Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Connolly vows silence on politics

Billy Connolly and Sheridan Smith arrive for the charity gala screening of Quartet

Billy Connolly is vowing to stay out of political discussions following a backlash to his opinions on Scottish independence, the star claimed.

The 69-year-old Scottish actor and comedian said: "Whenever I open my mouth I get it slapped shut. I'm told to mind my own business, to learn what I'm talking about.

"But I'll tell you what, I don't like showbusiness people lecturing the public on how they should vote anyway. I've always found that a kind of precocious state, and I've done it before you know, and when I look back at some of the things I've said I feel kind of stupid."

Billy has been vocal of his disapproval of Scottish independence in the past, but admitted that 2012 has been "a very interesting time for Scotland".

The actor was joined on the red carpet by co-stars Sir Tom Courtenay, 75 and Sheridan Smith, 31 to promote his latest film Quartet. The British comedy, directed by Academy Award winning actor Dustin Hoffman, follows four elderly opera singers who are reunited in a specialist retirement home.

Hoffman recruited veteran actors Dame Maggie Smith and Pauline Collins to complete the star-studded cast. Speaking about Dame Maggie, Billy revealed that the 77-year-old Downton Abbey star has a secret talent. "She does a brilliant Glasgow accent. She had an aunt in Glasgow and she used to go and spend summer times there, so we had a good laugh," he said. Quartet will be released in cinemas from January 1 2013.

Sheridan has refused to rule out starring in future episodes of BBC favourite Gavin & Stacey.

When asked if she would return to the comedy if asked, the actress said: "Of course, it's amazing, everybody loves that show, everyone wants to be in it. All my family are like 'Can I be in it?', it's so great.

"The thing is, I think they're so clever; they've left people wanting more and you can sometimes do shows to death, but they left it in a really good point and they're just geniuses aren't they? I think the whole nation's like 'Ooh, will they do any more?' but I don't think they've got any plans at the minute."

The actress was speaking on the red carpet in London where Quartet was being screened at a charity gala in support of the Musicians Benevolent Fund.

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