Bill has a Grand date at double

Comedian Bill Bailey

Comedian Bill Bailey

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BY rights, Bill Bailey should have worked in a hospital.

His father was a medical practitioner and his mum a hospital ward sister.

Fortunately for the people of Great Britain and beyond, Bailey discovered music and comedy at an early age and decided to head in that direction instead.

And the good news for Blackpool is he’s heading in our direction later this year, The Grand Theatre announcing the hugely popular comic will play not one but two nights at the venue in November.

It marks a fine couple of days for the Grand, which is still celebrating after being awarded a £700,000 Arts Council grant to revamp the theatre and build a new theatrical hub in an adjacent building on Church Street.

Following a sell-out tour of Australia and New Zealand, 49-year-old Bailey is taking his brand new live show Qualmpeddler round this country.

The tour will make a triumphant close at the Grand on Saturday November 2. He is also at the venue the night before, on the Friday.

“The Grand is delighted to welcome Bill with his unique blend of off-the-wall comedy and music,” said Andrew Howard, marketing manager at the Grand. “He’s a genius, full stop. All I can say is grab your tickets early, I’ve got mine!”

According to the press in Australia, Qualmpeddler shows Bill as a “true 21st century polymath; a unique comedic gift, a pitch-perfect musician, a talented actor… all this makes for a show that is at once funny, incisive, and musically astonishing.”

Describing the show himself, Bailey - in typically surreal fashion - says: “I will be channelling my feelings of unease and apprehension with the help of religious dubstep, his folk bouzouki, horntallica, a re-appraisal of some of the world’s greatest works of art, and perhaps a dub version of Downton Abbey.”

Bailey, whose real name, incidentally, was Mark (he was given the nickname Bill by a music teacher, who was impressed at his pupil’s ability to play the old jazz song “Won’t you Come Home Bill Bailey?”), took a long while to become one of the major players in the comedy world.

He began a stand up career in the early 80s (playing in tiny venues with the likes of Mark Lamarr) and in 1994, when one person turned up to his show at the Edinburgh Festival, almost quit comedy to take up a job in telesales.

But within a year, after writing a show called Cosmic Jam (later released on DVD), he started to hit the big-time and the rest is history.

A British Comedy Award winner and a long-time team captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Bailey has had many hit stage shows in the past decade - Bewilderness (prompting the New York Times to write: “Bill is an unalloyed pleasure, a treat for the funny bone, the brain and the ear”), Part Troll, Tinselworm, and in 2009 - and slightly oddly given the bizarre titles of all his other shows - Bill Bailey Live.

He also appeared in three series of hit-comedy Black Books, Spaced, and is a regular on panel shows Have I Got News For You? and QI.

Last year Bill added another string to his bow when he played one of the biggest comedy gigs ever, performing to 60,000 fans at Knebworth when he headlined the Sonisphere Rock Festival alongside rock gods Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax.

He arrives at the Grand on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 November.

Tickets are £25 and can be ordered at www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk where you can select your own seat.

Alternatively call the Box Office on 01253 743339.

Parking is available at a discounted rate at the West Street Car Park, directly opposite the theatre’s entrance.

Book your parking ticket when you book your show tickets from the Box Office and you can park from 5.30pm until 12.30am for only £2.50.