Billy Connolly to share plans for his own funeral in new ITV series

Billy Connolly’s Big Send Off will see the comedian talking in depth about his diagnoses with prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease - as well as looking at the lighter side of death

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Billy Connolly to share plans for his own funeral in new ITV series
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Terry Payne

Billy Connolly will reveal plans for his own funeral in a new documentary exploring the subject of death.

Connolly, who’s had surgery for prostate cancer and is being treated for Parkinson’s disease, talks openly about his own mortality in the two-part ITV1 series Billy Connolly’s Big Send Off.

“He speaks in depth about being diagnosed with prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease as well as revealing how he relates to death and his views on the afterlife,” said an ITV insider.

“And he shares his thoughts on his own death, how he would like to go, and how he would like to be remembered.”

Connolly, now 71 years old, has travelled the world looking at how different groups of people prepare for, and deal with, death.

He visits his favourite graveyard in his home city of Glasgow, talks about funerals that he has attended – including those of celebrity friends like Keith Moon – and also about the death of his own father. But just in case you worried that it was untypically gloom-laden, Connolly throws in trips to a San Francisco pet cemetery and a drive-thru funeral parlour in Los Angeles.

Jo Clinton-Davis, ITV’s controller of factual programmes said: “Billy Connolly’s a big fan of life, he’s effervescent, energised and inspired by it, but he’s also genuinely fascinated by the way we as humans treat death, a subject that is quite literally the ultimate universal experience yet so often avoided.”

Connolly retains a much more clear-sighted view of his own demise. Speaking last year he said: “Dying is easy. You just lie down, but staying alive is quite difficult – you have to stay interested and in touch with everything.”

Billy Connolly’s Big Send Off is due on our screens this May. 


 


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