Mr Flibble Talks To... Fan Club Flibble
Think you're a dedicated Dwarfer? You ain't seen nothing yet. Jane Williams - fan club chairman and co-ordinator of Dimension Jump 2002 - talks quizzes, tattoos and all things 'conventional' with Mr Flibble.
15 February, 2002
Jane Williams
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

Mr Flibble whispered his first question to Andrew, who duly passed it on to Jane: How did you become involved with the FAN CLUB?

I've been a member of the fan club for years. I think it was 1994 [when] I got talking to somebody who said, 'Are you a member of the fan club?' 'No, I didn't know there was a fan club!' So I joined up. The chairman gig came up after my Whatever You Want appearance [as a contestant], I think. My name was thrown in somewhere and I got a phone call asking if I might be interested.

The club is a voluntary organisation. Was taking it on in your spare time a big undertaking?

Rather more than I expected, yes! There's an awful lot of work, keeping the accounts working and everything. A bit more than I anticipated. But it's been really good fun.

And now it's nearly time for DJ:IX - the official Red Dwarf Weekend - are you nervous or excited?

Both, really. It is a bit nerve-wracking, because it is a big thing to organise. Although I have done some things like this before, it hasn't really been on this scale. I am a bit nervous, but it's going to be worth it, I think. I'm really looking forward to it.

Mr Flibble is hoping to show up - along with his bespectacled colleague - but who else is on the guest list?

At the moment we have Chloë, Chris, Danny, Robert, Mac McDonald and Graham McTavish - who we hope will actually turn up this time! (Laughs) We had a bit of trouble with him last time. It was the convention weekend and he was due on stage. Everyone was going around asking, 'Have you heard from him? Is there any news? What's happened?' We had no idea what had happened.

When we contacted him - after the event - he was going, 'Oh my God - wrong weekend! I'm sorry!' He totally got his dates mixed up. It was a real shame, but we are very much looking forward to him coming year - and I'm jogging him regularly just to make sure he knows the date! (Laughs) He's going to get letters every week...

Mac McDonald went down very well with the fans last time...

He did, yeah - and he enjoyed it. He had a great time, and he was very enthusiastic about coming again this year. He's going to be great fun, I think. That applies to the whole cast. They're all very enthusiastic, which is great - [they're] looking forward to coming again. I think they enjoy having a weekend relaxing and meeting lots of fans. Danny's in his element! (Laughs) He boogies on down at the disco - as long as he finds the place! He has got a bit of a reputation for getting lost...

There's also a mystery surprise guest...

I'm not going to comment on that one too much, because it wouldn't be a surprise then, would it? Suffice to say we have got 'somebody extra' coming along.

Someone who has actually appeared in Red Dwarf?

He has appeared in the show, yes.

Mr Flibble pounced on the word 'he'! It's a male guest!

That's as much as I'm going to give away, though!

Mr Flibble obviously needs to plan carefully to avoid being double-booked. What's the FORMAT for a convention, the schedule?

Friday night is kind of an introduction night. We've got some things on video that are going to be shown, so that's good. There's a battle of the sexes competition, which is very traditional - that can be a lot of fun... and I'm sure the girls will win again! Then we've got a couple of people doing some chat with us, and the Red Dwarf Olympics will be on again. A few little Dwarf related games to get people in the mood.

Saturday we do question sessions with the cast, so you get a chance to ask any question you want. So if you want to know what colour underwear Chris Barrie wears, now is your chance! (Laughs) I'm not saying he'll reply...

We're going to auction some items as well, and there will be autograph sessions - a chance to go along, say hello and get something signed. Then, in the evening, we've got a fancy dress competition which is really good fun. The standard is amazing, the effort people put into their costumes is incredible. We've had everything from a couple of pieces of coloured cardboard strapped on to someone to a full-blown costume! Also on Saturday night there will be some live entertainment, as well as our traditional disco.

And Sunday?

Nothing too strenuous on Sunday morning! There'll be a few more cast question sessions, and we've split the auction so there will be some on Saturday, some on Sunday - some very exciting items. We'll be doing the raffle, as well... and by that time people will be exhausted and ready to go home. (Laughs)

Mr Flibble will be requiring a jacuzzi, king-penguin-sized bed and a constant supply of fish from room-service - tell us about the HOTEL...

It is a lovely hotel - the Royal Court Hotel near Keresley in Coventry. It's quite impressive, the rooms are lovely, the staff are friendly. It's not far from the town centre if you need anything, but it is quite countrified so we can run around and cause havoc and no-one's going to complain from next door! (Laughs)

They've got things like a pool and a gym as well... but, of course, there's so much going on over a Dimension Jump weekend that you don't have time for things like that!

You've also attended the conventions as a fan - what have been your favourite EXPERIENCES...

I think it's hard to beat your first time. You're not really sure who's going to turn up, what's going to happen, who you're going to meet. The first time I went was in Northampton, and that was just such an exciting weekend.

Were you there the year Clayton "Elvis" Mark performed live?

That was a really good evening. He got the cast to join in! It wasn't just him doing his Elvis impression - he got Chris up and singing, Craig, everyone. We saw a whole new side of the cast that night.

At one of the discos I was dancing beside a guy who had a full-sized Mr Flibble costume on! That was an interesting experience. Last time I got the chance to show the cast my tattoos. That was good, seeing their reactions! You always get the odd moment - like Danny arriving on his unicycle...

Finally, tell us about the Red Dwarf TATTOOS you've had done.

For a long, long time I'd wanted to get a Red Dwarf tattoo, but I'd already met a couple of people with things like Starbug, so I was trying to come up with a new idea. When we moved to this area, I cottoned onto a really good tattoo artist. I had some discussions with him and decided to get some portraits of the cast done.

I've got three of the cast on my leg - Kryten, Cat and Rimmer - with the Red Dwarf logo. Then the other four cast members are on my back, along with the ship. So that's quite a big one, and I only got that finished a few months ago. My pen-friend is a bit of a Rimmette, and is really jealous since not only do I go to bed with him since getting the tattoo, I also get to lather him in the shower!

Mr Flibble has a small anchor on his left penguin buttock, but it tends to stay covered. Do you have any more tattoos planned?

I'm happy, I've got two very original tattoos that are very good quality, and that's where I'm staying. I'll probably have other tattoos, but no more Red Dwarf ones... unless there's something really inspiring in the film!

Mr Flibble enjoyed talking to Jane Williams, and now that it's over... Mr Flibble is very cross.

Dimension Jump 2002 (DJ:IX)
22nd - 24th March 2002
Britannia Royal Court Hotel
Keresley, Coventry, England
Click for details