Billy Connolly to be Accorded BAFTA Fellowship

Comedian, actor, artist, writer, musician and presenter, Billy Connolly (“Mrs. Brown”), will be honored with the BAFTA Fellowship at this year’s Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards.

The fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by BAFTA in recognition of an individual’s contribution to film, television or games across their career. Previous TV honorees include Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Jon Snow, Bruce Forsyth, Joanna Lumley, Melvyn Bragg, Michael Palin, Trevor MacDonald, David Attenborough, Julie Walters, Ray Galton, Alan Simpson, Katie Adie and Joan Bakewell.

In 1995, Connolly won the BAFTA Scotland entertainment category for “Billy Connolly’s World Tour of Scotland.” He has since received five BAFTA nominations, and has been presented with a BAFTA special award in 2002 and the BAFTA Scotland outstanding contribution to television and film in 2012.

Connolly left school at 15 and began a career as a musician and also started a folk duo with Gerry Rafferty called The Humblebums. His storytelling ability led to an appearance on Michael Parkinson’s BBC chat show “Parkinson” in 1975, where one outrageous story catapulted him to stardom. TV shows, documentaries and Hollywood movies followed, and his 1985 TV special “An Audience With Billy Connolly” was a great success. A double diagnosis of cancer and Parkinson’s Disease has brought his live performances to an end. Since then he continues to make TV shows and writes.

He was knighted in 2017 for services to entertainment and charity.

Connolly said: “I am deeply honored. 50 films and… I can’t remember how many TV shows — as well as my stage comedy — added up to something that’s a joy to look back on. A lovely thing. I have no regrets at all. I had no idea the fellowship existed, but I’m told it’s a big deal! It’s lovely to be recognised and to become a jolly good fellow.”

Emma Baehr, BAFTA executive director of awards and content, said: “He has made a remarkable contribution to our industry from his first appearance on Parkinson in 1975, through to becoming a national treasure on stage and screen, adored by fans around the world. BAFTA is looking forward to celebrating this award with Sir Billy in due course and thanking him again for his phenomenal career in television.”

Connolly currently lives in the U.S. and is unable to attend the ceremony on May 8 to receive his award in person. A recorded acceptance message will be played during the ceremony.

The BAFTA TV nominations this year are led by Channel 4 series “It’s a Sin” and Sky show “Landscapers.”

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