Dimension Jump XX

by Seb Patrick

Saturday Night

As usual, the starting point of Saturday night's entertainment is the costume competition - which has gone from featuring a select handful of dedicated cosplayers to a forty-plus-strong field with elaborate and imaginative designs that look like they could have stepped straight out of the show.

Having already dealt with "Best Group" the night before, first of all we have two entrants in the newly-created Best Child category - but the judges can't possibly choose one over the other, so it's a win each for Iestyn Watkins as a brilliant Ace Rimmer (complete with skateboard powered inflatable crocodile), and Bernadette Jessop as an adorably tiny Ziggy Bryceman.

Onto the main event, and once again it's an astonishingly difficult field to choose between. Remarkably, in more than one instance the same idea has occurred to multiple entrants, including not one, not two, but three Talkie Toasters. The performative element that's crept its way into the event continues, too, as one entrant shows up billed as Paranoia, then suddenly pulls off the outer costume to reveal Confidence underneath; and in the "thinking outside the box" stakes, "Holly's Ex Girlfriend" and "Which Way To Silicon Heaven?" are standouts.

There's a special award this year, the Paul Giachetti Award for Attention to Detail. Paul was a popular fan researcher and cosplayer who actually placed on the podium at Dimension Jump XIX before sadly passing away unexpectedly later in the year - and the first instance of this new award in his name is deservedly won by Aimi Brear for a spectacularly accurate, and deeply terrifying, take on Asclepius.

For the main award, meanwhile, third place is taken by Ashley Woolston's Future Kryten (complete with Lister's brain in a jar) - with bonus points for how much his presence terrifies compere Ian Boldsworth. In second place, meanwhile, Tia Stevens is judged to be the best of the three Toasters, but it's a close-run thing.

The winner, though, is the fantastically imaginative Helen Stevens, who recreates Series VII's "Rimmer Experience" - with actual animated dancing puppets. It's a remarkable feat, unlike any costume we've seen at the event before - and ahead of a very strong field (including narrowly beating another Rimmer Experience outfit) it's a popular and well-deserved winner.

With the competition over, Ian takes over hosting duties for the evening's auction - taking great delight in using a fibreglass Kryten head as a destructible target for his gavel. As always, there are some fantastic items on hand, with the biggest bidding war of the night being for the floorplan blueprints of the original 1987 studio set. It turns into a gripping back-and-forth, before going for an eyewatering final sum.

Then it's time for the return of Saturday night cabaret - with Norman Lovett first up to deliver some of his tried-and-tested best material, including his rumination on the Trigger's Broom of pop music that are the Sugababes. Norman is followed by Tony Slattery, the Series II and VIII guest and legendary improv star making his Dimension Jump debut. Tony's set is not an experience anyone present will forget, although sadly having been unwell over the course of the weekend it marks his only appearance, as he will prove unable to fulfil his spot at the autograph table and Q&A stage on Sunday.

As the clock hurtles onwards, it's time for Dave Benson Phillips to step up once more and get the disco going. As ever, in the interests of protecting the reputations of everyone concerned, we won't report directly on the events of the rest of the night, but there's as much funky-stuff-strutting as you'd expect, and Parrot's Bar is never short of custom.

Alarms need to be set for Sunday, though, as it's a closing day nobody will want to miss...