Bill Bailey fury: Strictly star’s ‘annoyance’ over reading own obituary by BBC

Bill Bailey recalls reading his own obituary in 2018

The comedian, 55, is due to battle it out in the Strictly Come Dancing semi-finals this weekend alongside dance partner Oti Mabuse. Bailey has been tipped to win this year’s Glitterball Trophy winner by Ladbrokes after previously being considered an outsider and given odds at 50/1. Away from BBC competition, the TV star revealed his shock over discovering he had been reported to have died. 

Bailey recounted waking up to a surprise, when he saw a Twitter post that stated he had died in the early hours of the morning and “tributes were pouring in”

The Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ star quipped that he was “looking a lot better now” after the story resurfaced during an interview.

He said: “Well I’m sure that this is referring to the fact that I was mistakenly reported as dead on the BBC website.”

The audience erupted with laughter after Graham Norton announced “how pleased” he was that Bailey was “here at all” because there “was a time when you were dead”.

The Strictly star said: “It just said, ‘Tributes are pouring in for actor and comedian and musician Bill Bailey who has died at the age of 52’.

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“Which is really annoying because they got my age wrong, firstly.”

The comedian was 51-years-old and in the middle of a UK tour when the incorrect report surfaced online in May 2016.

Sharing a screenshot of the report, he tweeted: “Just FYI I am not dead so this will not affect the Stevenage gigs.”

Bailey continued to recount his second issue with the claims that he had died.

He said: “I was so annoyed about that and they used a weird photo as well, I was thinking, ‘Is this the photo?’… I mean what is that?”

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The screenshot flashed on-screen, which showed Bailey pulling a serious but sorrowful expression with his head tilted to his right. 

The comedian was dressed in a black t-shirt and had a dark background behind him, which he felt was not a fitting image to have chosen for his obituary.

In response to the choice of photograph, Norton said: “I think that is perfect for an obituary, that says ‘This sucks!’”

Bailey laughed it off and quipped that “dying” was “sad” before he went on to reveal that he found it “so annoying” because some people believed it. 

He continued: “It was a bit of a shock to read that in the morning on Twitter.

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“The actual story was [about] a DJ in Kentucky called Bill Bailey, who died and someone on the BBC was watching the news.

“I think what happened was, it was in the middle of the night and they saw ‘Bill Bailey died’ and panicked and put Bill Bailey dead and put a photograph up.

“Then [they] realised it wasn’t me, then panicked again and tried to delete it, by which time someone had taken a screenshot already and posted it on Twitter.”

Bailey’s anecdote on a 2018 episode of The Graham Norton Show left the audience in stitches but for him it was a more serious matter.

He explained: “Then my tour manager, who was in the hotel, he phoned me and he said, ‘Are you alright?’

“Which was very sweet but you know, I’m not dead so I’m a lot better than dead – I’m here, so yeah…”

Bailey clarified that he was still alive on a Twitter post in 2016, which was liked by 2,300 people and received a number of cheeky replies.

One wrote: “What did you die of? Hope it wasn’t serious.”

Another quipped: “That’s exactly what a dead person would say though”

And a third added: “Sorry, I’m afraid I’ll have to take the BBC’s word over yours. RIP.”

The Strictly Come Dancing semi-finals are on BBC One at 7pm tonight and 7.30pm on Sunday.

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