Dom Joly: On with my dodgy anorak and I'm ready to rumble

Related Topics

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.

I've just realised that this is a terrible example as I'm going to stick out on the street in whatever set of PJs and slippers I choose. A better example might be shoes. A lot of people I know still check out people's shoes and make snap judgements based on their choice. I tend to wear quite "urban" footwear. Once in the wardrobe department, however, my shoes were rapidly discarded in favour of a job lot from Clark's.

"If you want to disappear, wear Clark's shoes," said my make-up lady. I'm not sure that this is the slogan the company is looking for, but, if they want it, there it is. Clark's shoes are ridiculously comfortable but they all tend to have the same look – that once seen in the title sequence of The Bill.

For trousers to disappear in, the favourite choice was H&M or Marks & Spencer. I tried to grab a quite nice pair of jeans from M&S's "posh" collection. These were snatched away from me as being a bit showy. "They're all done by secret designers," said my wardrobe lady. I asked her what she meant.

"Big name designers do the work under another name. That's how they make some serious money." I was slightly confused. Surely they'd make even more money if they sold them under their own name in Marks & Sparks? "Yes, but it wouldn't be good for their image. That's why they do it in secret." I nodded as though I understood, but I didn't.

We were now on to anoraks. Three grey and plain-blue examples were produced. The first made me look like a trainspotter. The second gave me a touch of the paedophile. The third had Dennis Nilsen written all over it. I plumped for the trainspotter. I might have to pick the kids up from school after a shoot, and don't want to cause a stir.

It all felt a little like what I imagine happens when you agree to go on a witness-protection programme. Your old clothes are discarded while you are dressed up as something you're not. Clothes, wig, make-up, and, lastly, the "flair" – rings, bracelets, watches, weird glasses. Hey presto, welcome to your new life.

Most of my new characters look unremarkable. Mostly, they give me an idea of what I might have looked like had I gone into IT and moved to Kent. I actually hate wardrobe days as, unlike most British males, I don't like standing in a small room dressed only in my pants while three women walk around me staring. Weirdly, however, once I'm out on the streets and being filmed in my costumes, I feel incredibly relaxed, and really enjoy slipping into someone else's skin. I'm not quite sure why this is but I'm sure that there are some huge therapist's bills awaiting me in later life, along with some sort of explanation.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Thousands of Russian troops marched on Red Square in the annual Victory Day parade in a proud display of the nation's military might amid escalating tensions over Ukraine  

Once again, the West fails to understand Russia

Mary Dejevsky
Jamie Oliver joins children as they celebrate Food Revolution Day 2014 by cooking bread, making smoothies and creating salads at St Paul's Whitechapel CE Primary School in London  

Teaching children to cook at school is a recipe for self-respect

Grace Dent
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before