DOM JOLY may be a university educated former public school boy but he is unapologetically addicted to reality TV. And as an alumnus of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! (fourth place in 2010) he is making sure he keeps up with all this year’s antics in the Australian bush.
So who’s going to win?
“Possibly Anne Hegerty because she will get the sympathy vote but my money’s on Harry Redknapp,” he says.
“The surprise is loopy Noel Edmonds. I thought he’d be awful but, so far, he hasn’t annoyed me.”
The same cannot be said of some of his fellow contestants during his own stint Down Under.
The comedian is in rehearsals for a new touring production of musical The Rocky Horror Show
“I was on with Shaun Ryder from the Happy Mondays, comedian Jenny Eclair, actor Nigel Havers – who had never seen the show before – and Stacey Solomon, who I knew would win but who was wasted subsequently. She should have gone straight into a production of My Fair Lady.”
Britt Ekland was also a fellow camper.
“She should have been fabulous. She had been married to Peter Sellers, she had lived with Rod Stewart but turned out to be dull,” he recalls.
“The only interesting thing she revealed was that every morning she jogs for three miles. Backwards. I asked her why. She said: ‘Because Mick Jagger told me it would do me good.'”
HERE’S JOLY: Dom taking part in 2010’s I’m A Celebrity…
Then there was former Lib Dem politician Lempit Opik.
According to Dom: “Beyond barking. He was planning his campaign to become London Mayor. As if.”
The “big baddie” was the selfstyled Dr Gillian McKeith.
“She’s a deeply self-obsessed person with absolutely no self-awareness, no sense of humour.And she hardly ever won us any meals from her bushtucker trials. Not that I was complaining. I lost two-and-a-half stone in 18 days.”
The comedian is in rehearsals for a new touring production of musical The Rocky Horror Show.
He will be playing the cross-dressing Narrator in Brighton from December 13 as well as in Sunderland, Milton Keynes, Wimbledon, Woking and Bristol.
And Joly by name is feeling jolly by nature.
He says: “I know this is a luvvie cliché but I’m really enjoying working with a group of actors rehearsing a show because it’s like being part of a family.
“I normally work alone, more or less, and never in front of an audience. And, of course, I can’t wait to climb into those fishnet stockings.
“I haven’t tried on the fishnets yet,” he admits when we meet during a break at the London rehearsal rooms.
“But I’ve had a go in the high heels and I’ll have no problems with the foundation and eyeliner because I was once a goth, much to my father’s dismay.”
He says that if he had to pick one word to describe his occupation he would choose “chancer”.
It’s certainly been a patchwork quilt of a career, perhaps its highlight (so far) being his secret camera TV series, Trigger Happy.
“I set out to be a smart person in a stupid job but I don’t like them being called pranks. To me they are sketches.”
So from almost two decades of “sketches” can he nominate a favourite?
“Yes, dressed as a snail in Redcliffe Gardens in Earl’s Court standing by a zebra crossing. Cars stopped in both directions – this is England, remember – as I proceeded to get down on all fours and crawl across the road very, very slowly before getting up and walking away. In America, someone would have got out a baseball bat and beaten me half to death.”
Dom, 51, was brought up in Lebanon because his father’s shipping agency was in Beirut.
His was a dramatic upbringing, dodging the bombs and bullets in the war-torn Lebanese capital where he says he was initially sent to the same school as Osama Bin Laden.
Dom Joly and his wife Stacey MacDougall
At seven he was sent to the Dragon School in Oxford, something he describes as “an obscene experience”.
Most members of band Radiohead were in his year while tennis player Tim Henman was five years younger. From there he went to Haileybury in Hertfordshire.
“It’s never a good idea to bury your emotions. At 21 I started having panic attacks. I was well aware of what bothered me but I quickly discovered I wasn’t someone who was going to benefit from talking to a psychiatrist about it.”
He has had subsequent bouts of depression but he eventually agreed to take an anti-depressant when he realised that he has low serotonin.
He lived in London’s Notting Hill as a young adult and then with his wife Stacey, a graphic designer.
“In time I decided to move to the country because I had got famous and I had started having kids and it seemed to me that London kids were growing up too fast.”
His daughter Parker is now 18 and son Jackson is 14.
“They were a bit too sophisticated. I had this idyllic vision of them running through fields, the wind in their hair. The reality is that they drink cider in bus shelters.”
It is sometimes difficult to tell when Dom is joking.
JOKER: Dom as a traffic warden in one of his comedy sketches
He sold his London flat to author Salman Rushdie, the subject of an Islamic fatwa calling for his assassination following publication of his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses.
Dom says: “I thought it would be a good joke to re-tile the roof terrace with the words ‘Salman Rushdie lives here’ so that they could be read on Google Earth. But I chickened out.
“I subsequently met him at a literary festival and told him what I had planned. He found it rather less funny than I did.”
Dom ended up buying TV presenter Anne Robinson’s house in Gloucestershire.
“It was a bit modern and slightly brutalist, rather like her. But when the kids started going to school in Cheltenham we moved to a village near there.
“If you’d asked me in 1998 what the next two decades would bring I could not have written a more enjoyable CV. For 20 years I have never had a day when I’ve thought that I didn’t want to wake up or go to work. I’ve had a lovely life.”
Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show tours the UK from December 13, 2018, to November 2, 2019. For tickets and venues visit rockyhorror.co.uk
Read more here: Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feedhappy wheels
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