He was the bookies’ favourite from the start and last night Bill Bailey lifted the Glitterball trophy as the oldest winner of Strictly Come Dancing ever at 55 years old. The star chose to dance to Queen’s The Show Must Go On with partner Oti Mabuse; both dressed for a circus theme. And just before his perfect score of 30, Bailey was surprised by video messages of support from Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor.

May said: “Hey Bill, genius! It’s your old friend Bri just calling in to say I don’t think you need any luck for this next bit – it’s in the bag!

“Go kill Bill! God bless, we’re all with ya!

While Taylor added: “We always knew you were a bit of a genius with the comedy and the music.

“But who’d have guessed you’d entrance the nation with your incredible ballroom dancing skills. We’re rooting for you and we wish you all the very best tonight.”

READ MORE: Strictly winner: Bill is the cha-cha-champion as he delights judges

On that difficult time, Queen guitarist Brian May said earlier this year: “Even though we were all aware of Freddie’s impending tragedy, we had some inspired and joyful times in the studio, making the Innuendo album.

“We didn’t speak much about Freddie’s illness – he just wanted to get on with ‘business as usual’ as far as possible. But already there was only a day or two per week when Freddie was well enough to come in and work with us.

“We grabbed those precious moments and made the most of them. I’d been working on The Show Must Go On as an idea, but I was uncertain whether the title was too obvious.”

Freddie heard The Show Must Go On, loved it and dismissed any thoughts that there were problems with the chorus or title.

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May continued: “We didn’t discuss what the meaning of the song was, but it was, of course, evident in the background that it was an attempt to give a voice to the feelings that Freddie’s valiant fight against AIDS created in all of us, and even in Freddie.”

Admitting the Queen singer was too low energy to create it himself, he said: “But I had one unforgettable special afternoon working together with him on solidifying the lyrics of the first verse of this embryonic song about a clown whose make-up hid his pain before he slid out to attend another treatment.

“That gave me enough lyrical material to later expand into the eventual two verses.

“I finished mapping out the song, sang the whole thing as a demo, including the added ‘Wings of Butterflies’ section, which somehow appeared in my head very late one night, and I played it to him when he was next in the studio. The melody called for some very demanding top notes, and I’d only been able to ‘demo’ them in falsetto.”

May added: “I said to Freddie, ‘I don’t want you to strain yourself – this stuff isn’t going to be easy in full voice, even for you!’

“He said, ‘Don’t worry – I’ll f***ing nail it, Darling!’. He then downed a couple of his favourite shots of vodka.

“Propped himself up against the mixing desk, and… delivered one of the most extraordinary performances of his life.

“In the final mix of The Show Must Go On, when you get to ‘On with the Show’, you are listening to a man who conquered everything to deliver his finest work.”


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