Dimension Jump XIII

Saturday Morning

Dragging ourselves into the main hall on Saturday morning turned out to be very worthwhile as the club presented a specially-filmed video of the cast's recent reunion at a Memorabilia event.

Still, what you really want is the people themselves, in the flesh, and Robert Llewellyn soon obliged. Running a tad late and scrambling apologetically into the hot-spot, Robert's first move was to set up his own video camera.

It seems he has plans for some of his performance to appear on YouTube - watch that space! - and he couldn't resist including the main hall screen in the shot behind him, which projected his live image. "I've got to get that in, that's quite techy!" the actor enthused as he aimed his own lens and began an introduction: "YouTubers, it's me, Robert Llewellyn and the Red Dwarf convention in Peterborough... Oh, hang on, the microphone isn't on."

Finally getting underway, the self-filming topic continued as Robert was asked about it2i2. "After 25 years I finally found out what a producer does!" It is not, apparently, a role he'd enjoyed - even taking his crew to the wrong internet café location to shoot scenes. Oh, and apparently his partner, Judy, thinks that the fat-suit version of Robert could happen for real...

Moving on, who's the worst swearer on Red Dwarf? Craig Charles, maybe. Certainly not the utterly-decent Chris Barrie. Informed that Chris let a few slip last night, Robert was aghast. "Did he?! Filthy f***er!"

Other career highlights were duly covered, including writing an episode of Red Dwarf ("Never again!"), Scrapheap Challenge ("Ten years of Scrapheap and no-one - especially including myself - has been killed or injured") and Hollywood Science ("It was a fun show to do - drinking your own urine. They wouldn't let me cheat. I had a bottle of Evian... ")

Robert also showed the environmental side of his techy nature, revealing that part of his home power supply is self-made. "We do have a wind generator. We generate a third of our own electricity... by me talking at it."

There's also the recycling issue - specifically of the Scrapheap machines built during the show, which are broken up at the end of each programme. "It's like putting a dog down - you don't do it in front of the owner."

Following a request to perform the line 'Spin my nipple-nuts and send me to Alaska', Robert pondered his favourite ever lines from the show... and typically had some trouble remembering his lines, eventually calling on some celebrity help. "Danny! What's my favourite line from Red Dwarf?!"

"I love everyone else's favourite lines," he confessed, agreeing on some of the crowd's suggestions - everything from 'Just call me badass' to 'it does mean changing the bulb.'

The subject of the dreaded Kryten mask reared its rubber head, and Robert admitted that, once it was removed, walking around outside with actual air on your face was "erotic". He also shared the sad truth that you can never lie down once you're made-up, meaning that the only rest he could get was sat still with his chin propped up on a stick.

Still, sometimes he gets to vent his frustration. Having punched the back of Craig's head (accidentally) while shooting Demons & Angels, he also admitted to a slight miscalculation while making an appearance in Bottom. "I really did hit [Rik Mayall]. He works 'very close', as they say... He has a very hard chin."

Filming seems fated to be an ordeal for Robert, as he continued to bemoan the water-soaking the cast received in Duct Soup. "We all didn't have to go for an enema for weeks!"

Asked a question by someone who was also filming the event, Robert became distracted: "Your camera is slightly bigger than mine, and I feel slightly threatened by that." And when asked what was the most important thing in comedy, he gave the typical response, "A large penis. That's what's holding me back. That's why Craig does really well."

Actually, he finally decided the answer was "a memory... I forget my children's names. If you call your daughter the name of the dog she can take umbrage."

Other revelations included the storyline he'd have liked to have seen in the show (a baby Kryten), his industrial-strength washing machine (which chews up clothes like a dog, but does leave you with clean rags), and the 'lovely' side of Red Dwarf, a show he sees as being built on love more than hate and anger.

As to his own projects, he promised that he had the following coming up: A thing you will love, a thing you will admire, a thing that's really funny and another comedic memoir, tentatively titled 'Engines & Ballet: How My Mother Tried To Turn Me Into a Homosexual and Failed'. ("A lot of my friends are that way inclined, and I don't care what people do in the privacy of their own bottoms.")

He's also directing a sketch show pilot both for and about 'posh people'. Apparently the people he's doing it for are so posh they have immediate access to whatever they need - helicopters, Rolls Royces... Red Dwarf must never have seemed further away.

Danny John-Jules was up next - accompanied by nephew Alexander. The child of Danny's lawyer brother, Alex played the baby Lister, placed in a box and shoved under a pool table in the episode Ouroboros. Needless to say he has very few memories of the shoot.

As one may have expected, Dan was quick to make fun of co-star Craig Charles and his recent press coverage. "What you don't know is that 'Rehab' is a club in Moss Side."

So, Red Dwarf, then. Ever been star struck by a guest star? Maybe Ron Pember or Don Warrington. Or Elvis? "He wasn't the real Elvis! You could tell - he didn't have a hamburger in his hand."

Would he perform the dance he did in Series II? "The Tongue Tied dance? I'll dance on your tongue in a minute." Hard to say if that's a threat or a come-on. But he did follow it up with some catty noises.

Once again the question came - what would you like to see happen in Red Dwarf? "One of my ideas was that we all turned into Krytens." Oh, and the oft-mentioned Gay Ray once again got... well, mentioned.

What else? Well, it seems that, amazingly, Danny's never been sacked for being late, that his presence on the set of Blade 2 caused quite a stir for the Dwarf fans on the crew, and that he only owns five suits in real life.

So, once again, what is the most important thing in comedy? "The script. You can get away with a mediocre performance. You can get away with bad timing. You can't get away with a bad script."

Asked if the Cat should ever get the girl, Danny reminded the throng of the 'lost episode' of Series VII - Identity Within - before pointing out that "50% of [Cat's] character was that he was a ladies' man with no ladies!"

Danny has been filming a kids series for the BBC about a spy school called M. I. High. He's the janitor... but also the equivalent of James Bond's M. He apparently turned down Dancing On Ice (kicking off an Andi Peters rant: "Talk about a fall from Grace. Whoever Grace is she let him go hard.") And he's currently in the middle of night shoots for a film called The Grind.

Still, he wishes he could cameo in Coronation Street. "I wanna be in it - for one day. I just wanna run in [to the cab office] and go 'Gimme my money back!'" At which point the microphone battery died. Danny shrugged, "There's a Duracell bunny going crazy somewhere. "

Alexander John-Jules' contribution was felt more in the following autograph session. On stage, the poor kid wasn't keen to upstage his uncle.

Alex, what's it like to be the youngest of the cast? "I don't know." Would you like to act more, or have you become disillusioned at a young age? "I don't know." Would you like to be in another series of the show? "I don't know."

Ah-ha, but what's this? Who would you like to play in Red Dwarf? "Lister." Result! Danny summed it up: "Alexander, you've said far too much today."

And on rolled Saturday afternoon.