In just two weeks’ time, Strictly Come Dancing will be back on our screens with a new host of socially-distanced celebs ready to make their dance floor debut.
While this year’s cohort of competitors won’t know which professional dancer they’ll be paired up with until the launch show, comedian Bill Bailey already has criteria in mind when it comes to his assigned Ballroom boffin.
When asked what he’s looking for in a dance partner, the 55-year-old told RadioTimes.com and other press: “Very much someone who doesn’t pull any punches, isn’t going to sugar coat it. You just want someone telling you straight.”
The comedian in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing line-up continued: “I need to know what’s right to get it locked in, so someone who’s got a degree of patience but someone who’s going to keep pushing, making sure you practice and you get it right.”
“Because that’s the thing: I feel an obligation really to do that because these are all professionals, they’re having to dance as well, they’re having to look good, they’re having to sort of do their thing,” he said. “And as someone’s who’s learning, I don’t want to not put the time in. I want to put 100 per cent in so that you can actually at least give a good account of yourself.”
“I’m quite a quick earner, it’s just learning this — learning moves and steps — is like learning another language, so it might take a while just to filter in. But I think someone who’s really going to push for that is going to be someone who I really respond to,” he added.
The musician and comedian is best known for starring in sitcoms Black Books and In the Long Run, as well as his appearances on panel shows Never Mind the Buzzcocks, QI and Have I Got News For You.
Bailey also admitted he has loads of time to dedicate to the competition as COVID-19 has disrupted his touring schedule.
“On a normal year, I would be in Australia about to start three or four months touring all around Australia, New Zealand and then I would be in America and then I’d be in Europe,” he said. “And all of that has stopped.”
“Part of the reason why I was able to do this show this year is because this tour is just not happening, everything been postponed indefinitely really. Nobody knows when the thing will happen again, when the shows will be back on, when people will have confident to go out so, really, I’ve got a lot of time to really focus on this.”
The BBC recently released first-look images of the 2020 line-up in classic Strictly attire ahead of the new series, with the likes of Caroline Quentin, Jamie Laing and Clara Amfo in sequin-heavy, colourful outfits.
Additional reporting by Grace Henry.
Strictly Come Dancing live shows starts on BBC One on October 24th. To find out what else is on in the meantime, check out our TV Guide.