Danny John-Jules proved he isn't just a dancer, or a space-dwelling feline with a killer wardrobe – he's also a singer who reached the top 20s of the chart with his single, Tongue Tied, lifted from Red Dwarf. He's an all-rounder, then, our Danny, and well known for his regular West End performances. Such are his toe-tapping credentials he was even a starring member of the original Starlight Express cast – so jazz hands and inexplicable roller-skates all round, then!
Away from the stage, Danny also appeared in the 1979 Borstal film, Scum, before joining the Red Dwarf gang – auditioning in a zoot suit, which is a surprisingly short word for a suit described as having high-waisted, wide-legged, tight-cuffed, pegged trousers and a long coat with wide lapels and wide padded shoulders. Yeah, we're going to stick to zoot suit too. Good to see he was into character straight away, but we can't help but feel the Cat would have accessorised the frig out of his zoot...
The Cat should, by rights, be insufferable. Almost inconceivably self-centred (as Danny appeared to be when he turned up, unknowingly, late to his audition) he is concerned solely with his own appearance and has a habit of shrieking like James Brown - specifically, a James Brown who’s just stepped barefoot on a shard of glass while catching sight of a naked Gillian McKeith slinking into his bedroom. Oh the, er, feline-ity.
Still, despite all his egomania, he’s extremely loveable - the smooth, slick humanoid descendant of a moggy Lister smuggled on board the ship millions of years previous. He’s a great linguist, having coined the word JOZXYQK - which can be defined as the sound you get when your sexual organs become trapped in something. He's not so great an educationalist, though, having schooled himself, mostly in the painstaking discipline of 'double nothing'.
Fresh from space and with a full nine lives, Danny went on to supply voices for various creatures in the classic 80s film Labyrinth - even singing backing vocals on some of its David Bowie tracks. And next time you catch Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, keep an eye out: Danny’s there somewhere – he was probably half concealed by a large piece of set, or maybe just trying to keep out of the sight of nut-cracker Vinnie Jones.
Probably fulfilling many a childhood dream, in 1981 Danny took his place alongside Miss Piggy and Kermit as a dancer in The Great Muppet Caper, although being un-credited for his moves was probably a bit of an ego deflator. Clearly not one to be down and out, Danny continued to guest star, this time as himself, in TV shows Casualty and Night Fever – it's not quite John Travolta and the white suit, but a karaoke machine, Suggs and a random voice giving the scores was something at least!
It's a wonder Danny ever found time for himself amongst all these guest appearances, but Red Dwarf co-star Craig Charles claimed he was quite the serial shopper, with so many clothes he could change outfits every few seconds and still not have worn everything. A man after every girl's heart then! Or in fact, handy practice for when he joined the panto team at Aldershot's Prince's Hall theatre, where even Lily Savage would probably wince at the amount of make-up used. All in all, Danny appears to be not just a cat with many lives, but an actor with many tricks up his haute couture sleeve. Just don't mention Duane Dibley...