not a member? click here to sign up
The Bailey Show
Bewhiskered comedian and self-confessed uber-nerd BILL BAILEY shares his thoughts on September 11, the curse of celebrity culture and tells us why he named his child after a space-going slug. Or didn’t, as the case may be...
Olaf Tyaransen, 01 Nov 2010
No interest anywhere?
I went to the BBC, saying, ‘Why don’t we make a documentary about it?’ I told them, ‘I’ve got great access. I’ve got this chap – my friend George is in contact with the surviving Wallace family, and they’re really keen to do it. And it’s a fascinating story. And I’ve got some great access in Indonesia, I’ve got very good contacts there. I’ve got a contact in Halmahera in Ternate. We’ve tracked down the house that Wallace stayed in, and where he came up with the theory of evolution and wrote it down, and sent it to Darwin, and Darwin was then prompted to publish his own version. We’ve got all of that’. And they were like, ‘Oh? Oh no, we haven’t got any more budget. No.’ He says, ‘We’re doing all the Darwin programmes.’ ‘So you’re doing an entire season of Darwin?’ And this is the head of Factual at the BBC – he goes, ‘Oh yeah, Wallace. Oh yeah. I’d forgot about him.’ [laughs] You know, you just think, ‘Oh well, what is the point? What is the bloody point?’
And I realised that hardly anyone knows about it or cares enough, and trying to get broadcasters involved is very difficult. And actually on that, you know this film, Creation with Paul Bettany, which was a story of Darwin come back from the Beagle and I remember reading a review of it, and it was saying, ‘Who is this guy Wallace? This seems like a much more interesting story’. You just put your head in your hands. You know, ‘Yeah!’ [sardonically]. So anyway… I’ll keep plugging away.
You were working on a book as well. Is that almost complete?
Yeah, I’ve had various offers of publishing advances which I have managed to fend off, only because as soon as you go down that road you’ve got some huge deadline looming, and I’m just very aware that there’s a lot of other things on. But it is happening: I kind of add things to it periodically, and build up a kind of bank of material. A lot of it is just reminiscence or stuff that’s happened to me over the years. The trouble with some of it is, I read it and I think, ‘That’s quite funny. That’s going in the show’ [laughs]