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Black Books Icons [24 Jun 2010|12:43am]

46 Black Books icons from Series 1

1 Human Slave in an Insect Nation

Would the Real Bill Bailey please stand up? [04 Aug 2009|03:24pm]


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.



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Bailey's cream of the stand-up comedy crop [03 Aug 2009|04:28pm]

THANK The Man – at last Plymouth gets a stand-up visit by Bill Bailey.

Britain's favourite part-Troll funnyman makes up for missing the city out of his career thus far with a whopping six-night stint at the Theatre Royal from Monday.

And if it wasn't for The Man he might never have got to the city at all.

Bill's comedy career was burning so slowly in the early 1990s that he stubbed it out and got a proper job.

"I was selling ad space for an international business management development magazine," he kind-of recalls. "I can't remember its name now, but what's worse is I couldn't even remember its name then, when I was trying to sell its advertising."

The future stand-up refused to take it sitting down when he was ordered to wear a tie, even though he never met customers – he worked in telesales.

"I was thinking, 'The Man ain't gonna tell me what to do. I'm sticking it to The Man – oh, I've been sacked."

A decade on Bill is laughing all the way to being one of the most bankable all-rounders around.

The comedian, musician and actor has enjoyed critical and popular acclaim with his live shows Bewilderness and Part Troll, and had continual exposure for his laid-back style in TV shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Black Books and Spaced.

Raised in Keynsham, near Bristol (his dad was a GP, his mum a hospital nurse) Bill and his career have always had a hint of the farcical, usually intentional, occasionally unplanned.
He was in a group called The Famous Five – an unsuccessful band with four members – and his comedy double-act show once attracted an audience of one, a fellow comedian who the pair took down the pub and told the jokes to in person over a few drinks.

Bill's perseverance was rewarded when his solo show, Bill Bailey's Cosmic Jam, got universal praise and Channel 4 ran a one-hour special 'live' from the Bloomsbury Theatre in 1996. At last he took off and was able to tie together the music and Pythonesque whimsical rambling gags that are his style.

He picked up a Time Out award, was pipped for the Perrier but bagged the Best Live Stand-Up gong in the British Comedy Awards, 1999. Recognition has allowed him to dip into other projects, including presenting the wildlife show, Wild Thing I Love You, for Channel 4.

Currently he is developing ideas for film and television with his own production company, Glassbox Productions who are responsible for bringing to the screen Tinselworm and Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra.

His Bill Bailey: Live tour features much new material as well as including parts of Tinselworm.

He says: "First time for me in Plymouth I think, bigging up the South Coast Massive ... or something.

"So many places, so many tiny individual pots of Milk-Style Dairy Type Liquid."

So why is Bill so good? For starters he is hilarious and unique.

Bill is also versatile and despite the gentle hippie persona can quickfire with the best of them with a wit that is second to none. When one critic complained that his act had no jokes in it, the next night Bill did the Edinburgh show entirely made out of punchlines.

Perhaps the key is that Bill's stand up avoids knocking people down. There is an affection and an inclusivity to his humour which defies the trend towards the sneering and the nasty. As he says of his musical skits: "You have to know the style of the musician really well in order to nail it. So all my tributes have a spark of affection in them."

Catch Bill Bailey: Live from Monday to Saturday next week. Tickets are £25 for Monday to Wednesday, £27.50 for Thursday and Friday and £30 for Saturday; box office: 01752 267222 or www.theatreroyal.com.

1 Human Slave in an Insect Nation

QI [04 Jun 2009|06:22pm]

It appears that Bill will be in four episodes of the next series of QI scheduled to air sometime this fall (episodes 'G-Animals', 'Gravity', 'Green', and 'Groovy [Christmas Special]')
Insect Nation

5 Minutes with Bill Bailey [01 Jun 2009|03:15pm]

Watch it here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/8073976.stm
Insect Nation

[25 May 2009|03:19pm]


Actor name row is a battle of Bills

21 May 2009
A TALE OF TWO BILLIES: Archway actor Bill Bailey (left) found work drying up after the arrival of a stand-up comic using the same name (right)
A TALE OF TWO BILLIES: Archway actor Bill Bailey (left) found work drying up after the arrival of a stand-up comic using the same name (right)
IT'S a case of "will the real Bill Bailey please stand up?" - because an actor wonders whether the Never Mind The Buzzcocks comedian may have borrowed his name.

Archway's Bill Bailey, 70, who lives in Pemberton Terrace, was a successful West End actor, who starred in Bus Stop alongside Jerry Hall.

He was the first full frontal male nude on a British stage, acted in the film Superman II and even featured in Life magazine on a page opposite a piece about John Lennon.

But the adoration all came to an end when the more famous Bill Bailey came on the scene as a stand-up in the early 1990s, going on to feature in TV shows Spaced, Black Books and Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Archway Bill owns the right to the name according to Equity, the actors' union, but as Buzzcocks Bill surged to fame, Archway Bill found offers of work drying up.

Archway Bill, who has gone on to become a successful author, said: "I am not full of resentment or anything - but it did devastate my career. It is my bloody name and I got there first. Besides, I'm much better looking than him."

In the 1980s, Buzzcocks Bill had a bit part in a Corin Redgrave play. Archway Bill, then at the height of his powers, was in one of the starring roles.

He thinks Buzzcocks Bill - whose original name is Mark Bailey - may have thought of using it then.

Archway Bill said: "We worked together in Corin Redgrave's play during the printers' strike. I had quite a showy part, and I've always wondered."

He added: "Bill Bailey is a memorable name. But it also happens to be my actual name - that's why I say I am the real Bill Bailey. Tears roll down my cheeks as I send away the cheques made out to Bill Bailey when they arrive in the post. I will beat him off Google eventually!"

But Buzzcocks Bill pooh-poohed his rival's claim to the name.

He said: "I was in junior school geography class in the third year when Mr Buckley started calling me Bill Bailey. Maybe Old Bill was visiting Bath in the 1970s, overheard the name and nicked it. Maybe HE ruined MY career."

Buzzcocks Bill added: "Father of British surfing, Bill Bailey (who died this week) - did he ruin Old Bill's surfing career? Or what about Axl Rose (real name Bill Bailey) - did Old Bill prevent him from fronting Guns n' Roses?"

Archway Bill Bailey, who now writes novels, is about to publish Is Alice? a tale of a man and his schizophrenic wife based in Archway.
8 Human Slaves in an Insect Nation

[08 Mar 2009|12:07pm]

Oooh, naughty Bill Bailey!

Comic Bailey banned from driving

1 Human Slave in an Insect Nation

Bill Bailey: 'People are obsessed by how I look' [25 Nov 2008|02:32pm]

Bill Bailey's talent embraces everything from bloke-in-a-bar gags to Chaucer and Pinter. Where will his quicksilver wit alight next?

The Big Interview by Christina Patterson
Friday, 21 November 2008

You have to be careful what you say about Bill Bailey. The journalist, for example, who wrote that "his head resembles a large egg and his hair flows down his back like a shower curtain", has found fame of a sort, as his words are tossed out, with a half-shrug, half-sneer, to nightly audiences of thousands. "People are obsessed by how I look," said Bailey in his last touring show, before presenting, with apparent bewilderment, the evidence. Like so much to do with the man now famously described as a "medieval roadie", however, it's a double bluff. The show, after all, is called Part Troll.

Today, the "part troll" looks less wild, hairy creature from Glastonbury, or perhaps Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and more respectable metropolitan type, clutching a sleek phone and sporting a smart jacket and a flowery shirt. The beard is neatly trimmed and the hair looks as though it's hanging in there as long hair, hovering, in fact, somewhere between establishment and rebel. And perhaps you can't quite be a rebel if you've just taken part, as Bailey did a couple of nights ago, in a 60th birthday show for the heir to the throne. Perhaps you can't be a rebel if you're taking your room-in-a-pub shows to stadium audiences of around 10,000, and if your website offers fans the chance to buy an extensive range of "merchandise", from mugs and shopping bags to ringtones.

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'Tinselworm' is at the Gielgud Theatre, London W1 (0844 482 5130), to 22 December; the DVDs 'Tinselworm' and 'Bill Bailey: The Classic Collection' are out now
Insect Nation

From Bill Bailey: I don't mock the weak [21 Nov 2008|03:14pm]

Bill Bailey's comic targets include the lofty giants of capitalism, whom he attacks like “some beardy bloke shaking a fist”

Dominic Maxwell

Bill Bailey is not exactly what he seems. He's a cuddly hippy with an acid tongue; a light entertainer who once performed for the Workers Revolutionary Party; a panel-show regular who's had his fill of panel shows; an arena-filling comedian who reckons that most people have no idea who he is. Judge him by his rocker's hair, his psychedelic posters and his show titles - Cosmic Jam, Bewilderness, Part Troll - and you'd think he's some reefer-damaged dropout. Hear his stand-up, and his manner is more Hancock than Hawkwind: “I'm English,” he once announced, “and as such I crave disappointment.”

He began a West End run of his latest show, Tinselworm, last night. He plays a scat-jazz rejig of the death march from Star Wars. He sets Kant's categorical imperative to the Match of the Day theme. He raps at a supermarket chain for asking him to be in its adverts. A 43-year-old white beardy bloke, co-opting hip-hop to moan about Asda? “I though it had a sort of poetic incongruity about it,” he chuckles.

And that sense of poetic incongruity is the defining feature of a man who one minute is outgunning second-string pop stars on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, the next is staging Pinter sketches, and a guide to the orchestra at the Albert Hall.

Bailey is angrier and more interesting than his cartoon image. Is he misunderstood? He certainly hopes so, he says cheerily, nursing a pot of mint tea at a café near his home in Hammersmith, West London. “Maybe it is just a childish thrill, but I think there is so much about popular culture that is so readily understandable, so readily packageable: oh, that's him, he does that. It's easy and you don't have to think too much about it. And I resist that.”

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Tinselworm is at the Gielgud, W1 (08444 825130; www.billbailey.co.uk), to Dec 22

Insect Nation

Never Mind the Buzzcocks has lost its edge [10 Nov 2008|02:28pm]

With the loss of Bill Bailey this once-reliable panel show has suffered an apparently terminal crisis of confidence

Posted by James Wignall Friday November 7 2008 12.21 GMT

Alas, it seems to have finally happened – Never Mind the Buzzcocks, the show that trumpeted itself knowingly as a "mildly amusing panel show", is now more often than not just, well, mildly irritating. Given that it still features the ever-dependable Phil Jupitus, and is hosted by the very talented Simon Amstell, of whom I'm a big fan, how did this happen? How did it go from being a must-see show for pretty much 12 years, to being such a pale imitation of itself that last week I actually turned off two-thirds of the way through due to exasperation?

The short answer is Bill Bailey, or rather the lack of him. The three episodes he took off in the previous series didn't seem to matter, thanks to his replacement for those shows, Noel Fielding, being fantastic value. But the decision by the producers to go down the Have I Got News for You route and use guest captains seems to have been its downfall. The absence of Bailey has rendered NMTB rudderless; with his departure, the fact that Jupitus is a nice bloke but not particularly funny is made painfully obvious, while Amstell seems increasingly uncomfortable with the burden of being the sole comedian on the show, and is less funny for it. Read more...Collapse )

Insect Nation

Tinselworm DVD [03 Oct 2008|02:21pm]

[ mood | excited ]

"The long awaited release of Tinselworm on DVD is approaching. The date for your diaries is 10 November 2008."

1 Human Slave in an Insect Nation

News Round-Up [03 Oct 2008|02:18pm]


September and October have brought with them the smell of a new term; a cool air of flora and fauna, far off bonfires and a whiff of double music and, with Bill back from his sell-out tour of Australia and New Zealand very soon, he'll barely have chance to knock back another cheese and ham toastie with warm lettuce (his staple diet down under) before he has to turn up for band practice.

Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to The Orchestra:
Brighton Dome & the Royal Albert Hall

Bill will be dusting off his 13 stϋck spezial gestimmte Österreichische (Austrian Alpbells to you and me) to perform with Anne Dudley and the BBC Concert Orchestra for Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to The Orchestra.

Remarkable Guide to The Orchestra

First stop will be the Brighton Dome on 4 and 8 October and then the bus will be pulling into The Royal Albert Hall for 3 nights only; 15, 16 and 17 October, so be sure to book your tickets so as to avoid being in the unfortunate position of not having booked any.

Remarkable Competition

To commemorate this special event, Bill has collaborated with award winning artist, Joe Magee, to produce a limited edition silkscreen print (see image, right). Each print is signed by Joe and Bill. We are giving you the opportunity to win one of these highly coveted hand-made prints by answering the following question:

Q. In no more than 10 words:
What's going on in Bill's X-Ray head?

Please log on to http://www.billbailey.co.uk/fasthtml/remarkablecompetition.php to submit your answer. The lucky winner will be notified by 31st October 2008. The winner and answer will be posted in the December newsletter. The judge's decision is final. Remarkably good answers will be posted on the website.

How very puzzling

It is in honour of the union of Autumn and musicality that we give you a little tea-time puzzle. Squirreled away in this wordsearch are 13 orchestral creatures nestling amongst the same unlucky amount of woodland instruments. Why not see if you can find them all when you take a break from gathering this week's tuneful nuts.

Tinselworm comes to London town!

TinselwormFollowing a sell-out arena tour of the UK in 2007 and a sell-out tour of New Zealand and Australia in 2008, Tinselworm returns to the UK for a run at The Gielgud Theatre from November 10 - January 24, although with (it is assumed) at least some time off for him to spend some time with his nearest and dearest over the primary gifting period and auxiliary generosity zone.

As in any Bill Bailey show, the subject matter is broad ranging; tattoos, marketing, doorbells, Emo, creationism, post-war banking secrecy, travellers' tales and the alternate reality that is Bill's world - spun together with the sparkling thread of a seasonal invertebrate.

It has all the trademark Bailey elements; lyrical dexterity, tangential silliness and musical brilliance plus animation by award-winning film maker, Joe Magee, all of which combine to make this a verbal and visual treat.

This will be the last time you'll be able to see this show before Bill puts it to bed.

Remember...only the early bird catches the Tinselworm.

For pre-sale tickets call 0844 482 5130 quoting "FURRY JAM HAT" or log on to:


Tickets will be on sale to the rest of the world on Monday 6 October.


Catch him if you can...

Saturday 11 October
Listen to Bill on Loose Ends at 6.15pm on BBC Radio 4. Presented by Clive Anderson, rumour has it that Glen Campbell (apparently nothing to do with soup) and human beatbox, Schlomo, will also be guests on the show.

Sunday 12 October
Bill will be joining Tim Lovejoy in the kitchen on Something for The Weekend at 10am on BBC 2. Sitting on the sofa will also be confirmed guest Ne-Yo. Will you be able to handle this juxtaposition?

Monday 13 October
Catch Bill on Colin Murray's Radio 1 show at 11pm. He's supposed to be choosing 5 tracks for Colin to play, although I'm not sure if he's done his homework as yet. He'll probably leave it until Sunday night and then tell us that his P.E. kit needs washing too.

Insect Nation

The Worm Turns [29 Sep 2008|05:43pm]

Kylie Northover
September 26, 2008

From nature watcher to hobbit to Tinselworm, Bill Bailey's evolution makes for a curious tale.

BRITISH comedian Bill Bailey, performing in Melbourne this week, is fresh from touring New Zealand, where he found himself in demand — but not as a comedian. Much to his chagrin, Bailey discovered he's the subject of an online petition put together by fans in an effort to have him cast in the coming film adaptation of The Hobbit.

Bailey groans theatrically when asked about the petition, although (of course) he appreciates the absurdity of it. "Oh God, I don't initiate these things," he says, laughing. "I found out that it started off as a petition for me to be in The Lord of the Rings, and now people want me to be in The Hobbit!"

Presumably it has at least something to do with his hirsute appearance, but is Bailey feeling insulted or flattered?

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Insect Nation

[18 Sep 2008|06:17pm]


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Culture: No Trace of Li8er Pickers at Big Chill [27 Aug 2008|07:01pm]

I'm linking instead of reposting the entire article, since this is the only part to mention Bill. Still, I thought this much was worth posting:

"My highlight of the weekend was stumbling upon comedian Bill Bailey romping around the festival in a rubber chicken mask."
Insect Nation

Cultural Life: Bill Bailey, Comedian [27 Aug 2008|06:59pm]

Interview by Charlotte Cripps
Friday, 22 August 2008


I read a lot of books because they inspire my material. The Reluctant Mr Darwin by David Quammen is an extremely well-researched account of Darwin's life after he came back from his South American trip on the Beagle. He lived in Kent with his wife, a devout Christian, which made him question his own thoughts on evolution. I read The God Delusion. Parts of it were brilliant but Richard Dawkins loses it a bit. He says that people who are religious are not as intelligent as people who aren't. This zeal about evolution is just as evangelical as the zealots that he's trying to belittle. Born Yesterday: The News as a Novel by Gordon Burn guides you through events of 2007 but cleverly worked into a novel.


I hardly watch television. I have a child, Dax, four, who requires a lot of entertaining. I watched the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. What made me laugh was just the fact that how on earth are we going to compete with that?


People always talk about the latest films. I think, "Well, give me six months and I will be able to join in on this conversation." I saw Control [about Joy Division] because I'm a bit of an old punk. It brilliantly conjured up that era. I watched Cloverfield with the big monsters in Manhattan. I saw Beowulf starring Ray Winstone. I don't know if it was meant to be funny, but I found it hilarious.


I like electronic music – Aphex Twin, Hot Chip, Justice. I finally got around to listening to In Rainbows, the new Radiohead album. I like the lo-fi nature of it. We went to the First Night of the Proms. Messiaen's organ works was overwhelming, crashing out this wall of sound at the Royal Albert Hall. There was an amazing piece of piano music by an American called Elliott Carter. He wanted to write a piece with no chords – just one continuous flow of notes.

'Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra', Royal Albert Hall, London SW7 (020-7589 8212), 15 & 16 October
Insect Nation

Black Books Icons [05 Aug 2008|04:28pm]

O, hai! I've made some icons from Elephants and Hens, series 3 of Black Books. Hope you like!


(Hiding behind the fake cut)

Oh, and sorry about the manic x-postage...
Insect Nation

[16 Jul 2008|02:17pm]

Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra

Bill will be performing his latest show, featuring a 72 piece symphony orchestra, at the Royal Albert Hall, London on October 15th and 16th 2008.

In order to be eligible to buy tickets in advance of the public sale, we will be asking fans to pre-register their interest in buying tickets for these shows.

The pre-registration will be open for the next seven days until 5pm on Thursday 24th July.

On Monday 28th July those that have registered will receive an email from us containing a special code word which will allow you to buy tickets over the internet via the Royal Albert Hall website or from their box office.

To register your interest NOW, go to:


Please register your interest as quickly as possible. Thank you very much for your ongoing support.
2 Human Slaves in an Insect Nation

Grill Bill [23 Jun 2008|03:02pm]


Grill Bill

5:00AM Saturday June 21, 2008
By Russell Baillie
Bill Bailey is grateful  Flight of the Conchords have made musical comedy popular. He brings us his brand of it with his show 'Tinselworm' touring the main centres, starting at the end of August. Photo / Supplied by Elephant Publicity
English stand-up Bill Bailey is returning to New Zealand with his musically inspired, hilariously rambling brand of comedy. But first he has to answer some of Russell Baillie's questions
Before you phone Bill Bailey up for an interview, he needs to see your questions. Why? So he can "prepare" we're told. Oh. But this is a man who when on stage - when he's not doing brilliant comedy songs which can make Flight of the Conchords look like, well, NZ's fourth most popular folk-comedy duo - gives the appearance of making surreal stuff up as he goes along. We'd rather he do some of that in our 20-minute chat, frankly.
But we dutifully send off 10 or so inquiries (yes Wikipedia may have been involved) and once he's on the line from London, he's happy not to stick to the script.
So here's Bailey - a friend of British woodland creatures, avid Star Trek fan, and someone whose fans keep creating petitions to get him roles in things - on various subjects dear to his heart, and other parts ... Read more...Collapse )
1 Human Slave in an Insect Nation

I want to go back to music [09 Jun 2008|11:42am]

Bill Bailey reveals next ambition – and it's not comedy 

I want to go back to music

Bill Bailey plans to ease back on his comedy career to concentrate on music.

Interviewed on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs today, the comedian admitted he was always restless for the next challenge – and said he now wanted to ‘revisit the music side of my career; [to] just to go back and play my music.

‘I’ve missed playing to a certain level for so long,’ he said. ‘In comedy I just play little bits and pieces. It’s part of the act – it’s integral to the act, but I haven’t been that serious about it. I want to go back to the piano and push myself a bit and improve it and learn more.’

He also told interviewer Kirsty Young that he first realised he had a gift for comedy as a child, when he entertained mourners at an aunt’s funeral by repeating a Les Dawson routine he’d seen on TV.

‘He played the opening of the 1812 Overture and he’d get it wrong. He’d play the first few chords and then he’d go, “Oh, I can’t think of any more.” Then I think he swore or something, “That’s all I can do, I’m knackered” And I said this when I was a kid.

‘My dad he was drinking a cup of tea, looking very serious sashe was talking to someone. He spat all the tea out and sprayed this tea all over this woman. And then my mum dropped her cup, which smashed, and someone else knocked over some cheese and pineapple. And there was this chaos.’ 

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