Monday 21 August 2017


Billy Connolly will be 75 in November. As part of his upcoming birthday celebrations, three acclaimed Scottish artists were commissioned to capture the Big Yin's likeness and present Billy with their unique portraits.

Jack Vettriano

BBC Scotland have made a beautiful and touching programme recording Billy's return to his native Glasgow where, through a series of his memories, archive footage and present day travelogue, Glasgow and Billy were shown very much in the here and now. Although both city and comedian have improved with age, Connolly now suffers with Parkinson's: his mind is still as sharp as a tack, but these days, during his (still impeccable) stand up shows, his once animated self is now similar to that of a 78 record playing at 33.

John Byrne

And the love the man generates, not just from the artists - John Byrne, Jack Vettriano and Rachel MacLean - but his audiences and the Glaswegians on the streets, is nothing short of discipleship. This sort of adoration is usually only afforded to the recently deceased.

Rachel MacLean
Finally, after Billy was given his works of art, there was still one more birthday surprise in store.

Unbeknownst to BC each of the portraits had been blown up to 50 feet high and granted mural status in three locations in the city.

Watch the programme yourself to see the great man's reaction - it's up on the iPlayer until 4 September. You'll be glad you did, believe me.

Gallowgate, near Barrowland Park

Old Wynd, off Osborne Street

Dixon Street, near St. Enoch Square


  1. Saw this a little while ago - thoroughly enjoyed it. Very moved by the connection between Billy and John Byrne and how they were when they met again, so lovely. I also developed a bit of a thing for Rachel MacLean - she's great, love her!

  2. A bit of a thing? Do tell!
    She had Billy wrapped round her little finger, don't you think?

  3. I also watched this doc recently and loved it - Billy is adored in his native Glasgow so this was a fitting tribute. Sad to see him being slowed down by his illness but as sharp as ever when it comes to the badinage.

    Couldn't get my head round how Rachel's "work" was going to turn out for a start but it ended up being my favourite of the three - Inspired.

  4. It was such a tender programme, wasn't it?
    I loved the Vettriano, but then again I do have a soft spot for his stuff.