Billy Connolly says he is ‘near the end’ as he speaks about his Parkinson’s
Comedian Billy Connolly pictured last May. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
By Lizzie Healey
The Big Yin, comedian Billy Connolly, admitted he is “near the end” and life is “slipping away”, as he spoke about his life with Parkinson’s disease.
The comedian makes the comments during the second part of his BBC documentary series Made In Scotland, which will air on Friday.
In the programme, Connolly will reflect on his life and career in showbiz, while insisting he is not scared of death.
The comedian was diagnosed with the degenerative neurological condition in 2013.
According to the Daily Mirror, he will say in the programme: “My life, it’s slipping away and I can feel it and I should. I’m 75, I’m near the end. I’m a damn sight nearer the end than I am the beginning. But it doesn’t frighten me, it’s an adventure and it is quite interesting to see myself slipping away.
“As bits slip off and leave me, talents leave and attributes leave. I don’t have the balance I used to have, I don’t have the energy I used to have. I can’t hear the way I used to hear, I can’t see as good as I used to. I can’t remember the way I used to remember.
“And they all came one at a time and they just slipped away, thank you. It is like somebody is in charge of you and they are saying: ‘Right, I added all these bits when you were a youth, now it is time to subtract.’”
Connolly, pictured left in this photograph from Hugh Jordan, who is nicknamed The Big Yin, was a welder in John Brown’s shipyard in Clydebank before becoming a globally-renowned comedian.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s – a neurological condition that impacts movement and speech – while undergoing surgery for early-stage prostate cancer in 2013.
Asked how he felt about having Parkinson’s he couldn’t resist this memorable quip: “I wish he would have kept it to himself.”
Connolly has turned 76 since the BBC documentary was filmed and has had to cut back on performing due to his illness.
He is known for his energetic performing style, but said Parkinson’s prevented him from moving around the stage like he did at his peak.
At one point during the programme, Connolly, who is married to psychologist Pamela Stephenson, reportedly asks for filming to stop as he appears to be struggling with the effects of the disease.
Speaking about Parkinson’s, he said: “It takes a certain calm to deal with, and I sometimes don’t have it. I sometimes get angry with it, but that doesn’t last long, I just collapse in laughter.”
Connolly, who used to live in Vale of Leven before moving to Drymen with his first wife, Iris, was a keen sportsman who fished on Loch Lomond, which is where he has said he would like to buried amongst his ain folk.
- After the programme had been screened, Billy issued a statement through his wife, which indicated that he had been exaggerating and assuring people that he wasn’t hear to death. Editor.