COMEDIAN Dom Joly went undercover to surprise shoppers as part of filming for a charity Christmas show – but he also failed to live up to his name during a visit to Basingstoke.
The Trigger Happy TV star adopted an ‘ASBO vicar’ persona in The Malls, where he was spotted shouting at carol singers, played by actors, before kicking over their collection bucket.
But the comedian wasn’t so jolly when The Gazette attempted to talk to him about the show. He responded to a request for an interview and picture by swearing and storming off.
As well as appearing in The Malls, the comedian went to Festival Place where he was dressed in a yellow, high-visibility jacket, offering advice on how to stay safe at Christmas and handing out leaflets.
His unusual comments shocked some shoppers, whose reactions were caught on hidden cameras – one filming from upstairs in the Sports Centre and another covered by a tent outside Marks and Spencer.
The Gazette became aware of Dom filming in the town centre when people posted comments on Facebook, disgusted that a man had apparently abused carol singers.
Sheldon Merchant was working at the Thames Water Home Surf stand in The Malls at the time.
The 33-year-old, from London, said: “He told the carol singers they weren’t singing properly. He left his bag with a man and went over and caused a racket and started shouting at them.
“The man looking after his bag looked disgusted once he saw what he was doing and must have thought he was crazy. He put the bag down and walked away, obviously thinking ‘I don’t want to be part of this.’ A lot of people didn’t recognise Dom. It was funny to see people’s reactions.”
The crew took a break from filming for lunch, when they visited Giraffe, in Festival Place, before Dom had a wander around the shops, including HMV and Vision Express.
During filming in Festival Place, grandmother Joyce Wood was among those fooled by Dom’s disguise.
The 83-year-old, from Butler Close, South Ham, Basingstoke, said: “He was just telling me about the dangers of giving children chocolates at Christmas in case they have alcohol in them. I think it’s common-sense – you wouldn’t give children alcohol-filled chocolates.”
The mother-of-two and grandmother-of-five added: “I will tell my family I might be on TV. I didn’t realise I was being filmed.”
Steph Walker and her boyfriend Haydn Hughes also chatted to the comedian, after accepting one of his leaflets and being told about the dangers of wrapping up a cat as a Christmas present.
Haydn, 19, from Eastrop, Basingstoke, said: “I had a feeling he was a comedian. The leaflet he gave had no information. I thought ‘this guy isn’t for real.’ He asked us ‘what is the hazard of wrapping raw meat’ and I said it would go off and he said ‘no’ and then we walked away. I knew something was going on.”
The show will be broadcast by ITV on December 21.