Dimension Jump XI


Following yet more auctioning antics - Real costumes! Real props! Real hangovers! - Hattie Hayridge donned the stage with Shend.

For those not in the know, the towering Shend was Warden Knot in two episodes of Red Dwarf VIII ("It was a small role... not that I'm particularly small") - which is to say, he and Hattie had never shared the screen in the show. Still, they made for an endearing odd-couple on-stage.

Shend began by trying to take a photograph of the crowd to pay them back for all their snapping... but unfortunately his batteries had run out. So proceedings moved on to how he got his name - which, it turns out, means 'to disembowl'. Though it can be a problem having a Madonna-esque single name. "You can't have just one name on your driving licence - so I'm The Shend. Maybe it's short for Theodore or something."

And what did he enjoy most about Red Dwarf? "The cheque! Not really, it was tiny," he joked. The audience passed back to Hattie. Same question. "Same question? 'Why am I called The Shend?'" she giggled. Hattie has been known to keep moving in the background of shots during the show, though. "I was trying to steal the show... I'm not sure they even knew I was doing it."

In all seriousness, Red Dwarf has allowed her to meet some cool celebs, including Ralph Fiennes. Shend: "When you met Ralph did you ask him why he pronounces his name wrong?" Hattie: "I think it's his mother that's got the speech impediment."

The Shend, for the record, has a new film role in the offing. "It's called Submerge... so I've sort of figured it's not about flying." Could be worse - the actor has certainly been on some lazy film sets in his time. "I won't say what I was on, but at one point I saw the cameraman reading Caravaning Times." He was also once abandoned in a shed in Heartbeat when the crew moved on without telling him he didn't need to do another take.

Hattie, thankfully, kept details of her 'supporting' Puppetry of the Penis to a minimum. Shend: "I auditioned for that." Hattie: "Actually they do have auditions." Shend: "I was joking, I was joking!"

Next up was the highlight of the convention... if you weren't in the room. For those that were, Andrew Ellard (which, okay, yes, is my name) took to the stage. There was a huge and mightily funny statement from Doug Naylor to be read out, a special preview of the Series VI DVD documentary 'The Starbuggers'
to watch and... about three questions to be answered. What's the very first line of the movie? It's hard to remember the different drafts, but I think one of them was 'Exterior. Space.'

With that rather painful moment over, Mike Tucker arrived to show a collection of footage and slides covering his career in vis-FX, and his time on Dwarf in particular. The slides were almost all the right way up, too! "Oh, one upside-down. I knew that'd happen. Never load a slide projector when you're hungover."

Perhaps the most fascinating non-Dwarf moment was showing images of rooms and lamp posts, then showing a second image with a human in the frame that revealed their size as miniatures. Still, there was plenty of trivia, too, with Mike pointing out ice-cube trays and a fuse-box cover on the side of the Dwarf hangar exterior set. Oh, and did you know the polymorph's pod was made of a mini-vac? Didn't think so.

Talk turned to the Red Dwarf ship itself, and whether he preferred the original (built to the BBC's design by the late Derek Meddings' Magic Camera Company), the Series V rebuilt-and-blown-up version, or the remastered model that was eventually rendered in CGI? "I don't think the definitive Red Dwarf has been built yet," he suggested. It seems that the early versions were not the greatest models, and the most recent was good, but not the design he would have selected.

With just autographs, videos and yet more auctioning to follow, the convention was reaching its end. The Club team bid everyone a fond farewell... and everyone legged it to watch England get clobbered by France on the TV.

Still, until that point it was one of the best weekends you've had in your life.