Legion (Red Dwarf)

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Red Dwarf episode
Red Dwarf Legion.JPG
Episode no.Series 6
Episode 2
Directed byAndy De Emmony
Written byRob Grant & Doug Naylor
Original air date14 October 1993
Guest appearance(s)
  • Nigel Williams as Legion
Episode chronology
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"Gunmen of the Apocalypse"
List of Red Dwarf 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 & Doug Naylor and was directed by Andy de Emmony.


Starbug is now twenty-four hours behind Red Dwarf and is losing ground on the larger ship. The piloting of Starbug is now a long-term menial task which is carried out using shift changes. Food and water supplies are running low, so much so that water is recycled and Lister is being space weevil for dinner.

They are distracted when a tractor beam locks onto them and pulls them into an apparently deserted space station. They decide to explore the station for supplies when they meet a being called Legion. He proves his good faith (and incredible technology) by converting Rimmer from a "soft light" to a "hard light" hologram (thus making him able to touch and feel), and by performing an instantaneous emergency appendectomy on Lister. The crew invites him to join them, but Legion insists that they stay with him. They are shown their ideal bedrooms with the entire room stocked with their own unique personal tastes and requirements.

Kryten states that despite the pleasantness and charm of their host, they are still prisoners, and continue to lose ground on Red Dwarf. Following Lister's advice, they attempt to escape using a method from the film "Revenge of the Surfboarding Killer Bikini Vampire Girls". When they confront Legion and the plan fails dramatically, they discover that he is a gestalt entity—a combination of all active minds present on the station, melded together to form one. The space station used to be occupied by a group of scientists who created Legion, but all have perished from old age. Without conscious minds, Legion is a mindless, formless entity. Kryten discovers a solution by knocking out the rest of the Red Dwarf crew, reducing Legion to purely Kryten's persona. Legion claims a stalemate, but Kryten reminds him that he now shares the mechanoid's overriding servitude to the needs of his companions, with nothing else to dilute it. As he is thereby compelled to help the crew safely leave the station, Legion admits relief that he will no longer be sharing their assorted neuroses. Kryten then asks if Legion ever developed anything that could help with the pursuit of Red Dwarf.

Later, aboard Starbug, Kryten installs an experimental stardrive engine provided by Legion that should allow Starbug to catch up with Red Dwarf in mere nanoseconds. However the rest of the crew doubt it'll work, knowing their luck with such things. Kryten tells the crew that the events of the past couple of days prove that 'the whole is great than the sum of its parts', and forces them all to voice a belief that the stardrive will work. Once activated, the engine crashes through the wall and shoots out into space on its own, leaving the crew struggling against decompression. Kryten remarks that, at least, the stardrive did technically work.


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, whose costume was so tight he had to be sewn into it. Once he was in it he had to 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.

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


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 2008-02-01.
  2. ^ "TV.com - Legion summary". www.tv.com. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  3. ^ "BBC - Programme Catalogue - RED DWARF VI - LEGION". BBC. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
  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 2007-12-17.
  6. ^ "Red Dwarf Series VI Costumes". Red Dwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-17.
  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 2008-01-29.
  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]