Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Connolly fronts series about death

Billy Connolly looks at mortality in his new TV series
Billy Connolly looks at mortality in his new TV series

Billy Connolly is to front a new documentary series about death in which he discusses his own thoughts after being diagnosed with cancer and Parkinson's disease.

The 71-year-old shares his views about the afterlife and heads to various locations around the world to examine traditions and beliefs in his ITV programmes, which have the working title Billy Connolly's Big Send Off.

The Scottish comedian and actor underwent surgery for prostate cancer last year and also revealed he was suffering from the early signs of Parkinson's, but vowed to continue working.

In the series he " sets out to gain an insight into the rich variety of attitudes, belief systems, rituals and customs relating to death that are woven into different cultures and communities", according to ITV.

And for the forthcoming films he is said to candidly share his thoughts on his own death and how he would like to be remembered.

Connolly visits a pet cemetery, a drive-through funeral parlour and his favourite graveyard in Glasgow, and discusses the funerals of friends he has attended including The Who's Keith Moon.

He also duets with Eric Idle on a version of the Monty Python song Always Look On the Bright Side of Life, and the pair joke about plans for quirky graves and discuss dark humour.

Richard Klein, ITV's director of factual programmes, said: "Death comes to us all, that much we know. And yet still it can come as a shock to realise that.

"In this series Billy, sometimes playfully, sometimes profoundly, but always humorously, explores the world of traditions, attitudes, funerals and headstones that one way and another we will all have to deal with at some point in our lives."

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Spending time with family will help relieve stress. It's comforting to be surrounded by those who understand your quirks. In your public life, you feel like you always have to explain yourself to colleagues. This becomes incredibly draining. To add insult to injury, you've had difficulty finding an appropriate job for your level of expertise. Instead of holding out for the perfect opportunity, you should take a low level job that yields regular pay.More