Appearances – Television
Bill appeared in 2 episodes of this series, created by Tony Jordan, following a group of con artists who specialise in "long cons". "Return of the Prodigal" and "Diamond Seeker".
Never Mind the Buzzcocks
2002 – 2008
Pop quiz show with Bill and Phil Jupitus as team captains. Hosted from 1996-2005 by Mark Lamarr, Bill took over from Sean Hughes as team captain in 2002 and has now appeared in 8 series. The last of these was presented by a series of guest hosts, after Lamarr left the show. Simon Amstell has now taken the position permanently.
Bill’s first appearance was in Series 11. The show began with an identity parade with various weird and wonderful applicants trying to get a part. Bill simply said “Hello, I’m Bill”, and was given the job on the spot.
Guess Who: Teams watch videos from 2 popstars and guess which one matches up with an obscure piece of trivia.
Intros: Two members of the team perform a song intro which the third member attempts to recognise. A particularly useful way for Bill to show off his wide array of animal noises.
Identity Parade: An obscure celebrity is lined up with 4 other people, and teams must identify them. Often an opportunity for Bill to speculate on the inner thoughts of participants.
Bill guest starred in episode 8 of series 2 of David Renwick’s Romantic Comedy BBC1 drama 2006 “Lobotomy Bay”.
Wild Thing I Love You
Wildlife show in which Bill and his team solved animal related problems with unusual solutions, such as building bridges for otters, and using retro computer game sound effects as a traffic warning system for deer. Working alongside Bill were engineer Jem Stansfield, ecologist Dusty Gedge, and zoologist Sasha Norris.
The show ran for 1 series of 10 episodes, broadcast on a Sunday afternoon. Despite respectable viewing figures it was not recommissioned. It has, however, left a legacy scattered throughout the British countryside, where Dormice can now move between woodlands in 20-foot elevated security, and deer listen out for Pacman before they cross a road.
Series Producer: David Johnson
Executive Producer: Bill Hobbins
2003 – 2004
Intellectual quiz show hosted by Stephen Fry in which guests are rewarded for giving interesting answers to seemingly impossible questions. Bill has now appeared in 6 episodes, and has proven remarkably suited to the format, particularly when faced with an abundance of obscure wildlife questions.
2000 – 2004
Surreal Channel 4 sitcom set in a bookshop. Dylan Moran stars as the grumpy, alcoholic owner who despises customers, with Bill as his assistant Manny Bianco and Tamsin Greig as their friend Fran.
Bill’s character begins the series as a relatively well adjusted member of society, but slowly becomes more and more deranged. Over the course of the 3 series, Manny swallows the Little Book of Calm, plays a piano from the inside using dessert spoons, becomes hunchbacked assistant to Bernard’s mad scientist, and is forced to eats dead bees from a spit-roast when locked in the shop.
Moran has said there will be no more, but a stage show is a vague possibility. Black Books has won 2 BAFTAS and a Rose D’or for Best Sitcom, and has been nominated for two British Comedy Awards, for Best Sitcom and Best Actor (Moran). All 3 series are available on DVD.
1999 – 2001
Cult Channel 4 sitcom written by and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, and directed by Edgar Wright (also director of Is it Bill Bailey?). Bill plays Bilbo Bagshot, owner of comic shop Fantasy Bazarre and employer of Pegg’s character, Tim Bisley. He features in two episodes, and also appears in the documentary on the 3-disc DVD edition.
Episode 1.5 – Chaos (22-10-1999)
Bilbo performs a monologue about a Marxist dog, and discusses sandwich toasters with Tim and Daisy. He is also to be found on the DVD special features; fighting Tim in mock-Klingon style among the deleted scenes, and being slightly over-zealous in a reaction shot on the outtakes.
Episode 2.2 – Change (2-3-2001)
Tim is fired after he is unable to control his rage over Jar Jar Binks and finds a job with Bilbo’s nemesis and near-doppelganger (played by Martin Trenaman). Bilbo eventually rehires him after a dispute with his new recruit over Hawk the Slayer.
Is it Bill Bailey?
Half an hour of stand-up comedy and music, interspersed with sketches and often ending with the deconstruction of a popular TV theme. Bill wrote the bulk of the series, with additional material provided by regular collaborators Sean Lock and Martin Trenaman. Ran for 1 series of 6 episodes.
Recurring characters included Clive Pocock, a west country gentleman, and Brian Logan, an aussie hitchhiker with an extreme dislike for “pommies”. Simon Pegg regularly appeared in sketches and the series was directed by Edgar Wright, of Spaced and Shaun of the Dead fame.
Despite being one of Bill’s finest hours (or to be more accurate, six of his finest half hours), this has never been repeated, released or re-commissioned and still remains buried somewhere in the bowels of the BBC.
Sci-fi quiz show hosted by Greg Proops with Bill and Craig Charles as team captains, and each week featuring guests from the worlds of comedy and sci-fi. The game was moderated by a computer known as “Hal”, and rounds included the teams identifying film props, or guessing the next part of an old sci-fi serial after seeing a cliff-hanger ending. Ten episodes were broadcast, and have since apparently disappeared into the ether.