Red Dwarf: Characters: Kryten

Krytens first crewKryten is one of the best loved characters of the whole saga! He is a Series 4000 Mechanoid model 2X4B-523P played wonderfully by the excellent actor from Nottingham, Robert Llewellyn. The wacky android has developed considerably since his first appearance in episode one of season 2 where he was the attentive personal android of three lovely (but dead) female crewmembers on the ill-fated Nova 5.

If you were to meet Kryten in the pub, he would be the glass clearer. If you accidentally spilled your drink, Kryten would blame himself and get you another. If you complained or were in anyway obnoxious, he would accidentally spill the replacement all over you. He would also be infuriatingly popular with the female pub-goers who would feel a desperate urge to either mother him or checkout his ‘double poloroid’.

The first KrytenKryten, was rescued from deep space after being stranded on the Nova 5. He was quickly humanised by Lister after suffering the terrible work regime set out by the Hitler-like Rimmer. He leaves the Red Dwarf on Lister’s beloved space-bike and promptly crashes into an asteroid! That’s the last we saw of Kryten during the whole of Season 2.

Kryten has been severely influenced by Lister throughout his association with the Red Dwarf crew. It seems that Lister has, wherever possible tried to help Kryten break his programming and develop a personality of his own. As a result, the Mechanoid has become the robot with a heart, ceaslessly enthralling us with his quirky manic temprement and considerable diplomacy despite the huge pressure on him by his association with the social misfits and downright nutters that are the Red Dwarf crew.

A lot happened in the period between the end of Season 2 and the beginning of Season 3, Holly had a sex change and Kryten was found and rebuilt by Lister. It was explained that the rebuild was pretty successful except for the robot’s personality, he basically developed an Canadian accent, grew by about 6 inches and developed the wildest robot walk you ever saw! Sure enough, the head still looked like the head of a large ‘novelty condom’, but it had a less palid complexion. Since then Kryten has become one of the best loved characters of the Red Dwarf saga.

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Kryten believes in a number of strange and wonderous things (mainly due to his programming). He believes for instance, that he will eventually go to Silicone Heaven, a place where the souls of all electrical equipment congregate – ‘the place where all the calculators go’. Kryen believes that Silicone Heaven must exist since mechanoids NEED an afterlife to look forward to after a lifetime (or two) serving humankind. And yet, Kryten also believes that there is no such thing as human heaven, “Someone just made that up to prevent you (humans) from all going nuts!”

Kryten believes in Silicone HeavenKryten is probably most proud of his new-found ability to lie! Lister spent many painstaking hours trying to help the robot develop true independence, something he believed could only be achieved with an ability to lie. Lister also tried to instil in Kryten, the idea that he can describe Rimmer as a ‘Smeg Head!’ This was particularly difficult for Kryten who tries in vain to practice in front of Rimmer at every opportunity. “Smeeeeeeeeeeg Heeeeeeead.” would be the closest he would get.

Kryten once fell in love (believe me, once was all that was needed) with a Chameleon called Camile, a rare type of pleasure GELF that could change shape in the mind of whoever it was in the company of. In reality, the creature was a big green blob – but initially, Kryten believed it to be a more advanced Mechanoid with particularly advanced programming. As green blobs go, the Chamealion was aKrtyen and his blobby girlfriend nice green blob, but even if Kryten wanted to bonk a green blob (and lets face it, we’ve all sex was clearly out of the question since Kryten has no male sex organs – nor does he have the ability to erm… orgasm. Nevertheless, it was the old story… Droid meets Droid, Droid becomes Chameleon, Droid looses Chameleon, Chameleon turns into Blob, Droid gets Blob back again, Blob meets Blob, Blob goes off with Blob, and Droid looses Blob, Chameleon and droid. “How many times have we seen that story?”

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In the episode DNA. Kryten was accidentally turned into a human. Krytens’ greatest dream had become a reality! He was overjoyed, never had he experienced such emotion, except for the time he accidentally welded his groinal socket to a front-loading washing machine!

Human KrytenKryten however, soon discovered that there are a number of significant drawbacks to being human. For a start his nipples didn’t work (the series 4000 mechaniod is able to regulate it’s temperature using the left nipple control and is able to pick up short wave radio with the right). Kryten is also slightly worried to find that his recharging socket (normally located at the rear) is very unusual! “I have found what I assume to be the re-charging socket, but for some strange reason, it doesn’t appear to have the standard three pin adaption…… no matter what I do the lead just keeps falling out!”

His groinal attachment was also NOT what he expected. And under certain circumstances (usually when viewing particularly attractive electrical appliances) his goinal attachment would swell two twice it’s normal size! The dissmayed Kryten even took a picture and showed it to Lister (Zoe emailed me to tell me that the picture was ACTUALLY a picture of male genitals and was presented toThe double Poloroid Craig Charles without his prior knowledge. The gaze of surprise on he and Listers face – is genuine!). After a particularly wonderful conversation with Krytens three spare heads, he decides that being a human is not all it’s cracked up to be and changes back to a Mechanoid.

Krytens biggest NO-NO is to kill a human bieng. It is one of his most secure programming features. However, it is possible to dissable Krytens guilt chips. He may not give a damn, but he would never kill.

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Kryten dislikes KochanskiKryten is also very close to Lister who is a sort of Mentor figure (and the person responcible for re-building him after the space bike crash). Kryten is always protective of Lister and continually dotes over his every desire. All except one that is! Lister is in love with Kochanski and Kryten sees her as a threat. He tries I think, to control this fear, but it usually manifests itself as intence jealousy. Kryten and Kochanski therefore have a friendly loathing for each other. In seasons 7 and 8 Kryten is frightened that Lister and Kochanski will re-affirm their affections to one-another and that Kryten will be left ‘out in the cold’.

Robert Llewellyn made three appearances in Red Dwarf without playing a robot. He played Jim Reaper in The Last Day, Bongo in Dimension Jump and appeared as a human Kryten in DNA. (Amendment: Nick Gioskos emeiled me and pointed out that Robert also played the Data Doctor Programme in Back in the Red part 2 – thanks Nick).

Chris emailed me to say that Kryten’s character was inspired by the book, The Admirable Criten.

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This Character review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl.
Not for reproduction without  the authors express permission

The Red Dwarf names, characters and everything else associated with
the series are the property of The British Broadcasting Corporation,
Rob Grant & Doug Naylor.  All rights reserved.

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