‘We’ll always be friends’ Strictly winner Bill Bailey opens up on Oti Mabuse relationship

Strictly: Bill and Oti are crowned the winners for 2020

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Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Bill Bailey reminisced about his time on the Strictly Come Dancing and what he has taken from it. Having started the competition as the underdog, the 56-year-old went on to impress both the judges and viewers at home each week until he was eventually crowned the winner. On his successful stint on the BBC show, he credited Oti Mabuse and the friendship they developed as being an important factor.

“I had a brilliant partnership shared with Oti,” Bill told Express.co.uk.

“And we just got along really well, and I think that was the key to it.

“Really, I think very, very early on, we realised that we got on very well.

“We had a real kind of working relationship, or friendship, but it was based on a sort of mutual respect.

“We both have a very similar work ethic.

“I’m very determined, Oti’s very determined.

“And you know, I want to get things right and I’m prepared to put the extra hours in to do it.

“I think that somehow she recognised that very early on, saw that I was kind of a keen student and so she responded to that.

“So it meant that with the training, even though it was physically demanding, it was incredibly rewarding.

“Because for me, it was like learning a new skill and also having fun and rising to this challenge.

“But also for her and I think for all teachers – all teachers want is they want to see their pupils improve, they want to see change and improvement and I think seeing people respond to your tuition instruction gives a huge boost.”

When asked if he is still in touch with the 31-year-old, Bill explained that they ended up watching the Euro 2020 final together.

“I think it’s one of those friendships that will always continue because obviously, we’re quite different, from different backgrounds.

“We different ages, from different generations.

“But if you’ve got a similar attitude about what you do, I think that that transcends all those things and I think that’s why we’ll always be friends.

“We’re always, sort of, sending messages and we watched the Euro final together.

“I definitely think we’ll be hopefully doing other things, presenting stuff or doing other kinds of shows together.

“There’s quite a bit of a good spark banter that we have going.”

The comedian will be kicking off his new tour, En Route To Normal, next month.

Following a forced touring hiatus due to the pandemic, Bill will be making his long-awaited return to the live stage.

Kicking off in Plymouth on December 12, the tour will see Bill performing all over the UK, before wrapping things up at Belfast’s SSE Arena on January 15, 2022.

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