Billy Connolly, 76, says ‘life is slipping away’ in BBC documentary

Billy Connolly, 76, says his ‘life is slipping away but is ready for an adventure’ as he bravely speaks about Parkinson’s disease in BBC documentary

  • Billy Connolly has revealed he feels his ‘life is slipping away’ as his Parkinson’s disease progresses
  • The 76-year-old comedian was diagnosed back in 2013 
  • He moved to Florida with his wife Pamela Stephenson to fight the degenerative disorder
  • He makes the admission in the second part of his BBC documentary series Made In Scotland, which will air on Friday night 
  • He says: ‘I’m near the end, but it doesn’t frighten me’

Billy Connolly has revealed he feels his ‘life is slipping away’ as his Parkinson’s disease progresses. 

The comedian, now 76, who was diagnosed back in 2013, makes the admission in the second part of his BBC documentary series Made In Scotland, which will air on Friday night. 

He says: ‘There is no denying it, I am 75, I have got Parkinson’s and I am at the wrong end of the telescope of life, I am at the point where the yesteryears mean more than the yesterdays.

Slipping away: Billy Connolly has revealed he feels his ‘life is slipping away’ as his Parkinson’s disease progresses

‘Because it is back there in my childhood and youth when I go to all those things that made me that live keenest in my memory now. My life, it’s slipping away and I can feel it and I should. 


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He adds: ‘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.’ 

The Mirror reports that at certain points in the show, Billy asks the camera to stop filming as he struggles with his symptoms, while in another scene his hand shakes uncontrollably. 

Honest: The 76-year-old comedian, who was diagnosed back in 2013, makes the admission in the second part of his BBC documentary series Made In Scotland

Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. 

In reference to his symptoms, he tells the camera: ‘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,’ before saying he is being prepared for ‘some other adventure, which is over the hill.’

Billy went on to describe the degenerative disease as him progressively ‘losing all’ of himself to be on the ‘shadowy side of the hill, doing the next episode in the spirit world.’ 

Frank: He says: ‘There is no denying it, I have got Parkinson’s and I am at the wrong end of the telescope of life’

Insight: In certain parts of the show, it is reported that Billy asks the camera to stop filming as he struggles to control his symptoms, while in another scene his hand shakes uncontrollably

The two-part documentary focuses on intimate interviews with the comedian, providing an unique insight into the early influences and motivations that helped carve his extraordinary career. 

The second part of the documentary, which airs on Friday on BBC2 at 9pm, sees Billy give a refreshingly honest account of life with the disease, saying sometimes he is ‘angry’ but always ends up ‘collapsing into laughter’.  

Back in 2013, the comedian revealed he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and prostate cancer on the same day.  

He has since been given the all clear for cancer and moved to Florida with his wife Pamela Stephenson to fight the degenerative disorder.  

Candid: Billy gives a refreshingly honest account of life with the disease, saying sometimes he is ‘angry’ but always ends up collapsing into laughter

Sharing his struggles: After his diagnosis, Billy continued to tour with his stand-up shows until 2017, but said his Parkinson’s made him get ‘rooted to the spot and afraid to move’

After his diagnosis, Billy continued to tour with his stand-up shows until 2017, but said his Parkinson’s made him get ‘rooted to the spot and afraid to move’. 

The actor said instead of prowling the front of the stage like he used to, he just stood stock-still where he was, with his symptoms weighing on his mind.   

Meanwhile, a host of other big names on the comedic circuit guest star in the show to talk about Billy’s remarkable 60-year career. 

Fellow comedian Eddie Izzard describes his diagnosis as ‘rough to hear about’ but Billy talking so frankly about the disease ‘helps other people’.   

Only recently, Billy hit back at Sir Michael Parkinson after the veteran presenter claimed the comedian’s brain had ‘dulled’ due to his battle with Parkinson’s. 

The broadcaster, 83, said there was a ‘sad and awkward’ moment during an awards dinner where Sir Billy ‘didn’t recognise him’ and put the encounter down to the disease’s effects.

What is Parkinson’s?

Parkinson’s is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged

The three main symptoms are: involuntary shaking (tremor), slow movement, stiff and inflexible muscles

As the condition progresses, the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can get worse

Parkinson’s disease doesn’t directly cause people to die, but the condition can place great strain on the body

Credit source: NHS 

But the comedian said he had no idea what Sir Michael was talking about and aimed a swipe at the broadcaster over his adverts for ‘over-50s insurance’ for Sun Life.

Speaking to the Times, Sir Billy said: ‘It was two years since I’d seen him and that occasion was the GQ dinner and I did really well, so what he was talking about I’ll never know. He’s been selling funerals too long.’

He continued: ‘The thing that got me about it was what if it was true? It’s still a shitty thing to do. What do you think of Billy Connolly? “Oh, he’s f****d.”‘

While he told Radio Times: ‘I wasn’t disappointed, it just made my life a bit difficult. People feeling sorry for me, I don’t like that.’ 

The funnyman has two children – Cara, 45, and Jamie, 49, with his late wife and first marriage to Iris Pressagh.

Billy and Pamela have three children together – Scarlett, 30, Amy, 32, and Daisy, 34.

Battle: Billy moved to Florida with his wife Pamela Stephenson to fight the degenerative disorder after his diagnosis

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