Dom Joly: Operation Bacon nearly blew my cover at the bank

Share
Related Topics

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.

Through Bourton runs the River Windrush, spanned by a series of picturesque little stone bridges. Like Venice, it attracts tourists from all over the world and this, I must admit, was the main reason we chose the place. The town has a busy coach park on its edge and the hordes of visitors are funnelled through a narrow pathway until they reach the village green – where I lay in wait. It was perfect, like some tourist conveyor belt endlessly thrusting naive new flies into my web. On a coach somewhere right now are a group of confused Japanese tourists who will be taking home a very peculiar idea of what locals are like in the Cotswolds. They will also give a particularly wide berth to any vicars that they might encounter on the rest of their tour.

I normally have a rule about not filming too near home, but Bourton is just far enough away from where I live not to cause any unfortunate encounters with aggrieved locals in the supermarket. After three days of standing on street corners, however, I now feel I have probably met every single person in the place and have overheard more local gossip than is proper for any one individual.

We had only one unfortunate incident. We'd set up for a shoot around the river and a couple of our cameramen were using one of their favourite tricks – the "pramcam". This involves hiding a camera in a pram and covering it with a blanket. The cameraman then leans over the "baby" and films the action, while pretending to be a doting parent. Beautiful as this scene of fatherly devotion is, the sight of a man leaning into a pram for hours on end can cause suspicion, if not misunderstanding. This increases when you've set up outside a bank.

Concerned staff in the establishment, believing an elaborate heist was about to go down, called the police. We carried on filming unaware of any problems until Operation Bacon swung into action. Once we had explained the situation and confirmed that the pramcam operators were neither exhibitionist paedophiles nor part of a sophisticated stakeout, the police alert was reduced to a Code Amber. The force then returned to their more usual duties of keeping an eye on local celebs such as Shane Warne (a new arrival to the area on the arm of Liz Hurley).

We returned to pestering visitors, but made one change. Helping the cameraman on the pramcam we had a female member of the crew to make the family unit seem more "normal". One elderly woman wandering past a pramcam did lean in to have a look and muttered that it was a "remarkably calm little thing, doesn't make a peep". Apart from that, things seemed to work a lot better, and we were left unhindered for the rest of our time in "Venice".

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 Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Why it won’t be the i wot won it – our promise to you

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
A relative of dead Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rahman reacts after seeing his body at Dhaka Medical College in Dhaka on March 30,  

Atheists are being hacked to death in Bangladesh, and soon there will be none left

Rory Fenton
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor