Bill Bailey - things you didn't know about the comedian and musician

Bill Bailey
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Bill Bailey attends RHS Chelsea Flower Show press day at Royal Hospital Chelsea on May 22, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)Getty Images (Image credit: Getty Images)

Bill Bailey has a secret talent for wildlife photography and drawing and a passion for jumping out of planes. Here is everything you need to know about the comedian, actor and musician...

Bill Bailey is best known for being a stand up comedian and his TV appearances on shows like Never Mind the Buzzcocks, QI, Black Books and Skins.

As well as making people laugh, Bill is also a talented musician and often plans a variety of instruments at his stand-up gigs. He's famous for his live shows such as Part Troll, Tinsleworm, Qualmpeddler and Limboland.

Bill also loves touring around festivals each year with his shows and has even presented wildlife shows.

Most recently Bill has taken on the challenge of a lifetime by joining Strictly Come Dancing 2020.

Most fans of the comedian might know that:

  • He appeared in the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas Special
  • He starred in 'In The Long Run' with Idris Elba
  • He's sold millions of stand-up comedy DVDs

But what else do we know about Bill Bailey? Here are several things you probably don't know...

1. His name isn't actually Bill

Born Mark Robert Bailey, Bill Bailey is a stage name which he got the inspiration for at school. While studying A-level music, which he got an A grade for, the comedian was given the nickname Bill by his music teacher for being able to play the song 'Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey' on the guitar. And the rest, as they say, is history.

More: Steve McFadden - things you didn't know about the EastEnders legend 

2. He's walked miles for charity

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In 2015 Bill raised over £10k for Cancer Research UK by walking 87 miles of the Ridgeway path. Then in 2017 the comedian walked 100 miles along the Icknield Way and Ridgeway path to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer.

3. He has a surprising treasured possession

Despite collecting all sorts of rare and wonderful things on his travels around the world, Bill told the The Guardian that a gift from his wife is his most treasured item... "It's a rare Gibson electric guitar, which was a birthday gift from my wife, Kirstin. I was in the middle of a show and went to pick up my Fender, but there was something odd about it. Then I saw the bow tied around it. She had switched it!"

4. He's an adrenaline junkie 

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As if standing up in front of thousands of fans and performing a live show wasn't terrifying enough, Bill also has a passion for anything that gets his adrenaline going. Not only had he done more than on skydive, but he also enjoys water sports like paddle boarding.

More: Things you didn't know about Rowan Atkinson 

5.  He loves the great outdoors 

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As well as being a self-confessed bird watcher, Bill loves to spend his spare time outside, exploring nature. Not only does he like to travel around the world, visiting new places while he is on tour, but he also takes amazing photos of wildlife that he finds and is also a talented artist. He often shares drawings of insects and birds he has found, and shares them with his followers on social media.

6. He didn't always want to be a comedian

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When he was growing up, Bill had his sights set on being a rock star. But if that didn't work out for him, his back-up careers were being an astronaut or an inventor. He claims his worst ever job was working in Telesales where he quit after a week because he didn't want to wear a tie.

7. He's a best-selling author 

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In 2016 the comedian published his first book, which celebrated his love of nature. Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to British Birds was a best seller, and his latest book, Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to Happiness, which he wrote during lockdown, has just been released.

Bill Bailey's Fact File 

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the comedian...

How old is he?

Bill Bailey's age is 55 he was born on 13 January 1965.

Is he married? 

Bill Bailey married his wife Kristin in 1998.

Does he have kids?

Bill Bailey and his wife have a son called Dax, who was born in 2003.

Where was he born?

Bill Bailey was born in Bath, Somerset.

How tall is he? 

Bill Bailey is 1.69 metres tall.

Twitter: @BillBailey

Instagram: @the_bill_bailey

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Main pic: Getty

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.