Emohawk: Polymorph II

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"Emohawk: Polymorph II"
Red Dwarf episode
Episode no. Series 6
Episode 4
Directed by Andy de Emmony
Written by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Original air date 28 October 1993
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Emohawk: Polymorph II" is the fourth episode[1] of the British science fiction sitcom TV show Red Dwarf VI and the 34th in the series run.[2] It was first broadcast on BBC2 on 28 October 1993.[1] Written by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor and directed by Andy de Emmony, the episode features the crew again being hunted by a polymorph. The first appearance of these creatures was in the popular series III episode "Polymorph".[3] Also returning in this episode are Duane Dibbley from "Back to Reality" and Ace Rimmer from "Dimension Jump".


An orb-shaped, computer-controlled, class A Space Corps External Enforcement Vessel warps near Starbug and decloaks to scan the transport ship. After doing this the probe accuses the Starbug crew of looting derelict spaceships and sentences them to death under frontier law. Starbug is pounded with pulse missiles and is nearly destroyed, but manages to flee into a GELF zone where the probe will not follow.

The Emohawk

With Starbug on fire, the crew deliberately crash-land on a moon with a shallow ocean to extinguish the flames, but the crash damages their oxygen generation unit used for breathing in space. The crew explore the moon in search of a tribe willing to trade for a new O/G unit. They come across a primitive humanoid tribe of GELFs, the Kinitawowi tribe. After bartering for entrance, the real bartering for the O/G unit begins. It is decided in the end that Lister marries the chief's daughter in exchange for the unit. While his new bride may "be the looker of the family", Lister is less than pleased with marrying someone whose name "sounds like a footballer clearing his nose". However, without any options, Lister marries her intending to escape in the dead of night. However, due to his bride's desire to immediately consummate their union, Lister makes a run for it just as the others are leaving the village with the O/G unit and they make their escape in Starbug. However, the chief sends his pet emohawk, a domesticated polymorph, after them; and it manages to get on board by disguising itself as Lister's hat.

As Lister and Kryten leave to install the O/G unit, the Polymorph attacks the Cat and Rimmer. The Cat loses his cool and morphs into Duane Dibbley, while Rimmer loses his bitterness and becomes Ace Rimmer. Ace decides to save the day and locks Kryten and Lister in the hold so they will be safe while he sacrifices himself by opening the airlock to remove the emohawk (he plans to snap Duane's neck so he won't suffer from the rapid decompression). Lister and Kryten foil his plan by blasting their way out of the hold, and together the four of them track the creature down and freeze it. This allows them to extract the DNA of Cat and Rimmer to return them to normal.


Steven Wickham as Dave Lister's Kinitawowi bride

Both the characters Ace Rimmer and Duane Dibbley were huge fan favourites, as was the Red Dwarf III episode "Polymorph", and the writers crammed in a sequel to all these aspects with "Emohawk: Polymorph II". The title was originally the other way around "Polymorph II: Emohawk" until someone pointed out that it sounded like a football score.[4]

The GELF settlement was a re-dressed medieval village set which had been created for the aborted British/American television series Covington Cross.[5] Ainsley Harriott played the role of the GELF chief.[6] Harriot later became a celebrity chef and hosted the television shows Can't Cook, Won't Cook and Ready Steady Cook for the BBC. Later, in 1998, Harriott presented a special edition of Can't Cook, Won't Cook called Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg for the 10th anniversary of Red Dwarf with the cast cooking a meal while remaining in character (Harriot's role was actually addressed during part of the episode). The Tribal chief's daughter, Hackhackhack Ach Hachhachac, is played by Steven Wickham[6] (who, 19 years later, would play the BEGG chief in the episode Entangled). Hugh Quarshie also played a Computer and Martin Sims also played a GELF.[6]


This was originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 28 October 1993 in the 9:00 pm evening slot.[7] The episode received mixed reactions, as had Series VI as a whole.[8] Some felt the re-introduction of Ace, Duane Dibbley and the polymorph was a wasted opportunity.[9]


  1. ^ a b "British Sitcom Guide - Red Dwarf - Series 6". www.sitcom.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  2. ^ "TV.com - Emohawk: Polymorph II summary". www.tv.com. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  3. ^ Red Dwarf Episode Survey, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  4. ^ "Red Dwarf Series VI Writing". Red Dwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  5. ^ Chris Howarth, Steve Lyons, (1997), Red Dwarf: programme guide - Part 4, page 126
  6. ^ a b c ""Red Dwarf" Emohawk: Polymorph II (1993) - Full cast and crew". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  7. ^ "BBC - Programme Catalogue - RED DWARF VI - EMOHAWK, POLYMORPH II". BBC. Retrieved 2007-12-12. [permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Red Dwarf Series VII Writing". Red Dwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  9. ^ "Red Dwarf Episode Guide: Series VI". Perry, Gavrielle. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 

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