Dimension Jump XI

Dimension Jump is the (almost) annual convention organised by The Official Red Dwarf Fan Club and staged at a glamorous and bustling English city. This year: Bedford. Well, it had a bank and a traffic cone, what more could you ask for?

The hotel itself was nice, if not a little expensive alright, VERY expensive. I had to take out a bank loan for a steak and kidney pie. However, the facilities could not be knocked and they allowed us to stay up all night drinking alcohol and talking about obscene things.

But, what of the convention itself? Before I begin my report I will say to you that it was remarkable. Having only been to DJX before this, I do not have much to compare it to but this weekend certainly knocked the socks off last year. And that’s no mean feat. So, without further adjure here we have the highlights of Dimension Jump XI.

Friday
It’s the first night and everyone is buzzing with excitement about the up-and-coming weekend.

After our traditional welcome from the fan club we got straight in with the Quiz. Instead of the traditional Boys v. Girls of past years, we were split into Pub Quiz style teams and asked to answer 100 questions from a slide show. The quiz was conducted by the ever excellent Christopher Brown and the questions were quite good, if we ignore some factual errors in the questions. Team H, known as ‘We Love Ellard’ won. AND WE DIDN’T CHEAT, BEFORE YOU START! It was a shame they couldn’t do the Music Round, though.

Later in the evening Chris was signing as usual but before that there was some serious interrogation for me to do. Having never spoken to Andrew Ellard in the past I went up to him and joined in the already thronging mass of 4 people. Talk was already on DVD’s and, after I introduced myself as the trouble maker from The White Hole, conversation flowed as much as the beer (John Hoare bought him one pint). I was glad to get a chance to justify my past slurs on his writing in ‘Life in Lame’ and also to have a good old session of telling each other how wrong we are about Series VII and VIII. The DVDs were discussed at length and it was good to be able to fire all the questions I had at someone who wanted to answer them.

And so, cue lots of drinking and some invaluable chat with my Fan Site contemporaries and an eccentric homosexual who wanted to sit on my knee. The weekend had well and truly landed.

Saturday
HANG OVER! It hurt, let me tell you, but nothing could have been a better tonic (apart form perhaps a box of Fizzy Good) than what came next: A double bill of Chris Barrie and Robert Llewellyn.

In a weekend of exclusives and revelations the Q&A session with Chris Barrie was unremarkable on that front. However, he was funny, interesting and a pleasure to listen to, as always. He revealed that the only good sit-com he’d seen recently was The Office but I’ll let that one pass. This time. As well as some fine impressions of the cast, his thoughts on working with Angelina Jolie were discussed, as was his reaction to Craig Charles acting like a moron in Celebrities Disfigured. He remained diplomatic in his comments and only really criticised the program makers for failing to make the point they wanted to make, properly. They portrayed Craig’s alter-ego as a raving mentalist, not as a normal man with horrible scarring and the delicate social situations he may find himself in. Well done Channel 4.

And so, after 1 hour 20 minutes of ‘Chris Barrie’s Comedy Hangover Remedy’ Robert bounded onto the stage with his customary vim and vigour. The fact that he had had only 4 hours sleep the night before (snap) and that he’s been spending weeks and weeks filming Scrapheap didn’t seem to quash his usual energy and delighted the whole audience with his anecdotes of Sat-Nav Systems and stories from the Scrapheap. I asked Rob about his project iSpin (which was mentioned at the time of his WomanWizard release) but unfortunately this is on hold for now. No political satires Llewellyn style just yet, then. A question from Paul Gannon about Llew.TV’s Happy Farmer sparked a story or two about the local farmers around Robert and their curmudgeonly and drunken antics. Fantastic.

After some showings of various videos and the Red Dwarf Olympics (which I’m afraid I can tell you nothing about as I didn’t watch or take part) it was time for Danny John-Jules to take the stage. He was brilliant as always and told the most fantastic anecdote about Story Makers involving obscene outtakes with the puppets. Good news for DVD fans, Story Makers series I is likely to be released soon. Imagine that!

Oh, and Danny John-Jules’ girlfriend crashed his Jaguar S-Type into a wall. The wall was utterly obliterated but the car seemed relatively unscathed. Mr John-Jules was reported to be “angry”. I have a brick.

More drink and videos were consumed and watched until the evening entertainment begun. John Lenehan (Talkie Toaster circa Series I) delivered his usual brand of comedy and magic (better than Paul Daniels) after a rather impressive fancy dress show, presented by the even more impressive Hattie Haydrige. It was won by a fantastic bazookoid and thankfully no nakedness was to be seen.

I didn’t attend the disco so if you want to find out about dancing, do it over there.

Sunday
Hattie Hayridge and Shend were the next stars to be thrust under the critical eye of the unforgiving and brutal collection of Red Dwarf fans. Despite the reputation of DJ audiences to challenge the cast with probing and interesting questions that delve deep into their troubled brains, we decided to give Hattie a Shend a break and talk about other things instead. I asked a question about Hattie’s best heckle and I think Shend spoke about Heartbeat. That’s all I can remember, really.

The ever excellent Mike Tucker was next to face the challenge of entertaining a room full of fans, and he did this with aplomb. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we didn’t get to the see the Special Effect video from last year as it will be appearing (with full commentary) on the Series V DVD. Instead Mike treated us to a port folio video montage of all his best work, spanning his time in Dr Who, Red Dwarf and numerous documentary films, one of which was a very impressive looking one about hurricanes, in which Mike obliterated quarter size miniature sets with wind and water. What came next was a real treat as Mike took us through some slides (he was loading the projection carrousel for 24 hours!). Pictures of (mainly Red Dwarf related) models were shown with Mike talking us through how some effects were achieved and the creative process behind creating such sets and models.

Incidentally, I spoke to Mike at his signing about the possibility of seeing his slides on a future DVD but I was disappointed to find out this will not happen. However, the pant moistening news is that Mike is planning a book and intends to include most of the pictures shown, in there. There’s an article in that and I’m working on it. I promise.

The final victim to be subjected to the ravenous information wolves, that were the DJ audience, was DVD Producer and Director Andrew Ellard. Despite most people knowing who he was, no questions were asked of the up and coming DVD’s and so his knowledge went largely untapped. There were most likely a few reasons for this, but the main one was that people were still cleaning up the sticky mess they had created after listening to Doug Naylor’s email, read out by Mr. Ellard. As covered in my news story on the 14 June Doug was expecting to meet with financiers to continue talks started in Cannes and possibly even signing contracts that would allow the green lighting of the production. Crikey.

As if fresh movie news wasn’t enough, Andrew then showed the crowd a fully edited preview of the Emohawk: Polymorph II segment from the forthcoming Series VI DVD. It was exactly what we come to expect from the documentaries, i.e. it was utterly brilliant, informative and funny in one effortless breath. Definite highlights include anecdotes from the guy who played Lister’s Gelf bride and two lovely little clips from the rushes, used brilliantly to punctuate stories told by the assembled cast. I have big, big hopes for the Series V and VI DVD’s and it looks like the interviews are going to deliver, as expected.

More news on the final 4 DVD’s (including amore detailed report on the Emohawk preview) will be coming very soon on The White Hole.

And so, save for a few videos and a signing session, DJ was over. In terms of sheer Red Dwarf exclusiveness it was perfect, in terms of the company I kept whilst at DJ it was perfect and in terms of the attitude of the cast, crew and Fan Club it was perfect.

All in all a 100% successful trip.

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