"I would recognise Parky if he was standing behind me — in a diving suit": Billy Connolly slams Michael Parkinson comments

Talk show host Sir Michael Parkinson had said that his old friend Billy Connolly was struggling to remember people because of his Parkinson's disease


                            "I would recognise Parky if he was standing behind me — in a diving suit": Billy Connolly slams Michael Parkinson comments

Sir Billy Connolly and his wife Pamela Stephenson have responded to the comments made by their old friend Sir Michael Parkinson about his health. The comedian and wife called the talk show host a "daft old fart" after he said Billy's Parkinson's disease meant he could no longer recognise some of his oldest friends.

The 75-year-old Scottish comedian blasted his friend's comments saying: "I would recognise Parky if he was standing behind me — in a diving suit." The 83-year-old Parkinson described an "awkward dinner" he had with his close friend who was diagnosed with the condition in 2013.

Sir Billy Connolly poses after being knighted by the Duke of Cambridge during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on October 31, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Sir Billy Connolly poses after being knighted by the Duke of Cambridge during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on October 31, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

The comedian's wife 68-year-old wife Pamela retorted by saying her husband was "doing great" and that Parkinson didn't know anything about the current state of his health. She said: "Mike Parkinson is a daft old fart — doesn't know what he's talking about. Billy's doing great and still funny as hell."

Her comments were backed by a statement from production company Indigo Television, who have made documentaries with Connolly and are currently working with him on a series where he tours around Scotland. "We have been busy filming with Billy over the summer and can report happily that he's on top form - as sharp and hilarious as ever," they stated. "We were speaking with his wife Pamela Stephenson only today and she is pretty sure that Billy has no more problem recognising old friends than anyone else of his age who has lived abroad for years," they added.

Commenting even on the "awkward dinner", Indigo Television said Connolly's family disagreed with Parkinson's version of events. "The GQ Awards must be the event Sir Michael is talking about — it was a couple of years ago in 2016 and Sir Michael presented Billy with an Inspiration Award," they said, adding; "Pamela said that she and daughter Cara were at the dinner and remember from the night that Billy turned to her and Cara immediately and said, 'Oh good — there's Parky!'"

 Billy Connolly, winner of the Inspiration award, and Sir Michael Parkinson attend the GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2016 at the Tate Modern on September 6, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
 Billy Connolly, winner of the Inspiration award, and Sir Michael Parkinson attend the GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2016 at the Tate Modern on September 6, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

On Saturday, Parkinson had said on ITV's 'Saturday Morning with James Martin' that "the sadness of Billy now is that wonderful brain is dulled." 

"I saw him recently — he's now living in America — and it was very sad, because I was presenting him with a prize at an award ceremony. We had an awkward dinner together, because I wasn't quite sure if he knew who I was or not."

He added: "To know someone as long as I knew and loved Billy it was an awful thing to contemplate, that that had been taken from him in a sense."

In 1975, Connolly, who was already a big star in Scotland, became an even bigger star across the UK when he appeared on BBC's 'Parkinson' show. He said it "changed my entire life" and the two instantly became friends, with Connolly appearing on the talk show 15 times over the years.