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Billy Connolly: The elderly 'are not loved enough'

The Scottish comedian talks about aging - and how he missed out on the part of Dumbledore in Harry Potter

Veteran comic Billy Connolly has hit out at care of the elderly and the apparent eagerness of their families to put them in homes.

The 70-year-old star said pensioners are not afforded enough time in their own properties before being despatched to care homes and are not "loved enough".

In an interview with Reader's Digest magazine, he said: "They're getting less and less valued as people sell their houses and stick them in these places.

"I don't think they're kept in their own homes long enough; I don't think they're loved enough."

Connolly - who stars in new film Quartet - said his own grandfather gave up on life after he was put into sheltered accommodation.

"My granddad lived alone and he was 96, 97. But he fell off a chair - he must have been fixing a picture or something - and hurt his elbow.

"The doctor insisted he went into sheltered housing - and he died. That was the last thing on earth he wanted, so he went to his bed and died. People should have (elderly relatives) at home because their grandchildren love them and they love their grandchildren - and they carry a lot of great recipes with them."

Connolly, who is married to comedy actress-turned-psychologist Pamela Stephenson, told Reader's Digest he still feels youthful despite his own advancing years.

"I feel exactly the same as I did when I was 37. The numbers keep changing: I don't pay much attention."

He also spoke about how he had been in the running to get the part of Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films following the death of the original actor Richard Harris.

Connolly said: "I must admit, when Richard Harris died, my agent tried to get me that part. But they got someone else."

Despite Michael Gambon landing the role, Connolly said he was still mistaken for Dumbledore by some young film fans, due to his long white hair and beard.

"I signed a Harry Potter poster. I said to the guy, 'You realise I'm not in Harry Potter?' He said, 'aren't you?' I just went ahead and put 'Billy Connolly' anyway."

The full interview appears in the January issue of Reader's Digest, which is out on December 18.