Pestilence is an antagonist from the Red Dwarf episode Gunmen of the Apocalypse and the novel Backwards. He is the one of the gang of four cowboy brothers, the Apocalypse Boys. In real world, he is just a manifestation of the Armageddon Virus in Kryten's wild west dream.

He is portrayed by Jeremy Peters.


As his name says, Pestilence is a filthy and diseased cowboy, dressed in black dirty clothes. He has terrible broken teeth and is surrounded by many buzzing flies that fly around his head.

In the novel, Pestilence has only one, black tooth and face full of big blisters. He is surrounded by flies and armed with a machete. He also have some lines in the story.



TV series

When there is the Armageddon Virus in Starbug, Kryten gives it to himself in order to work on an antidote. He starts dreaming that he is an always drunk sheriff of a small town, Existence, in the wild west.

Kryten is soon confronted by four Apocalypse Boys. Their leader introduces himself as Death and his brothers as Brother War, Brother Famine and Brother Pestilence. They order Kryten to leave the town within one hour and he and his gang drive out of town.

To help their friend, Lister, Rimmer and the Cat enter the dream as computer game characters and face the Apocalypse Boys in a showdown in the street. However, death spreads the virus into the game and deleted all their special skills. The heroes discover that when Rimmer challenges War to a one-on-one battle and gets beaten.

Lister and the Cat manage to put their helmets off and leave the dream, so Rimmer is suddenly left there all alone. The four brothers corner him, holding their knives ominously. Death threatens to cut him into small pieces before Rimmer escapes as well.

The Apocalypse Boys then turn to Kryten and shoot him many times but he shrugs off the hits and throws his own weapons at them. The revolvers turn into doves which dissolve the Apocalypse Boys and end the dream.


Pestilence's role in the novel Backwards is much bigger than in the episode. At first, War, Famine and he order Sheriff Carton (aka Kryten) to leave the Existence till the midnight. Pestilence later returns to the town and replaces recently deceased doctor. He proclaims death of Kryten's control processor and arranges the funeral when Rimmer challenges him to a one-on-one battle. However, Rimmer has his special skills no more due the virus that hit the game, and Pestilence beats him up heavily with a wooden stanchion.

At midnight, the severely injured Red Dwarf crew tries to stop them until Carton completes an antidote program against the virus. It is useless as the Apocalypse Boys harm them even more. Pestilence specifically is about to attack Rimmer with a machete when Rimmer suddenly starts melting down. The Apocalypse Boys then turn to Carton to kill him, but he manages to throw his revolvers which changes on doves, killing the Boys and stopping the virus.

Behind the Laughter