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By now, Julie was adding a beard to Andrew O'Connor, who was already sporting a bushy black wig and a pair of eyebrows which would put Dennis Healey to shame.

BBC make-up designer Julie Vincent puts a beard on actor Andrew O'Connor

She continued: "If it's something like Open Air, then people generally find it quite exciting to be made up by us, because it's an experience for them. Sometimes we get people who won't wear make-up, we don't force them. Nowadays we get a lot of people asking for the Beauty Without Cruelty range, which we have a stock of."

On the other side of the cabin, make-up assistant Jill Sweeney was getting Terry Randall ready for his role as an interviewer with a receding hairline. First, Terry's own hair was covered with a bald-cap made of thin rubber.

"We make these ourselves," Jill explained, as she fixed it in place with spirit gum.

She added a ginger hairpiece and applied some make-up to 'hide the join'. The result was remarkably natural-looking and would go unnoticed in the street, although Jill said she would be able to tell.

These hairpieces cost several hundreds of pounds. Sometimes they're specially made, although the BBC has a large stock in London which the department can order from. The hairpieces are tried out on the actors at pre-production wig-fitting sessions.

Jill and Julie were using a number of different wigs for a comedy sketch sending up what happens when continuity goes wrong. The sketch called for lots of quick changes - giving the make-up team between twenty and thirty minutes each time.

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