Dom Joly: You're in trouble when they melt your head

Share
Related Topics

I had to get a mould of my head made last week. I'm about to start filming something in which I will need to be in disguise. For this disguise, I need to become an even older man than I am – hence the visit to the prosthetics experts.

The first stage involved the making of the death mask – "we prefer to call them life masks" they said politely. This meant covering my head in plaster until I could only breathe through my nose. Apparently some people have found this claustrophobic, staggering around the room trying to rip the stuff off.

I found it rather relaxing, like being in a warm cocoon. So much so, in fact, that I almost resented the moment when they carefully peeled it off and I was dragged back to reality. As I adjusted to the light, I stared at the wall in front of me on which hung loads of properly famous faces that had been through the same procedure.

It was quite weird: a surprisingly big-lipped Meryl Streep, a peaceful-looking Oliver Reed (who looked a lot like a drunk Eddie Izzard), Sean Connery, Liam Neeson. All these faces stared back at me accusingly – wondering what on earth I was doing there? I felt very small.

This is not my first time having prosthetics. For my old BBC1 show I got turned into an 88-year-old man who looked worryingly like Alan Whicker's evil brother.

The disguise was incredible – so good that at the end of the filming day I knocked on my mother's door and pretended to be some crusty old colonel canvassing for the BNP. She didn't recognise me and happily (for me) sent me away with a flea in my ear for being from such an odious organisation.

I wanted the same people to do my prosthetics this time but, rather embarrassingly, it turned out that they had "disposed" of my head mould, which is why I needed to make a new one. This is a bit like being melted down in Madame Tussauds and turned into Keith Lemon. It's never the greatest sign of confidence in your career when a decision is taken to jettison your head.

That's showbiz. I remember when some merchandiser once approached me with the idea for a mobile-phone holder in my image. He brought a prototype with him. Curiously my plastic effigy was sitting in a cinema chair and eating popcorn while screaming into my big mobile. Since I'd always filmed the mobile sketches standing up, this struck me as rather odd.

All was revealed however when I looked at the on/off switch. It said, "Ricky will need 10 seconds to re-set if turned off and on." They'd simply turned Ricky Tomlinson's character from The Royle Family – the one that never leaves his chair – into me. By now I'm sure that I've been melted down into Ricky Gervais who is currently being turned into Miranda, the new queen of everything that's funny.

Back in the prosthetics studio and it was nearly time for me to leave. I asked them what Ollie Reed had been like to work with? "Great fun," they said hesitantly. "He was very nice but insisted on getting up every 15 minutes and dancing around and having a sing-song. He wouldn't sit back down until we all joined in."

I told them my favourite story about Keith Moon visiting Ollie Reed in his new helicopter and Reed greeting him by trying to shoot it down with a shotgun. We all nodded in smiling agreement that the days of "proper showbiz" were long gone. Nowadays it's all sex-texting and Twitter trolling. It's enough to make Ollie Reed give up the drink, were he still around.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Don’t pity me for eating alone, just give me a better table

Rosie Millard
Aerial view of planned third runway at Heathrow  

Heathrow expansion: This final 'conclusion' has simply fanned the airport flames

Chris Blackhurst
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most