Bafta TV Awards 2022: Sir Billy Connolly unable to dress himself as he opens up on Parkinson’s in powerful speech

Editor
Editor May 9, 2022
Updated 2022/05/09 at 10:10 PM

Sir Billy Connolly candidly opened up on his battle with Parkinson’s disease during his speech at the TV Baftas, saying his wife, Patricia Stephenson, dresses him.

Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years.

The comedy icon, who previously revealed he can no longer play instruments, won the Fellowship at the 2022 awards, and gave a powerful speech via pre-recorded video.

‘I am very proud to receive this,’ he said.

‘Life is good. I haven’t been on the stage for about two years. This is kind of nice. It suits me.

‘Symptom spotters among you may notice that my left is different from my right. It is just one of these things. Parkinson’s disease. I suffer badly from the disease.

‘My wife puts on my clothes in the morning and takes them off at night. It is a jolly life. I have got no complaints.’

Billy Connolly and Pamela Stevenson
Sir Billy is married to Pamela Stephenson (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

After telling anecdotes illustrating how the world has changed in his 50 years of comedy, he added: ‘I went from strength to strength on television and here we are today getting this award.

‘I couldn’t be happier. It has made me such a happy man getting these good attendance medals now my career is out the window.’

Sir Billy was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013 and retired from live performances in 2018.

Billy Connolly
Sir Billy retired from live performances in 2018 (Picture: Getty)

He’s been open about his battle with the disease, and has said he has ‘absolutely no regrets’ from his incredible life.

The Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by Bafta in recognition of an individual’s outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games across their career.

Sir Billy joins a prestigious list of recipients including Sir David Attenborough, Dame Julie Walters, Sir Trevor McDonald, Dame Joanna Lumley, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

Previously speaking about the accolade, Sir Billy 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.

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