How a cup of coffee left Bill Bailey feeling overwhelmed by his New Zealand experience

Bill Bailey, a British comedian, has revealed how much he enjoyed filming Patriot Brains and touring his stage show in New Zealand.

And, astonishingly, it was a simple cup of coffee drunk inside a cafe that made him realise he was a lucky guy – a luxury he had been denied during the long months of lockdown in the UK.

“I felt shocked, almost emotional about the sheer normalcy of this experience that has been forbidden to us in the UK for so long,” says the 56-year-old entertainer. On a balmy morning, I was sitting in a cafe with a coffee, and there were people around me who weren’t wearing masks or having to socially distance themselves. I couldn’t possibly take it all in.”

But, amazing as it was, Bailey isn’t here to tell Stuff about the joys of an outdoor coffee. Instead, he’s excited to talk about In The Long Run, the sitcom in which he co-stars with Idris Elba, the show’s producer (The Wire).

The comedy is set in the 1980s and focuses on Walter (Elba), a good-natured factory worker from Sierra Leone who is struggling to make his way in the world. It is based on Elba’s own experience growing up in a West African family in London’s East End.

Bailey, who grew up in Keynsham in the West of England, observes that In The Long Run has, almost unwittingly, become a nostalgic homage to the kind of social harmony in the UK that the fissures opened up by contentious issues such as Brexit are now threatening to destroy.

“In The Long Run” is a comedy drama aimed at a family audience. It’s not really some big issues-based show, although those issues are there.

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