As many of you know, the real Bill Bailey is known as RealBillBailey on Twitter, which segues/shoehorns nicely into the next interview…with actor Paul Adams, who has been known to double for Bill on various occasions. Once we worked out which one was which, we spoke to him (who?). You know, the other one…
1. When did you first realise that you might look a bit like BB?
I think that the first inkling I got that there was a strong likeness was while I was sitting in a large wooden chest in a set at pinewood studios back in 2001. I had been picked from an agent’s book to double for Bill Bailey for some re-shoots on Jonathan Creek (Season 3, Episode 7, Satan's Chimney) and they were discussing whether or not they could get away with filming me face on, instead of just the back of my head. To this day, I don't know which shots were me and which were Bill.
Two years later, I was back on Jonathan Creek (Season 4, Episode 3, The Tailor's Dummy) (I am not obsessing, I just checked on IMDB). This time, I was playing the double of Bill Bailey's character, Kenny Starkiss, in a conjuring trick in Covent Garden. I later met the assistant director who had cast me in Jonathan Creek, who told me that they had been so impressed by my likeness to Bill, that they had written the scene in the Tailor's Dummy episode in order to exploit the likeness.
2. When did you start capitalising on your BB likeness?
I have never really exploited my likeness to BB – I’m not a professional Bill Bailey impersonator, just I guy that happens to look like him. Whilst I am happy to accept any Bill Bailey jobs that come along, I am not sure how much work there would be for a professional Bill Bailey (other than the one who works in your office of course). Usually I wear a full beard, instead of the trademark BB goatee, so the likeness is not obvious. I started out with a goatee, but due to some very bad advice I got when I first started working as a film extra, I am now stuck with a full set.
Is Paul's boat like Bill's? You be the judge.
3. As a BB double, what’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you?
Probably getting followed on the London Underground by a Bill Bailey stalker. As a country boy, I don't go to London very often, but after my first Jonathan Creek Job, I was going to a casting on the Underground Train [city folk may know these as ‘tubes’ – Ed], when this fellow starts staring at me. "Black Books" He said. "Sorry?" I replied. At that time I had never seen the television series of that name, and was only vaguely aware of its existence. "Black Books" he repeated, over and over again. "You’re off Black Books on the telly!" The penny finally dropped. "No, I just look like him", I answered, but this was not what he wanted to hear. Just then the train arrived at the station and I decided that a strategic withdrawal was in order. As luck would have it, my connection had just drawn in and as I sat down and looked across the carriage, there sitting at the far end was Mr. Black Books! I changed trains several times and each time he followed me. I must confess that it was a fairly unnerving experience. I finally managed to shake him off somewhere on the Northern Line. I cannot remember if I got the casting or not.
4. When you took part in the Buzzcocks' Identity Parade (parading as BB), did you think you bore the most resemblance out of all the participants?
Most of the other participants were "joke" lookalikes. For example, Madonna was played by a little old lady. There were a couple of lookalikes, like the Cheeky Girls, but I would say that I probably had the strongest resemblance. One of the moments that was cut was when Bill said, "Ah yes, but can he do THIS?". Despite not having my glasses on, I spotted a nearby monitor and Bill was wriggling his eyebrows, so I wriggled mine too. The audience reaction to that was great.
5. What is your inside leg measurement?
What a strange question. I have a 32” inside leg. I know that I am a bit taller than Bill, but I am pretty sure that I have never been called upon to wear his trousers.
Paul and a mobile barbecue
6. Sometimes, do you feel like cutting your hair off but refrain from doing so, because it’ll be bad for business? (incidentally Francis Rossi of The Quo cut his hair off BECAUSE he thought it made him look like Bill Bailey and was bad for business).
During the late 80's early 90's I grew my hair long because I was working as a historical presenter, playing a variety of historical characters. Agents tend to pigeon hole you and it drastically upsets their world if you suddenly change your appearance. But if a good acting job comes along that requires short hair, I will probably get it cut but then I will let it grow until the next job comes along. This has always been my practice regarding my beard; let it grow then cut it to suit a role when it comes along. Facial topiary has become a speciality of mine.
7. Bill would like you to tell him what he is thinking right now, please...
Bill is thinking...."I bet he’ll never guess what I am thinking!"