Matters of hair, or its scarcity, placed high on Gerry’s list of priorities. He was particularly follicularly sensitive himself, given what he referred to as his “skylight”, and was always curious to find out how people prevented or treated baldness. So, he took that growing curiosity and put it to work, resulting in the 2012 BBC documentary, Gerry Anderson’s Losing It.
According to the BBC website:
Gerry Anderson is losing it; his hair that is. And if it wasn’t falling out already he’d be tearing it out trying to find a solution. He’s not alone. There are 7.6 million men in the UK who suffer from some form of hair loss. He was 25 when he first noticed it was thinning and for Gerry, enough is now enough. Hair loss is one of the last male taboos and Gerry is determined to confront it head on. He wants to know how to stop his getting worse. He’s visited chemists who have offered various hair care products, but he doesn’t need hair nourishment now, he needs hair refurbishment…
…A hair transplant is one option. He visits a Dublin surgeon who is one of the world’s leading authorities in hair transplants; he is also the man responsible for actor Jimmy Nesbitt’s new hairline. The job can be done if Gerry wants to go through with it. Next, he travels from Dublin to the US, visiting people as diverse as a beauty queen with alopecia and the man who made Sinatra’s wigs. In the end Gerry has a decision to make… is losing his hair that important to him?‘Gerry Anderson’s Losing It’ by Erica Starling Productions for BBC Northern Ireland.
Ancient Cures and Old Wives’ Tales
Baldness remedies suggested and encountered are wild and odorous, to say the least of them. Sure, rub an onion on your head, massage a cow pat on your napper, and be sure to apply cod liver oil nightly to encourage hair growth… follow all the advice, and while you may see some improvement in hair health, you will enjoy it in your own solitude, for reasons that are obvious.
But rain water? Now there’s a cure worth exploring, and it won’t endanger your social standing!
See a couple of clips from the Gerry Anderson’s Losing It documentary here on the BBC website – his chat with Jimmy Nesbitt and of course Seán’s review of photos where Gerry sported hair worthy of a shampoo ad campaign. Because he’s worth it.
A Special Programme About Baldness
Though the documentary is no longer available online in its entirety, it was a resounding success when broadcast in 2012, but of course it neither started nor stopped there. The topic was regularly aired on the daily radio show, particularly in one, A Special Programme About Baldness now available on BBC Sounds – one of 78 podcasts of the radio show currently available.
Gerry had taken pen to paper in this programme and, inspired by Elvis’ “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”, went on to share a line or two for those follicularly challenged amongst us (tongue firmly in cheek)…
Do you sit in your parlour so empty and bare?
Do you gaze in the mirror and wish you had hair?
Is your heart full of pain? Will it grow back again?
Tell me dear, are you baldy tonight?
You really look like Elvis, and how the girls would scream
As they gazed at your duck’s arse, lubed up with white Brylcreem
And then the day, that awful day, you could only stand and stare,
When you found not lipstick on your pillow, but a tuft of your own hair!
That was the day the music died, the end of all the craic.
Your hair was blowing in the wind, and it never, ever came back.
You sat in your room in the dark and gloom wishing you were dead,
And before you went to sleep each night, you rubbed an onion on your head.
You really went frenetic when you found it was genetic,
And glared with hatred at your dear old father. We’ll call him Pop here.
Standing there in your pullover you tried the old comb-over,
And wore a cap when you went out to shop.
Then came the night, you saw the light, you grabbed the cutthroat razor,
And shaved your head until it bled with the precision of a laser.
When you stepped off the closet with your shiny baldy dome
The elderly women cried out “Kojak!” And many took you home…
Now the stage is bare, and you’re standing there, but hey, you feel all right.
Your dome attracts the moths and flies because it is so bright.
But you made it, man, let me shake your hand, your dome sure is some sight…
Tell me dear, are you baldy tonight?Are You Lonesome Tonight, rewritten by Gerry Anderson
Did he or didn’t he?
The truth is, though Gerry gathered all the facts, sought all the opinions and drew his own conclusions, he never quite got round to getting the job done himself. And no, there was never a wig, or a weave, nor any cap to speak of.
Funny though, I can’t look at Jimmy Nesbitt on TV, or see an ad for hair transplant clinics without wondering what if…!