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I used to break down in tears and sob after shows… sometimes I still do, says Masked Dancer star Joel Dommett

JOEL DOMMETT is arguably the busiest man on TV, appearing on dozens of shows on virtually every channel – and even his own wife reckons he’s on our screens too much.

On ITV alone, the next four weeks will see him front The Masked Dancer and the National Television Awards and he will also feature in the new series of ancestry program DNA Journey.

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Joel Dommett is arguably the busiest man on TV, appearing on dozens of shows on virtually every channel – and even his own wife reckons he’s on our screens too muchCredit: Splash
Joel with oddly dressed contestant – ex-soccer star Michael Owen – in this year's series of The Masked Singer

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Joel with oddly dressed contestant – ex-soccer star Michael Owen – in this year’s series of The Masked SingerCredit: ITV
Joel has reached the point when he is saying no to work after even Mrs Dommett — model Hannah Cooper — said she was fed up with seeing him on screen

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Joel has reached the point when he is saying no to work after even Mrs Dommett — model Hannah Cooper — said she was fed up with seeing him on screen

Joel, 37, has finally reached the point when he is saying no to work after even Mrs Dommett — otherwise known as model Hannah Cooper — said she was fed up with seeing him on screen.

He says: “Hannah says it all the time. She sees me as a person and then she gets home and I’m not there, and she sees me on the TV as well.

“There’s no way I would get too big for my boots because I have a wife who constantly keeps me in check.

“The thing is, I love making television. I love the process, the people, making friends, and when you get paid to do that it’s difficult to say no.

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“I also work a lot because I have always felt like it was going to end. But The Masked Singer and The Masked Dancer have given me a bit of a comfort blanket in terms of feeling I’ve got a few years of security.

‘I’d read out subtitles for hours to try to improve’

“That’s the hard part at this stage of my career though, you do have to start saying no to things.

“And the reason is that otherwise people would start to hate you.”

Joel says he still suffers impostor syndrome, despite his career soaring since he became a household name on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity in 2016.

After trying his hand at acting in his teens and 20s, the boy from Gloucestershire became a stand-up comic and has slowly shifted towards TV presenting over the past six years.

Yet despite clearly hankering after the limelight, he reveals he was always crippled with self doubt.

He says: “I would phone Hannah after a show, crying down the phone, thinking I was so bad at it. I’d mess up the autocue and feel so nervous.

“I would go back to my hotel room and put an audiobook on subtitles and just read it out loud for hours on end to try to improve.

“It didn’t really make a difference because it’s a different type of pressure when you’re on live TV but I’ve learned to love it.

“But I cry after shows every now and then. I am very self-critical. I am probably a bit too hard on myself.”

Despite his insecurities, Joel won wide acclaim when he hosted the NTAs last year at the 02 Arena in London and he feels more relaxed about taking on the duties again at Wembley Arena on October 13.

He says: “It was a scary prospect and there’s quite a lot of pressure performing in front of so many famous people who can probably do it far better than I could. But it was wonderful that the response was so positive.

“Hopefully I can take that one step further and do some extra things, so I’m really excited for this, especially now that Covid is less of a danger.

“We can have more fun and I can be in the audience more and won’t need to socially distance.”

The show’s postponement from this month to October due to the Queen’s death also means the NTAs will not clash with his and Hannah’s wedding anniversary — which is what happened last year.

Joel says: “We just celebrated it in a different way. We were sort of celebrating it in the 02 in front of 15,000 people, in front of Ricky Gervais and Michael McIntyre.

“And afterwards we stayed in a nice hotel in London. It was our one-year anniversary, so it was momentous.” At this point Joel counts back and realizes he actually got married in 2019 — so it was in fact their second wedding anniversary last year.

He says: “Your maths is just better than mine.”

He acknowledges that getting gigs as big as the NTAs and fronting The Masked Singer sees him at something of a crossroads in his career.

But he knows moving up to the next level is a tricky balance between maintaining a profile without audiences tiring of you.

He says: “Getting to this point is kind of the easy bit. Staying here is the hard part.

“Look at people who have been there for 30 years, like Ant & Dec, Phillip Schofield, Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton. That’s the next step, and that’s incredibly hard to navigate all the waters, to stay relevant, stay funny and keep working hard and for people to like you enough to keep wanting to hire you.”

As well as being one of the most in-demand male presenters on TV, Joel is also one of the hottest.

‘In my knitted version I was quite well endowed’

Audiences who saw him strip off in the I’m A Celebrity jungle camp were blown away by his toned physique which he works hard on.

Naturally that got quite a bit of attention and a new fanbase sending him some odd gifts.

He says: “Once I got a knitted version of myself, with a penis, and I was quite well endowed. It was strangely detailed.”

And the incredibly tight suits Joel wears on The Masked Singer and The Masked Dancer leave little to the imagination too.

It means he is just waiting for a wardrobe malfunction.

He says: “Sometimes I’ll do lots of running, then lots of weight training, so one series my legs will be bigger, or my arms will be bigger, so sometimes when I bring back suits from old series they can be very tight in very odd places. It will surely split right up the bum — and when it does, it will be a very fun moment.

“The golden rule is never go commando on The Masked Dancer. I’m not supposed to be the one revealing myself on the show, with everyone cheering, ‘Put them on, put them on’.”

But there is a serious issue with wearing such tight suits — ensuring there’s ample trouser room so he doesn’t damage his fertility if he and Hannah decide to start a family.

Joel says: “I might have to start telling the tailor, ‘If we try for a baby can you just let out the seams a couple of inches round the crotch?’

“But for the moment Hannah and I are just enjoying our lives. It’s something we’ll look forward to doing in the future, if that’s our destiny. We’ll see.”

Hannah isn’t leaving everything to fate, however.

Whatever Joel does next in his career he definitely won’t be appearing on a certain BBC1 dance show.

He says: “She has put a ban on me doing Strictly Come Dancing due to the Strictly curse. But we all know I look good in sequins.

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“It’s an agreement we’ve made, but let’s say she was the driving force and there are always loopholes in agreements, so you never know.”

It seems Joel still can’t resist the urge to appear on yet another TV show — even if it risks his marriage.

  • The Masked Dancer is on ITV tonight at 6.30pm and the National Television Awards are on ITV on October 13.
Joel in I'm A Celebrity in 2016

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Joel in I’m A Celebrity in 2016Credit: Rex Features
Having fun hosting the NTAs with Ant and Dec

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Having fun hosting the NTAs with Ant and DecCredit: Instagram
Joel as a stand-up at the 2014 comedy festival

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Joel as a stand-up at the 2014 comedy festivalCredit: Rex

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