Robert Llewellyn (born 10 March 1956) is a British actor, comedian, presenter and writer. He plays the mechanoid Kryten in the sci-fi television sitcom Red Dwarf and formerly presented the engineering gameshow Scrapheap Challenge. He has also founded and hosts a YouTube series, Fully Charged.
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. 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. Llewellyn wrote much of the material, and also began writing novels. The Joeys split in 1985, having toured for years and done thousands of performances. He co-wrote and starred in The Corner House, a 1987 sitcom for Channel 4 about a café run by gay men.
Llewellyn's involvement with Red Dwarf came about as a result of his appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, performing in his one-man comedy, Mammon, Robot Born of Woman, 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 Llewellyn 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 through to the twelfth series. At Thames Con 2018, Llewellyn and his co-star Danny John-Jules announced that a new series was confirmed, and would be filmed in early 2019 and then likely broadcast a year later. Llewellyn's 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"), Human Kryten ("DNA"), Bongo ("Dimension Jump") and Able ("Beyond A Joke") and the Data Doctor ("Back in the Red"). With Doug Naylor, Llewellyn co-wrote the Red Dwarf episode "Beyond A Joke" for series VII, screened in 1997.
In the early days of Red Dwarf, Llewellyn would arrive to do make-up 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 makeup department than they used to'. 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 series tried to be factually accurate in reference to scientific theories.
Llewellyn was also the only British cast member of Red Dwarf to originally participate in a proposed American version, though other actors such as Craig Charles and Chris Barrie were also approached to reprise their roles.
Other television work
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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 saw 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 the BBC/Open University programme Hollywood Science.
Llewellyn's project it2i2 was released on DVD in March 2006. Since then, he has had a YouTube video blog called "Llewtube". His book Sold Out: How I Survived a Year of Not Shopping — based on his YouTube series Making Do — was published in October 2008.
Llewellyn reviewed the world of science and technology in his popular Machine of the Week report.
Since 2009 Llewellyn has provided the voice of news anchor Perry Flynn for PlayStation Home TV, which airs in the Home Theatre of the European version of PlayStation Home.
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 Movie, and the gryphon in the 2005 film MirrorMask. In the documentary Dwarfing USA (released on the DVD of Red Dwarf V), he described himself as "very much a 'don't want to do it now' kind of person".
Llewellyn's web series series Carpool ran from 2009 to 2014, and spawned a television series of the same name on the television channel Dave from 2010-2011. In January 2011, Llewellyn appeared on Celebrity Mastermind answering questions on the specialist subject of electric cars; he has expressed an interest in working on a television series about technologies that we might use in the future.
In 2010, Llewellyn was the narrator of the Channel 5 series The Boss is Coming to Dinner. He appeared in the 2013 movie Ashens and the Quest for the GameChild alongside Stuart Ashen and Warwick Davis, and the 2020 sequel, Ashens and the Polybius Heist.
Prior to becoming a comedian, Llewellyn served an apprenticeship and became a professional shoemaker, working at James Taylor & Son and John Lobb Bootmaker in London. Speaking to Richard Herring, he said he still maintains an interest in the craft: 'There is still a side of me that wants to develop a kind of 3D printed shoe thing...where you just put your foot in a thing and you just get a shoe and it's there. And it fits absolutely exquisitely, immediately.'
Llewellyn, who is of Welsh ancestry, learned to drive at age of 11 (having been taught by his older brother in a go-kart). Formerly a 'petrol-head', he is now an electric car and renewable energy advocate. As well as being frequently interviewed on the subject, he presents a YouTube series called Fully Charged.
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 accident, as well as 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, minor whiplash and dizzy spells but escaped more serious injury.
In 2014 he drove, with David Peilow, a Nissan Leaf 400 miles from London to Edinburgh. Stopping nine times, it took 12 hours, beating a previous time set by the BBC three years earlier which took four days in a Mini-E, as well as beating the time set by David Peilow in a 2008 Tesla Roadster, which, having left two days after the Mini-E, took around 19 hours.
Llewellyn lives in Temple Guiting, Gloucestershire and is married to Australian author Judy Pascoe (who herself had a cameo in Red Dwarf as a one-off love interest of Llewellyn's character, in the episode "Camille" playing a character of the same name).
Llewellyn is the author of fourteen books, including Sold Out!, Therapy and How to Avoid It (with Nigel Planer) and seven 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) – non-fiction
- The Man in the Rubber Mask (1994 - updated in 2012) – Llewellyn's personal account of his career with Red Dwarf.
- Therapy and How to Avoid It (1996 - with Nigel Planer) – non-fiction
- Thin He Was and Filthy-Haired (1996) – memoir
- The Man on Platform 5 (1998) – a modern gender-reversed re-telling of Pygmalion, of which the film rights were sold
- Punchbag (1999) – novel
- Sudden Wealth (2000) – novel
- Behind the Scenes at Scrapheap Challenge (2001) – non-fiction
- Brother Nature (2002) – novel
- Sold Out - How I Survived a Year of Not Shopping (2008) – non-fiction
- News From trilogy – utopian science fiction
- News from Gardenia (2012  - Part 1)
- News from the Squares (2013 - Part 2)
- News from the Clouds (2015 - Part 3)
- Some Old Bloke: Recollections, Obsessions and the Joys of Blokedom (2018) – Autobiography
- Carpool – a regular video podcast, released every Friday, in which Llewellyn interviews other celebrities while driving them somewhere in a car. some of the episodes have appeared on UK channel Dave as well as appearing online after broadcast.
- Wet Liberal Whenever – was 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) – a weekly video podcast that was initially about alternative technology vehicles and is now also about The future of Energy,
- 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).
- the sequel, Ashens and the Polybius Heist - The sequel to the previous online film, slightly less low budget.
- in 2013, Llewellyn appeared as a guest on BBC Radio 4's The Museum of Curiosity, with Cleo Rocos and Kevin Warwick.
- "Robert Llewellyn". British Film Institute. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
- Fully Charged. Retrieved 2 November 2016 – via YouTube.
- "the UK's largest collection of comedians biogs and photos". comedy cv. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "The Joeys: interview feature". YouTube. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "The Corner House (C4)". The List. 1 May 1987. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
- "Red Dwarf: series 13 confirmed". Den of Geek. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
- Saunders, Richard (3 February 2013). "Episode 224" (Podcast). The Skeptic Zone. Event occurs at 4:50.
- "Rob Llewellyn's Machine of the Week". ChannelFlip. Archived from the original on 3 June 2010.
- "An Electric car called Trev". Fully Charged Show. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- Robert Llewellyn’s Home of the Future
- fullychargedshow (31 August 2017), Tesla Powerwall 2 | Fully Charged, retrieved 16 October 2017
- Interview on BBC Radio 6 Music, 9:15, 18 November 2010
- Esqueda, Ashley (14 January 2011). "Tesla versus the BBC". CNET. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Grimes, Danny (9 July 2009). "[1/5] Whos Got Gods Millions? HQ". YouTube. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Robert Llewellyn: How I inspired a green revolution in my Cotswold village". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
- 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.
- Llewellyn, Robert (1994). The man in the rubber mask. London: Penguin. ISBN 0140235752.
- Llewellyn, Robert (1992). Therapy & how to avoid it! : a guide for the perplexed. Simon & Schuster. p. 192. ISBN 1859988016.
- Llewellyn, Robert (1996). Thin he was and filthy-haired : [memoirs of a bad boy]. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0140250824.
- Llewellyn, Robert (1999). The man on platform five (Pbk. ed.). London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0340707909.
- "Robert Llewellyn on The Big Breakfast 1998". YouTube. 22 December 2000. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Llewellyn, Robert (2000). Punchbag. London: Coronet. ISBN 0340707925.
- Llewellyn, Robert (2001). Sudden wealth. London: Flame. ISBN 0340751126.
- Llewellyn, Robert (2001). Behind the scenes at Scrapheap Challenge. London: Channel 4. ISBN 0752219995.
-  Archived 15 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Llewellyn, Robert (2002). Brother nature (Flame paperback. ed.). London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0340751142.
- Llewellyn, Robert (2008). Sold out : how I survived a year of not shopping. London: Gaia. ISBN 1856753085.
- "News From Gardenia". Unbound. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- Llewellyn, Robert. News from Gardenia. Glasgow: Unbound. ISBN 1908717122.
- Llewellyn, Robert. Some Old Bloke: Recollections, Obsessions and the Joys of Blokedom. Glasgow: Unbound. ISBN 9781783526024.
- Robinson, James (30 June 2010). "Dave commissions series based on Robert Llewellyn's web chatshow". The Guardian.
- "Wet Liberal Whenever oily brains". YouTube. 2 June 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Pilot | Fully Charged". YouTube. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "ASHENS AND THE POLYBIUS HEIST | British Board of Film Classification". bbfc.co.uk. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
- "Llewellyn, Rocos, Warwick, Series 6, The Museum of Curiosity - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
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