Dom Joly: Nose... Cameras... Action! I'm Trigger Happy again

 

Share
Related Topics

I've been filming hidden camera stuff for the last week and I've forgotten how much it takes out of you – the waves of adrenaline and the subsequent crashes are killers and I've just slept for 24 hours solid.

In the old days, I'd just put on some rubbish costume and head off with a cameraman and "see what happens". With hindsight this probably explains why it took over a year to make each series of Trigger Happy TV. Back then, the vast majority of each day was spent wandering around trying to think of something to do and then trying to find someone to do it on.

With my new filming, things are very different – it's all incredibly well organised. I'm more recognisable now, so I have to be disguised. This involves the addition of prosthetic noses, fake teeth, wigs and elaborate costumes. It's great fun becoming someone totally different, but it takes a lot of time to get there and you then tend to spend the entire day longing to scratch your real nose – like some exquisite torture.

Once ready, I step out into whatever location we have chosen to target. I have a little earpiece in my left ear so that I can keep in contact with the team, who are all hidden in vans and windows all around the place. The cameramen are hilarious – some hide their cameras in prams and stand around trying to look subtle, occasionally talking to their non-existent babies. Sometimes someone will wander past them and stare into the pram expecting to see a lovely little child. Seeing no baby, they look up, then around and then scuttle off as fast as they can. Another of the cameramen always sits alone on a bench with his camera peeking out of the end of his bag.

Because I know they are there, I feel that they stick out like very sore thumbs – they look like a gang of travelling paedophiles – but nobody ever seems to notice them.

Hidden camera often uses the same theory as bank robbery. I'm told that when entering a bank with the intention to rob, you need to make a lot of noise and take control of the situation. My "characters" normally tend to be quite unusual and attract attention – people therefore never seem to look anywhere else, and never notice the cameras. I've yet to film a stunt in which anybody spots one, which is quite extraordinary since we take over every area we film in.

When I'm about to "move in" on a target I always take a last look around – there is the pram-cam trying to look subtle, the camera on the bench pretending to fiddle with the bag, the camera in the window, the oddly parked van with the tinted windows, the two runners (always looking a bit too "London" for where we are) positioned at each end of the shoot to grab people and explain what has just happened, the gaggle of production staff with clipboards at a safe distance.... It's a rush.

I love this moment just before we roll. To everyone else there is nothing unusual going on, but I know that we are about to do something to shatter this ordinary scene. For a brief moment we are in charge of life.

Sometimes we are just part of a busy area, but occasionally everyone is working for us, so that when a real person walks into the scene we have literally altered reality – they are suddenly on the set of our very own Truman Show.

The end of the day is always the best however – tear off the wig, peel off the nose, remove the teeth, and have a long shower before getting changed back into my normal clothes. Then it's off to get something to eat and drink – back to life, back to reality.



React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Copywriter - Corporate clients - Wimbledon

£21000 - £23000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Copywriter - London As a Copywrite...

Horticulture Lecturer / Tutor / Assessor - Derbyshire

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: As a result of our successf...

Retail Lecturer / Assessor / Tutor - Derbyshire

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are succ...

Business Studies Tutor / Assessor / Lecturer - Tollerton

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are succ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Save the tiger: 7 saddening facts about the extinction of Javan tigers

Harvey Day
 

In Sickness and in Health: After months of silence, Nick has started talking

Rebecca Armstrong
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried