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Billy Connolly's Big Send Off
E1 of 2
Series 1 - Episode 1
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Billy Connolly has a good old chortle when he visits an undertakers’ exhibition and sees a stall selling shampoo for “dry lifeless hair”. As you would expect from Connolly it’s one of several ironic moments in a film on that most serious of subjects – death.
There’s a huge industry in America devoted to making a living out of dying and any number of ways to say goodbye to your loved ones. Connolly’s interested in all of them, whether it’s burning spiritual cash to pay off devils at a Chinese funeral, washing the body and wrapping it in a simple sheet at a Muslim one or paying your respects at a drive-thru funeral parlour.
It’s made all the more poignant because Connolly has recently been diagnosed with the degenerative Parkinson’s disease, yet he maintains he’d planned to do the film way before then. He manages to remain composed throughout despite telling how he was inconsolable with grief at the funeral of a friend’s father – even though he’d never met the dead man in his life.
The comedian embarks on a personal and enlightening journey exploring attitudes toward death and dying, and addresses his own feelings and beliefs about what happens in the end. In the first of two programmes, Billy's trip takes him from a funeral convention in Austin, Texas, and a drive-through funeral parlour in Los Angeles to a voodoo ceremony in New Orleans. He also chats to old friend Eric Idle about how his hit single Always Look on the Bright Side of Life is a popular song choice for people's final send-off.
Cast & Crew
Full Episode Guide
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