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WEEKEND: TV: Who's been caught in the act?

Byline: MARION McMULLEN

CELEBRITIES behaving badly are what's on offer in new BBC 2 series Double Take. TV writer MARION MCMULLEN discovers that seeing is not believing as her eyes are opened to the power of trick photography and star lookalikes.

IT'S hard to believe the evidence of your own eyes these days. Is that really British Prime Minister Tony Blair practising his skateboard skills when no-one is looking and is he addicted to pumping iron in his spare time?

BBC 2's new satirical comedy special Double Take features "famous people" in amusing and often shocking scenarios.

Lookalikes of celebrities, politicians and royalty are put into situations that would make the front cover of any glossy gossip mag ... if the footage and photographs were only genuine.

The pilot show for Double Take won a BAFTA award for most innovative programme and BBC 2 unveils the new series of the razor-sharp and controversial comedy on Monday.

So be prepared to see what looks like Camilla Parker-Bowles doing a Sharon Stone and the heir to the throne happily having his chest emblazoned with "KING" in red lipstick.

BBC press officer Kim Creed says: "A brilliant combination of film techniques, seamless dialogue and skilled acting presents each scenario as the real thing, causing viewers to react as the title suggests.

"After all, in today's media-savvy society what could be more natural than a long-lens ogle behind the scenes at the wheeling and dealing within the corridors of power be they in Westminster, Buckingham Palace or even Beckingham Palace."

No-one is safe from the comedy swipes of the Double Take team. After all, could that really be ex-Tory Prime Minister John Major in a compromising position?

The comedy series prides itself on capturing the rich and famous cavorting off-guard and unawares in intimate, sometimes compromising and even downright sleazy situations.

The six-week series gives the impression of being stolen film footage and is deliberately grainy and a little unsteady.

It offers a paparazzo's dream. The Queen talking to her corgis, Prince William practising his royal wave and even Chris Evans on the loo.

There is also what appears to be David Beckham armed with a hairdryer while Camilla Parker Bowles is transformed into a party animal.

The six-week series is the creation of photographer and video artist Alison Jackson. She has been known to run down the street after potential lookalikes and says the programme reflects the growing fascination with celebrity.

Now about this footage of Tony Blair trying to become a skateboard champion....?

CAPTION(S):

ROYAL SHOW: Prince William (inset) would surely swop places with his lookalike (above) if it meant being smothered in lipstick by an attractive woman; IRON MAN: Is heaven a half-pipe for Prime Minister Tony Blair? Or will he be swopping his smart suit for some lycra shorts ready to pump some iron like his lookalikeSLEAZY: Prince Charles' companion Camilla Parker Bowles (left) looking a touch more elegant than her lookalike in BBC 2's new satirical comedy Double Take
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 15, 2003
Words:500
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