Meet Bill Bailey – Strictly Come Dancing contestant and stand-up comedian

Everything you need to know about the star of Channel 4's Black Books who is in the Strictly line-up this year.

Bill Bailey

Currently in third place on the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard, Bill Bailey is a forced to be reckoned with.


The 55-year-old comedian has shown great promise in the competition, scoring an impressive 27 points in Week Four after doing the Couple’s Choice to Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang, along with Oti Mabuse – one of the Strictly Come Dancing professionals.

This comes after another week of triumph, when they scored 26 points with their hilarious Western-themed Paso Doble, inspired by The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for Strictly Come Dancing‘s Movie Week.

The comedian is a natural performer and incorporates his own music and physical comedy in his stand-up act, which has seen him surpass many of the other contestants in the Strictly Come Dancing line-up.

The Strictly Come Dancing songs and dances for Week Five have been revealed, and Bill is set to dance the American Smooth to I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Frank Sinatra.

So, will Bill be able to keep his spot on the leaderboard? Judging by the past few weeks, the other celebs have got a lot of work to do if they want to beat him.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Strictly star.

Who is Bill Bailey?

Age: 55

Instagram: @the_bill_bailey

Twitter: @BillBailey

Job: Stand-up comedian and actor

Partnered with: Oti Mabuse

Bailey began his comedy career in the 80’s, performing stand-up on the circuit and various comedy shows before landing his own TV series on the BBC in 1998 – Is It Bill Bailey?

From then on, he began appearing on various panel shows, such as Room 101, Have I Got News for You and Des O’Connor Tonight before acting in Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes’ off-beat comedy Spaced.

In 2000, he starred in Channel 4 sitcom Black Books as Manny Bianco alongside Dylan Moran and Tamsin Grieg, and two years later, became a team captain on musical quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

He has since taken acting roles in Hot Fuzz, Skins, Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, Chalet Girl, Doctor Who and currently stars in In the Long Run opposite Idris Elba.

In addition to his acting career, Bailey is a skilled pianist and guitarist, regularly incorporating both instruments and his musical abilities into his stand-up routines.

He shares a son with his wife Kristin, who he married in 1998 and lives in London with.

Bill Bailey’s Strictly journey so far


Week One: Cha Cha (3 + 6 + 6) = 15

Week Two: Quickstep (8 + 8 + 8) = 24

Week Three: Paso Doble (9 + 9 + 8) = 26

Week Four: Couples’ Choice (8+10+9) = 27

Bailey had a slow start, scoring just 15 points in week one and landing himself in 8th place.

But a much better performance in Week Two saw a marked improvement in his score, earning 24 points and soaring up the leaderboard – winning impressive comments from the judges and the viewing public in the process.

In Week Three, he and Oti excelled with their Western-inspired Paso Doble.

And in Week Four, Bill impressed even more, shooting up to the third spot on the leaderboard with 27 points.

Craig Revel Horwood told Jonathan Ross: “I love Bill Bailey. He’s amazing. I was dissing him before, I’d never seen him dance.”

Bailey’s Strictly signing was announced by the show back in September.

Sharing a statement, the BBC One dance competition wrote on their Twitter page: “In these strange times we’re living through, it feels right to do something different and take on a new challenge.”


Responding to the news, Bailey added: “So I am delighted to be a part of this year’s unique Strictly Come Dancing. My late mum Madrin would have loved it – I hope she’ll be watching.”

The Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One on Saturday at 7:15pm and Sunday evening at 7:25pm. If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide.