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Billy Connolly

Duration:
12 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 15 August 2012

The New Elizabethans. Billy Connolly

James Naughtie considers the Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, who went from from the Clyde shipyards to being one of the UK's most popular and enduring stand up comedians.

Connolly began as a folk singer in The Humblebums but realising his gift for humour, he changed direction to concentrate on comedy. He came to wide public attention with his first appearance on Parkinson in 1975 with the "bike joke", and never looked back. He's cited as one of the most influential stand up comedians of the era, has had much success in television as well as making his mark in Hollywood, and is often considered a Scottish national treasure.

The New Elizabethans have been chosen by a panel of leading historians, chaired by Lord (Tony) Hall, Chief Executive of London's Royal Opera House. The panellists were Dominic Sandbrook, Bamber Gascoigne, Sally Alexander, Jonathan Agar, Maria Misra and Sir Max Hastings.

They were asked to choose: "Men and women whose actions during the reign of Elizabeth II have had a significant impact on lives in these islands and/or given the age its character, for better or worse."

Producer: Alison Hughes.

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