Bill Bailey: Strictly partner Oti Mabuse talks concerns about pairing ‘Take it seriously’

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Bill Bailey, 55, has been wowing audiences with his dance moves on the new series of Strictly Come Dancing 2020. The comedian and actor is partnered with dance champion and last year’s winner Oti Mabuse, 30.

The Strictly professional has since admitted she was unsure that her celebrity partner and comic, Bill, would take the competition “seriously”.

Oti also confessed that she was “shocked” and “proud” after getting their highest score yet last weekend.

The dancing duo stunned audiences with their show-stopping Couple’s Choice routine to Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight.

The sensational routine scored them an impressive 27 points with head judge Shirley Ballas scoring the pair a 10.

Speaking on the Strictly spin-off show, It Takes Two, Oti admitted she was unsure about Bill being “serious” on the programme, but added he “wouldn’t of had a choice”.

“I didn’t know if he [Bill] was going to take it seriously or not but I knew if they were going to partner him with me, he didn’t have a choice,” Oti remarked.

She added: “But Bill is a hard worker.”

Oti also dished on the dancing duo’s routine and while it appeared effortless to viewers, the dancer admitted rehearsals hadn’t gone to plan.

She said: “I was so proud and so shocked, and that routine only worked that one time on live TV.

“He was struggling that day, from Friday until Saturday, even in the dress run.”

To which Bill added: “We were overcome with relief, there was so much in that routine, briefcase, newspaper, a phone, boxing, everything, it was all going on.

“And in the dress run I had the newspaper the wrong way, I did the steps wrong.”


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Bill and Oti were joint second on the leaderboard alongside Janette Manrara and her celebrity dance partner HRVY after last week’s performance.

The pair will be hoping to replicate their success in tonight’s offering as they perform an American Smooth to Under My Skin by Frank Sinatra.

Appearing alongside Oti, the comic told It Takes Two host Zoe Ball it was “gratifying” that Strictly fans had realised his potential on the show.

“People assumed I would be a comedy addition to the show and I was going to dress up in silly costumes and be no good at it,” Bill pointed out.

“It’s quite gratifying for people to realise that I am taking this seriously.”

The funnyman added: “I am giving it 100 per cent because I want to do justice to the dance and Oti’s hard work and also to the show, this is about dance!”

Their hip-hop inspired routine was scored a 10 by head judge Shirley Ballas, a nine from Motsi Mabuse’s stand-in Anton DuBeke, and an eight from the notoriously hard to please Craig Revel-Horwood.

Strictly Come Dancing continues tonight on BBC One at 7.15pm.

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