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English comedian Bill Bailey spotted in Albany and performs with Albany Shantymen while filming TV show

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Kasey GrattonAlbany Advertiser
Bill Bailey performing with the Albany Shantymen at Six Degrees on Tuesday.
Camera IconBill Bailey performing with the Albany Shantymen at Six Degrees on Tuesday. Credit: Instagram/@freaktrain

English comedian Bill Bailey was spotted in Albany this week with a film crew in tow and taking to the stage for a performance with the Albany Shantymen.

A musician, author and actor, Bailey is best known for starring in cult comedy Black Books. He is a regular on English comedy panel shows and tours as a stand-up comedian.

He was spotted in Albany and Denmark this week after visiting Margaret River last week and is believed to be filming a TV show about his travels.

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Bailey went along to the Albany Shantymen’s regular gig at Six Degrees on Tuesday night and joined the group for a rollicking rendition of ‘Bastard Drunken Whalers’, filling in for group founder Gary “Grizz” Greenwald, who is currently touring shanty festivals overseas.

“Apparently the Albany Shantymen started out with a strange-looking bearded Englishman coming to this city, so maybe this is history repeating itself,” Bailey told the crowd.

The Shantymen’s Crispin Travers said Bailey went into the performance without any rehearsals and proved himself a natural fit for the group.

Bill Bailey performing with the Albany Shantymen at Six Degrees on Tuesday.
Camera IconBill Bailey performing with the Albany Shantymen at Six Degrees on Tuesday. Credit: Instagram/@freaktrain

“Given that we’re probably the world’s most entertaining shanty band, it’s not surprising that people want the opportunity to perform with us,” he said.

“He was brilliant, he stepped right into it — as an audition he passed.

“He’s a natural, but I think we’re not necessarily confirming or denying that he wants to join us.”

A camera crew filmed the performance, but Travers was tight-lipped on what the footage will be used for.

Bailey was also spotted twice by fan Craig Dixon while walking around Albany on Tuesday.

Craig Dixon with Bill Bailey on York Street.
Camera IconCraig Dixon with Bill Bailey on York Street. Credit: Craig Dixon

“I just recognised him immediately from Black Books and I just said ‘Is Black Books open?’ and he said ‘Yeah, it’s further down there’ — he’s quite a comedian,” Mr Dixon said.

“Then I’ve ran into him again at the bottom of York Street and I just asked him for a photo and he was very obliging and just a lovely amenable chap .. .it’s so nice to see him in our little street in the bottom of Australia.”

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