The Psirens are the main antagonists from the Red Dwarf episode Psirens. They are around two meters long, beetles-alike monsters, which can telepathically alter the perception of humans, in order to suck out their brains with a straw.
The Psirens live in the asteroid field where they try to lure their victims onto asteroids. They usually focus on different individuals which is better than try to fool the whole group. They usually work alone, as they are very territorial and often fights about their victims. They also can change their appearance into that of their victims and copy their actions exactly, after they learn their personalities from their brains.
They are portrayed by: Zoe Hilson and Elizabeth Anson (the temptresses), Anita Dobson (Captain Tau), Clare Grogan (Kochanski), Samantha Robson (Pete Tranter's sister), Robert Llewellyn (Kryten), Craig Charles (Lister), Phil Manzanera (hands of fake Lister) and Jenny Agutter (Professor Mamet).
HistoryWhen the Red Dwarf crew is forced to fly through the asteroid belt, they see many wracked ships. They land on one and finds the bloody writing on the floor which reads "P-S-I-R-E-N-S". They watch the last record from the black box when a mad and scared astronaut eats a hamburger and is then attacked by a giant insect, which squeezes the ketchup out of his burger and then eats his brain. This report forces the crew to leave the ship immediately.
Soon after, the Psirens send several messages to the Starbug, every read by only member of the crew. The Cat is conned by two beautiful women who claim there are "only" three thousand of women in their settlement and they need a male not to become extinct. Later, Lister is conned by Captain Tau and Kochanski who claim to be under attack of Psirens. Kochanski even tells him she and Lister have two sons. However, the crew learns their trick.
When their plan fails, the Psirens create an illusion of a flaming meteorite which s going to hit the Starbug. Luckily, Kryten sees nothing on the readout and they realize the meteorite isn't real. However, the Psirens learn and next time, they use the real meteorite and the readout is the illusion, as cabin temperature rises. It successes and the Starbug crashed into an asteroid.
Lister climbs out to free the Starbug's landing leg. Suddenly, he sees the Psiren which looks like a sister of his childhood friend Pete Tranter. He tries to resists, but fails when she starts kissing him. Luckily, another Psiren comes there, looking like Kryten, and shoots the first one with bazookoid. However, it is uncovered when it calls Lister "Dave" what would the real Kryten never say, and Lister kills it. He is then attacked by another Psiren which looks like a TV weather girl from channel 27 and does various things with her pointy stick.
Meanwhile, another Psiren changes itself to Lister and the crew lets it into the Starbug. When the real Lister comes, the crew has the problem to learn which one is real. They do various tests, ending by letting them both playing the guitar. The Psiren plays very well, as it read Lister's mind and shares his delusion that he can play the guitar. They shoot it, but the Psiren flees into the engine room.
Kryten goes there, only to face his creator, Professor Mamet. He can't harm or not to listen her orders, so she forces him to enter the waste compactor and turn it on. The Psiren then changes itself into the vending machine, coning Lister and the Cat who want to get drink from it. The Psiren knocks them both out. It is about to eat their brains when cubed Kryten crushes and finally kills it.
- Their name is a reference to the Sirens of Greek mythology. Their behavior is also similar, as the Sirens lure sailors to their death by singing.
- As the Psirens can read their victims' minds and adapt to them, the one who looks like Kryten should know the real Kryten would never call Lister "Dave". However, maybe it just apes from the previous Psiren who also calls him "Dave".
- Although Craig Charles portrayed the Psiren which changes into Lister, the guitar solo was played by the British musician Phil Manzanera.