Sport Relief 2012
One of the biggest sponsors of Sport Relief 2012 was BT. They were heavily involved in supporting the challenges undertaken by comedians John Bishop, David Walliams and cricketer Andrew Flintoff.
The brief was that BT wanted “puppet” versions of the celebrities to accompany them on these and other events around the country. Through special effects company Hothouse IWG I was asked to draw and sculpt caricatured likenesses of the three and these would be then moulded, cast in foam and painted.
Getting the right expressions for the sculpts took a little time as the clients had a very specific idea of what they wanted the “puppets” (or “Mini-Me”s or any of the many things they were called, we never could settle on one) to look like. Fun and excitement were the watch words and so, although the caricatures themselves were not particularly exaggerated, the expressions on their faces could be amplified. Once the clients were happy with the preliminary sketches I could sculpt away.
The brief for Andrew Flintoff was slightly different. While David Walliams and John Bishop needed to be wide-eyed and open mouthed, BT felt that Freddie could afford to be a little more laid back and therefore less extreme in his expression. It fitted with his character more and also matched the lighter tone of the nature of his challenge.
After I had finished sculpting they were taken out of my hands and moulded, cast in foam and painted. The soft bodies were attached and then they were sent around the country to accompany the celebrities on their trials. I tried to look out for them on TV on the day but, as they were covered in BT branding, I have a feeling that the BBC had to be very careful about how much of them they could show.
I’m not sure that John Bishop was too impressed with his though (the Radio 1 Breakfast Show thought it was hilarious) and I did feel a bit bad that throughout his amazing achievement, his “Week of Hell”, he was shadowed by this little homunculus.