Dom Joly has been an eclectic columnist for The Independent on Sunday and The Independent since 2001. Joly shot to fame in 2000 with his anarchic Channel 4 hidden-camera comedy programme Trigger Happy TV. He has since made television series for BBC, Five, and Sky One including, This Is Dom Joly and Dom Joly’s Happy Hour. His spoof autobiography, Look At Me, Look At Me was published in 2004 and in 2007 he brought out Letters to my Golf Club, featuring his correspondences with golf clubs around the world. In his latest book, The Dark Tourist, he holidays in some of the world’s most unlikely destinations such as Chernobyl and North Korea.
10 June 2012 12:00 AM
I used to think I was a bit of a slacker and grew torn between being propelled to achieve, while being consoled with the "it's not the winning but the taking part that counts" ethos. I always found this a particularly difficult circle to square. I could see my father on the touchline of whatever sporting activity I was partaking in urging me to "kill, maim, cripple, disfigure" – and yet, should I exit the sporting battlefield as anything but the ultimate victor, I was chastised for showing any sign of dissatisfaction that Robert Wigram (who, not content with being victorious was also a nasty, sadistic bully) had beaten me to the nefarious prize.
03 June 2012 12:00 AM
Last week, continuing my rolling tour, annoying the British public for my new hidden- camera show, we rolled into Stratford-upon-Avon. As everyone knows, this is one of the UK's major tourist destinations (one of the reasons we were filming there). As the cameras rolled, however, I couldn't help feeling a little sorry for the international visitors. To put it bluntly, there isn't much to see in Stratford. Visitors wander around trying to ignore the expensive temptations of every retail chain in existence, while occasionally stumbling upon an old house that Shakespeare was supposed to have been born in or sampled his first doughnut in. Other than that, there are a couple of statues and the opportunity to brave the homicidal swans and go for a boat ride on the river Avon.
27 May 2012 12:00 AM
I didn't watch The Eurovision Song Contest. Actually, I'm not sure I've ever seen it, but I'm certain that it's not for me. For once, I agree with the government of Iran when it berated its little neighbour, Azerbaijan, for hosting this most peculiar of musical institutions. I did catch an airing of the Engelbert Humperdinck video, and that was enough to put me right off my breakfast. If the Iranians hear it, then I'm pretty sure they will invade immediately. In the subsequent interview, The Hump was being harassed by the loathsome Jedward, but he put up with them in a remarkably patient manner. As if the lobotomy twins weren't enough, The Hump was then asked to comment on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan. He played the "I'm only a lowly singer" card: he had been asked to come and sing a song and that's what he was going to do. The interviewer didn't even bother to question Jedward on their political views. As terrible as the regime's behaviour might be, I for one would turn a blind eye if Jedward were to be detained without trial for a prolonged period of time after their performance was over.
20 May 2012 12:00 AM
One of the interesting aspects of filming a hidden-camera show is the opportunity it gives you to become someone else. Every morning I get up and spend three hours in make-up, donning wigs, fake noses, different-coloured eyes, and then get into costume. It gives me a unique insight into how difficult life must be for some people.
13 May 2012 12:00 AM
My second week of hidden camera filming around the UK is over and it has taught me a lot about three of our most visited tourist towns.
06 May 2012 12:00 AM
My first week of "secret" filming is over and I'm knackered. I'd forgotten just what an adrenalin rollercoaster the world of the hidden camera could be. A crew of around 20 and I descended upon the "Venice of the Cotswolds" (Bourton-on-the-Water) for three days. The inhabitants of the town were very patient with us, considering that we caused non-stop minor mayhem around them.
29 April 2012 12:00 AM
In Marrakesh for a couple of days' rest and relaxation I have been catching up on my reading. As well as Tom Watson's Dial M For Murdoch and Martha Gellhorn's Travels with Myself and Another, I am ashamed to say that I succumbed to reading Tom Bower's book about the surprisingly vacuous life of Simon Cowell, Sweet Revenge. One of the stories was about Cowell's being refused entry to a hotel in Antigua because he was wearing a T-shirt. This refusal led him, in a slightly confused fashion, to a meeting with Michael Winner who introduced him to the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados, a place I have never visited and never want to.
22 April 2012 12:00 AM
The first day of filming looms and I am getting ready to rumble. One of the main secrets of hidden camera is to be, well, hidden. I don't mean snuck behind a bush waiting for people. I mean wearing the right costume so that you can just blend into the background. Disguises can often be too comedy and easily spotted. As an example, I have to wear pyjamas and slippers in one scene. The natural instinct is to go all Wallace & Gromit with Victorian-style pyjamas and check slippers. I opted for plain black slippers and blue pyjamas.
15 April 2012 12:00 AM
What do you do when you realise that your dog is a moron? Don't get me wrong, I love both my dogs, it's just that Oscar, the younger of the two, is monumentally stupid.
08 April 2012 12:00 AM
I'm just getting ready to start annoying the people of Britain with my new TV show, Fool Britannia. We start filming in a couple of weeks, so preparation is well under way. Things have changed since I last dipped my toe into the world of hidden camera. We used to just wander into work in the morning, have a "bit of a think" and then decide what we were going to film. Maybe I would spot a milkman and mutter, "Oh, we haven't done anything with a milkman character." So we'd then drive up to a costume house, such as Angels, and root around for a milkman costume. Once we'd got this it would be nearly time for lunch – so we'd find somewhere for a nice, two-hour Continental-style break. And, hopefully, over the meal we would have come up with an idea for what to do with the milkman.
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