Shropshire Star

Billy Connolly’s wife says he has had ‘serious falls’ following balance issues

Sir Billy, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 10 years ago, said that he has noticed his balance is ‘deteriorating’.

Billy Connolly and Pamela Stephenson

Sir Billy Connolly’s wife Pamela Stephenson has said that the comic had “a couple of serious falls” after they noticed his balance was deteriorating.

Scottish comedian Sir Billy, 80, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 10 years ago on the same day he found out he had prostate cancer, which he later received the all clear on.

The comic spoke about the degenerative disease with his spouse Stephenson for an article in The Guardian, and said: “It’s very difficult to see the progression exactly, because a lot of things come and go.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
Sir Billy Connolly with his wife Pamela Stephenson after being knighted by the Duke of Cambridge during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London (John Stillwell/PA)

“Recently I’ve noticed a deterioration in my balance.

“That was never such a problem before, but in the last year that has come and it has stayed.

“For some reason, I thought it would go away, because a lot of symptoms have come and gone away … just to defy the symptom spotters.

“The shaking has reappeared…”

Stephenson added: “The balance issue has been most significant, hasn’t it?

“Especially since, unfortunately, it resulted in you having a couple of serious falls …”

Sir Billy responded: “It’s funny, that fall I had when I landed on my jaw reminded me of a thing I used to do on stage.

“I used to say: ‘I fell out of bed, but luckily my face broke my fall…’

“It’s just added to the list of things that hold me back.

“I feel like I want to go for a walk, but I go for 50 yards and I want to go home, because I’m tired.

“I’m being encroached upon by this disease.

“It’s creeping up behind me and stopping me doing things.

“It’s a cruel disease.”

Stephenson said that the disease has been “pretty slow-moving” to which Sir Billy said: “Really, really slow-moving, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant.”

Shaking Palsy Essay anniversary reception
Billy Connolly arrives with his wife Pamela Stephenson for a reception hosted by Prime Minister Theresa May in 10 Downing Street, London, marking 200 years since Dr James Parkinson’s Essay on the Shaking Palsy (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The couple spoke about how their relationship has changed since the comedian was diagnosed and Sir Billy said that his wife now dresses him in the morning, mentioning that he has “to get lifts everywhere” as he “can’t drive any more”.

Sir Billy also talked about what it has been like to stop travelling as much following the various lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “It’s been brilliant! It’s been one of the great surprises of my life! I was told to stay home, I did it and I loved it. Even my dogs loved it.

“Although we were very lucky because we live on a canal, so we could go for walks in a tropical paradise.”

Stephenson added: “And even now … for example, two nights ago you were sitting fishing just outside your back door.

“The higher the sea level rises, the closer the fishing’s going to be … so you’ll soon be a fishing Rambling Man without even leaving the house.”

Sir Billy responded: “There’s something in my Scottish nature that makes me look forward to global warming: High f****** time!”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.