Billy Connolly has revealed he often behaves in a certain way around his children as he doesn’t want them to ‘feel sorry’ for him.
The comedian, 79, discusses his battle with Parkinson’s disease in his ITV documentary Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure which aired on Boxing Day.
The father-of-five told how he frequently thinks about death ‘a lot’ but doesn’t think it’s anything to be ‘frightened of’.
Candid: Billy Connolly has revealed he often behaves in a certain way around his children as he doesn’t want them to ‘feel sorry’ for him while he battles Parkinson’s disease
Billy is father to Jamie, 52, and Cara, 48, with his ex-wife Iris Pressagh and Daisy, 37, Amy, 35, and Scarlett, 33, with his wife Pamela Stephenson.
The star was diagnosed with the brain disorder which leads to shaking, stiffness and difficulties with walking and balance in 2013.
He said: ‘Parkinson’s Disease has taken a lot from me. I can’t play the banjo anymore. It’s just a noise. I can’t yodel anymore. I can’t smoke cigars. It’s taken more and more of what I like – it’s kind of painful.
‘But you have to have a Glasgow attitude and say, “Oh, you think you’ve got me beat, try this for size”. I just deal with it. If I fall, I fall.
Family: Billy is father to Jamie, 52, and Cara, 48, with his ex-wife Iris Pressagh and Daisy, 37, Amy, 35, and Scarlett, 33, with his wife Pamela Stephenson (pictured with Amy and Scarlett ijn 2003)
‘I have to behave in a certain way so my children don’t think I’m a dead loss and so they don’t feel sorry for me.’
He added: ‘I think about death a lot, not in an excessive amount, but every day. I’ve seen people die and it’s ok. It’s not painful. You just go away and it’s gone. You exhale. It’s nothing to be frightened of. It’s just the next step.
‘It’s better to be bright and optimistic and have a laugh. You pass this way but once.
‘I sound like an end-of-the-pier preacher, but be thoughtful and kind and it’ll come back to you. There’s only love. That’s all there is.’
Candid: The comedian, 79, discusses his battle with Parkinson’s disease in his ITV documentary Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure which aired on Boxing Day
Billy also discussed how he has taken a step back from stand-up comedy, explaining the Parkinson’s was affecting his ability to perform.
He said: ‘I made the decision to stand back from stand up because of my illness. It was affecting the work I do, the sharpness was gone.
‘I have absolutely no regrets, I feel great. There’s no hurry up, they’re closing the doors. It’s much more pleasant than that.’
Viewers took to Twitter in droves to praise Billy’s candidness in the documentary as well as his sense of humour, with old stand-up clips featured prominently in the show.
He said: ‘I have to behave in a certain way so my children don’t think I’m a dead loss and so they don’t feel sorry for me’ (pictured with wife Pamela Stephenson)
One fan wrote: ‘The funniest stand up comedian ever – no-one will ever come close. His attitude to life is what makes him so funny and I love his attitude to life. He never tried to offend anybody he just observed life and in doing so he was hilarious.’
Another said: ‘My favourite ever comedian still halving a great outlook on life’.
One viewer added: ‘Best programme on TV over Christmas by a mile. The wonderful Billy Connolly’.
Earlier this month, the star revealed he has learned to ‘hypnotise’ his hand into becoming still when he begins shaking.
Reaction: Viewers took to Twitter in droves to praise Billy’s candidness in the documentary as well as his sense of humour, with old stand-up clips featured prominently in the show
The screen star, also known as The Big Yin, has been open and honest about the limitations he faces.
In an interview with Radio Times, he explained that the progression of the disease means he is unable to write letters any more, however he proudly revealed that he is using ‘hypnosis’ to control his hands.
Sir Billy told the publication: ‘I’ve learnt to hypnotise my hand. I glare at it and it kinda quivers. I just stare at it, and eventually it stops. It’s quite a good trick. We love it.’
Reflecting on his condition, he added: ‘I’ve never tried to cover up the illness. I’m p**sed off with it. It won’t go away. People are kinda chained to it. But I try to be cheery.’
WHAT IS PARKINSON’S DISEASE?
Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people, and around 127,000 people in the UK live with the condition.
Figures also suggest one million Americans also suffer.
It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.
It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.
Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.
There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that.