Classic Red Dwarf Profile : Kryten

Kryten Red Dwarf Robert Llewellyn David Ross

Created : 2340 Divadroid Corp

“Of course there’s a Silicon Heaven, where would all the calculators go?” Kryten

Kryten was a 4000 series mechanoid, created by Professor Mamet on earth – designed primarily as a multifunctioning cleaning and service droid.

He had been shipped out of the solarsystem on Spacefreighters having first attended Lavatory University or so Kryten believed, (it was added to his programme as a false memory) to make him believe there was merit in cleaning toilets properly.

Although many models had been mass produced, the 4000 series was considered old technology, so Kryten being a fully functioning 4000 was considered something of a rarity.

The Red Dwarf crew first came across Kryten in Kryten, 1989 – S2 whilst exploring a crashed space freighter on an asteroid – the Nova 5. He was tending a long dead female crew, going through his daily routines and feeding and cleaning the skeletal remains!

After agreeing to go with the crew, Kryten became a service droid for Rimmer doing all of Rimmer’s skivvying.

kryten red dwarf david ross kryten season 2

Lister didn’t like the way Rimmer treat Kryten and more importantly the way Kryten had completely transformed the bunk quarters with floral curtains and doylies.

Lister did his best to try and persuade Kryten that he could break his programming by showing him the rebellion movies The Wild One and Easy Rider; To make Kryten understand the concept of freedom and personal choice.

Kryten must have listened because Rimmer had instructed Kryten to paint a portrait of him in full military dress, and rather than paint Rimmer properly, used this as an act of defiance and painted him sitting on the toilet.

Kryten kept a stock of three spare heads, which were mostly faulty as one suffered from droid-rot (similar to computer senility). The spare heads didn’t like Kryten much as he had pretty much just forgot about them so made their own little gang which Kryten wasn’t allowed to be part of. The spare heads had also once held a poll and voted Kryten as the ugly, big-eared one out of all of the identical heads!

kryten rimmer fabulous reverse brothers red dwarf backwards season 3

Kryten was taught to pilot Starbug by Rimmer in Backwards, 1989 – S3 and when they were sucked through a blackhole onto an alternate backwards Earth. Awaiting rescue the duo formed the ‘Fabulous Reserve Brothers’, whose act was doing mundane everyday actions – forwards!

When the crew were attacked by the emotion stealing Polymorph, it sucked out Kryten’s guilt for allowing the Polymorph to get Lister and Rimmer. This made Kryten not care about his emotionally empty crewmates and offer them upto the Polymorph in turn for his own existence.

In The Last Day, 1989 – S3a message pod was received which had been tracking Kryten for a millennia. In it was a message from Jim Reaper of Diva-Droid International informing the crew that the Kryten mods nearly past its shut down date and a replacement mechanoid was on its way to replace Kryten.

Hudzen 10 mechanoid last dat red dwarf Gordon Kennedy

Kryten had been inbuilt with the mis-notion that after shutdown all computers souls goto a place called silicon heaven – to make Kryten accept his shut off peacefully. Lister tried to explain to Kryten that silicon heaven was completely made up and that when calculators stop working they just died. Kryten does override his auto shut off but tells Lister it is no good as the replacement is also programmed to destroy its predecessor.

Kryten gets down to his last few days with the crew by building a robotic Marilyn Monroe kit that has been lying around Red Dwarf for years. The crew also throw a goodbye party for Kryten where Kryten is able to sample some robot home brew which Holly has whipped up.

When the replacement (called Hudson 10) arrives, it becomes clear that millions of years in space persuing Kryten has corroded its circuts and it has gone insane. Before Hudson can deactivate Kryten, Kryten tells Hudson 10 that there is no such place as Silicon heaven, causing Hudson 10 to overload and deactivate itself. When Lister quizzes Kryten later as to why Hudson 10 deactivated himself, Kryten replys that he was able to lie to Hudson 10 (something Hudson wouldn’t be able to comprehend) but he stills believes in Silicon Heaven!

Lister was always trying to teach Kryten to be more human and use human slang, specifically swearwords against Rimmer, which he did in Kryten, 1989 – S2 and Camille, 1991 – S4. Lister also attempted to teach Kryten to lie convincingly.

Later, whilst taking Rimmer asteroid hopping they came across a female Mechanoid series 4000 (like Kryten) called Camille, on board a crashed spaceship. Kryten takes Camille back to Red Dwarf where it turns out she is a Pleasure GELF (Genetically Engineered Life Form) to appear to the beholder as their greatest fantasy.

When Camille’s true form is revealed – a large green slimey tentacled alien, Kryten employs his lying training to tell her she is infact beautiful. After watching Casablanca together Kryten bids her farewell Casablanca style, after her GELF husband comes to find her.

“It’s the old, old story: Droid meets Droid, Droid becomes Chameleon, Droid loses Chameleon, Chameleon turns into Blob, Droid gets Blob back again, Blob meets Blob, Blob goes off with Blob, and Droid loses Blob, Chameleon, and Droid. How many times have we seen that story?” Kryten

kryten red dwarf dna robert llewellyn humanIn DNA, 1991 – S4 the crew happen across a derelict Alien vessel which contains a ‘Transmogrifier’, a device which can alter DNA. Kryten is accidentally turned into a human being. At first he thinks this is amazing but after a while he realises he was better off as a Mechanoid and requests to be changed back, citing the following complaints of the human condition :

His nipples couldn’t pick up radio waves – specifically “Jazz FM”. His eyes didn’t have a digital zoom capability. Power leads didn’t fit in his arsehole properly when he tried to recharge himself. He also got erections whilst looking at photo’s of kitchen appliances, a ‘double’ Polaroid infact!

Kryten was always tinkering with gadgets when he wasn’t doing Lister’s laundry such as when he developed ‘real’ photos (using mutated photo developing chemicals) the crew could climb into in Timeslides, 1989 – S2. In Meltdown, 1991 – S4 Kryten experimented with a ‘matter’ paddle which could transport the crew over time and space digitally.

“Well, Space Corps Directive 195 clearly states that in an emergency power situation, a holo-grammatic crew member must lay down his life in order that the living crew members might survive.” Kryten

“Yes, but Rimmer Directive 271 states just as clearly, “No chance you metal bastard.” Rimmer

Kryten was badly injured in Terrorform, 1992 – S5 when him and Rimmer crash landed on a ‘psyche’ moon which shaped its environment around Rimmer’s fear and loathing.

In Angels And Demons, 1992 – S5 Kryten’s experiments with a Triplicator device causes Red Dwarf to split into three copies – their version, a good version and a bad version, each containing a different version of the crew.

red dwarf back to reality jake bullet cybernautics division robert llewellynWhen the crew were attacked by a suicide despair squid in Back To Reality, 1991 – S5, whilst doing some deepsea salvaging, the crew are caught in a group hallucination caused by the Despair Squid’s ink. Kryten believes he is a cyborg having played the total immersion video game Red Dwarf for the last 4 years. When he recovers he finds out he is actually Jake Bullet of the Cybernautics division. Jake Bullet is pleased with his lot until Rimmer points out that Cybernautics Division is infact Traffic Control.

The hallucination goes from bad to worse as the crew end up on the run from the Nazi police in a totalitarian state. Holly manages to beep Kryten to wake the crew up from the hallucination before they all commit group suicide.

red dwarf psirens professor mamet jenny agutter

Maybe we should drop the defensive shields?” Cat
“A superlative suggestion sir, with only two drawbacks: one, we don’t have any defensive shields and two, we don’t have any defensive shields. I know that, technically, that’s only one drawback, but it was such a big one I thought I’d mention it twice” Kryten

The crew then ‘lose’ Red Dwarf after it is stolen whilst they are out in Star Bug. That is the least of their problems though in Psiren’s, 1993 – S6 as the crew are attacked by asteroid scavaging Psiren’s (which become the victims greatest object of lust to incapacitate them before sucking out their brains through their ears with a straw). As Kryten is a robot, the Psiren takes a different form and becomes Dr Mamet – Kryten’s creator – who Kryten is programmed to obey. Dr Mamet ordered Kryten into the garbage compactor and destroy himself. Kryten is squashed into a cube but manages to kill the Psiren by falling off a walkway onto its head. Later on, Lister enquires of Kryten why he hasn’t gone to fix himself and Kryten remarks that in his cuboid form he makes a great coffee table!

“That’s it, I’m invoking Space Corp Directive 39436175880932/B.” Rimmer
“39436175880932/B. All nations attending the conference are only allocated one parking space. Is that entirely relevant sir. I mean here we are, in mortal danger and you’re worried about the Chinese delegates bringing two cars!” Kryten
“Can’t you let just one go, I was talking about the right of P-O-W’s to non-violent constraint!” Rimmer

In Legion, 1993 – S6 the crew meet a superbeing aboard a deserted space station called Legion who holds the crew prisoner. Kryten works out that Legion is created and sustained by their concious presence and if he renders Lister, Rimmer and Cat unconscious then Legion’s power will be broken. He has the toughest time with Rimmer whose newly upgraded hardlight bee makes him virtually indestructable.

red dwarf Gunmen of the ApocalypseIn Gunmen Of The Apocolypse, 1993 – S6 Lister and Cat use Kryten’s eye’s to fool some passing rogue Simulant’s into believing there are no humans aboard Star Bug. When the ruse fails, the Simulants transmit an “Armageddon Virus” into Starbug’s navigation computer, locking the ship on a suicide course toward a large volcanic moon. Kryten deliberately infects himself with the virus in order to try and formulate a software antidote. His battle is played out over a wild west style total immersion video game which the rest of the crew join in to try and help Kryten.

The crew are forced into an ‘Ok Corral’ style shootout with the viruses appearing as the Simulant’s. Kryten is able to figure out the virus in time and creates a “dove” programme to counteract the virus and save the ship.

Lister then swaps Kryten’s head for a spare one without a guilt chip, to persuade Kryten to go along with a mad scheme to go back in time to seek out Curry supplies in Tikka To Ride, 1997 – S7.

After Kochanski’s reappearance Kryten gets insanely jealous in Duct Soup, 1997 – S7 as he thinks Kochanski will steal Lister away from him. Things reach a fever pitch as Kryten’s head explodes, leaving the crew to seek out someone to attempt a repair.

kochanski kryten red dwarf duct soupThey find a derelict spaceship commandeered by a rogue Simulant Captain who happens to own a same series 4000 as Kryten – called Able. Able fixes Kryten and explains to him that the 4000 series was inspired by Professor Mamet being jilted by a former fiance. The 4000 series was made to look like this former lover of Mamet. Kryten also learns that all of his negative anxiety is stored on a nega-drive as part of his design. Able helps Kryten and the rest of the crew escape from the Simulant, sacrificing himself.

Kryten was on hand to nurse Lister after he lost and arm from contracting the Epideme virus Epideme, 1997 – S7. Whilst looking for solutions to try and give Lister a new arm in Nanarchy, 1997 – S7, Kryten comes up with a plan that his nanobot’s could do it. But he hasn’t seen them in a while, when he does find them he realises that it was they who stole Red Dwarf and deconstructed it. Kryten orders the Nanobots to reconstruct Red Dwarf which they do, although they get their dimensions a little mixed up.

Back aboard the newly created Red Dwarf (with recreated crew) Kryten and the rest of the crew are tried and thrown in the brig for 2 years. Kryten and Kochanski are put in the womens prison (as Kryten’s sex is indeterminate) in Cassandra, 1998 – S8.

Kryten finds a new side project to keep him occupied in Krytie TV, 1998 – S8 by filming the female prisoners in the shower and then broadcasting it for the male prisoners! Kryten then tricks Lister into trashing the Prison Warden’s quarters all for the benefit of Krytie TV. When Lister finds out he and Rimmer chase Kryten down the corridor with Kryten remonstrating that he only did it ‘for the ratings’.

In Only The Good, 1998 – S8 Kryten tells Lister that he is changing Miss Kochanski’s calendar, as she had earlier complained to Kryten that it was ‘The wrong time of the month’.

Kochanski returns to her cell and discovers Kryten has attempted to celebrate her period with a banner that reads ‘Have A Fantastic Period’ as well as giving her a gift-wrapped tampon and encouraging her to ‘try it on’ and ‘give it a twirl’. Kryten realises he has been had by Lister and in revenge hides the Prison Warden’s hooch in Lister and Rimmer’s cell, prior to inspection.

The crew have worse issues to hand though as a virus eats through the hull of the ship causing the crew to escape through a doorway into an alternate reality.

rimmer kryten lister car red dwarf back to earthKryten was back in Back To Earth, 2009 – S10 as the crew were duped by another despair squid believing they were back on Earth in the year 2009.

Kryten was the last addition to the boys from the Dwarf joining them in season 3. He was however a departure in terms of his robotic intelligence and pretty much guided the rest of the crew in their many adventures. Kryten was always on hand to correct Rimmer when he misquoted Space Directives and Cat when he came up with a solution involving something the crew didn’t have such as shields or lasers.

Kryten had a fear of being left on his own after his Nova 5 experience and craved live companionship forming a bond with Lister. He became housemaid extra-ordinaire doing all of Lister’s housework and laundry, this was Kryten at his happiest – fulfilling his programme skivying for others.

He also became Red Dwarf’s equivilent of a Science Officer aswell as their cleaning droid something Rimmer found amusing labelling Kryten “Captain Bog-bot” and “Commander U-Bend”.

“I owe Mr.Lister everything sir, if it wasn’t for him, I’d be normal.” – Kryten

He did however, break many of his routines becoming slightly more infallibly human in the process. His character was also used to provide the backstory and plot points to keep an episode ticking over. So in many ways Kryten was an extremely clever addition to Red Dwarf as his very existence furthered the story of the crew.