“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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.