Renowned Glaswegian comedian Billy Connolly is kicking off a new documentary on STV tonight called Billy Connolly’s Big Send Off, exploring the subject of death and all the issues that surround it.
It might sound like a macabre subject – especially for someone who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and prostate cancer in the last year – but Billy has never been one to shy away from a difficult topic in the past, and he’s not going to start now.
In fact, the straight-talking comic has gone as far as to say he’s “fascinated” by death, and in the first of the two-part series tonight, he well and truly looks it squarely in the face.
Visiting his hometown of Glasgow, as well as various locations in the USA, Billy seeks an insight into the attitudes, cultures, traditions and beliefs in different communities about death.
In his trademark curious and humorous manner, he learns all about the ‘death industry’, including how and where our loved ones are laid to rest, as well as sharing how he would like to be remembered at his own funeral.
The comedian’s quest to discover all there is to know about death sees him cross paths with many people from diverse backgrounds and communities – a journey that takes him on number of experiences, from witnessing a voodoo ceremony in New Orleans, to a drive-through funeral parlour, and even meeting a dying man to hear his views.
Billy begins the documentary at the hugely commercial National Funeral Directors Association convention in Texas where every aspect of death is catered for, with stalls offering everything including an eco death-suit threaded with mushroom spores, that helps the decomposing corpse turn into compost.
During the show, Billy also witnesses a Chinese burial service, as well as visiting a Jewish ceremony and a Muslim mosque, to find out about different religious traditions.
For a preview of what you can expect, watch the player in the video above. The video is not suitable for children under the age of 16.
Speaking about the two-part documentary, the comic explained: “I’m going to strip away the taboos to reveal that far from the doom and gloom you may expect, the world of death is full of wonderful people doing some extraordinary things.”
Billy Connolly’s Big Send Off begins at 9pm on STV tonight, Wednesday May 7.