Dimension Jump XIV

Saturday Night

In between the autographs and the drinking, the team once again organised a series of little games for people to play. Sticking with the Gunmen theme the 'Cowhand Roundup' included, among others, a tin can shoot, a duel and a hat toss, with a prize for the highest scoring player.

In reality, this means a bunch of fans firing rubber suckers at Leopard lager cans and throwing darts over their shoulders. Luck, shall we say, is a major factor.

Saturday Night Games

On to the evening, then, as Andrew Ellard - that's me, I'm afraid - took to the stage to a warm round of indifference. Messages were delivered, exclusive extracts from The Bodysnatcher Collection DVD were presented, and then he slumped off.

With bombshells and jaws well and truly dropped it was time for the Vis-FX boys. Who, thankfully, proved to be entertaining, informative and funny. Three up on me, then.

Mike Tucker, Nick Kool, Alan Brannan and Peter Tyler are now mainstays of the weekend and didn't disappoint, showing an array of rare, unseen photographs from across their time on Red Dwarf.

FX Boys

It's hard to summarise what we were seeing, for although the sight of a Starbug or simulant vessel under construction was fascinating, we were all rather distracted by the array of bad haircuts chronicled by this photo record. ("Peter - can you explain the pony-tail?") Still, there was everything from exploding polymorphs and Camille blob moulds to self-loathing beast sculptings. It's like the weirdest collection of holiday snaps you've ever seen.

One of Mike's "favourite photos of all time" showed James Davis with the Justice simulant's knife 'embedded' in his head. But despite Peter's 1989 haitstyle being nominated "worst of the evening", it was the shots of FX blokes with monsters and spaceships on their heads that had us in fits. Despair squids, Emohawks, simulants ships... it seems the lads can't resist a balancing act.

FX Photo

Do they ever build or film models simply for their own enjoyment? Mike: "No, I just stick things on my head." Peter: "I just build cars and grow beetroot." (Alan, it turns out, does build for fun. Good on him.)

We were also regaled with stories from various other films and TV shows. But this is a Red Dwarf site and that's that - except to say that we saw their 'flooding tube station' shot in serious Oscar contender Atonement recently and it looks a-maz-ing.

So - as we edit this article to remove the boys' running gag about "being taken up the Staines bypass" - it was time for the costume competition.

Costume Competition

It was, perhaps, unsurprising that Martha Hawker won as Blue Midget - so dedicated was young Martha that she wore the cumbersome 'costume' backwards in order that the legs match the original! Plus the FX boys were voting, and they created the original...

Costume CompetitionCostume CompetitionCostume Competition

Runner-up was Aimi Brear as Lister's brain in a jar, and in third place was Simon Peel as the hilarious 171-year-old Lister. In a competition that's become very big on... elaborate designs, it's nice to see a human win something. (Though it's worth noting that the all-male judges were surprisingly not swayed by the sight of fan Misha Corder in a nurse's outfit. Way to stay strong, lads.) Well done to all the contestants.

Costume CompetitionCostume Competition

After this, sadly, the report becomes a little vague. The disco kicked off, the bar was open, and we have only hazy memories - we saw amazing sights in the rear garden, performed YMCA in perfect unison, and danced thrillingly in the bar to acapella chanting. But beyond that, it's all a haze, and best we move on to Sunday...