“I’m not losing it!” quipped Sir Billy Connolly as he kicked off the second part of his BBC2 series Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland.
The 76-year-old stand-up comedic legend and musician talked frankly and many times with humour about his battle with Parkinson’s Disease. And viewers have commended his ‘brave’ and ‘heartbreaking’ words.
Several wrote on Twitter that they were moved to tears by the Scotsman’s profoundly candid reflections.
What a legend this man is, grown up with him making me cry with laughter through the decades- but my mind keeps telling me this is him presenting his eulogy- so sad, but so so brave – 😪😪#BillyConnolly
— joe bloggs (@joeblog87100720) January 4, 2019
Crying tears of laughter and absolute heartbreak at the end of #MadeInScotland there. My Grandpa had Parkinson’s disease and I imagine him to speak about it the way Billy Connolly has done.
— Lisa Bissland (@LisaBizx) January 4, 2019
Just watched the second part of Billy Connolly‘ Made in Scotland. Completely destroyed me. I’m in tears ☹️ Such a wonderful man 💕
— Carol West 🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁 (@MummaWesty) January 4, 2019
In the one hour show, Connolly discussed his life as one of the world’s most successful comedians and how this so greatly contrasts with his humble beginnings as a working class boy from Scotland.
Looking back he said: “I’m 75, I’ve got Parkinson’s and I’m at the wrong end of the telescope of life.”
He was also shown taking multiple selfies with fans, and remarked that he has more free time to appreciate his fanbase since receiving the Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis in 2013.
“Since I got Parkinson’s Disease, I cut back on my work. But the fame remains and I’ve never known anything like it. It is a very pleasant feeling. People say how nice it is to see you and how nice you are looking. What’s wrong with that?’ he said.
Watched the Billy Connolly documentary thos evening, through tears of laughter… and sorrow at times. He really is one of the best examples of humanity; humble, kind and absolutely hilarious.
— Paul Flewitt (@RealPaulFlewitt) January 4, 2019
Towards the end of the episode Connolly went into remarkably honest detail about life with the disease. He claimed to be ‘slipping away’ and that he felt ‘like someone is in charge of you.’
“My life is slipping away, I can feel it…I’m 75…I’m near the end. I’m nearer the end than I am at the beginning. But it doesn’t frighten me. It’s an adventure. And it is quite interesting to see myself slip away.
“Bits slip off and leave, talents leave and attributes leave. I don’t have the balance I used to have, I don’t have the energy. I can’t hear the way I used to hear. I can’t see as good as I used to. I can’t remember the way I used to remember. They all just came one at a time and slipped away thank you.
Shed a tear watching “Billy Connolly Made in Scotland” on @BBC Not just for Billy who is cheerfully poorly but for the Glasgow, Scotland and the industrial working class nearly gone. That’s what made him the comedic genius he surely was. A working class hero is something to be.
— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) January 1, 2019
“It’s like someone is in charge of you and they’re saying ‘right I added all these bits in your youth and now it’s time to subtract,'” he said.
And while admitting that he now struggles to play music, the eternally optimistic comedian said he sees death as an ‘adventure’ and joked that he’ll do a third episode of the series ‘in the spirit world.’
“I can’t work my left hand on the banjo. It’s as if I’m being prepared for something. Some other adventure. It’s just over the hill. I’ve got all the stuff to lose first. And then I will be on the shadowy side of the hill, doing the next episode in the spirit world.”
Caught the end of “Billy Connolly: A Scot in the Artic” there on BBC Two. Love his outlook on life and the little things he loves or that amuses him. So sad to hear the other day that his health is deteriorating 😢
— Ciaran Donaghy (@ciarandonaghy) January 4, 2019
In perhaps the most moving part of the documentary, Connolly offered solid life advice to the viewers: ‘have a go at it and survive.’
“I’m very lucky because I have made a bit of a map. I think I must have done something right, and that keeps you company when you’re older it’s the fact that when you created, you created well. It accompanies you, it’s a great companion. You can volunteer to take life seriously but it’s going to get you!
“You can either break down and complain about how miserable your life is. Or have a go at it and survive. I think that’s the basis of it all,” he explained.
My New Years resolution – To approach life like #BillyConnolly does!
— Dee Bartholomew (@DeeBart81) January 4, 2019
Steve Ford, Chief Executive Parkinson’s UK told Yahoo UK that Connolly is helping raise awareness for the disease and in turn offering comfort to those suffering from or affected by it.
“It’s great to see Billy Connolly speaking so honestly about a condition many people know too little about.
“Parkinson’s is different for everyone, and it has over 40 different symptoms. Some people can be very positive, but everyone has days where it feels overwhelming. As a charity we are with Billy in being angry about how this condition strips people’s lives away, which is why we are working tirelessly to find a cure.
“Thanks to Billy’s high profile he is not only helping to raise awareness of the condition and the impact it has on the person affected and their loved ones, but he is also showing people they are not alone and that support that is available from organisations like Parkinson’s UK,” Ford said.
Both parts of Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.