ALL hail the uber wizard.

And that's Doctor uber wizard to you! British comedian Bill Bailey received an honorary doctorate from the University of the Sunshine Coast in front of a crowd of 600 yesterday.

Being allowed to put "Doctor" in front of your name is one thing, but the star of Black Books and QI was also clearly impressed with his emerald satin ceremonial robes.

"I love this green, this is my colour, I feel like some uber wizard," he joked.

"I'm going to do all my episodes of QI dressed like this.

"This is my first honorary doctorate so I am delighted...super excited. I can't wait to lord it around my friends.

"I will be insufferable now and insist they doff their caps to me and call me Doctor Bailey.

"It's got a good ring to it...Doc Bailey.

"My father is actually a medical doctor, so I can finally say, 'Hey dad, your lad's done good'."

The doctorate was bestowed to acknowledge Mr Bailey's contribution to the environment and conservation, especially as patron of a number of animal welfare charities and presenter of numerous nature documentaries.

His latest is about Alfred Russel Wallace, perhaps the unluckiest biologist in history.

Wallace, who discovered 5000 species and collected 125,000 specimens in his career, struck upon the idea of natural selection before Charles Darwin.

He co-wrote the first paper on the theory of evolution with Darwin and yet today the world speaks of Darwinism, and not Wallacism.

Mr Bailey gave a public lecture on Wallace as part of his visit to USC.

Throughout he dropped hilarious anecdotes about living in a two-bed

room London flat amid a menagerie of animals, including Balinese dingos, Madagascan hissing cockroaches and a chameleon in the bathroom.

He urged the crowd of university students, staff and general public to be better stewards for the planet and to maintain a curiosity in the natural world.

- REBECCA MARSHALL


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