Robert Llewellyn is the actor who portrays Kryten from Series III to Series XII. He has also appeared as the presenter of Scrapheap Challenge which ran from 1998-2010 on Channel 4, the host of the web series Carpool which ran from 2009-2014, and as host of the YouTube channel Fully Charged which started in 2010 and still uploads today.
Starring on Red Dwarf
Llewellyn's involvement with Red Dwarf came about as a result of his appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, performing in his comedy, Mammon, Robot Born Of Woman. He was invited to audition for the role of Kryten, by Paul Jackson, before joining the cast for Series III. The story is about a robot who, as he becomes more human, begins to behave increasingly badly. This was seen by Paul Jackson, producer of Red Dwarf, and he was invited to audition for the role of Kryten.
Llewellyn joined the cast of Red Dwarf in 1989 at the start of Series III and continued in the role until the end of Series VIII in 1999. His skills as a physical performer encouraged Rob Grant and Doug Naylor to write him additional characters for the series, namely Jim Reaper ("The Last Day"), the Data Doctor ("Back in the Red II"), Human Kryten ("DNA"), Bongo ("Dimension Jump") and Able ("Beyond a Joke"). Llewellyn co-wrote the Red Dwarf Series VII episode "Beyond A Joke" with Doug Naylor.
He was also the only British cast member originally to participate in the American version of Red Dwarf, though other actors such as Craig Charles and Chris Barrie were also approached to reprise their roles. Llewellyn later reminisced about the differences between UK and US filming during a convention appearance included in one of the Smeg Outs VHS releases of the mid-1990s (during which Llewellyn conducted the panel in costume and in character as Kryten).
He reprised his role, along with the rest of the cast, in the 2009 three-part story Red Dwarf: Back to Earth and for Series X in 2012. According to comments in the We're Smegged documentary on the Series X DVD/Blu-ray, Llewellyn is known for staying in character as Kryten throughout filming.
Llewellyn is married to the novelist Judy Pascoe, author of Our Father Who Art in The Tree, who starred alongside him in the Red Dwarf episode "Camille", playing female android Camille. He is an atheist.
Llewellyn, who is of Anglo-Welsh ancestry, learned to drive at age 11 (having been taught by his older brother in a go-kart); formerly a "petrol-head", he is now an electric car advocate. As well as being frequently interviewed on the subject, he has a related video blog called Fully Charged, where in one episode he interviews Doug Naylor about energy usage in Red Dwarf. Since 2009, he has also hosted a web-based interview series called Carpool, in which he conducts interviews with actors and other celebrities while driving them in an electric car to a destination; guests have included Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame and nearly all of his castmates from Red Dwarf. Several episodes were broadcast on Dave, though Llewellyn has stated his intent to keep it a web-only series.
On the evening of 1 July 2009 while Llewellyn was delivering Carpool footage to his editor, another vehicle hit him side on at a junction in Gloucestershire, writing off his Prius and rendering him unconscious for around ten minutes. The force of the impact was such that it bent his laptop "into a banana shape". Llewellyn praised the honesty of the other driver for accepting full liability for the incident and for the hospital, police and other services for helping him. He also gave special praise to his "beloved Prius" for protecting him from the impact. He suffered minor whiplash and dizzy spells but escaped more serious injury.
Concurrent with his appearances in Red Dwarf, Llewellyn hosted the UK version of the design-build competition series Scrapheap Challenge (adapted in North America as Junkyard Wars, though the original UK episodes with Llewellyn were also shown there).
Llewellyn is also the author of ten books, including Sold Out! and Therapy And How To Avoid It with Nigel Planer and five novels including The Man On Platform 5 (1998), Punchbag (1999), Sudden Wealth (2000), Brother Nature (2001), and News From Gardenia (2012).
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