ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

Bill Bailey's Guilty Pleasures

Bill Bailey's Guilty Pleasures

Bill Bailey's Guilty Pleasures
28 November 2013

Bill Bailey is a modern day renaissance man: not content with excelling on his 'home turf' of comedy, he's also a hugely respected musician, actor, TV and radio presenter and author.

His new DVD, Qualmpeddler sees him at the top of his game, so we thought it an ideal time to catch up with him to discover his guilty pleasures. Read on for some unexpected choices and the hilarious stories behind them.

Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler is out now on DVD and Blu-ray. Buy here



"Well generally, big dumb action blockbusters - things that don't require an awful lot of thought. Like a battle for LA or, y'know gigantic robots are attacking Dewksbury; because when I'm watching them I think, 'I really should be watching some new, really sort of intense drama about the political situation in Turkmenistan, but...I'm a bit knackered [laughs]. But I haven't really got the mental facility to do that, so what I really want is some big noises - some big explosions and people saying things like "you've gotta stop living in the past!" - they always say that in those films. And there's some stupid subplot when somebody goes, "after the accident, I know you've been troubled by the fact you've lost your partner, but you've gotta stop living in the past!"

"I love the fact that you can predict exactly what everyone's gonna say at every point, and you know they're gonna win, and the aliens are gonna lose, but that's part of the fun of it. I also like action films, particularly with vampires in - like Blade II. I remember I was in New York and we rented two movies, one of them was Memento and the other one was Blade II. And Memento - I was just...I couldn't work out what the hell was going on. I thought "I can't be bothered with that, let's put Blade II on" and that's much more entertaining: vampires, kickboxing and gigantic light grenades. That's more my sort of film. Late at night...'cos usually - I don't get chance to watch a film during the day, because of my son - he's 9 now, so the only films I go to see at the cinema are kids films. So when I'm on tour, I'll get back to the hotel, click through and see "what have we got...'an intense drama about being friends who meet up, no, no....a woman discovers that her life is not quite as nice as she thought it, no, no.....gigantic robots battle with underwater aliens - that'll do!" I just watched Pacific Rim and that sort of perfectly sums up my film guilty pleasure."


"I've got a very wide taste in music, so this is difficult for me, this one, cos I grew up listening to punk, metal and a little bit of prog and then a bit of pop music, and then I went through the 80s and I was in all kinds of different bands, and now that I have a very wide taste...I listen to obscure metal and prog metal and I listen to a lot of electronic music, cos I like that ambienty electronic stuff, cos I use a bit of that in the show. The term "Guilty Pleasures" came from music - it was a musical thing, disco nights where people would go along and listen to Donna Summer and shameless 80s disco, so I think that's where it would be. It would probably be big, brash 80s metal - something like Rainbow - Since You've Been Gone - and doing air guitar with a golf putter or something."


"Again, it's down to lifestyle - you turn up at a hotel late and night and you think "I should avoid all these kinds of foods and I should maybe order a light salad and a mineral water", but of course, you end up eating crisps. And crisps - you can't avoid them really. There's a lot of these artisan crisps around now and some of them are fantastic. For a while it was kettle chips, but I had a bad experience with one them - I got one of those ones where it was like four crisps all welded together into one solid kind of ninja death star, and I got it wedged between two teeth, and I couldn't get it out. And I was thinking "I might have to go to casualty", but then I thought, "I can't go to casualty, it's too embarrassing", y'know people turning up with people bleeding with a frying pan on their heads, and I'm turning up with a crisp wedged between my teeth.

"I nearly phoned down to reception - "scuse me can you send up some tweezers, I've got a crisp stuck in my teeth" - but I thought I'd never live it down. But what I've moved on to now is those Tyrells - those vegetable ones - so you're sort of offsetting your crisp guilt with the fact it's vegetables - "I'm getting my five-a-day here"."

TV Show

"Again, I miss a lot of television - you see people raving about TV shows - 'oh you've gotta see this, the Great British thing, the sing-off, bake-off...there's always something off...bake off, knit-off, pottery-off, y'know dance-off, god...I miss all that, because I'm on the road working, doing a gig, but I tend to sometimes catch up with these things like Come Dine With Me. I find myself watching 4 or 5 episodes of that on the trot because I'm just watching it in absolute open-mouthed amazement. Sometimes I'm watching people and thinking "the state of their kitchen! Ay, ay, ay...there's stuff crawling all over it! And then people dolloping great dobs of cream on top of a lobster....and then people just getting smashed - that's what I watch it for. I wanna see someone get absolutely ars*holed and fall asleep in the cab on the way back. There's some grim pleasure to be derived from watching people in their desire to be on television, surrendering all dignity.

"I'm sure I've been asked to go on - I'm sure that request has been kept from me though, by management - they've just filtered that one out - "no, no, they haven't asked you Bill"...cos I'd probably go "yeah I'll do it!" And I'd just have a piece of spam with a bit of pineapple on it and a bag of chips from the chippy, and four cans of Stella and go, "there you go - that's what you really want, you didn't want any of this poncy sh*t, that's what you really want!"

"I honestly think I'd win, if you just went, "I could've got you some lark's tongues preserved in aspic, something well poncy, well out of my skill range, but actually y'know what? What you really want is a pasty: a pasty and chips." Or just a big bowl of crisps. A huge bowl - not even a bowl, like a big hubcap full of crisps, off a truck or something - two bottles of Lambrusco and a bit of Toblerone, "there you go, f*ck it, that'll do"."


"I have to say, I tend to buy obscure agricultural magazines when I'm on tour, because...the papers - they're all the same doom and gloom. I like the sports coverage in some of the papers, and some of the editorial's very good, but I like to buy angling magazines - that's my guilty pleasure. I just like magazines of pictures of blokes holding fish - I dunno, it just makes me laugh a lot. They're all called the same, 'Angling Today', 'Rod and Line', 'The Crafty Carper', 'How To Catch Fish', 'Men and Fish', 'Fish-Off'...and usually there's a bloke holding a big fish on the front, and you look on page 2 and there's a bloke...holding a fish and then you look through the whole magazine and there's just hundreds and hundreds of pictures of blokes holding fish, and just fills me with pleasure."

(Images: Rex)