Legion (Red Dwarf)

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Red Dwarf episode
Red Dwarf Legion.JPG
The titular Legion character.
Episode no.Series 6
Episode 2
Directed byAndy De Emmony
Written byRob Grant & Doug Naylor
Original air date14 October 1993 (1993-10-14)
Guest appearance
  • Nigel Williams as Legion
Episode chronology
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"Gunmen of the Apocalypse"
List of episodes

"Legion" is the second episode of science fiction sit-com Red Dwarf Series VI[1] and the 32nd in the series run.[2] It was first broadcast on British television on 14 October 1993,[3] was written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor and was directed by Andy de Emmony.


To maintain constant pursuit of Red Dwarf, Dave Lister and Cat handle the piloting of Starbug through shifts. However, Kryten informs Arnold Rimmer that the ship is running low on food and water. As the ship passes by a deserted space station, it is pulled in by a tractor beam, and the crew opt to explore the station for supplies. When aboard, Kryten notes that his scanner registers a life-form, despite not showing one earlier, which soon appears before them as a mysterious entity called Legion. After explaining that he was a creation of the greatest minds that inhabited the station, Legion offers a token of good faith by demonstrating his incredible technological intelligence. Legion gives Lister an instantaneous emergency appendectomy, and modifies Rimmer's light bee, allowing him to alternate between a "soft light" and "hard light" hologram – the latter form allows him to be able to touch and feel. Impressed, the crew try to recruit him to join them on their quest to find Red Dwarf, but Legion insists that they stay with him.

The following morning, the group admit that they have become Legion's prisoners, despite each enjoying accommodations tailored to their unique personal tastes and requirements. When they attempt to escape by overpowering him, they find Legion is a gestalt entity – a combination of all active minds present on the station, melded together to form one, who became a mindless, formless entity when the station's original occupants perished from old age.

Kryten notices that Legion loses a persona when one of them is unconscious, and so convinces the others to be knocked out, forcing Legion to manifest his persona only. Legion admits relief when this happens, wishing not to share their assorted neuroses, and helps Kryten to return the crew to Starbug, providing them with a stardrive that the scientists had created to help them catch up to Red Dwarf. However, when the crew attempt to use it, the drive shoots out of the ship, leaving them to struggle with the sudden decompression it creates.


The working title for the episode was "Call Me Legion", and later shortened to "Legion".[4] This episode introduces the hologram Hardlight – an indestructible physical form which Rimmer could form into. It was becoming tiresome for the writers that Rimmer couldn't touch anything, so it was retained for the remainder of the series.[5]

Nigel Williams played the character of Legion. The costume was so tight he had to be sewn into it, and stay in it until the shoot was finished.[6]

Lister's room music in this episode was "Hot and Wild Number 1" by the musician Chris Tsangarides.[7]

Cultural references[edit]

The episode title and certain dialogue reference Mark 5:9, wherein Jesus confronts a possessed man: "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many."[8]

Audience laughter can be heard when Kryten mentions "Quayle" in a list of "the most brilliant minds of the 23rd century". In 1993 the name conjured up the image of Dan Quayle, the former U.S. Vice President who was popularly perceived as being incompetent.[9] He also mentions "Davro", most likely a reference to singer and comedian Bobby Davro, as well as “Holder”, a reference to Slade singer Noddy Holder.

The "Ionian Nerve Grip" which Kryten pretends to use on Rimmer is patterned after the famous Vulcan nerve pinch from Star Trek.


The episode was well received by fans, and Rob Grant has described this episode as one of his favourites, and has said that "I think that's the funniest start to a show we've ever done, [also] it's got some great set pieces in it, the chopsticks scene..."[10]


  1. ^ "British Sitcom Guide - Red Dwarf - Series 6". www.sitcom.co.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  2. ^ "TV.com - Legion summary". www.tv.com. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  3. ^ "BBC - Programme Catalogue - RED DWARF VI - LEGION". BBC. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
  4. ^ News From The Dwarf, Red Dwarf Smegazine, volume 2 issue 1, May 1993, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  5. ^ "Red Dwarf Series VI Aftermath". Red Dwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  6. ^ "Red Dwarf Series VI Costumes". Red Dwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  7. ^ Cast and Crew | Series VI | Guide | Red Dwarf, www.reddwarf.co.uk, retrieved 11 May 2013
  8. ^ "Series V review by Gavrielle". www.reviewsbygavrielle.com. Retrieved 29 January 2008.
  9. ^ Robert E. Gilbert, (1998), The Mortal Presidency: Illness and Anguish in the White House, page 290. Fordham Univ Press. ISBN 0823218376
  10. ^ "Rob Grant Interview". The Inquisitors Red Dwarf Site. Retrieved 29 November 2012.

External links[edit]