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Billy Connolly to receive special recognition gong at National Television Awards

Billy Connolly has been announced as the recipient of the Special Recognition Award at this year's National Television Awards (NTAs).

Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman, a long-time friend and colleague, will be flying in from Los Angeles especially to present the award.

The Special Recognition Award will honour Connolly's remarkable career and celebrate his 50 years as a unique, much-loved and highly respected performer.

A number of his friends and celebrity fans have recorded film tributes which will be screened at the ceremony.

Born in Glasgow in 1942, Connolly started out as a folk singer before developing the stand-up act that made him famous and led to a career in television and film.

He has been married to actress turned clinical psychologist and author Pamela Stephenson since 1989.

The couple have three children together.

Armando Iannucci, writer and creator of The Thick Of It, said: "It's unbelievable and yet no surprise that we're celebrating 50 years of Billy Connolly.

"Because he doesn't compromise, because he doesn't fit a label, he has no shelf life, he's not part of a phase. He's unique."

The award-winning producer added: "You can't really sum him up. The only way you can explain him to someone is by saying, 'just try and imagine Billy Connolly'."

T he NTAs celebrate the UK's favourite TV programmes and stars, as voted for by the public.

This year's event has seen nominations for series including Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Poldark and Humans, to name a few.

The NTAs will be broadcast live on ITV on January 20. V isit for more information.

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