Robert Llewellyn

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Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn at (Canberra, Australia) in 2013
Born Robert Llewellyn
(1956-03-10) 10 March 1956 (age 58)
Northampton, Northamptonshire, England
Occupation Actor, comedian, writer
Known for Kryten in Red Dwarf
Television Red Dwarf, Scrapheap Challenge, How Do They Do It?

Robert Llewellyn (born 10 March 1956, in Northampton, Northamptonshire) is an English actor, comedian and writer. He is best known as the mechanoid Kryten in the hit sitcom Red Dwarf, and for his role as presenter of Scrapheap Challenge. Llewellyn is also a science and technology enthusiast, atheist and sceptic. He frequently does talks at science, technology and sceptical events and actively promotes electric cars and renewable technologies.[1] Llewellyn has an active online presence.

Early career[edit]

Llewellyn's first foray into the world of show business started out as a hobby, organising a few amateur cabaret evenings in a riverside warehouse overlooking Tower Bridge in London. The shows were a great success and he eventually helped form an alternative comedy theatre group called the Joeys.[2] Within six months he had stopped working as a shoemaker and started performing professionally with the group alongside Bernie Evans, Nigel Ordish and Graham Allum. The group toured Britain and France in the early 1980s with an initial idea of exploring sexual politics between men.[3] Llewellyn wrote much of the material, and also began writing novels. The group split in 1985, having toured for years and done thousands of shows.

Red Dwarf[edit]

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; this show was 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 in series 3 and has continued in the role up to 2012's tenth series. 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"), 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.

In the early days of Red Dwarf he would arrive to do makeup many hours before the rest of the actors, however that changed as time progressed as his fellow actors "have a little bit more help in the make-up department than they used to".[1] In an interview with The Skeptic Zone, Llewellyn mentioned that he needs a special pair of glasses to be able to read the script with the Kryten mask on. In Red Dwarf, he worked hard to get the more technically difficult lines right because the show tried to be factually accurate in reference to scientific theories.[1]

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.

Other TV work[edit]

Llewellyn has presented a number of programmes for UK television. His first outing as a presenter was on Scrapheap Challenge, produced by Channel 4; the series sees teams of engineers competing to build machines to complete a given task from materials scavenged from a scrapheap. His other presenting roles include a version of Discovery Channel's How Do They Do It? and Hollywood Science, the latter being a joint production between the BBC and the Open University.

In 1992, Llewellyn appeared in the fourth episode of series 2 of Bottom, as a wounded Falklands War veteran named Mr. N. Stiles.

Llewellyn's project it2i2, was released on DVD in March 2006. Since 2006 he has had a YouTube video blog called "Llewtube". His latest book Sold Out: How I Survived a Year of Not Shopping – based on his YouTube series Making Do – was published in October 2008.

On 10 February 2009 Llewellyn was featured as a guest on the popular technology related podcast MacBreak Weekly with Leo Laporte (episode 127).

Recently, Llewellyn has starred in the CBBC show MI High as the Prime Minister, and become the presenter of Top Trumps.

Llewellyn reviewed the world of science and technology in his popular Machine of the Week report (The MoWer).[4]

Llewellyn also provides the voice of news anchor Perry Flynn for PlayStation Home TV, a programme that started in December 2009 and airs in the Home Theatre of the European version of PlayStation Home, which is a 3D community for PlayStation 3.

Llewellyn has worked as a voice actor, providing the voices of the alien creatures in Skywhales (1983), the voice of Feeble for The Feeble Files (1997), Old Joe in Christmas Carol: The Film, and the perplexed Gryphon in the film MirrorMask (2005). He has described himself as "very much a 'don't want to do it now' kind of person" ("Dwarfing USA" documentary, Red Dwarf V DVD).

In November 2010, the Carpool series began broadcasting on UKTV channel, Dave, before having a months hiatus for Christmas and New Year, it then returned in January 2011. It is a spin-off from his web series, Carpool. On 4 January 2011, he appeared on Celebrity Mastermind answering questions on the specialist subject of electric cars. He has expressed an interest in working on a television show about technologies that we might use in the future.[1]

Llewellyn was the narrator on the 2010 Channel 5 series The Boss is Coming to Dinner.

Personal life[edit]

Llewellyn, who is of Anglo-Welsh ancestry, learnt 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.[5] As well as being frequently interviewed on the subject, he has a related video blog called Fully Charged.[6]

On the evening of 1 July 2009 while Llewellyn was en route to deliver 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 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 concussion,[1] minor whiplash and dizzy spells but escaped more serious injury.[7]

He is an atheist and skeptic,[8] and has expressed that his major pseudoscientific irritations are astrology and climate change denial.[1]

Llewellyn is married to Australian author Judy Pascoe.

Robert Llewellyn talks to the Merseyside Skeptics Society at the Head of Steam pub in Liverpool. "Electric cars are rubbish. Aren't they?"



Llewellyn is also the author of ten books, including Sold Out! and Therapy and How to Avoid It with Nigel Planer and five novels.

  • The Reconstructed Heart: How to Spot the Difference Between a Normal Man and One Who Does the Housework, is Great in Bed and Doesn't Get All Iffy When You Mention Words Like Love and Commitment (1992)[9] - Non-fiction
  • The Man in the Rubber Mask (1994)[10] - Llewellyn's personal account of his career with Red Dwarf.
  • Therapy and How to Avoid it. (with Nigel Planer) (1996)[11] - Non-fiction
  • Thin he was and filthy haired (1996)[12] - Memoir
  • The Man on Platform 5 (1998)[13] - A modern gender-reversed re-telling of Pygmalion of which the film rights were sold[14]
  • Punchbag (1999)[15] - Novel
  • Sudden Wealth (2000)[16] - Novel
  • Behind the Scenes at Scrapheap challenge (2001)[17] - Non-fiction[18]
  • Brother Nature (2002)[19] - Novel
  • Sold Out - How I survived a year of not shopping (2008)[20] - Non-fiction
  • News From Gardenia (2012)[21] - Utopian science fiction (first of a trilogy) [22]
  • News from the Squares (2013) Utopian science fiction (second of a trilogy)

Video podcasts[edit]

  • Carpool - a regular video podcast, released every Friday, in which Llewellyn interviews other celebrities while driving them somewhere in a car. Some of the shows have appeared on the UK TV channel Dave as well as still appearing online after broadcast.[23]
  • Wet Liberal Whenever - an occasional video podcast where he does a monologue about subjects he is impassioned about, previously known as Wet Liberal Weekly
  • Fully Charged - previously known as Gearless it is a video podcast that was initially about alternative technology vehicles and is now also about The future of Energy,[24][25]


  • Woman Wizard - DVD of his one-man show
  • Blue Helmet - online science fiction comedy novel
  • Ashens and the Quest for the Gamechild - An online independent film (Direct to YouTube - low budget).


  1. ^ a b c d e f Richard Saunders (2013-02-03). "Episode 224". (Podcast). The Skeptic Zone. Event occurs at 4:50. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ The Joeys interviewed by Joan Bakewell prior to the opening of their stage run at the Shaw Theatre, London
  4. ^ Machine of the Week report at Channel Flip
  5. ^ "An Electric car called Trev". Fully Charged Show. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Interview on Six music 9:15 18 November 2010
  7. ^ Robert Llewellyn describes his car accident on his llewtube website[dead link]
  8. ^ 'Who's Got God's Millions?', TV documentary
  9. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (1992). The reconstructed heart : how to spot the difference between a normal man and one who does the housework, is great in bed, and doesn't get all iffy when you mention words like love and commitment. London: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9780671711825. 
  10. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (1994). The man in the rubber mask. London: Penguin. ISBN 0140235752. 
  11. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (1992). Therapy & how to avoid it! : a guide for the perplexed. Simon & Schuster. p. 192. ISBN 1859988016. 
  12. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (1996). Thin he was and filthy-haired : [memoirs of a bad boy]. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0140250824. 
  13. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (1999). The man on platform five (Pbk. ed. ed.). London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0340707909. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (2000). Punchbag. London: Coronet. ISBN 0340707925. 
  16. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (2001). Sudden wealth. London: Flame. ISBN 0340751126. 
  17. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (2001). Behind the scenes at Scrapheap Challenge. London: Channel 4. ISBN 0752219995. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (2002). Brother nature (Flame paperback. ed.). London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0340751142. 
  20. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (2008). Sold out : how I survived a year of not shopping. London: Gaia. ISBN 1856753085. 
  21. ^ Llewellyn, Robert. News from Gardenia. Glasgow: Unbound. ISBN 1908717122. 
  22. ^ "News From Gardenia". Unbound. Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  23. ^ Robinson, James (30 June 2010). "Dave commissions series based on Robert Llewellyn's web chatshow". The Guardian. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Fully Charged pilot episode on Youtube

External links[edit]