Entertainment & Arts

Billy Connolly to get National Television Awards honour

Billy Connolly
Image caption Connolly has been performing as a comedian since the early 1970s

Comedian Billy Connolly is to be presented with a special prize at the National Television Awards later this month.

The special recognition award will honour his 50-year career and will be presented by his friend, actor Dustin Hoffman.

Connolly, 73, has just performed the first of 16 nights at the Apollo Hammersmith in London.

In 2013, he was treated for prostate cancer and Parkinson's Disease.

The comic, whose career began in a folk band with Gerry Rafferty called The Humblebums, first performed comedy in the early 1970s.

In the decades since, he has toured the globe and was voted number one in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand Ups poll.

'He doesn't compromise'

His acting career began on the BBC's Play for Today in 1975, and he has gone on to host a number of TV specials and travelogues, including Billy Connolly's Route 66, in which he travelled from the east to the west coast of the US.

He was nominated for a best actor Bafta in 1998 for his role opposite Dame Judi Dench in the 1997 film Mrs Brown, and was presented with an outstanding career award by Bafta Scotland in 2012.

Broadcaster and fellow Scot Armando Iannucci said: "It's unbelievable and yet no surprise that we're celebrating fifty years of Billy Connolly.

"Because he doesn't compromise, because he doesn't fit a label, he has no shelf life, he's not part of a phase. He's unique. You can't really sum him up."

The National Television Awards will be held on 20 January and will be broadcast on ITV from 19:30 GMT.

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