Sir Billy Connolly, 77, retired from his stand-up career with ITV Special



Sir Billy Connolly will say goodbye to his incredible stand-up career in an ‘uplifting and emotional’ special on ITV.

ITV released its winter schedule on Wednesday, with the 77-year-old comedian starring in the documentary Billy Connolly: It’s Been A Pleasure from his Florida home.

In March, Billy confirmed his retirement from stand-up comedy because of his battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Final Hurray: Sir Billy Connolly will say goodbye to his incredible stand-up career for the last time in an 'uplifting and emotional' special (pictured in 2016)

Final Hurray: Sir Billy Connolly will say goodbye to his incredible stand-up career for the last time in an ‘uplifting and emotional’ special (pictured in 2016)

The show features ‘the comedian’s greatest stand-up moments, unseen performance footage and exclusive chats with some of Billy’s biggest celebrity fans’.

Guest appearances include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Sir Lenny Henry, Dustin Hoffman, Russell Brand, Whoopi Goldberg, Aisling Bea and Sheridan Smith, who will reminisce on stage of Billy’s 60-year career.

ITV producers said: ‘Sir Billy Connolly recently announced that he is officially moving away from live stand-up performances.

Legend: ITV released its winter schedule on Wednesday, with the comedian, 77, starring in the documentary, Billy Connolly: It's Been A Pleasure from his Florida home (photo 2014)

Legend: ITV released its winter schedule on Wednesday, with the comedian, 77, starring in the documentary, Billy Connolly: It’s Been A Pleasure from his Florida home (photo 2014)

To mark this important moment in comedy history, this star-studded one-hour special celebrates Billy’s anarchic genius and life-affirming humor.

“There are also unique new insights from the woman Billy knows best – his wife and soul mate, Pamela Stephenson.”

His A-list fans will share their memories of Billy, send him personal messages and pick their all-time highlights from his glorious comedy catalog. The man himself will respond to their choices and reveal his own favorites. ‘

Talented: Billy poses with wife Pamela Stephenson after being knighted by the Duke of Cambridge at an Investiture Ceremony at Buckingham Palace on October 31, 2017

Talented: Billy poses with wife Pamela Stephenson after being knighted by the Duke of Cambridge at an Investiture Ceremony at Buckingham Palace on October 31, 2017

Billy Connolly: It’s Been A Pleasure is a definitive celebration of an all-time great. An uplifting, emotional and hilarious hour in the company of the legendary Big Yin at his best. It will make you laugh. It can even make you cry. A suitable broadcast for a stand-up megastar. ‘

Billy revealed he got up earlier this year because of his Parkinson’s.

The Scottish star was diagnosed with the degenerative disease in 2013.

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

Billy told Sky News: ‘I’m done with stand-up – it was lovely and it was lovely to be good at it. It was the first thing I ever got good at. ‘

Sharing his struggles: After his diagnosis, Billy continued to tour his stand-up shows until 2017, but said his Parkinson's was `` rooted in the spot and scared to move. ''

Sharing his struggles: After his diagnosis, Billy continued to tour his stand-up shows until 2017, but said his Parkinson’s was “ rooted in the spot and scared to move. ”

Billy is invited to numerous meetings with other Parkinson’s patients, but admits that he rejects a lot because he thinks it wouldn’t be “particularly good” to let the disease “define” him.

He said, ‘I’m always asked to go to Parkinson’s stuff and spend time with Parkinson’s people, have lunch or something. And I don’t approve.

‘I don’t think you should let Parkinson’s define you and that all your friends are Parkinson’s people.

‘I don’t think it’s particularly good for you. So I don’t. ‘

Gifted: In the early 1970s, Connolly transitioned from a folk singer with a comedic personality to a full-fledged comedian, for which he is best known today (pictured in the 1980s)

Gifted: In the early 1970s, Connolly transitioned from a folk singer with a comedic personality to a full-fledged comedian, for which he is best known today (pictured in the 1980s)

The Mrs. Brown star said he gets ‘upset’ about his diagnosis, admitting that it means walking ‘like a drunk man’ at times, and it can keep him from doing certain things like putting change back in his wallet.

He added, ‘Certain things go wrong, your brain drifts and affects your body, and so you walk differently, sometimes you walk like a drunk man. And you fear that you will be judged on it. And sometimes you shake. ‘

In the early 1970s, Connolly made the transition from a folk singer with a comedic personality to a full-fledged comedian, for which he is now best known.

In 1972 he made his theatrical debut at the Cottage Theater in Cumbernauld, with a revue called Connolly’s Glasgow Flourish. He also played at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Known for his quirky and often off-the-cuff observational comedy, which often features the use of profanity, Connolly was voted the best stand-up comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups in 2007, and again in the updated 2010 poll .

After his diagnosis, Billy continued to tour his stand-up shows until 2017, but said his Parkinson’s was “ rooted in the spot and scared to move.

Throwback: In 1972 he made his theatrical debut at the Cottage Theater in Cumbernauld, with a revue called Connolly's Glasgow Flourish (photo 1979)

Throwback: In 1972 he made his theatrical debut at the Cottage Theater in Cumbernauld, with a revue called Connolly’s Glasgow Flourish (photo 1979)

The actor then moved to Florida with his wife Pamela Stephenson to combat the degenerative condition.

But the star has embarked on a new lucrative career as an artist – and his artwork is selling for thousands of pounds.

Billy said, “It’s just not something people like me do.”

Last year, Billy admitted his “hearing.” [was] going ‘and he can no longer think’ at speed ‘.

He said, ‘I can act at another point, but I don’t intend to. And I am quite happy that I am taking my medicine and getting along with it.

‘I’ve started drooling, that’s a new one for me. This disease, it occasionally gives you something new to deal with and drooling is my last.

“I walk unsteadily and my hearing goes and it’s bizarre that bits of me fall, but it’s interesting.”

The funny man has two children – Cara, 45, and Jamie, 49, from his first marriage to Iris Pressagh.

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

Funny: Known for his quirky and often off-the-cuff observational comedy, Connolly was named the best stand-up comic in 2007 (photo 2005)

Funny: Known for his quirky and often off-the-cuff observational comedy, Connolly was named the best stand-up comic in 2007 (photo 2005)

WHAT IS PARKINSON’S DISEASE?

Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people, and about 127,000 people in the UK are living with the condition.

Figures also suggest that one million Americans are also suffering.

It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbances, chronic fatigue, reduced quality of life and can lead to severe disability.

It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.

Patients are known to have a reduced supply of dopamine because the nerve cells that make it have died.

There is currently no cure and no way to stop the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific studies are underway to try to change that.


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