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RED DWARF - A look at Kryten 2X4B-523P

In this week's Red Dwarf column, Andrew Jero takes a look at the adventures of Kryten 2X4B-523P

“I'm some kind of robot, who's fighting this virus, and none of this exists. It's all in a fever. Except for you guys, who really do exist, only you're not really here, you're really in some spaceship in the future. Hell, if that's got to make sense, I don't wanna be sober.”

The cleaning droid from Diva Droid International, and my personal favorite character in the show, was originally played by David Ross in the Series II episode Kryten. He was supposed to be a one-off character but was so popular that they decided to bring him back in Series III. When David Ross was unavailable the production office looked to actor Robert Llewellyn. Llewellyn made his first appearance in Backwards, the opener for Series III. Whilst trying to get his pilots license for the space vehicle Starbug I. Going through the monotony of testing with Rimmer, Kryten comes upon a Time Hole and is sucked into a backwards universe. Backwards also has the famous bar cleanup scene.

Series IV presents us with Kryten’s one and only love story, Camille, a pleasure GELF (Genetically Engineered Life Form) that changes form to suit each persons fantasy conceding their perfect mate, an idea that would be picked up by Star Trek: The Next Generation about a year later. Moving forward to Series V we would be given several lovely moments between Kryten and the Cat, such as the Robby Rocket Pants scene in Terrorform.

Back To Reality which is quite possibly one of the best episodes of all Red Dwarf features a Despair Squid which causes the crew of the SSS Esparanto to kill themselves. The Despair Squid secretes a hallucinogenic fluid that induces despair, causing the poor people who find this squid to commit suicide. We find out that the crew of the Red Dwarf are really four friends who have just awoken from the video game, Red Dwarf, after playing for four years. The Cat, is really a person named Dwane Dibbly. Lister and Rimmer are half-brothers and Kryten is a detective, Bullet. They are chased by the police, but are really on Starbug.

Series VI, my favorite, is set completely on Starbug and contains many of the Space Corps Directive Scenes as well as my favorite episode, Gunmen of the Apocalypse. As the drunken sheriff in an old western brought on by Kryten’s dream state, he must find an antidote to a virus contracted by a Rogue Simulant ship. I don’t think any one clip would do this episode justice so I recommend that if you haven't seen it, you go and watch it! 

Onto the seventh series where Kryten learns about his creator and his brother Able, who dies saving the lives of the crew. Throughout the first episode of Series VII, Lister, who wants to go on a curry hunt after hearing the tragic news that all the Indian food supplies have been destroyed, takes Kryten’s head off and replaces it with Spare Head II, disables his behavior protocols and is set to order 500 curries to go. Unfortunately for them they land in the Texas Books Depository, and change the course of human history making Lee Harvey Oswald miss, resulting in JFK’s survival. Having altered the course of history so much the crew has no choice but to enlist the help of one man.

In Series VIII the crew is brought back and the main cast put into prison (the Tank). Kryten is classified a women because of a lack of male genitalia, so in order to become a man Kryten builds himself a penis and calls it Archie. Archie eventually escapes and decides to climb inside the Cat’s uniform and squirm around in his shirt. Perhaps the scene which encapsulates the best of Kryten is the Psychiatric Counsellor scene from Back In the Red - Part One. I couldn’t see anyone but Llewellyn playing the part and I would love to meet him someday!

Andrew Jero is 18, lives in Iowa and has a very strong love of both Red Dwarf and Doctor Who. He enjoys acting and writing plays, television scripts, and short stories. Follow Andrew on Twitter.

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