Dom Joly: A lightning-quick getaway from the fair

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The Independent Online

I snuck down to the turning on of the Cirencester Christmas lights this week. I went incognito as I didn't want to have a fuss made over me. Oh, and also because the local council has an arrest warrant out for me over some ridiculous demand for non-payment of my parking tickets. I made it very clear to them last year when I graciously agreed to turn on the Christmas lights that this would be on the understanding that all of my 53 tickets would be cancelled and that the planning consent for the rooftop effigy of myself would sail through. Apparently this was too complicated as there are now at least three policemen in the Cotswolds area that are actively trying to locate me. One of them spotted me three days ago as I was leaving the Daylesford farm shop. I was actually about to stop him and complain that I'd just been robbed. I'd had to pay £21 for a steak and £9.20 for a potato and I wanted something done about this. I stopped when I noticed that he was getting the cuffs out. I hit the accelerator and gave him a rigid digit as I roared off. You'll never catch me alive, copper!

Anyway, I snuck into Cirencester wearing a red bobble hat and a long Barbour coat. I looked like a child molester and, as such, attracted no attention from the crowd of similarly dressed locals. There's an advert on television at the moment for, I think, Vodafone, that shows a happy family wandering around some idyllic Christmas fair where kindly dwarves mingle with happy clowns in some perfect carnival atmosphere. Cirencester is nothing like this. It has a couple of broken-down children's rides and a caravan selling mulled wine. I was curious to know who was going to follow in the illustrious bloodline of myself and Liz Hurley in turning on the lights - I didn't have to wait for long. It was Emma Samms. I have no idea who or what she is. Everyone looked a little puzzled. A gay man said that she had once been in Dynasty, another one said it was Dallas and they started fighting. No one was that sure.

This wasn't good enough. The good people of Cirencester deserved better than this. If the council hadn't spent all year trying to pursue me over our various legal disputes then they could have put some time into choosing someone more exciting. Anne Robinson lives nearby for God's sake. I know that her doctor has told her not to go too near the light, but surely they could have worked something out. Anneka Rice is supposed to be somewhere in the vicinity. I reckon she'd be prepared to squeeze into that pastel shell suit just one more time. Ruby Wax, another local, is slightly too scary but there were other solutions. If it had really come down to it, Hurley and myself would have agreed to do it again. There's just no need for the town to lower itself to this level in search of something new.

I decided to act. I made my way to the front of the crowd and stepped up on stage. There must have been some misunderstanding as the crowd started booing. I grabbed the microphone off Samms and told everyone to leave the poor girl alone as I was now taking over. I told them the old joke about the gypsy and the one-legged midget, but the booing continued and I spotted two of the three Cotswold coppers making their way up on to the stage. I jumped off and broke out through the church. I did manage to land a punch on the chairman of the planning committee as I left. That should have taught him a lesson; I bet the planning application lands on my doormat tomorrow with approval for the full 60ft. You've got to be firm in these situations otherwise you get ignored.

The doorbell has just rung. It's the police and they're shouting through the letterbox. I'm typing this in my sports cupboard, under the staircase. I'm trying not to make too much noise as I think they're now in the house. Is that legal? Got to go now...

'Dom Joly's Happy Hour' is on Sky One every Tuesday at 9pm

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