Billy Connolly – one of the UK’s best-known and best-loved comedians and comic actors – has often spoken candidly regarding his health, and in recent months, he has announced that he will no longer be touring his stand-up show as a result of his struggles with Parkinson’s Disease. In a recent documentary for the BBC, ‘Made in Scotland’, the 76-year-old comic is more frank than ever before – speaking about his future with peaceful clarity, according to The Independent.
Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2013, and has publicly spoken about his struggle with the condition up to his retirement in late 2018. “As bits slip off and leave me, talents leave and attributes leave,” Connolly remarks in the documentary, where he reflects upon his career and life thus far. “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.”
“My life, it’s slipping away and I can feel it and I should.”
Billy Connolly Says He is "Near The End" of His Life [video]
Connolly was known for his energized, wildly tangential performances on stage, moving around to illustrate points and to connect with his audiences. The star was named in recent years as ‘The Comedian’s Comedian’, topping a poll of industry professionals’ opinions on who was the finest stand-up of all time. Connolly’s legacy is incredible – and he’s been on the big screen a number of times, too, having provided voice work for characters for Disney movies as diverse as Brave and Pocahontas. His distinctive voice and delivery, inarguably, have helped him to achieve such popularity – a million miles away from his humble beginnings as a Glasgow-based welder.
“I’m near the end,” the comedian states. “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.”
“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’s documentary Made in Scotland is available to view on BBC iPlayer at the time of writing – a film which will be well worth watching for all fans of comedy and for those who may be facing Parkinson’s battles of their own.