News Column

Connolly to mount high horse for tour of Scotland

July 10, 2014

phil miller; phil miller arts correspondent

BILLY Connolly is to perform a lengthy tour of Scotland later this year, culminating in seven nights at Glasgow's SECC.

Despite battling a series of serious health problems in recent months, the comedian is to launch his High Horse Tour in late September.

The tour will take in Aberdeen, Perth, Edinburgh and Dundee as well as his home town.

Last September Connolly, 71, was diagnosed with prostate cancer and Parkinson's disease on the same day, having been prescribed a hearing aid and treatment for heartburn days earlier.

Recently his wife Pamela Stephenson said her husband had also been also taken to hospital after developing a potentially fatal blood clot in his thigh.

After his blood clot was treated, the Scottish star was discharged from hospital, but the problem emerged again when he was filming a documentary for ITV about dealing with death, which was broadcast in May.

The comedian and actor recently sold his Candacraig mansion in Strathdon, Aberdeenshire, and is now mainly based in New York.

His new tour will start at Aberdeen's Music Hall before going on to Perth Concert Hall, Edinburgh's Usher Hall, Dundee'sCaird Hall and Glasgow.

The Music Hall is where Connolly first wore his famous big banana boots in 1975.

The comic's stint at Glasgow's SECC begins on October 19.

John Langford, director of live entertainment at the SECC, said: "We can't wait to welcome such a legendary comedian through the doors this October.

"The Big Yin - one of our own and back on home soil."

Joyce Summers of Aberdeen Performing Arts said: "We are thrilled to have Billy Connolly begin his latest tour with us at the Music Hall - although he is a global figure, we feel he is one of our own and the world did first see his big banana boots on our stage.

"When he last played the Music Hall five years ago, the tickets were instantly snapped by fans who burned up our phone lines and besieged the Music Hall, so we fully expect the 2,600 up for grabs for the September nights to fly out the door on Friday."

Connolly was given the all-clear by doctors after prostate cancer surgery but has spoken of his fears about the affects of Parkinson's disease.

Connolly has spoken of beginning to forget his lines during performances, saying it was "f****** terrifying" and admitting "I feel like I'm going out of my mind".

Tickets for the shows go on sale at 9am on Friday, priced between pound(s)31.40 and pound(s)33.60.

Connolly has been voted best comedian of all time by Channel 4, was awarded a CBE in 2003, was given the Freedom of the City of Glasgow in 2010 and was named Britain's most influential stand-up comic in 2012.

Most recently, he has appeared in Quartet, directed by Dustin Hoffman, and blockbuster The Hobbit, and he will be seen in the upcoming What We Did on our Holiday alongside David Tennant and Rosamund Pike.

He recently presented the two-part television series Billy Connolly's Big Send Off. In it, he said he was not afraid of dying and was at the bedside of his father William when he died.

He added: "Even in the case of my father, they took him off the life-support machine and the whites of his eyes were kind of yellow with the morphine the doctors had given him and he was breathing in that chesty, congested way from the pneumonia and then his breathing suddenly changed to a very calm, quiet breathing.

"And he looked at my sister and he looked at me and the whites of his eyes were white again and he just slid away.

"It seemed a very comfortable thing."

Connolly will also this year be delving into his family history for a new series of BBC1's Who Do You Think You Are?


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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)


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