Comedian Bill Bailey will perform at The O2 on Monday 4 March 2024 as part of his brand-new live show ‘Thoughtifier’.
With his trademark musical stylings and characteristic wit, Bill returns to the live stage in…
- an intriguing device that can amplify the thoughts of a curious mind using music, channelled through a human instrument, known as Bill Bailey
- (colloquial) a person resembling Bill Bailey
At a point in our evolution when it seems as if we’re sleepwalking into a world where humans might be redundant, and much of what we do can be done better and more efficiently by machines, what better time to celebrate our own flawed humanity. And who better a guide to lead us than Bill… To take us on a jaunt through the error-strewn, distracted, crumb-festooned, sometimes magnificent history of human thought and how it might help us survive in this brave new world. A magical, musical mystery tourof the human mind, along with some other pressing matters about whales, biophilia, unrequited love and other thoughts. Amplified With Music.
Welcome to Thoughtifier!
“His genius is to bring arena-sized crowds along… by the force of his quirky enthusiasm and by neither pandering nor ever pretending to be anyone other than his idiosyncratic, off-the-beaten-path self.” - The Guardian
British Comedy Award winner, Bill Bailey has enjoyed success on the live stage for many years. In 2001 he took his show Bewilderness to New York for an eight-week run. In 2004 he performed his show Part Troll at over fifty venues around the UK.
He toured Australia and New Zealand with the show during the summer of 2008, before returning to London in December that year for a ten-week run. The summer of 2009 saw Bill tour the UK once again with his live show, Bill Bailey Live. Bill enjoyed a very successful UK tour of his musical comedy show, Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra. Performing alongside some of the UK’s finest orchestras, the show provided fans with the opportunity to see Bill’s surreal comic and musical imagination at its best and was described by The Telegraph as “a glorious achievement,” The Guardian as “sublime hilarity” and Stephen Fry as “wonderfully enjoyable… like driving a Rolls-Royce off-road.” In 2010 Bill Bailey toured the Scottish Highlands with his live show, Dandelion Mind. Performing to small intimate crowds, he went from playing some of his smallest gigs to one of his biggest, when he played a huge open-air homecoming show at Bristol’s Ashton Gate Stadium in June of that year.
This preceded an international tour of Dandelion Mind across Australia and New Zealand and a residency in London’s West End where the show was described by The Times as “a consistently inventive mix of sociopolitics, art history, anthropology and astrophysics, it may well be his best show yet!” At the end of 2011, Bill took Dandelion Mind (Gently Modified) out to the masses with a full tour of the UK, before writing yet another hit show Qualmpeddler, with which he toured Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Latvia, Estonia, The Netherlands and of course the UK. Described by The Guardian as “one of Bailey’s best shows for years ★★★★ “, Bill’s 2015 live offering, Limboland, was arguably one of his most successful shows ever. Having performed Limboland to in excess of 230,000 fans, across 170 sell-out dates in the UK alone, including a six-week run in London’s West End, the critics were unanimous in their praise for the show, The Sunday Times describing it as, “an exquisite romp through every comic trope, from music hall to alternative comedy, all given Bailey’s benignly impish twist… ★★★★” and by The Evening Standard as, “uproariously funny… hardly puts a foot wrong★★★★.”
Bill had previously toured Limboland in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, enjoying packed houses and the critics raving. The Herald Sun in Melbourne described the show as, “a solid new effort from a genuine marvel. Pretty much unmissable★★★★” and The New Zealand Herald as, “bloody excellent… The material is solid gold.” January 2018 saw Bill unveil his brand-new live show Larks In Transit to UK audiences with a five-month tour of the country. Larks in Transit replicated the success of Limboland before it, with sold out houses across Australia and New Zealand to follow, ending the year back on home soil with a show stopping five-week residency at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre over Christmas and New Year. More than 350,00 people saw the show, which was described by The Guardian as “a two-hour foray into Bailey’s magpie mind… a delightful place to spend time★★★★.” With Metro hailing Bill as “A Prog Rock superstar… virtually unstoppable★★★★.”
Bill was delighted to return to the live stage at the end of 2021 with a brand-new live show En Route To Normal. Described by The Evening Standard as “a sublime celebration of silliness ★★★★”, Bill rounded off his summer with a limited run of very special performances of En Route To Normal at London’s prestigious Royal Opera House.
Having made his debut with Cosmic Jam in 1995, like many comedians, Bill honed his live skills at the annual Edinburgh Fringe, earning a prestigious Perrier Award nomination for his 1996 follow up Bill Bailey Live. The festival also enabledBill to branch out as a dramatic actor, firstly in an extremely well-received production of 12 Angry Men and two years later as the slouchy, unkempt Oscar in the equally acclaimed, The Odd Couple.Having played the first ever Comedy Session at the iconic Eden Project in Cornwall, Bill has always been a regular on the festival circuit with previous appearances at both Kew The Music and the Reading and Leeds Festival, to name but two. A personal festival highlight, in 2011 Bill was invited to perform at The Sonisphere Rock Festival in Knebworth.
Headlining alongside rock gods Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax, Bill rocked out with some 60,000 metal fans, in what was one of the biggest comedy gigs in the world.Away from the live stage, Bill has always maintained a regular presence on the small screen. Taking over from Sean Hughes in 2002, Bill enjoyed eleven successful and enjoyable series as team captain on the long running music, comedy panel show, Never Mind The Buzzcocks (BBC Two). Bill’s TV portfolio also includes three series of the hit black comedy Black Books (C4) in which he played the increasingly deranged ex-accountant Manny Bianco opposite fellow comic Dylan Moran, acclaimed comedy Spaced (C4), Is It Bill Bailey? (BBC Two) and Bill Bailey Live (C4). Bill appeared in the comedy drama serial Jonathan Creek (BBC One), the edgy teen drama Skins (C4), Midsomer Murders (ITV1) and more recently Worzel Gummidge (BBC One). Bill was also in the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe, in which he played Droxil, a Harvest Ranger from the Planet Androzani Major.
Bill has guest hosted the satirical panel show, Have I Got News for You (BBC One) and has been a regular panelist on QI (BBC One)and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (C4). In December 2010 Bill starred in and co-wrote and directed (alongside Joe Magee) his own short film, Carpark Babylon, for Sky1’s Little Crackers series. It was described as “wonderfully zany” by Radio Times and by Time Out as “absolutely hilarious: lots of music often clashing horribly and humorously, whimsy, inventive use of language, surreal nightmarish moments with unsettling sound effects. If his bizarre conversations with a car-park ticket machine don’t make you laugh, it’s unlikely anything will”.
At around the same time, Bill hosted his own mini chat show, Comic’s Choice (C4), which aired in the run up to the 2010 British Comedy Awards. In the series, which celebrated the awards’ move to the channel, Bill interviewed several of Britain’s leading comics about their favourite comedy shows and talents.2018 saw Bill team up with Idris Elba to star in his semi-autobiographical comedy drama series In The Long Run (Sky1). Set in the mid 80’s against the backdrop of a Hackney Council Estate, Bill played Bagpipes, neighbour and friend to Elba’s Walter. The show was described by The Guardian as “a joyful portrait of community and camaraderie, of home and belonging, of dreams and joie de vivre.” and by The Express as “charming comedy drama with real heart.” The show’s success led to subsequent recommissions with the most recent third series having aired in summer 2020, the Evening Standard saying of the show, “it’s warmth and charm is undeniable.”
Having declined previous requests due to ongoing touring commitments, the pause in live shows due to the pandemic provided Bill the opportunity to partake in the 2020 series of BBC One’s hit primetime Saturday night entertainment show, Strictly Come Dancing. Joining a cast of names from the world of music, sport and entertainment, Bill donned his dancing shoes and sparkles and against all the odds, was crowned Strictly Champion, lifting the coveted StrictlyGlitter ball alongside professional partner Oti Mabuse.Nurturing his interest in nature and the great outdoors, Bill hosted the wildlife series’ Wild Thing I Love You (C4) and Bill Bailey’s Birdwatching Bonanza (Sky1), in which he pitted well-known faces against one another as they tracked down some of the UK’s most elusive birds. In 2011 he presented Baboons with Bill Bailey (ITV1) where he followed the various antics of three troops of Baboons living in South Africa’s Cape Town.
In 2013 Bill fronted a two-part BBC Twodocumentary, Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero, in which he retraced the steps of his unsung hero of the natural world, Alfred Russel Wallace. In Jungle Hero Bill told of Wallace’s extraordinary 8-year expedition across Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore in his quest to unravel the mystery of the Origin of Species. The show won a hat-trick of awards at the Royal Television Society West of England Awards including Best Specialist Factual Programme and Best Male On-screen Talent. In addition, Bill has narrated for the BBC’s Natural World series and taken to the hills with his dog for C4’sWalks With My Dog. In keeping with the walking theme Bill is soon to be seen fronting Perfect Pub Walks (More4), a new series where heand a celebrity pal take on some of the country’s best pub walks. He will also be hosting the upcoming six-part series, Extraordinary Portraits (BBC One) to mark the 75th Anniversary of the NHS, paying tribute to NHS heroes with a series of specially commissioned and inspiring portraits. Bill also fronted Bill Bailey’s Master Crafters: The Next Generation (Sky Arts) in the summer, a series celebrating traditional crafts, that shone a spotlight on the stellar works of expert craft professionals across the UK and the junior crafters following in their footsteps, as they refined their own skills.
Bill also appeared in the John Landis comedy Burke and Hare, the snowboarding rom-com, Chalet Girl and as Bona Fide Gent in Roald & Beatrix:The Tail of the Curious Mouse. Bill has also lent his voice to the characters Wang Chao in the animation Dragonkeeper, Duck in The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales and Grandfather Smed in The Smeds and The Smoos. Bill has appeared across the BBC radio airwaves. In addition to his Radio 3 Orchestra special, he played the Museum Curator in the Radio 4 comedy panel series Museum of Curiosity. In 2018 Bill wrote and illustrated Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to British Birds. With “prose as charming as it is informative,” (Chortle) and “surreal and charming sketches accompanying his informative descriptions,” (BBC Countryfile Magazine) the book was a humorous and personal insight into his favourite British Birds, packed with Bill’s own anecdotes, drawings, cartoons and field notes. Coast Magazine described the book as “insightful and informative, full of lovely illustrations, sketches and notes… With witty descriptions and fascinating facts, this is the ideal companion for anyone who loves the natural world.
In 2020 Bill published Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to Happiness, a collection of funny, meditative, and thoughtful essays exploring the nature of happiness. An antidote to the frenetic whirl of modern life, the book promised to aim for the heart of real joy and contentment and how we can all achieve it.Bill has long been a supporter of numerous charities including International Animal Rescue, with whom he visited dancing bear sanctuaries in India in 2005. He is also patron of Good Vibrations and The Music House for Children, as well as an Ambassador for Youth Music. He continues to support many others, including The Sumatran Orangutan Society, Bowel Cancer UK, Prostate Cancer UK, The Asthma Society and Reprieve.
In the summers of 2015 and 2017, in memory of his mother whom he lost to bowel cancer in 2005, Bill trekked the length of The Ridgeway National Trail to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer, a charity very close to Bill’s heart. Bill donned his hiking boots again in the summer of 2022 to walk 100 miles of the Southwest Coastal Path in memory of his dear friend and fellow comic, Sean Lock. Raising just shy of £170,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, the walk from Bude in Cornwall to Combe Martin in Devon was one of he and Sean’s favourite routes.2014 saw Bill presented with an Honorary Doctorate of the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia for his outstanding contribution to the environment on a global scale. Vice-Chancellor and President of the University, Professor Greg Hill said, “We believe Bill’s commitment to wildlife conservation and sustainability, particularly in Southeast Asia and Indonesia, demonstrates excellence and deserves recognition.”
In 2018, he was again awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bath. Professor Mike Threadgill, who delivered Mr Bailey’s oration at the graduation ceremony, said, ''Bill is an extraordinary and individual performer in comedy, music and acting, and an extraordinary communicator and advocate for causes relating to the environment and cancer. He thoroughly deserves this honorary degree.”
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