Magical and sometimes mythical Bill Bailey performing at Kew Gardens

Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler

Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler

First published in News by , Reporter

Kew Gardens would seem the perfect setting for a performer who has a carnivorous plant named after them.

Comedian Bill Bailey brings his Qualmpeddler show to the Royal Botanic Gardens next week and can barely hide his excitement.

A keen conservationist, the former Black Books star is no stranger to Kew and revels in the fact a plant was named after him, in recognition of his work, four years ago.

He says: "I do have a pitcher plant named after me [Nepenthes x Bill Bailey, a Borneo Exotics hybrid]," he says.

"It is a very cool plant actually, it is carnivorous and not just a decorative plant - it is a bit of a badass actually.

It sits about eating insects, much like myself I suppose."

Bailey, a former team captain on BBC quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, has been touring his Qualmpeddler show around the world since 2012.

According to him, the name is a description of his trade.

He says: "The Qualmpeddler is me - a peddler is someone who goes round selling stuff door-to-door and stand-up airs concerns about the world in public.

"A qualm is a qualm and we all have qualms about things, my grandmother used to have qualms about all sorts of things such as nuclear power and scones.

"I like making up words too."

Bailey's show ought to have something for everyone, whether you like stand-up comedy or surreal songs.

He says: "I play a lot of instruments in the show and there is all sorts in in, for example we have a reggae version of Downton Abbey.

"I have never actually performed at Kew before so it is an absolute delight to be doing it.

"It is a great institution of Britain and I'm shocked it is even under threat and could lose funding.

"Hopefully it will be sunny as people go giddy if the weather is good, mind you, people go giddy in the rain anyway."

The 50-year-old comic is the first comedian to perform at Kew the Music and said he was delighted to be the first.

He is supported by timeless cockney duo Chas and Dave on the night.

"It is a real honour to be sharing a stage with them, I can't think of a better place to do it", he says.

Bailey is speaking having returned to England after touring Europe, taking in obscure locations such as Lithuania and Estonia.

As we chat, he is preparing for his role in Monty Python's comeback at London's O2 Arena.

He says: "I enjoy touring these places as there is a real demand for comedy around Europe now.

"I think a big part of it is YouTube and people are able to watch my show.

"It is very exciting to be part of the Python reunion - I grew up watching them so it is pretty amazing to be working with them now."

Bill Bailey at Kew the Music; Kew Gardens, Brentford Gate, Kew; July 20, doors open 6pm, show starts at 7pm; tickets £41.50; visit kew.org to buy tickets and for more information.

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