Strictly’s Bill Bailey: Who is he and why has Shirley Ballas backed him as the dark horse?

The comic has been tipped as one to watch this year...

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Strictly Come Dancing contestant Bill Bailey will be providing the laughs in 2020’s line-up.

The comedian, 55, is one of 12 celebrities taking part in the new series of Strictly – which will be a shorter run due to the pandemic.

But, despite the jokey appearance, head judge Shirley Ballas has tipped him as one to watch!

Bill Bailey joins Strictly Come Dancing
Bill Bailey Credit: Bettina Strenske/Cover Images

Read more: Strictly Come Dancing: Neil Jones is ‘devastated as he is DEMOTED to a backing dancer’

Who is Bill Bailey?

Bill Bailey is a comedian, musician and actor from Bath, who is taking part in Strictly 2020.

In 2003, The Observer newspaper named Bill one of the top 50 funniest acts in British comedy.

The comedian spent years on the stand-up circuit before moving into the world of TV, where he went on to appear in sitcom Black Books.

He has also appeared on numerous panel shows, including Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Have I Got News For You and QI.

Why is Bill Bailey doing Strictly?

The funny man is a firm believer in taking on new challenges.

“I’m always looking at new things,” he says. He admits that he has a more personal reason for joining the glittering line-up – explaining that his late mother Madrin would have been so excited about his appearance on the show.

“She would have loved it – I hope she’ll be watching.”

Bill Bailey Black Books
Bill Bailey appeared in Black Books alongside Dylan Moran and Tamsin Greig (Credit: UKTV)

Can Bill Bailey dance?

Unlike some of the Strictly 2020 cast, Bill says he has no dance experience whatsoever.

“I haven’t been to stage school, haven’t lived for the dance as some may have done,” he told Zoe Ball in a recent interview.

“I’m not Lord of the Dance. More sort of Caretaker of the Dance, [it’s] going to be quite a challenge… That’s what this is all about!

Read more: Strictly Come Dancing plans moving TV special tribute to Caroline Flack

Bill Bailey Strictly
Bill Bailey will be bringing zero dance experience to Strictly (Credit: BBC)

Who is Bill Bailey partnered with?

Bill has been partnered up with last year’s winning pro Oti Mabuse.

She won the 2019 series alongside former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher.

Who is Bill Bailey’s wife?

Bill has one child with wife Kristin.

The pair met at one of Bill’s gigs in 1987 where Kristin ran a bar in Edinburgh.

“She had this long brocade coat, and I realised she was a free spirit and did her own thing,” he told the Independent in 2009.

“We ended up chatting away, and all went to a party, and she put me up on her sofa.”

The comedian pursued his wife-to-be by sending her a letter everyday for 12 months.

They finally got together in 1988 and married 10 years later in Indonesia.

Read more: Strictly Come Dancing: Tamzin Outhwaite admits it’s a ‘box she wants to tick’

Has Bill Bailey got children?

In 2003, Bill and Kristin welcomed their son Dax, named after a child they met on their travels.

Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, Bill said: “Contrary to popular belief, Dax is not named after a Star Trek character.

“The name came from a friend of ours who married an Indonesian man.

“They had a son called Dax and we just always associated it with being in Indonesia and always said ‘if we ever have a child, that’ll be in the running’.

“[I was] completely unaware that Dax was also the name of a character in Deep Space Nine until someone told me.”

Read more: Strictly Come Dancing: BBC reveals ‘challenges’ of bringing 2020 series to our screens

Is Bill Bailey this year’s dark horse on Strictly?

Bill is NOT just a novelty act, according to head judge Shirley Ballas.

Shirley was giving her initial verdicts on the Strictly Come Dancing 2020 cast in The Sun.

She said comedian Bill is one to watch across the BBC series and that comparisons to former politician Ed Balls are way off the mark.

Shirley admits: “I turned to Craig [Revel Horwood] and said ‘he’s going to be our Ed Balls. The series is going to be a lot of fun.’ And then he danced.

“He was rotating his hips, he was giving it some stick. And I thought: ‘Oh my Lord, he is not only funny, he’s going to really give this a go.’ I wasn’t expecting that.”

Shirley acknowledged her preconceptions were wrong as she described Bill’s dancing as “actually amazing”.

She also admitted to assuming he would appear “stiff” and “uncomfortable”.

Shirley continued: “He looked like he could go.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturdays on BBC One.

Are you looking forward to seeing Bill Bailey on Strictly Come Dancing? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know.