Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Right: Kryten, left: Spare Head One
I can count the books I’ve read in one go on one hand, and I’m not out of fingers yet.

It’s not that I found Robert Llewellyn’s The Man In The Rubber Mask (lent to me by Dave Pitman) to be an impossible book to put down, just that it’s an easy read.

Robert Llewellyn writes about his role as Kryten in the TV series Red Dwarf, and other related moments in his acting career. There are plenty of anecotes, and most of them are funny.

There were times as the third series wore on where a new Kryten line would make us all laugh simply because it was so tortuous. The standing joke was that Rob and Doug would write me a five-page explanatory speech, telling the rest of the crew how black holes work, or that time dilation would save us from the horrific fate overhanging us. This speech would be very long and very hard to learn, and it would usually start with the word ‘Listen…’ At the end, Danny would smile, show his teeth and say, ‘I was with you until you said listen.’ This would of course bring the house down.

There are also brief appearances by Tony Hawks and Arthur Smith, who appear in Hawks’ own autobiographical books about crazy bets that I’ve also read in recent years. And I smiled when he recounted his appearance on KYTV, because I was there for that – sitting with Matt in the studio audience!

The most interesting section though has to be the final one, about the production of the doomed US version of Red Dwarf, for which Llewellyn was surprisingly retained. The difference in TV culture between the UK and US sounds huge, and it’s obvious that he really enjoyed the experience.

What a shame it all finished-up shaped like his head.

In the USA, two heads are better than one

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