Robert Llewellyn (born 10 March 1956 in Northampton, England) is an English actor, presenter, and writer. He is best known as the android Kryten in the hit sitcom Red Dwarf, and for his role as presenter of Scrapheap Challenge.
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 over looking 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 Ordishand and Graham Allum. The group toured the UK and Europe in the early 1980s. 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.
Llewellyn's big break came when he was seen at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, performing in his new comedy, Mammon, Robot Born Of Woman. The story is about a robot who, as he became more human, began 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 3 and continued in the role until the end of Series 8 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"), 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 reprised his role, along with the rest of the cast, in the 2009 three part story Back to Earth. 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 has presented a number of programmes for UK television. His first outing as 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 of which is a joint production between the BBC and the Open University.
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), 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).
Llewellyn is also the author of nine books, including Sold Out! and Therapy And How To Avoid It with Nigel Planer and four novels:
The Man On Platform 5 (1998);
Sudden Wealth (2000);
Brother Nature (2001).
On 10 February 2009 Llewellyn was featured as a guest on the popular technology related podcast MacBreak Weekly with Leo Laporte (episode 127). 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.
Llewellyn's wife Judy Pascoe, author of Our Father Who Art in The Tree, starred alongside him in the Red Dwarf Episode Camille, playing female android, Camille.
Recently, Llewellyn has starred in the CBBC show MI High as the Prime Minister, and become the presenter of Top Trumps.
Llewellyn is currently reviewing the world of science and technology in his popular Machine of the Week report (The MoWer).
Llewellyn also provides the voice of News Anchor Perry Flynn for Playstation Home TV, a program that started in December 2009 and aires in the Home Theatre of the EU Version of Playstation Home, which is a 3D community for Playstation 3.
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 10 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.
The Man in the Rubber Mask - Llewellyn's personal account of his career with Red Dwarf. Penguin Books Ltd (16 May 1994), ISBN 0-14023-575-2.
Brother Nature - Novel
Sudden Wealth - Novel
The man on Platform 5 - A modern gender-reversed re-telling of pygmalion of which the film rights were sold
Thin he was and filthy haired - Memoir
Behind the Scenes at Scrapheap challenge
Sold Out - How I survived a year of not shopping - Non-fiction
Carpool - a regular video podcast, released every Friday, in which Llewellyn interviews other celebrities while driving them somewhere in a car. On the 30th June 2010 it was announced that new shows will appear on the UK TV channel Dave as well as still appearing online after broadcast.
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 - a video podcast on alternative technology vehicles, previously known as Gearless
Woman Wizard - DVD of his one-man show
Blue Helmet - on-line science-fiction comedy novel