‘It’s taken more and more of what I like’ Billy Connolly speaks on ‘painful’ Parkinson’s

Billy Connolly says he can't use his left hand due to Parkinson's

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Scottish comedian Sir Billy Connolly has had fans of his in stitches since the 1970s, first a folk singer with a comedic persona to a full-on professional funny man. But following his Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis eight years ago, a lot has changed for the CBE comedian actor, artist and musician. Tonight [Boxing Day], in a one-off documentary, the man himself will be talking about his experience of the condition and how it has affected his life.

Billy Connolly is arguably one of the most recognisable comedians for generations.

He has worked as a stand-up comedian for four decades, performing across the world for his sell-out live shows.

Last year, ITV released Billy’s first documentary It’s Been a Pleasure which took fans around his Florida Keys home.

Now, Billy is inviting viewers once again to talk more about how his life has changed since 2013.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease which he will discuss in his new documentary.

Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure will air tonight, Boxing Day, at 9.30pm on ITV.

The special is going to give fans an insight into his life with wife Pamela Stephenson at their home in Florida Keys, talking about taking a step back from stand-up.

In the documentary, Billy says: “Parkinson’s Disease has taken a lot from me. I can’t play the banjo anymore. It’s just a noise.

“I can’t yodel anymore. I can’t smoke cigars. It’s taken more and more of what I like – it’s kind of painful.

“But you have to have a Glasgow attitude and say, ‘Oh, you think you’ve got me beat, try this for size.’ I just deal with it. If I fall, I fall.”

In the show, Billy will also discuss his perspective on the prospect of dying, admitting that he isn’t scared.

He continued: “I’ve seen people die and it’s ok. It’s not painful.

“You just go away and it’s gone. You exhale. It’s nothing to be frightened of. It’s just the next step.

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“It’s better to be bright and optimistic and have a laugh. You pass this way but once.

“I sound like an end-of-the-pier preacher, but be thoughtful and kind and it’ll come back to you. There’s only love. That’s all there is.”

The documentary is also going to feature his new book Windswept & Interesting.

This full-length autobiography will talk of his past in Glasgow, pictures of when him and his sister were younger and his rise to fame.

There will also be interviews with Billy’s love of his life and wife New Zealand writer Pamela Stephenson.

They have been married for more than 20 years and despite his illness, the couple have continued to have a happy life together.

Billy has two children with his first wife and three with his current wife Pamela.

Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure airs at 9.30pm on Boxing Day on ITV.

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