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Sir Michael Parkinson reveals he and Sir Billy Connolly are friends again… after fallout last year

Sir Michael Parkinson reveals he and Sir Billy Connolly are friends again… after fallout last year

Last August, Sir Billy Connolly and his wife Pamela Stephenson hit back at the broadcaster after he claimed that Billy’s ‘wonderful brain had dulled’ following his Parkinson’s diagnosis. But now, Sir Michael Parkinson, 84, has revealed that he has patched up his friendship with the comic as he insisted: ‘I would never deliberately hurt Billy at

Last August, Sir Billy Connolly and his wife Pamela Stephenson hit back at the broadcaster after he claimed that Billy’s ‘wonderful brain had dulled’ following his Parkinson’s diagnosis.

But now, Sir Michael Parkinson, 84, has revealed that he has patched up his friendship with the comic as he insisted: ‘I would never deliberately hurt Billy at all.’

Speaking this week on ITV’s Life Stories, Sir Michael insisted and that their friendship is now back on track after the pair exchanged heartfelt letters. 

Friends once again: Sir Michael Parkinson has revealed that he has patched up his friendship with Sir Billy Connolly after the fallout as he insisted: 'I would never deliberately hurt Billy at all'

Friends once again: Sir Michael Parkinson has revealed that he has patched up his friendship with Sir Billy Connolly after the fallout as he insisted: ‘I would never deliberately hurt Billy at all’

Sir Michael told Piers Morgan: ‘I don’t think it was much Billy [who was upset by the comments] so much a Pamela. I would never deliberately hurt Billy at all.

‘When I was making the observation I was making, that he’d slowed down a bit, it was not a diagnosis, It was the observation of a friend to another friend.’ 

Upset by their fallout, Sir Micheal revealed he offered an olive branch to the comic, by writing a letter. He said: ‘Billy and I have known each other for years. So I wrote him a letter. 

‘I sat down and wrote him a letter and said, “There is no way in this world I would hurt you or deliberately demean you,” and I got a lovely reply saying “Let’s go back to how we were, old friends”.’ 

Old friends: Speaking this week on ITV's Life Stories, Sir Michael insisted and that their friendship is now back on track after the pair exchanged letters (pictured together in 1987)

Old friends: Speaking this week on ITV’s Life Stories, Sir Michael insisted and that their friendship is now back on track after the pair exchanged letters (pictured together in 1987)

Explaining: Sir Michael said: 'When I was making the observation I was making, that he'd slowed down a bit, it was not a diagnosis, It was the observation of a friend to another friend'

Explaining: Sir Michael said: ‘When I was making the observation I was making, that he’d slowed down a bit, it was not a diagnosis, It was the observation of a friend to another friend’

Reaching put: Sir Michael told Piers Morgan: 'Billy and I have known each other for years. So I wrote him a letter. I sat down and wrote him a letter and said, "There is no way in this world I would hurt you or deliberately demean you"

Reaching put: Sir Michael told Piers Morgan: ‘Billy and I have known each other for years. So I wrote him a letter. I sat down and wrote him a letter and said, “There is no way in this world I would hurt you or deliberately demean you”

The response: Sir Michael explained: ‘I got a lovely reply saying “Let’s go back to how we were, old friends”‘

Last August, psychologist Pamela, 69, branded the broadcaster a ‘daft old fart’ after he claimed that during an ‘awkward dinner’, Sir Billy was unable to recognise his close friends, reported the Mirror.

The veteran comedian also slammed Sir Michael’s remarks, claiming: ‘I would recognise Parky if he was standing behind me – in a diving suit.’ 

Sir Michael spoke out last August about his friend’s ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease, saying that his brain had been affected by the condition. 

However Pamela insisted that her husband was ‘doing great’ and that Sir Michael knew nothing of how Sir Billy was getting on.   

The feud: Last August, Sir Billy Connolly and his wife Pamela have hit back at Sir Michael Parkinson after he claimed that his 'wonderful brain has duelled'

The feud: Last August, Sir Billy Connolly and his wife Pamela have hit back at Sir Michael Parkinson after he claimed that his ‘wonderful brain has duelled’

Speaking out: Sir Michael discussed Sir Billy's condition during a segment on Saturday Morning With James Martin, where he told the dinner between the pair (pictured together at GQ Men Of The Year in 2016)

Speaking out: Sir Michael discussed Sir Billy’s condition during a segment on Saturday Morning With James Martin, where he told the dinner between the pair (pictured together at GQ Men Of The Year in 2016)

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.’

Also jumping to Sir Billy’s defence was Indigo Television, who were filming a documentary with him while he toured around Scotland at the time.

They claimed that he was on great form and was as sharp as ever, insisting that Billy only had as much trouble recognising people as anyone else of his age. 

In a statement issued by the company they claimed that at the ‘awkward’ dinner in question, as soon as Sir Billy saw Sir Michael he turned to his wife and daughter Cara and said ‘Oh good – there’s Parky!’  

'Daft old fart': Psychologist Pamela, 68, branded the broadcaster a 'daft old fart' after he claimed that during an 'awkward dinner', Sir Billy was unable to recognise his close friends (pictured all together in 2002)

‘Daft old fart’: Psychologist Pamela, 68, branded the broadcaster a ‘daft old fart’ after he claimed that during an ‘awkward dinner’, Sir Billy was unable to recognise his close friends (pictured all together in 2002)

'He's doing great': Pamela insisted that her husband was 'doing great' and that Sir Michael knew nothing of how Sir Billy was getting on

‘He’s doing great’: Pamela insisted that her husband was ‘doing great’ and that Sir Michael knew nothing of how Sir Billy was getting on

Sir Michael discussed Sir Billy’s condition during a segment on Saturday Morning With James Martin, where he told of the dinner between the pair.

He recalled the ‘sad and awkward’ moment he realised that his old friend didn’t recognise him, during an awards dinner where he was presenting him with an accolade.

He told show host James that Sir Billy had asked him how long they had known each other for, which led him to speculate over whether he recognised him at all.

Times gone by: The veteran broadcaster discussed Sir Billy's condition during a segment on Saturday Morning With James Martin, where he told of a recent awkward dinner between the pair (pictured together on Parkinson - One to One in 1987)

Times gone by: The veteran broadcaster discussed Sir Billy’s condition during a segment on Saturday Morning With James Martin, where he told of a recent awkward dinner between the pair (pictured together on Parkinson – One to One in 1987)

Interview: Sir Michael recalled the 'sad and awkward' moment he realised that his old friend didn't recognise him, during an awards dinner where he was presenting him with an accolade (pictured in 2007 on one of Michael's last shows where he chose Billy as one of his guests)

Interview: Sir Michael recalled the ‘sad and awkward’ moment he realised that his old friend didn’t recognise him, during an awards dinner where he was presenting him with an accolade (pictured in 2007 on one of Michael’s last shows where he chose Billy as one of his guests)

Comedian Billy, also known as The Big Yin, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013 following minor surgery for prostate cancer.  

During the show Michael continued: ‘The sadness of Billy now is that wonderful brain is dulled.’

He continued: ‘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. 

Old pals: He told show host James that Sir Billy had asked him how long they had known each other for, which led him to speculate over whether he recognised him at all (pictured in 2007 on one of Michael's last shows where he chose Billy as one of his guests)

Old pals: He told show host James that Sir Billy had asked him how long they had known each other for, which led him to speculate over whether he recognised him at all (pictured in 2007 on one of Michael’s last shows where he chose Billy as one of his guests)

‘But…’ Sir Michael said. ‘We were walking out after the presentation to go down and have our picture taken, and he turned to me and put his hand on my shoulders. 

However, he said he did but ‘wasn’t sure where it was or what context at all’.

Sir Michael added: ‘And 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.

‘He was just a genius and the best thing that happened to me on the show.’

Diagnosis: Comedian Billy, also known as The Big Yin, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2013 following minor surgery for prostate cancer (pictured together on Parkinson - One to One in 1987)

Diagnosis: Comedian Billy, also known as The Big Yin, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013 following minor surgery for prostate cancer (pictured together on Parkinson – One to One in 1987)

Sir Billy was a regular guest on his self-titled chat show which ran from 1971 to 2007, before he quit to focus on his autobiography and other projects. 

As well as a successful career in stand-up comedy, Billy has also starred in the likes of The Hobbit, Mrs Brown and The Last Samurai.

He received his knighthood in October 2017 for his services to entertainment and charity – just weeks before his 75th birthday.

His knighthood occurred just a day after Billy – who revealed he is battling Parkinson’s disease in 2013 – raised awareness of his condition at Downing Street.

Regular guest: Sir Billy was a regular guest on his self-titled chat show which ran from 1971 to 2007, before he quit to focus on his autobiography and other projects (pictured in 2007 on one of Michael's last shows where he chose Billy as one of his guests)

Regular guest: Sir Billy was a regular guest on his self-titled chat show which ran from 1971 to 2007, before he quit to focus on his autobiography and other projects (pictured in 2007 on one of Michael’s last shows where he chose Billy as one of his guests)

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