Dimension Jump XIX

by Seb Patrick

Saturday Night

There was a time when the costume competition was the preserve of a truly dedicated, hardcore few - but a wider explosion of interest in cosplay in recent years has extended to Red Dwarf fandom in spectacular fashion. Not only do many fans spend large portions of the weekend wandering around in costume, but the centrepiece competition has one of its largest, and most imaginative, fields of entrants ever - with over fifty individual participants across around forty actual entries.

Indeed, there's a new, separate "Best Group" category introduced for the first time this year, and competition for it is fierce. A group of Rimmer-inspired Morris Dancers have been turning heads all day long, and very nearly take the crown - and there are also such inspired creations as "Mrs Rimmer and Bonehead", a Willy Wonka-inspired Thickie Holden (complete with Tension Sheet-modelling assistant) . But the winning duo in this category are mother-and-son duo Jennifer and Joseph Bruce, as a fantastically screen-accurate Melly and Ace Rimmer.

But the individual category is no less competitive - even though, disappointingly, there are no entrants this year in the also-newly-established "Best Child" category - as a huge range of imaginative, inspired and expertly-wrought outfits step forward under the watchful eye of compere Hattie Hayridge and the panel of judges. There are two Pete Tranter's Sisters, several Polymorph Rimmers, and a highly performative Series I Cat. Lister is represented in his Psirens, Justice (avec Space Mumps) and Kryten (complete with black spray paint on the trousers) form, while Katerina Bartikovsky is once again a popular choice for female participants. There's also a Quagaar Warrior - which is, hilariously, a giant chicken with guns.

In the end, whittling it down to a top three is a near-impossible task, but the judges somehow manage it. In third place, Paul Giachetti is a character never seen in the competition before - Series X's Chancellor Wednesday, complete with gruesomely spilling guts. Second place goes to Tracy Wilkinson, for a beautifully-made Series VII Rimmer-style quilted dress that, for quality alone, wouldn't look out of place on screen.

The winner, though, is another inspired creation that brings together costuming with the show's classic model ships - as Emma McLean debuts "Lady Starbug", complete with a superbly accurate cockpit headpiece, and dangling booster jets.

By the end of a marathon-length competition, the autograph session has finally finished, meaning that Chris Barrie and Mark Dexter are able to hot-foot it downstairs and take the lead on the weekend's first charity auction. The pair immediately strike up such a rapport that you could swear they were actually brothers, and it serves only to heighten anticipation for their joint Q&A session the next morning. Chris is also a dab hand at wheedling bids out of an increasingly alcohol-fuelled audience, helping to boost a few items to unexpectedly high prices - with rare hardback editions of the novels, signed by the authors, particularly sought-after. And yes, this may explain why your correspondent is moved to fork out £70 for an absolutely beautiful early '90s wraparound t-shirt...

And with the end of the auction, and the clock rapidly approaching midnight, it's finally time for the return of the Dave Benson Phillips-powered disco. Out of customary politeness, we won't recount the details of exactly what happens for the remainder of the night - or, rather, the morning - suffice to say that fermented vegetable drinks are quaffed, funky stuff is strutted, and some Samsara-inspired glowsticks help to set the mood admirably...

The question is, will anyone still be left standing by the time Sunday rolls around?