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EV advocate Robert Llewellyn answers Barker's Dozen

Date: 01 October 2014   |   Author:

Actor who played Kryten in Red Dwarf on chickens and CO2.

1. What was your first job?

Cleaning out battery hen houses. That's a discreet way of saying chicken mass murderer.

2. What was your first company car? 

I've never had one. It's not fair!

3. What did you listen to on your last car journey? 

An audiobook of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Very profound and detailed and the perfect audiobook. There is no way I would have ploughed through a text version.

4. What one thing do you wish you could do better? 

Swim. I'm rubbish, I can barely do it. All my family swim like dolphins, I'm spluttering around the shallow end like a geriatric frog. I'd also like to be able to be an alpha male every now and then. Swaggering around bursting with confidence. Not all the time, maybe every Tuesday morning for about two hours.

5. What's your biggest achievement?

Probably being alive for 58 years. This may be due to losing a lot of mates over the past few years. The comedy profession is cruel.

6. Who are your role models?

Never been good at having role models - I get enthusiastic about someone then learn something about them I feel uncomfortable about and move on. The obvious Gandhi and Mandela I suppose, and more recently [Telsa Motors co-founder] Elon Musk - he's fairly impressive.

7. What's the stupidest thing you've done? 

How long have you got? I manage to do something fairly stupid every day: I bang my head on everything, I trip over all the time, I think my left shoulder is wider than my right because I always walk into things with my left shoulder. I dropped my wife's favourite teacup this morning.

I haven't told her yet.

When I was 16 I lied to a girl I fancied that my mum had a horse. The girl was a keen horse rider and she was impressed. The thing is, my mum did look after a friend's horse for a weekend once but she never had a horse. When the girl finally got to visit my parent's house I told her not to mention the horse because it had died and my mum would be upset.

I still know this girl: she's now a grandmother and she knows the truth about the story and yes, she always mentions it. "Hi Rob, how's your mum's horse?" Over 40 years later. Marvellous.

8. What was the most hotly debated topic at your last meeting? 

The changed policy of the iTunes feed for video podcasts. Sounds obscure? Believe me, the video podcast world are up in arms!

9. What's in your garage? 

A plug-in Toyota Prius, a Nissan Leaf and a chicken that insists on roosting in the rafters and defecating on said vehicles. I think she's been bribed by a Mr J Clarkson.

10. What's the worst thing about your job?

Never knowing what I'm going to be doing next. No, wait, that's one of the good things. I know, it's not knowing what my job actually is. I am a novelist, a TV presenter, sometimes a sort of comedy actor covered in rubber, an occasional columnist, a public speaker, a cheap show-off and a recluse. Try finding a work-life balance in that mess of pottage.

11. What one law would you make or change?

I want to ensure that the advertised CO2 output of internal combustion engines reflect the actual amount of CO2 released in the entire energy extraction/shipping/refining/transportation/pumping process. Here's a hint: it will be a little bit higher than we all think.

12. What keeps you awake at night? 

Nothing. I sleep like a log. I used to have insomnia when my kids were smaller, then I used to worry about war, invasions, meteor impacts, floods, plagues, famine and eventually sex. Happy days.

13. Who is your ideal celebrity date? 

Gwyneth Paltrow. The reason: I always used to fancy girls like her when I was young. I never stood a chance - they'd always want to 'just be friends' so I'd be safe. I could say to the Mrs: "I'm going on a date with Gwyneth tonight, see you later." And she'd reply: "Oh, lovely, do say 'hi' from me."