Billy Connolly and his wife Pamela Stephenson have responded to comments made by Sir Michael Parkinson that the comedian’s health had taken a turn for the worse following his Parkinson’s diagnosis.
The former chat show host recalled a “sad and awkward” dinner he shared with Billy in 2016, which left Michael unsure if his friend knew who he was, adding that his “wonderful brain has dulled”.
Following the remarks made on ITV’s ’Saturday Morning With James Martin’, the 75-year-old comedian told The Mirror: “I would recognise Parky if he was standing behind me - in a diving suit.”
His wife, the actress and comic Pamela Stephenson, insisted her husband was “doing great”.
“Mike Parkinson is a daft old fart,” she said. “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Billy’s doing great and still funny as hell.”
The couple’s stance was backed up by producers at Indigo Television, the company behind several of the Glaswegian comedian’s TV projects.
“We have been busy filming with Billy over the summer and can report happily that he’s on top form – as sharp and hilarious as ever,” they said in a statement.
“We were speaking with his wife Pamela Stephenson only today and she is pretty sure that Billy has no more problem recognising old friends than anyone else of his age who has lived abroad for years.”
They added: “The GQ Awards must be the event Sir Michael is talking about – it was a couple of years ago in 2016 and Sir Michael presented Billy with an Inspiration Award.
“Pamela said that she and daughter Cara were at the dinner and remembers from the night that Billy turned to her and Cara immediately and said ‘oh good – there’s Parky!’”
The Scottish comedian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, along with deafness and prostate cancer, in 2013.
In recent years, he has spoken frankly about his battle with Parkinson’s disease.
“A sense of humour is absolutely essential,” he told the Mail last year.
“It’s the only thing that gets you through. Sometimes I get kind of dark about it. It’s because it’s forever, you know. It’s not like having pneumonia and you’re going to get better. You’re not going to get any better.”
HuffPost UK have contacted reps for Michael Parkinson for further comment.
Watch Parky interview Billy and Pamela on his chat show in 2001 in the video below...
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