Billy Connolly gives moving Parkinson’s update as he receives Bafta Fellowship

‘My wife puts on my clothes in the morning and takes them off at night,’ said comedian

Ellie Harrison
Monday 09 May 2022 10:35 BST
Trailer for Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland

Sir Billy Connolly gave fans an update on his Parkinson’s disease while accepting his Bafta Fellowship on Sunday night (8 May).

The comedian, 79, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013. It is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years.

The main symptoms include involuntary shaking, slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles. People with the condition can also suffer from anxiety, depression and memory problems.

In his acceptance speech, which was shown at the Bafta TV Awards ceremony in a pre-recorded video, Connolly said: “I am very proud to receive this.

“Life is good. I haven’t been on the stage for about two years. This is kind of nice. It suits me.

“Symptom spotters among you may notice that my left is different from my right. It is just one of these things. Parkinson’s disease. I suffer badly from the disease.”

He added: “My wife puts on my clothes in the morning and takes them off at night. It is a jolly life. I have got no complaints.” Connolly and his wife Patricia have been married since 1989. They now live together in Florida.

On receiving the award, Connolly said: “It has made me such a happy man getting these good attendance medals now my career is out the window.”

Connolly retired from live performances in 2018. Last year, he released his autobiography, Windswept and Interesting, in which he discusses his difficult childhood, his stand-up career and his rise to fame in the 1970s after a now-infamous appearance on Michael Parkinson’s flagship BBC talk show.

Previous recipients of the Bafta Fellowship – which recognises an individual’s outstanding and exceptional contribution to the arts across their career – include Sir David Attenborough, Dame Julie Walters, Sir Trevor McDonald, Dame Joanna Lumley, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

The biggest winners at this year’s ceremony, presented by Richard Ayoade, were prison series Time, carer drama Help and presenter Big Zuu. See the full list of winners here.

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