Dimension Jump XI


Hangovers present and correct, the audience nevertheless gave it up for Chris Barrie as he mounted the stage for a Q&A. "Is anyone from Bedford? Hmmm. Someone put their hand up then put it down again!"

Topics were wide-ranging, covering his appearance in Filthy, Rich and Catflap as a director (based, it turns out, on Spitting Image director Peter Harris); his Massive Engines show ("I fell off a steam engine. That did hurt"); and, of course, Miss Angelina Jolie and Tomb Raider. ("In those kind of things you just hit your marks and say your lines... or wave your stick... and try not to injure Angelina, to avoid the wrong kind of headlines.")

The funniest, though, was probably his protracted discussion on his key 'oh my God' Dwarf memory - kissing Craig Charles. "You think 'it's just a person... with a tongue.'" No words can describe the excellentness of an answer that eventually moved off into the surreal ("It would have been different with a person with no tongue").

Still, the inevitable movie question had to appear sooner or later. "I was wondering how long it would be before that one came up." Chris checked his watch, "18 minutes."

Thankfully, some impressions were not far behind - starting with his cast-mates. "You always start like you've got a hangover with Craig," he joked. "Norman's the easiest one to go into from a standing start." Though Tony Hawks was possibly the best of all, his monologue as the voice of Craig's brain that Saturday morning was an absolute hoot.

Does he enjoy doing the Rimmer salute? "Enjoy doing it?" He salutes, just to find out. "Well, yeah, when I'm at home feeling low..." A worrying arm/wrist tiredness joke followed which we choose not to repeat.

Football was also very much on Chris' mind, and the actor predicted a "cagey draw" (sadly not to be) between England and France. Finally, how has he found it being famous? Chris admitted he found it all rather bemusing, especially when people come up to him in shops. "You're that bloke aren't you? What are you doing in a pet shop buying dog food?' Because I've got a dog! And if I don't feed her she'll starve!"

Robert Llewellyn was next up - though he very nearly didn't make it. "A funny thing happened to me on the way to the convention. No, really." It seems Robert's satellite navigation system - complete with nagging female voice - took him on a slight detour. "She says, 'Take second left at roundabout.' There is no roundabout!"

Still, without pausing for breath - or an all-important bathroom break - Robert, jealous of Chris' decision to wear shorts in the heat, fielded his hour of questions with aplomb. The movie again reared its head. "It is going to happen. I can feel it in my left buttock. It used to be in my right, but now it's in my left I know it's going to happen... Doug did explain the financing to me but I fell asleep half way through."

A riff followed on Tom Cruise playing one possible Lister. Who could be Kryten? Maybe Tom Hanks? Wow, a movie full of Toms! Who else? Erm... Tom Baker as Rimmer? Picking up on the age-old Kochanski/Kryten clash, where does Robert keep his salad cream - in the fridge or the cupboard? "I'm a poncy middle-class bastard - I have mayonnaise."

So what ever became of the film version of The Man of Platform 5? "It's on its tenth draft and its seventh writer. I've read the latest script and... it's better than the book!" His latest novel is still under wraps, though Robert did let slip a TV industry setting and a genre: "It's a mature romantic-comedy-drama-thriller."

Auctioning a Kryten tissue dispenser - one of Japan's more colourful pieces of merchandise - also brought its own special smiles. "You've got to have it haven't you? He'll look great in the bog... I will sign it - in any fluid you require."

After picking his favourite lines from the show ("It's a banana", "Step up to red alert" and "Spin my nipple-nuts and send me to Alaska"), failing miserably at Craig Charles' 'street' hand gestures, and discussing how he gentlemanly refused to look at a naked Jenny Agutter, he was asked to say one very specific line. "I'm almost annoyed'. Why? Does that do something for you?"

Still, at the end it got even ruder - four-letter ruder. "I swore then. Sorry. It's old Anglo-Saxon, it means to plough a field in a nice straight way. 'Father, I've been f***king the field.'"

So, girls, hang on to your knickers - Danny John-Jules is in the house. The final guest of the day was on stage less than a second before being bombarded by camera flashes. "This is the bit I like," the dude grinned. "Bloodshot eyes, retinas wrecked. Anybody got any Optrex?"

Settling into his seat, Danny immediately got comfortable. "Robert's warmed up the seat for me." Ah, Dan, Robert didn't actually sit down. "He didn't sit down? He can't - his wallet's too big."

Covering Danny's name-dropping ability, we had Wesley Snipes ("He's shorter than you think. But he's still taller than me... by about an inch") followed by ex-footballer Ian Wright (who Danny is planning to put in a sit-com: "I said to him, 'If Jamie Theakston can do it, so can you'").

Does he have problems eating with the teeth in? "Not really. When I first got the teeth, I took them home and practiced with them." And who's the more charismatic, the Cat or Duane? "Duane Dibbley! ...Mind you, you've got to have a lot charisma to put on that pink suit."

Why is he hiding his hairstyle under his hat? "I'm not hiding it. And who said it was a hairstyle?" Eventually he was persuaded to unleash his braids to the adoring throng.

So how does he feel about Storymakers now getting a DVD release. "Oh man, the outtakes would be x-rated! You wouldn't believe it!" He then lurched into an impression of his puppet companion from the show in his more... rambunctious moments. "'Milton...will you touch my bottom?'" So expect to see Storymakers: Too Rude For TV sometime very soon.

Who was that John-Jules family member appearing as the young Lister in Ouroboros? "That was my nephew. He's a big boy now, my brother's kid." Danny estimated the child's age now as ten... before being informed that the episode was shown in 1997. "'97? So he's eight. That's why I went into musical theatre - I'd have been no good as a mathematician."

What are his favourite movies? The Hill comes high on the list. "It had that effect on you that you really wanted to beat up the characters. It made you hate them." And what of his guest role on Casualty? "That short-lived one? The only role I did was down that slope!" In the second of a two-part story, Danny was only seen as a body on a gurney. "I actually got paid for an entire episode for lying there!"

Was he jealous of the Chris Barrie/Craig Charles snog scene? "The Cat never gets any conjugal activity. It would ruin the character." Was it an uncomfortable scene? "No, I think they enjoyed it..." And, so far as Danny's concerned, Craig's always up for a good time. "When I first met Craig I was blind drunk. I staggered out of the pub and fell into the gutter... and he was there looking up at me."

The expected applause met his singing of Tongue Tied ("I wish I could get applause for doing a quarter of a song normally!"), but it was his impressions that really won the day. Unlike Chris, Danny didn't use his voice, but rather his body, recreating famous moves of various dancers. The list included Gene Kelly, James Cagney, Michael Flatley, MC Hammer, John Belushi, Rudolf Nureyev, Dick Van Dyke, Bruce Forsythe and Britney Spears. (Weirder inclusions were The Riviera Kid and Robert Llewellyn!)

Asked to do Usher, though, Danny insisted that you really only need do Michael Jackson for that. Asked to try Justin Timberlake and the dancer shrugged and said, "Just do Usher doing Jackson."

Autographs soon followed. And the evening was looking to be a hot one...