Strictly fans stunned to learn 'Bill Bailey' is not comic's real name as he took on nickname at school

STRICTLY Come Dancing fans were stunned to learn that 'Bill Bailey' is not the comic's real name after he took on a nickname at school.

The 55-year-old star has enjoyed a successful career in comedy under the moniker, but he was actually born Mark Bailey.

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He started using Bill instead when a teacher kept referencing popular 1900s song (Won't You Come Home) Bill Bailey – and never looked back.

Bill and professional dance partner Oti Mabuse performed an impressive Charleston to the track in tonight's Strictly semi-final.

And he explained the poignant meaning behind it in his video trailer, sharing: "My name's Mark Bailey, but when I was at school my Geography teacher, who knew the song, started calling me Bill Bailey.

"I was nicknamed Bill Bailey and I've been called Bill Bailey ever since – because of this song!"

Viewers at home were stunned to learn that his real name is not Bill, and flocked to Twitter to share their reaction.

One fan wrote: "Strictly Scandal of 2020 – Bill Bailey is actually MARK BAILEY! Absolutely shooketh."

Another added: "Bill Bailey’s real name is Mark. Mind blown!!"

A third exclaimed: "I….Billy Bailey's name is NOT Bill Bailey!? I feel like Charlton Heston finding out he was on earth the whole time in Planet of the Apes !"

Later in the show, rock lover Bill wowed the judges with a performance to heavy metal group Metallica.

He and Oti did the Tango to the band's track Enter Sandman – marking the first time a song of that genre has appeared on the BBC One dance show.

Each semi-finalist performed twice this evening as they fought it out for a spot in next Saturday's grand finale.

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