If Jeeves lived in space and had a head that resembled a half-masticated pencil eraser, he'd be Kryten. We take a fond look at the great, long-suffering mechanoid.


Kryten was once a servant on the marooned vessel Nova 5, tirelessly tending to the three dead crewmates, each one of whom bore an uncanny resemblance to Norman Bates's mum. You'd think anything after that would have been a step up, but sadly he happened to be rescued by the Dwarfers, consigning him to a new life in which his one and only role model – his master and hero, his very reason to exist – is a man whose idea of good eating is a sugar puff sandwich.

Still, at least Lister did help break Kryten's programming and make him far more than just another prissy mechanoid servant. Well, we say that – he's still very much a prissy mechanoid servant with a worrying fixation on Lister's laundry, but he also happens to be a veritable oracle of wisdom, knowing everything there is to know about everything, from shapeshifting GELFs to white holes to parallel universes. He's a bit of a thicko when it comes to human anatomy though – on being transformed into a flesh-and-blood person, he was rather alarmed to discover his eyes lacked a zoom function and his left nipple was useless at picking up Jazz FM. And let's also pause a moment to remember how he celebrated Kochanski's time of the month with a huge banner reading "Have a fantastic period"…

Er, yes. Apart from all that, Kryten's pretty much a genius. And while he may look like the victim of a nasty industrial accident, he's also a bit of romantic hero as well – just look at the time he romanced the lovely Camille, who had appearance issues of her own (ie, she was a giant ball of slime whose sole facial feature was an eye on a stalk). Another fine moment in the Kryten chronology was the time he became a sheriff in the Wild West – only in his own head, sadly, but he did make a very fine staggering drunk, before doing fearless battle with a deadly computer virus. We'd say "what a guy" but that phrase is reserved for some smug git with really fantastic hair.

In fact, just about the only thing Kryten didn't handle all that well was the re-appearance of Kristine Kochanski. When she came on board from a parallel universe, Kryten set a landmark. He became officially the first person ever to actually get jealous over Dave Lister (we've no evidence for saying this, but come on). In fact Kryten got so riled up that he developed a worrying tendency to speak in a tone high-pitched enough to make dogs moan. Even discovering he had a brother called Able didn't help matters – though the family reunion wasn't exactly helped by the fact that Able happened to be a zonked-out drug addict.

Kryten and Kochanski buried the hatchet after Red Dwarf's crew were resurrected and promptly slung the gang in prison. Having been classified as a woman due to lack of anything remotely dangly between his legs (unlike Data, Kryten is most certainly not "fully functional"), Kryten shared a cell with Krissy and apart from the whole fantastic period debacle they got on rather well. Sure, Kryten was re-programmed by his fellow convicts to record women in the showers and broadcast the images on "Krytie TV", but hey – it'd been a while since he'd put his zoom lens to good use.

Yep, Kryten's come a long way since the Nova 5 – but will he ever be brave enough to give up servitude to Lister and become his own mechanoid? Of course he won't, and it's just as well – Lister would never get his boxers washed otherwise. And that just doesn't bear thinking about…

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