 24, Generosity - Age 9, Self Confidence - Age 22, Honour - Age 12, Charm - at a young age). When they see a freshly dug grave for Hope, they know they have to get to Rimmer before the grave is filled. Rimmer is then about to be tortured by his own Self-Hatred, a beast that is the dominant drive of his mental landscape. Just before he begins the torture, Lister, Kryten and Cat shoot a volley at the Self-Loathing Beast without effect, but when Rimmer realises that they would risk their lives for him, the Self-Loathing Beast is driven back and he is freed (and back in uniform).

Trying to make Rimmer feel good about himself

The Rimmer Musketeers

Once they get back to Starbug (after going right at the Swamp of Despair, going straight past the Wood of Humiliation and a hard left at the Chasm of Hopelessness), Rimmer is told where he was and that he was about to be tortured by his Self-Hatred. After he is told about some of the things he hates himself for, Starbug is trapped in quicksand and is told by the Self-Loathing Beast to hand Rimmer over or he will attack Starbug with his hooded hordes. Lister, Kryten and Cat then decide to make Rimmer feel good about himself by lying to him about how much they loved him, causing long-neglected positive aspects of Rimmer's personality to appear as musketeers and fight off his inner demons with rapier swords.

Once Starbug was safe, clear of the Psi-Moon and on it's way back to Red Dwarf, the other Dwarfers then told Rimmer they didn't mean any of it.

Guest Stars

Deleted Scenes

Available on the Series V DVD:

  • After Holly's giant spider warning there is a cut scene where Lister debates what is the best way to get rid of the space tarantula. He cannot decide, since he is worried of "smegging it off" and giving it a grudge.
  • Holly spins round whilst trying to scan for Rimmer's Light Bee, saying that she is 'doing something really wibbly-wobbly and scientific'.
  • More worried discussion from the Dwarfers about the hypothetical Rimmer "lust monster" which may be inhabiting the psi-moon.
  • The scene where The Master threatens Rimmer with torture was originally significantly longer, with extra dialogue. The Master also goes through it's torture devices, which include the "H" branding iron, spiky clubs and spark plugs. The Dwarfers ineffectually shooting The Master with the bazookoids was also longer.

"Nightmare Norman" looms over Starbug in the swamp of the Psi-Moon

  • As Starbug is stuck in the swamp, it tries to fly off, but only gets stuck in the quagmire further. The Unspeakable One's face appears in the sky, looming over his gathering hooded hoards on the hillside, his power growing due to Rimmer's increasingly unstable mind-scape. Seen in the models and FX section on the DVD.
  • Back aboard Starbug, the crew's discussions were originally much longer. Kryten uses Space Corps Directives to try get Rimmer to give himself up to The Master as a hologram, but Rimmer outwits him with another Space Corps directive that states Mechanoids must follow a living person's orders (and Rimmer is alive on the Psi-Moon). Rimmer orders Kryten to put on a "Synti-plast" mold of Rimmer's face, and go out and face "Nightmare Norman".
  • As Starbug tries to break free of the Psi-Moon, the Dwarfers have to pretend to like Rimmer. There is an extended scene of Cat struggling to convey any affection to Rimmer, but after some time manages to lie - barely.
  • The final fight sequence between the Rimmer Musketeers and the Hooded Hoards was originally much longer. It would have revealed Rimmer's own gaunt, red-eyed face beneath the hoods of the enemies.


  • Starbug is seen moving on its caterpillar tracks for the first time in this episode. In earlier episodes, Blue Midget had this feature, but Starbug seems more suitable for moving through swampy environments.
  • Rimmer's inner demons include his Self-loathing, Bitterness, Self-Doubt, Mistrust and Loneliness. What the handmaidens represent is unknown; possibly his sexual frustration.
  • This episode features the first mention of Cat's favorite comic book character Robbie Rocketpants, who would later get his own strip in the Red Dwarf Smegazine.
  • This episode reveals that Lister shares a fear with Rimmer - Tarantulas (Rimmer revealed this in "Better Than Life").
  • One plot element likely lost on "modern-day" viewers is why Kryten's short-term memory would be affected by being close to a magnet. This is a reference to the fact that, at the time, magnets were considered the enemy of computer floppy disks and other magnetic-based data storage media.

Background Information

  • A lot of effort was put into the production values of "Terrorform". This was because the producers were trying to impress Stateside for the pilot of the American version.
  • According to the DVD commentary, Cat's yellow-and-black coat is the same as the black-and-white one seen in "Camille", with the white portion simply coloured yellow with markers.[1]
  • Craig Charles was not in the good books when, as the cast were filming in the canoe across the fiery swamp, Charles leaned over to light a cigarette on one of the flames, causing much angry shouting from the crew on the shore.[2] Lighting director John Pomphrey (affectionately nicknamed "The Prince of Darkness" on-set) unfortunately overestimated the edge of dry land and fell into the lake - followed by two electricians and a quantity of gear. After this, Pomphrey would find a life-jacket bearing his name waiting for him on the side of the generator.[3]
  • The script called for The Master to threaten Rimmer with 'a large phallus'. The item was crafted by the effects team, but eventually deemed too risque to show on television. It's shadow is seen very briefly on the wall along with the shadow cast by The Master. An elaborate, metal, spiky club was also crafted yet ultimately excised also (but seen in the deleted scenes on the DVD). The torture phallus was still referred to in the episode however, towards the end where he describes it as like a Mexican agave cactus.[4]
  • At the beginning of the episode, we get a glimpse into Kryten's mind, listening to his internal CPU - including 'a little music'. The original aired episode featured "Copacabana [At The Copa]" by Rimmer's big-band hero, James Last. This was a one-off clearance though, and future airings and on the DVD it is a version of the same song by in-house composer Howard Goodall.
  • Chris Barrie took a crash-course in fencing to portray the "Rimmer musketeers", and attended the gym frequently for months before for his chained-up half-nude scenes.

Noteworthy Dialogue

  • Cat: [As Rimmer is about to be tortured] "Anybody got any opera glasses?"
  • The Unspeakable One (Rimmer's Self-Loathing): [In response to Rimmer's rambled protests at their first meeting] "Silence you dank tuft of rectal pubic hair!"
  • Rimmer: This Master character, and I realise I may not want a complete answer to this, but why does he want me oily, particularly? Obviously, whatever he has in mind is facilitated by my being slippery and pliant, yes?

Mistakes / Inaccuracies

  • Production Error: Keep an eye out for Holly's line "We're almost clear", towards the end. Just as we cut to her, there's a flash frame of the entire crew on the monitor, as they would have appeared to the studio audience.
  • Production Error: When Lister says "it's Rimmer's mind out there", the boom mic shadow is visible on the left Starbug wheel.
  • Plot Inconsistency: In the early 1990s, when the episode was made, magnetic-based media storage devices were the most common kind. So, to have your cassette tapes close to a powerful magnet could wipe them. Kryten says that he has lost his memory due his proximity to the Starbug magnetic coils. Kryten however would surely not have magnetic-based memory storage, given that he was made in 2340. He is also seen working around the engines numerous times in other episodes.


  1. Series V DVD Commentary
  2. "Heavy Science", Series V making-of documentary
  3. Series V DVD Collector's Booklet
  4. Series V DVD Collector's Booklet