Billy Connolly opens up on Parkinson’s ordeal on ITV show

Billy Connolly says he can't use his left hand due to Parkinson's

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Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure is a follow-up to It’s Been A Pleasure, which marked his decision to step back from stand-up after a remarkable comedy career which had spanned more than 50 years. A year on, Billy, now 79, invites ITV’s cameras to spend time with him in his newly adopted home of Florida Keys.

As he launches his autobiography, he shares a selection of his most-loved stand-up routines, some of which have never been seen on TV before.

However, he reveals his decision to live in Florida was not his own: “I didn’t settle in Florida Keys. My wife [Pamela Stephenson] did – with all the furniture. She sold my house and moved here and gave me the option of whether I want to come or not.

“There’s a lot of old hippies that live here and people who refuse to get old. It suits me lovely.”

Despite his global success he maintains “simple” tastes: “My pleasures are simple – fishing on a nice river in nice weather.

“A good book, a cup of tea and a digestive – that’s my ultimate happiness.”

In 2013 Connolly was found to have early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease: “It has taken a lot from me. I can’t play the banjo anymore, I can’t yodel, I can’t smoke cigars. But it’s better to be optimistic and have a laugh. You pass this way but once.”

● Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure, ITV, tonight, 9.30pm

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