- Film & TV
- 22 Dec 20
The 78-year-old comedian was diagnosed with the neurological condition in 2013 and announced his retirement from live performances five years later.
Billy Connolly has said he feels "happy in his skin" after making the "obvious" decision to retire following his Parkinson's disease diagnosis seven years ago.
Connolly commented that being knighted in 2017 for services to entertainment and charity had offered him the "full stop" he needed to make the difficult choice.
"It’s been nice, it’s funny talking about the end of my career, because I’ve given it up and it’s strange talking about it as a thing of the past," Connolly told the PA news agency about his new show.
"It’s nice to come to that conclusion myself, that I should stop. It’s a nice, healthy feeling."
Billy Connolly: It’s Been A Pleasure will feature footage of Connolly at his home in Florida, archival footage of his greatest moments and several big names feature for exclusive chats, sharing their own personal messages and highlights from his career. The big names include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Sir Lenny Henry, Dustin Hoffman, Russell Brand and Whoopi Goldberg.
There are also unique new insights from the woman who knows Billy best - his wife, Pamela Stephenson.
Speaking about his retirement, the Scottish comedian said:
"It was obvious. I had done everything I wanted to do, and I’ve got this Parkinson’s and I don’t want to be on stage with Parkinson’s. And that’s the end of it.
"And it’s a natural end because I’m dead happy in my skin. I had a nice career, I did rather well, and I got knighted and that’s like the full stop."
Despite the seriousness of the disease, Connolly maintains that he doesn't worry about the increasing impact which Parkinson's will have on his life.
"I don’t care about it. It’s there and I just deal with it. I don’t go to meetings with other Parkinson’s people and talk about it. I just get on with it.
"I get invited all the time to these Parkinson’s society things, to come and have lunch on a Wednesday and talk about Parkinson’s. I can’t imagine anything more awful," he adds.
"I went one day with my son and we were having lunch and it was less than great. Talking about Parkinson’s, it’s depressing. It’s just a fact of life, it’s in me and I deal with it."
Billy Connolly: It’s Been A Pleasure airs on ITV on Monday, December 28.
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