Joel Dommett speaks ahead of the arrival of his first child

Joel Dommett reveals how he has used being catfished into Skype sex and blackmailed to his advantage as he prepares to welcome his first child with wife Hannah Cooper

  • British TV presenter Joel Dommett admits he will try to make the midwives laugh
  • READ MORE: Who is Joel Dommett’s wife Hannah Cooper?

Joel Dommett is the safest pair of hands in the light entertainment industry. He’s funny but not edgy, opinionated but never polarising. 

He’s handsome but not egotistical, confident but never cocksure. 

No wonder he’s the new king of Saturday night TV, rising from obscure stand-up comedian to being the next Dermot O’Leary in just a few years.

Since he was runner-up to Scarlett Moffatt on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2016 his TV profile has been steadily rising, culminating in him being named host of The Masked Singer and The Masked Dancer, two huge ITV hits, and the annual National Television Awards, Britain’s most prestigious celebration of our best-loved stars and shows which goes out live from London’s O2 Arena a week on Tuesday.

But beneath his polished exterior, he’s endearingly complex and just a little bit manic. He’s prone to nightmares and crises of confidence. ‘I bite my thumbs when I’m nervous,’ he laughs. 

‘My wife Hannah knows when I’ve had a stressful day because I’ve bitten them to bits. I don’t show anxiety on the outside but it shows on my thumbs. I used to get really cold legs when I felt nervous before I went on stage. I’d shiver so I used to wear thermals under my jeans. 

Presenter Joel Dommett, from Gloucestershire, admits he will try to make the midwives laugh next month when his first child is born

‘I remember once meeting a girl after a show, but there’s nothing less sexy than having to deal with an extra layer of thermals after taking your jeans off.’

One nightmare stems from last year’s NTAs at Wembley Arena when he almost missed the show despite being the host.

‘For some reason that I still don’t know, instead of just walking up the corridor to the red carpet I was told to get in a car and be driven around to the other side of Wembley to walk in from the front. 

‘That was ridiculous. Why am I getting out of a car when I’ve clearly been in the building all day?

‘We ended up sitting in traffic for almost an hour, knowing that I was going live on TV in front of millions of people in just minutes. 

‘We were so late we had to get out and walk through the traffic, with my wife in high heels, while people were taking photos saying, “Isn’t that Joel who’s supposed to be hosting the show?” I was sweating, then was told I couldn’t come in as I didn’t have a ticket. I said, “That’s because I’m hosting!” I had to fight my way into the building.’

This will be the third time Joel’s hosted the NTAs. The nerves don’t get any easier, but he’s found a way to control them. ‘I try to simplify the situation. It’s easy to think, “Oh God, there’s 15,000 people here. There’s Ant and Dec and Ricky Gervais and Michael McIntyre in the front row looking at me.” 

‘It gets so crowded in your head it’s impossible to do the job, which is literally to just read. You’ve got a script and you’ve read it hundreds of times before. 

‘I find it helpful to try to think of how ridiculous this job is: wearing a white tuxedo and handing out awards. It’s a privilege. It’s fun. It brings joy. But it’s also ridiculous. So don’t take yourself too seriously.’

One thing Joel’s having to take seriously is the impending arrival of his first child. He once declared, ‘I can’t look after myself, so I can’t be bothered to start cleaning up after babies.’ 

But that’s all changed. He and model Hannah Cooper married on Mykonos in 2019 after three years together, and announced her pregnancy in May, with 32-year-old Hannah saying she was interviewing for birthing partners to avoid this momentous occasion being dominated by one of Joel’s comic performances.

He and model Hannah Cooper married on Mykonos in 2019 after three years together, and announced her pregnancy in May

Now the nursery is ready for the September arrival and it’s starting to feel very real. ‘I really have no idea what I’m doing,’ admits Joel, 38. 

‘I’ll be trying to make the midwives laugh. I’ve got the mental age of a 12-year-old. My job is making jokes in awkward situations, and there aren’t many more awkward situations than six people staring at my wife’s private bits. But I’m going to try to be sensible.

‘We’re really excited yet it’s petrifying. We know the sex of the baby and we have a name we really like, we’re just hoping the Kardashians don’t steal it before we fully decide on it. 

‘That’s our worst fear. I’ll probably welcome the baby like I welcome people for the NTAs, with a speech. I just hope it holds off until after the show.’

Everything’s been about perfect timing for Joel over the past few years. His professional and romantic lives fell into place at the same time, meeting Hannah in 2016 as his career started to take off. 

‘The baby has also come at a really good time,’ he says. ‘With The Masked Singer and the NTAs it’s the first time I’ve ever had job security, so I don’t feel like I have to be out every night doing the comedy clubs. I’m an over-worker so hopefully this will give me a bit of the other side.’

When he met Hannah he’d just done I’m A Celebrity and was fresh from a sex scandal. A video of him was circulated online after an encounter over Skype with a woman named ‘Staci Taylor’, who turned out to be a catfish. 

‘I thought I was having Skype sex with someone but I wasn’t – it was just a video of someone,’ he admitted to his campmates in the jungle.

The perpetrators tried to blackmail him, but far from playing the victim, Joel has put the traumatising experience into his stage act. ‘When it happened I thought, “What have I done? That wasn’t real, was it?”’ he says now.

Joel once joked that he couldn’t look after himself let alone a baby, but that’s all changed as he is expecting his first child next month

‘The way I see it is the more you hide, the more there is to find out. So instead of me going, “Oh, no, this is the worst thing that ever happened to me,” I was like, “This could be a funny show.” I was the victim and I still get people messaging me saying, “This has happened to me. What should I do?” 

‘My advice is separate yourself from it. Although you’ve been a victim you have to try to laugh it off because it doesn’t help to dwell on it.’

Joel began searching for the catfisher and found the pictures used by ‘Staci’ on a profile belonging to a woman called Natalia Noir. 

He contacted her to let her know her pictures were being used in blackmail. He never found ‘Staci’, but he and the real Natalia went on a few dates and became friends.

The catfishing was one of the 40 sexual encounters he charted in his book It’s Not Me, It’s Them: Confessions Of A Hopeless Modern Romantic, published in 2018. 

‘Hannah and I have always had an honest and open relationship so it wasn’t anything she didn’t know anyway,’ he says.

Joel proposed to Hannah on the last page of the book, and they haven’t looked back. While many showbiz relationships struggle, theirs goes from strength to strength, even after they put it under the microscope by broadcasting a lockdown TV show, Home Alone, from their southwest London house, and by launching a joint podcast called Never Have I Ever, which sees them act on unusual suggestions from listeners.

Hannah may be a kindred spirit, but she also gives Joel the safe haven he’s always sought. He grew up on a farm in Gloucestershire, but while his brother Ben pursued a career in farm and construction machinery, Joel was introverted, artistic and a ‘mummy’s boy’. 

‘I was the weirdo at school who hung around with a group of weirdos,’ he recalls. ‘I once ate steak every day for a year and would even take it in a Tupperware box to eat on dates. How did I even find a wife?’ He laughs incredulously. 

‘I love a routine, having the same breakfast at the same time every day, and going to bed early as bars and drinking aren’t my thing.

When Joel met Hannah he’d just done I’m A Celebrity. Pictured: The couple in October 2022 

‘The weirdo group weren’t afraid of making fools of themselves. We bonded over a sense of the ridiculous and not fitting in. I met my best friend Steve at school and he had genuinely funny bones. 

‘After school we didn’t see each other for a number of years, then we met up again when I was planning an Edinburgh show. He then became my tour manager and he’s helped write the scripts for the NTAs. 

‘This business is about surrounding yourself with the right people to keep you grounded.’

Joel began his career as an actor and won small roles, including in the Dylan Thomas biopic The Edge Of Love with Sienna Miller, Keira Knightley and Cillian Murphy. Ironically, it involved a sex scene with Sienna. 

‘I’d only done it once in real life so I was petrified. But Sienna was absolutely lovely to me. I haven’t met her since so I’m sure she won’t remember me, and the sex scene was cut anyway,’ he laughs.

He went to Los Angeles at 21. ‘It was the last hurrah for me in terms of acting because I never felt like I fitted into that world. I was really bad at auditioning, I suffered from a real lack of confidence.’

The anonymity of LA gave him the courage to do an open mic in a comedy club. ‘I loved stand-up, but I didn’t know you could do it for a living. After that open mic night as I walked home on Sunset Boulevard I knew that this was what I was going to do. I realised I loved being laughed at.’

The next ten years on the stand-up circuit were brutal, but audiences gradually came to love his material. 

‘I once had a lady who stood up and shouted, “Why don’t you just read out the raffle?” and I’ve had members of the audience fall asleep.’

For some comedians it’s all about pushing the envelope, but not Joel. He knows there’ll be a lot of dad-based material to come with his new parent status. 

‘There’s no point me suddenly getting involved in a really ridiculous joke that could get me into trouble, because I host The Masked Singer and I’m fully aware that is my bread and butter. Edginess is not my style.’

So what is? ‘Light-hearted affability,’ he smiles.

  • The National Television Awards, Tuesday 5 September, 8pm, ITV1.


Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail TV Critic

Put on your party best, pour a glass of bubbly and grab your phone. It’s time for Britain’s telly fans to be judge and jury at the small screen’s biggest awards.

Voting is still open for the National Television Awards 2023, which will be shown live on ITV on Tuesday 5 September, with some of the most exciting contests in the event’s 28-year history.

One highlight is the battle for Drama Performance between Sarah Lancashire and James Norton, stars of Happy Valley. She played stalwart copper Catherine Cawood, he was psychopath Tommy Lee Royce pursuing a vendetta against her – a genuine battle between good and evil.

Both previous series saw Lancashire nominated for an NTA, with a win in 2017. But Norton delivered the performance of a lifetime, so will he take the glory this time? Or will one of their rivals – Judy Parfitt as Call The Midwife’s Sister Monica Joan, India Amarteifio as the young Charlotte in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story or Brenda Blethyn in Vera – pip them both?

Happy Valley, Vera and Call The Midwife are also all nominees for Returning Drama, alongside Netflix’s Stranger Things – one of the few streaming service titles nominated, proving that terrestrial TV continues to hold its own against the on-demand revolution.

This year has seen some exceptional documentaries about illness, both mental and physical. Lewis Capaldi, Matt Willis and Rob Burrows have all bared their souls, but surely the favourite has to be the late Dame Deborah James, whose impossibly moving Bowelbabe In Her Own Words documented her fight against cancer.

There’s a clear favourite in the Reality category too. While Love Island and SAS: Who Dares Wins were up to their usual standard, and Race Across The World was widely acclaimed for its best series yet, it was The Traitors that made headlines. Like many critics I wasn’t expecting anything special from this new format, which appeared to be a hybrid of Big Brother and a haunted house adventure. But by the end of the first episode I was utterly hooked.

Host Claudia Winkleman is also nominated in the TV Presenter category, but has tough opposition in Ant and Dec (shortlisted for the 22nd year running) and Bradley Walsh. Alison Hammond is a frontrunner too for holding the fort at This Morning. Will anyone breathe the name P**l**p Sc**f***d on the night? Not likely…

One surprise nomination is Clarkson’s Farm from Amazon Prime Video in the Factual category. Jeremy Clarkson caused outrage last year when he called for Meghan Markle to be subjected to a Game Of Thrones-style humiliation, and many people feel he hasn’t earned forgiveness yet.

His rivals include The Martin Lewis Money Show Live and the Stacey Solomon declutter-fest Sort Your Life Out. But there can only be one victor: the late Paul O’Grady, whose final series of For The Love Of Dogs aired shortly after the beloved star died.

Surely Paul has to win. Anything else would be barking!

HOW TO VOTE: To vote for free, visit Or call 0905 647 2023. Calls cost 25p per minute plus your network access charge and should last no longer than seven minutes. Votes must be in by midday on 5 September 2023.

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