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Red Dwarf episode
Quarantine (Red Dwarf).jpg
Rimmer contracts a holo-virus and, with the help of Mr Flibble, turns against the crew
Episode № 4
Airdate March 12, 1992
Writer(s) Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Director Grant Naylor
Guest star(s) Maggie Steed
Series V
February 20 – March 26, 1992
  1. "Holoship"
  2. "The Inquisitor"
  3. "Terrorform"
  4. "Quarantine"
  5. "Demons and Angels"
  6. "Back to Reality"
List of all Red Dwarf episodes...

"Quarantine" is the fourth episode of science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf Series V [1] and the twenty eighth in the series run.[2 ] It was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 12 March 1992. [3] The episode, fifth to be filmed,[4] was the first one to be solely directed by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor.[5 ] The episode has Rimmer contracting a holo-virus and turning against the rest of the crew.



Red Dwarf receives a distress call from the hologram Dr. Hildegarde Lanstrom. The crew takes Starbug to visit the Viral Research Centre where Lanstrom had been working on a theory that viruses can be positive as well as negative, and had isolated several positive viruses, including one, the "luck virus", that grants whomever contracts it extreme good luck. When the crew - minus Rimmer who is requested to stay on board Red Dwarf after an argument with Kryten - arrive at Lanstrom's lab she proves to have contracted a holo-virus that causes her to become insane, and to have Psionic powers such as hex vision. She is able to pass the virus on to Rimmer by speaking with him on the radio - since the virus affects holograms, which are computer-constructed entities, it can be transmitted via communication systems. When the others return to Red Dwarf Rimmer decides take no chances of contracting any virus and commits the others to three months in quarantine.

There, in Bay 47, nothing gets in and nothing gets out, not even a molecule. The only things the internees have to entertain them are a knitting magazine and a video entitled Wallpapering, Painting and Stippling - a DIY Guide. Predictably, Lister, Kryten and the Cat soon start getting on each other's nerves - much to Rimmer's delight.

However, Rimmer soon succumbs to the holo-virus infection, eventually appearing to the crew wearing a red and white checked gingham dress and army boots, teaming up with a glove puppet named Mr. Flibble and sentencing his "naughty" shipmates to two hours' W.O.O (With Out Oxygen). Things look pretty bad, but by using the luck virus taken from the Viral Research Department, Lister is able to get them out of Quarantine, and his luck holds out as they manage to defeat Rimmer, using several dei ex machinae to get into the holographic control systems and reset him.

The episode ends with Rimmer, back to normal, in quarantine. Lister, Kryten and Cat appear to him wearing identical gingham dresses, suggesting that they intend to make his stay every bit as maddening as theirs.


Due to Juliet May leaving as director, the remaining episodes were directed by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. Quarantine, which was fifth to be filmed in the series,[4] was the first one to be solely directed by the co-creators.[5 ] Although supposed to be the simple 'dialogue' episode for the series Grant and Naylor found it hard going.[5 ] The main scene of the Cat, Lister and Kryten arguing in the quarantine bay took a grand total of 57 minutes to record, the cast either breaking up with laughter or else having trouble with dialogue that had only recently been delivered.[6 ]

The original idea was to have each of the crew infected with Psi-powers, but this was later changed to the positive viruses story. Time constraints, coupled with the fact that it was pitched as the cheap show, meant that the script wasn't developed as well as Grant and Naylor had hoped. It was the cheap show so that the others were affordable.[5 ]

Maggie Steed agreed to wear a prosthetic face mask to appear as the dying hologramatic Dr Lanstrom.[7]

Cultural references

  • Dr Hildegarde Lanstrom references Schopenhauer's "Life without pain has no meaning" quote.
  • The character of Dr Hildegarde Lanstrom may be a reference to the molecular biologist Dr Hildegarde Lamfrom.


The episode was originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 12 March 1992 in the 9:00pm evening time slot, [3] and was considered as one of the better episodes from the series, just behind "Back to Reality".[8 ] 'Reviews by Gavrielle' stating that "the episode develops into a classic".[9 ] Viewers particularly enjoyed Rimmer's descent into insanity, the character of Mr. Flibble becoming a fan favourite.

The episode proved popular enough with the BBC to head one of the two Series V video releases. The BBC had decided to ignore the original running order and used the most popular episodes from Series V to maximise sales of the videos. The episode that featured on the other Series V video release being "Back to Reality".[10 ]


LISTER: I'm just sayin', there's 79 more days to go.

KRYTEN: And if you still want to be alive when there is only 78 more days to go, I suggest you do not blow your nose.

LISTER: Do you mind if I ask why?

KRYTEN: Well, let's forego the noise and the revolting burbling sound,and go straight to the really gross part, when you always, and I mean always, having blown your nose have to open up your handkerchief and take a look at the contents. I mean, why? What do you expect to see in there? A Turner seascape, perhaps? The face of the Madonna? An undiscovered Shakespearian sonnet?


  1. ^ "British Sitcom Guide - Red Dwarf - Series 5". Retrieved 2008-01-29.  
  2. ^ " - Quarantine summary". Retrieved 2008-01-29.  
  3. ^ a b "BBC - Programme Catalogue - RED DWARF V - QUARANTINE". BBC. Retrieved 2007-12-12.  
  4. ^ a b Series V Preview, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 1, March 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn 0965-5603
  5. ^ a b c d Grant and Naylor Look Back, Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 11, January 1993, Fleetway Editions Ltd, issn 0965-5603
  6. ^ "Red Dwarf Series V Production". Retrieved 2008-01-07.  
  7. ^ "Quarantine cast and crew". Retrieved 2008-01-29.  
  8. ^ Red Dwarf Smegazine: Survey Results, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
  9. ^ "Series V review by Gavrielle". Retrieved 2008-01-29.  
  10. ^ "Red Dwarf Series V Aftermath". Retrieved 2008-01-07.  

External links



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