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Billy Connolly Says He Doesn't Let Parkinson's 'Dictate Who I Am'

Billy Connolly Says He Doesn't Let Parkinson's 'Dictate Who I Am'

The comedian is set to be honoured with a lifetime achievement award by BAFTA and he's reflected on his current health.

Comedian Billy Connolly is set to be honoured at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) TV Awards with their highest honour: the Fellowship.

In a statement, Connolly said: “I am deeply honoured. Fifty films and… I can’t remember how many TV shows - as well as my stage comedy - added up to something that’s a joy to look back on.

“A lovely thing. I have no regrets at all. I had no idea the Fellowship existed, but I’m told it’s a big deal!. It’s lovely to be recognised and to become a jolly good fellow.” 

In wake of his BAFTA recognition, he spoke to the Academy about how he's navigating Parkinson's disease, which is a condition that impacts movement, mobility, and speech.

Connolly announced back in 2013 that he was being treated for the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

The 79-year-old said: “It's really important to work, to draw, to write, to walk silly for your grandchildren. Doing the same thing you've always done is good for you.

"I don't let the Parkinson's dictate who I am – I just get on with it. I've had a very successful career and I have no regrets at all."

He spoke to Radio Times last year about dealing with the illness, admitting that at times he was ‘pissed off with it’, but he has learnt some unconventional ways of dealing with it. 

He said: “I’ve learned 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.”

However, he noted that he had to give up some of the things he loved doing.

Billy Connolly live in London 5/7/1977.
Goddard Archive / Alamy.

He said: “I loved writing letters, but now my writing is illegible. My collection of fountain pens and ink is redundant. It’s a pain in the bum.”

Later on in his interview with BAFTA, he said he was never fussed about earning awards for his work. 

He said: “I have a collection of shiny things that I'm very proud of. But I never set out to get them or hunt them down.

"I don't believe in aiming at it because if you don't get it for whatever reason you're all disappointed. Just do what you do well and you'll find yourself a fellow before you know it."

Other stars who have been honoured with a BAFTA Fellowship include Dawn French, Jon Snow, Sir David Attenborough, Sir Bruce Forsyth, and Sir Trevor MacDonald.

Featured Image Credit: WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy. PA Images / Alamy.

Topics: Good News