Oti Mabuse fires back at Bill Bailey criticism over unvaccinated Strictly dancers remark

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Oti Mabuse, 31, has said she would still dance with Bill Bailey, 56, despite his comments about unvaccinated Strictly Come Dancing professionals. The popular comedian soared to victory in the BBC dance contest last year alongside the South African-born Strictly pro, but he has now aired his doubts over the reported vaccination status of some of the pros.

Speaking on whether he would have considered taking part in the show this year with an unvaccinated dancer, Bill stated: “I wouldn’t.”

He explained: “I just don’t think it’s worth the risk. We’re still not out of this by any means.”

The BBC has not required participants on the show to be vaccinated, with the Sun claiming that at least three professional dancers have not had a Covid-19 vaccine. 

While some people are unable to have the vaccine for medical reasons, the paper suggested that the dancers on the show would rather quit than be forced to have a jab.

A report in the Times also claimed that the Mail on Sunday had attempted to name some of the dancers who declined to be vaccinated, only to meet a strong pushback from their lawyers. 

Similar issues have been faced by people competing in team sports, with many professional footballers not having a jab.

However, the public is unlikely to find out which celebrities have turned down a vaccine, as privacy law in the UK makes it almost impossible to justify publishing private medical information, even if it is known by an individual’s colleagues.

In response to Bill’s comment, some on Twitter criticised his stance, with one user saying that they were “very disappointed” with his remarks.

@TruthWarrior81 replied: “Man down. Very disappointing from Bill Bailey.”

@LucasArcady said: “@TruthWarrior81 Lucky Bill won’t have that problem. Who’s gonna want to dance with him? State of him.”

However, his former dance partner and good friend Oti defended him in the comments section, as she typed back: “I would over and over and over again!”

Speaking about his partnership with Oti, the Never Mind The Buzzcocks star told how they were both determined to win.

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He continued to The Times: “We sussed that out about each other very early on.

“Here we are, from very different backgrounds, different generations and on the face of it we don’t have much in common, but actually it turns out we have a lot in common.

“We’re very driven, very ambitious and we want to try to dedicate ourselves to whatever dance we’re doing that week.”

The funnyman had previously revealed that he was concerned he’d be a “health risk” while competing on the dance show.

Bill confessed that his expectations going into the competition were “low”.

He said: “I was genuinely concerned that I’d pose a health risk. Not just flat-footed but actually a danger due to my innate clumsiness.”

The performer went on to admit that he’d been having nightmares about burning down the Strictly studio thanks to his “clumsy” dancing.

“I had an anxiety dream where I set fire to Elstree Studios by tango-ing the wrong way and kicking over some lights,” he said.

“I’d be standing there, surrounded by devastation, while Craig Revel Horwood held up a ‘one’ and said, witheringly: ‘It was a disaster, darling, you’ve burned the ballroom down,'” he told The Guardian.

Last December, the star won the coveted Glitterball Trophy and became the oldest contestant to win the dance show.


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