updated: 22/10/2004

Swaps: Carol Smillie

UK Channel Five took two celebrities (presenter Carol Smillie and actor Shaun Williamson) and set them the challenge of attending a speed-dating session as a member of the opposite sex. The month’s preparation included makeup and costume prepation, and coaching in speech and movement.

Stevie Bettles was the prosthetics consultant and his team invested over 1400 hours in the project including lifecasting, design, manufacturing bodysuits and prosthetics and the makeup applications themselves. The makeup application utilising silicone prosthetics (the facial hair was punched into the prosthetics) took some five hours to transform Carol into Geoff Knight. I’m grateful to Stevie for allowing me to use these images.

Stevie has since designed and applied another ‘hyper-reality’ makeup for BBC’s Trading Ages and has been kind enough not only to allow me to use his images but also to write a short accompanying article on the unique makeup challenges presented by this sort of ‘Reality’ Television.

Meanwhile Five were so pleased with Gender Swap that they commissioned a three-part series featuring: Vicki Butler-Henderson in another gender swap; Melinda Messenger in an age swap; and Linda Robson in a class swap.

A further one-off programme Jordan Gets Even featuring Jordan (Katie Price) has also been filmed and is likely to be shown in early 2005. So far there is no information available on the nature of her transformation (other than Neill Gorton’s claim to have disguised her ‘biggest assets’).