Dimension Jump XIV


Danny John-Jules. On time. Get used to these two phrases being together. Since becoming a father, Dan's a changed man. Taking to the stage in a borrowed cowboy hat, munching on a generously-donated Kit Kat, here was the original show-stealer - at exactly the hour we anticipated him. (Actually he was on the programme for Saturday, but let's not quibble.)

Danny John-Jules

If he could only take two suits into stasis - as in Future Echoes - which would he take? Well, the original Series I pink suit, naturally, and maybe the Riviera Kid's elaborate outfit. Not Duane's anorak? "It's good to be a nerd now. Nerds used to be nerdy, now they're cool." Preach it, brother.

So what about a Cat spin-off series? Well, it's always been the same, really: "To find one of the arcs with the other cats on." Aww, he's just lonely, bless him.

Other topics included his admiration for Hinton Battle, late of the Red Dwarf American pilot ("It's like walking into work one day and Al Pacino's doing your job."), a likely cinema release for his movie Sucker Punch ("Fight Club meets Only Fools and Horses"), and a hilarious impression moment where he played out a scene of Antonio Banderas - nominated as a good actor to play another cat - meeting the Riviera Kid. What would that be called? Your correspondent had the answer: A Tale of Two Kitties.

It's hard to recreate the nature of a Danny Q&A, as he waves at a guy he last saw at a convention in Chicago in 1994, or describes his experiences on stage. (One show was "choreographed for Wayne Sleep, who's a foot and a half shorter than me. He's like a whippet on crack!") Ah, yes, the John-Jules stage philosophies: "They're hard work, musicals. That's why Martine McCutcheon doesn't turn up for work."

Despite all this stage-based enthusiasm - it is, apparently, what he'd really like to be remembered for - it was kinda hard to persuade Dan that the Red Dwarf stage show was a serious possibility...

Danny signing autographs

More stories came, from the Dwarf set (Chris Barrie, apparently, is legendary for blowing his first line in the opening scene of any given episode... as the Smeg Ups clearly demonstrate), from the floor of Starlight Express (never injured on the skates, Danny recalls "going across the street to the chip shop and fracturing my ankle"), and... well, the standard industry rants, really. ("Ask any actor to be in Harry Potter - they won't even ask 'What's the part?'")

His dream movie musical would be Golden Boy, "But I'm too old to play it now." And while his nephew got a taste of the limelight at DJ last year, convinced he has to come every year to meet the fans after playing the baby Lister, Danny's son has "got his first credit already" by appearing in the closing moments of Sucker Punch.

Auctioning off a copy of his Tongue Tied single and performing an Elvis move - "I shouldn't have done that - I feel dizzy" - more rare items were sold off and we broke away to eat.

Now, it would be a lie to say that DJ this year was totally disappointment-free. David Ross was all scheduled to attend but had to pull out at the last minute, while Rob Grant was still on the bill when we realised he wasn't going to make it.

So, all the more credit, then, to Paul Alexander, script editor and co-writer on many Series VII and VIII episodes, and the fastest-talking human being on planet Earth. (There's a guy on Juno who's been clocked at 800 words a minute.)

Paul Alexander

It's a joy to hear Paul wax on about the shows he was involved in - Stoke me a Clipper's "Pre-title sequence that threatened to eat the whole show," a real favourite for the writer, or ideas for scenes that didn't happen, "I think there should have been an army of zombies under Epideme's control."

He also wrote the 1996 'Log' diary and the following year's Survival Manual, as well as drawing its "incredibly bloodthirsty" flip book. We also discovered some of his all-time favourite self-made lines, including the 'tennis girl' reference in Tikka to Ride and the delightful "salty goodness" moment in Duct Soup. Oh, and there was talk of the full episode that was written but never shot - the sex-perfume-themed Phwoarrr...

Paul Alexander

Paul's proud to have been part of a show that does what few shows dare to do - "There should be more sitcoms with dinosaurs in... There are some sitcom characters I'd like to see get eaten." And it was interesting to see how his career has gone from comics artist and writer, through serious playwright to comedy writer... via Jasper Carrott, Dave Allen, Phil Cool and Les Dennis ("That one's dropped off the bottom of my CV...")

With talk of Paul's new shows - Boomerang's My Spy Family, and a possible English Bewitched - the whole thing concluded with a question about... the Lizzie McGuire Movie. No, we didn't understand it, either.

Another auction followed (SFX crew T-shirts!), and the final goodbyes were rounded off with the traditional 'throwing of stuff' - where freebies are hurled into the crowd. No major injuries this time - and no damaged lighting, either, which puts us one up on previous conventions.

So as the vultures scramble and the cars pull out, it's farewell to Dimension Jump until 2009...

The fantastic fan club team