Robert Llewellyn

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Robert Llewellyn
Llewellyn at a Linux conference in 2013
Born (1956-03-10) 10 March 1956 (age 64)
  • Actor
  • Comedian
  • Writer
  • Presenter
Known for

Robert Llewellyn (born 10 March 1956)[1] is a British actor, comedian, presenter and writer. He plays the mechanoid Kryten in the TV sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf and formerly presented the TV engineering gameshow Scrapheap Challenge. He also presents a YouTube series, Fully Charged.[2]

Early life[edit]

Llewellyn was born in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England.[1]

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.[3] 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.[4] 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. He co-wrote and starred in The Corner House, a 1987 Channel 4 sitcom about a café run by gay men.[5]

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 continued in the role through 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 likely released later the same year. [6] 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 makeup department than they used to".[7] 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.[7]

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 M.I. 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).[8]

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 month's 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.[7]

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

Llewellyn appeared in the movie "Ashens and the Quest for the GameChild", alongside Stuart Ashen, Warwick Davis and Chris Kendall in August 2013.

Llewellyn has also been cast in the sequel to "Ashens and the Quest for the GameChild" called "Ashens and the Polybius Heist", slated for release in Summer of 2019, again alongside Stuart Ashen and other online and comic personalities.[9]

Llewellyn presented the BBC Two show World's Busiest Railway 2015 alongside Dan Snow and Anita Rani. That four-episode series appears on Netflix under the title "Mumbai Railway".

In 2019 Llewellyn was a contestant alongside Craig Charles on the BBC show Antiques road trip.

Personal life[edit]

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."

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

Llewellyn, who is of 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[10] and renewable energy advocate.[11][12] As well as being frequently interviewed on the subject, he has a related video blog called Fully Charged.[13]

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, 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,[7] minor whiplash and dizzy spells but escaped more serious injury.[14]

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.[15]

He is an atheist and sceptic,[16] and has expressed that his major pseudoscientific irritations are astrology and climate change denial.[7]

Llewellyn lives in Temple Guiting, Gloucestershire[17] 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! and 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)[18] – Non-fiction
  • The Man in the Rubber Mask (1994)[19] – (Updated in 2013) – Llewellyn's personal account of his career with Red Dwarf.
  • Therapy and How to Avoid it. (with Nigel Planer) (1996)[20] – Non-fiction
  • Thin he was and filthy haired (1996)[21] – Memoir
  • The Man on Platform 5 (1998)[22] – A modern gender-reversed re-telling of Pygmalion of which the film rights were sold[23]
  • Punchbag (1999)[24] – Novel
  • Sudden Wealth (2000)[25] – Novel
  • Behind the Scenes at Scrapheap challenge (2001)[26] – Non-fiction[27]
  • Brother Nature (2002)[28] – Novel
  • Sold Out - How I survived a year of not shopping (2008)[29] – Non-fiction
  • News From trilogy – Utopian science fiction[30]
    • News From Gardenia (2012)[31] (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)[32] – Autobiography

Video podcasts[edit]

  • Carpool – was 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.[33]
  • 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 it is a weekly video podcast that was initially about alternative technology vehicles and is now also about The future of Energy,[34][35]



  1. ^ a b "Robert Llewellyn". British Film Institute. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  2. ^ Fully Charged. Retrieved 2 November 2016 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ "the UK's largest collection of comedians biogs and photos". comedy cv. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  4. ^ "The Joeys: interview feature". YouTube. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  5. ^ "The Corner House (C4)". The List. 1 May 1987. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Red Dwarf: series 13 confirmed". Den of Geek. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e Saunders, Richard (3 February 2013). "Episode 224" (Podcast). The Skeptic Zone. Event occurs at 4:50.
  8. ^ [1] Archived 3 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Ashens and the Polybius Heist". Indiegogo. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  10. ^ "An Electric car called Trev". Fully Charged Show. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  11. ^ Robert Llewellyn’s Home of the Future
  12. ^ fullychargedshow (31 August 2017), Tesla Powerwall 2 | Fully Charged, retrieved 16 October 2017
  13. ^ Interview on BBC Radio 6 Music, 9:15, 18 November 2010
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ Esqueda, Ashley (14 January 2011). "Tesla versus the BBC". CNET. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  16. ^ Grimes, Danny (9 July 2009). "[1/5] Whos Got Gods Millions? HQ". YouTube. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Robert Llewellyn: How I inspired a green revolution in my Cotswold village". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (1994). The man in the rubber mask. London: Penguin. ISBN 0140235752.
  20. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (1992). Therapy & how to avoid it! : a guide for the perplexed. Simon & Schuster. p. 192. ISBN 1859988016.
  21. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (1996). Thin he was and filthy-haired : [memoirs of a bad boy]. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0140250824.
  22. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (1999). The man on platform five (Pbk. ed.). London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0340707909.
  23. ^ "Robert Llewellyn on The Big Breakfast 1998". YouTube. 22 December 2000. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  24. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (2000). Punchbag. London: Coronet. ISBN 0340707925.
  25. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (2001). Sudden wealth. London: Flame. ISBN 0340751126.
  26. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (2001). Behind the scenes at Scrapheap Challenge. London: Channel 4. ISBN 0752219995.
  27. ^ [3] Archived 15 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (2002). Brother nature (Flame paperback. ed.). London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0340751142.
  29. ^ Llewellyn, Robert (2008). Sold out : how I survived a year of not shopping. London: Gaia. ISBN 1856753085.
  30. ^ "News From Gardenia". Unbound. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  31. ^ Llewellyn, Robert. News from Gardenia. Glasgow: Unbound. ISBN 1908717122.
  32. ^ Llewellyn, Robert. Some Old Bloke: Recollections, Obsessions and the Joys of Blokedom. Glasgow: Unbound. ISBN 9781783526024.
  33. ^ Robinson, James (30 June 2010). "Dave commissions series based on Robert Llewellyn's web chatshow". The Guardian.
  34. ^ "Wet Liberal Whenever oily brains". YouTube. 2 June 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  35. ^ "Pilot | Fully Charged". YouTube. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  36. ^ "Llewellyn, Rocos, Warwick, Series 6, The Museum of Curiosity - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 16 October 2017.

External links[edit]