Arise, Sir Big Yin: Knighthood for comedian Billy Connolly

Comedian Billy Connolly has been given a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. Picture by Danny Lawson/PA Wire
By Press Association Reporters

BILLY Connolly has been given a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in a landmark year that will see him hit the milestone age of 75.

The Scots comedian and actor, affectionately known as the Big Yin, becomes a Sir in recognition of his services to entertainment and charity.

The accolade - handed out in the centenary year of the Order of the British Empire - comes 14 years after he was made a CBE in 2003.

The gong represents a high point in a notable year for the star, as he turns 75 in November. He has already been the subject of an ITV special celebrating his career this year and had three giant murals erected in his honour in his native city of Glasgow.

One of the most popular and successful comedians and actors of his generation, he has used his own experiences to captivate, delight and move his devoted fans.

After he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, he chose to mock his symptoms during shows by playing Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On.

Comedian Peter Kay described seeing Connolly perform as his "comedy epiphany", comparable to musicians seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Born in Glasgow in 1942, Connolly started out as a folk singer and musician alongside Gerry Rafferty before developing the stand-up act that made him famous.

But he is also an accomplished actor, winning praise for his role opposite Dame Judi Dench in Mrs Brown in 1997, as well as The Man Who Sued God and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. He is also a gifted travel reporter, making a string of popular documentaries.

In 2003, he was presented with a Bafta Lifetime Achievement Award and a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List and in 2010, he was given the highest honour Glasgow could bestow upon him - the Freedom of the City.

Two years later, he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award by Bafta Scotland for six decades in showbusiness.

Three giant murals of his image were recently unveiled in Glasgow in honour of his upcoming 75th birthday.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "In the centenary year of the Order of the British Empire, the Queen's Birthday Honours have recognised the achievements of a diverse and inspiring number of our fellow Scots. I congratulate each and every one of them.

"Billy Connolly's knighthood celebrates a truly great Scot, the irrepressible 'Big Yin' who has entertained millions, but also his dedicated charity fundraising. He is an ambassador for both humour and humanity, and this recognition is richly deserved."

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