Which was your favourite successful scrapheap challenge, and which was your favourite commendable failure?
Hate to pick favourites but the flight special we did in 2002 stays in the mind. 3 teams built 3 working airplanes in 2 days, and they all (just about) flew. Most commendable failure has to be the car trebuchet which collapsed very dramatically just before it did anything
Hi. Was doing an episode of Bottom with Rik and Ade a crazy experience?
It’s obviously come back to me a great deal recently with the sad passing of Rik. It was enormous fun, they were brilliant to work with, Rik was simply the master at big, brutal and hysterically funny physical gags and I did punch him during rehearsals. I didn’t mean to, he asked me to get closer when I was whacking him about the head, unfortunately I got a bit too close. Sad loss
Hey there Bobby 🙂 How’s it all going?
It’s all going very well, I’ve managed to get my lamb korma in the slow cooker before I sat down, dogs walked, kitchen clean, chickens shut away and it’s not raining. All in all, not bad. Hope you are okay too 🙂
How was it filming the US pilot for Red Dwarf? Did you think it would take off in the US, or did you feel like it was going to be terrible from the get-go?
I was kind of thrown in the deep end on the Red Dwarf pilot, it was back in 1992 so some of the events are a bit hazy now. I had no way of judging if it would succeed or fail, on the night of the 1st recording it felt pretty good, the audience loved it, but then it was mostly an audience of TV professionals and the producers. The whole thing was a very bizarre experience for a gormless Brit
Rob, how do you feel about Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee? To me, it’s pretty much the same format as Carpool, but shorter.
Also… is Red Dwarf XI happening?
I was a little surprised when I first saw it how closely ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ was to Carpool, but then again, lots of people have put cameras in cars and recorded conversations before Carpool, so I can’t really ‘copyright’ the idea. I think there’s room for both and I’m making new episodes of Carpool very soon.
Hi Rob, what ever happened to the Red Dwarf movie and is there any new Red Dwarf in our future ?
Red Dwarf movie was in pre-production in…. 2001. I can’t see it happening but never say never. Red Dwarf XI is on the cards, as to exactly when we are all in a studio together and actually recording it is anyones guess but it is coming.
Hi Robert, Two questions, if I may.
1) given that Scotland is the windiest country in Europe, how long will it be before we properly harness this form of green energy and have it supplying our needs?
2) how many Space Corps directives do you still remember?
I’ll answer the 2nd one first. No, I couldn’t even remember them on the night. Wait, one has come back to me! ‘No officer in the Space Corps with false teeth can perform oral sex in zero gravity.’ 1st question. There is no question the entire (present) UK could generate all the electricity we need from wind. It would obviously require considerable investment but we are blessed with 40% of Europe’s wind, we have huge coastal areas and the technology is improving all the time. On the other hand, with the current attitudes and pressure from existing power suppliers it’s going to be a long slow increase.
Hi Robert! Looking beyond electric cars… What are your thoughts on self-driving cars?
Having been in a few self driving cars, they take getting used to but clearly it’s going to happen. I was in a self parking Volvo yesterday, it parked perfectly every time, no dents or scratches. Machines are very good at that kind of thing. It’s clearly going to happen and it raises many moral questions but on the whole, I believe machines will be better at driving than 99% of humanoids
Hi Rob! I loved your book Thin He Was And Filthy-Haired! Will you be writing anything more in that vein? And, of course, any more news on Red Dwarf XI?
I am just starting to work on a kind of autobiography but not in the traditional sense of ‘when I was 12 I went to school’ more of a rumination on life and what I’ve learned as a bloke
Hello Mr Llewellyn, thank you for doing this! If (when, please please please please please) Red Dwarf XI and beyond happen, will you add more chapters to The Man in the Rubber Mask?
If and when we do Red Dwarf XI and it is on the cards, I suppose I will have to write another chapter in Man in the Rubber Mask 🙂
What do you think the outcome will be from the release of the patents by Tesla Motors?
I have still yet to fully digest what the implications are for the Tesla patent release, it strikes me as a brilliant move and I really hope other manufacturers take advantage. It’s very hard not to be impressed with Tesla and indeed Mr Musk. Obviously, a continuous steady improvement in battery technology is going to make a huge difference and the good thing is, that’s happening.
I met you at a scrap heap special at beaulie which was a great day out. Was great to meet you. Regarding electric cars what do you think can be done to help bring them to more home? Is it simply a case of cost still or is there a problem with education (range anxiety etc) or infrastructure?
It’s a bit of all those things. ‘Range Anxiety’ (a term coined by General Motors PR dept when they withdrew the EV1 and launched the civilian Hummer) lasts for about 1 week. After that you don’t think about it unless the BBC does a report on electric cars and they ALWAYS bang on about it. Infrastructure is an issue but it is already fairly widespread, no doubt that if there were millions of electric cars we’ve barely scratched the surface regarding charge points, but it’s growing all the time. Education is the hardest one, if you’ve never driven an EV and someone tells you it’s no good, you’ll get range anxiety, the batteries blow up, they run out, they need to be thrown in landfill, the electricity comes from burning coal, and on and on and so on, then you have no experience to tell you this is all nonsense. Maybe that’s why I’ve been banging on about it for 5 years 🙂
What’s the weirdest request you have ever gotten from a fan?
When Craig Charles and I were in Seattle signing autographs, a very pregnant woman asked us to sign her belly. We did so, she gave birth that night and her husband sent us a polaroid (this was in the days before phone cams) of our signatures all small and titchy. That was quite weird, and I know there is now a young man in Seattle whose middle names are Lister Rimmer Kryten Cat
What piece of technology from Red Dwarf would you most like to see being invented?
A flat pack self assembly Swedish rejuvenation shower, but I’d follow the instructions carefully
Used to love Scrapheap Challenge, good Sunday night TV when I was at university. Any chance of a comeback?
If it were up to me Scrapheap would still be running, most likely with another presenter because I’m a bit knackered. I did it for 10 years and loved every minute but I wanted to move on. It’s a great shame there aren’t more engineering/science shows on TV. I’m trying my best to get something on again, but currently I can’t see scrapheap coming back.
How excited are you about Formula E?
Formula E is incredible, it’s ground breaking and exceptional. What the FIA are doing is jump starting a global understanding of what EV’s are capable of. The technology already developed is a couple of years ahead of anything on the market currently. I’ve only briefly seen a Formula E car running at speed. They are FAST. Really looking forward to the season.
Hi Rob, Where do you see energy saving technology in 20 years time, more prominent and mainstream or still on the rise? A pleasure to speak to you, did want to see you at a con once but was too late and only managed a brief hello.
I think the two things we are going to see really take off in the next 5-10 years are energy saving systems, low energy systems (electric cars being a good example) and energy storage. All this I believe will be small scale and widely distributed, widely owned and not centralised. We need to generate energy close to the end user, store energy locally while still linked to a national grid.
How would you convince someone to buy an electric car who loves driving, loves gear changing, loves the exhaust note?
I wouldn’t try, I’d say ‘I drive an electric car so that there’s more petrol left for you to change gear, make a lot of noise (and smoke) and be happy. However, if you do get the chance to have a go in an electric car, take it, you might be surprised.
How does it feel to have a blue plaque?
I was very embarrassed but it was great fun. Ross Noble is mad as a cut snake but he’s a lovely bloke. It was bonkers but great.
Do you think programmes like Scrapheap Challenge, Mythbusters etc increase the number of people getting into engineering, maths and science?
I don’t think they do, I know they do. We met a lot of lecturers, teachers from Universities and colleges who all said their intake had gone up since Scrapheap started. I’ve met loads of engineers who told me they decided on engineering after watching the show as kids.
Hi! Firstly, thank-you for Scrapheap challenge – I always used to look forward to that when I was younger! And, from my partner, thankyou for Red Dwarf (she can watch them over and over). And from both of us, thank-you for your inspiring series about EVs in general, we have a test drive in a LEAF in Swindon next Saturday (really looking forward to it!) and, once we have moved house, we will be purchasing one! But what colour shall we buy? We were thinking blue…
The blue is good, I rather like the black but it does show the dirt