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Sunday, 23 September, 2001, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Billy Connolly reveals childhood abuse
Billy Connolly and wife Pamela Stephenson
Billy Connolly's biography was written by his wife Pamela
Comedian Billy Connolly has been speaking of the physical and sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his late father.

The Glasgow-born funnyman said he felt his father William, who died in the early 1980s, had been "disloyal" by subjecting him to sexual abuse from the age of ten.

The revelation comes in a biography written by his wife, Pamela Stephenson - a fellow comedian who later became a trained psychologist.

Connolly, 59, said his dark secret had been a huge burden, even in his adult life.

I remember it happening a lot, not every night, but every night you were in a state thinking it was going to happen, you'd be awakened by it.

He said: "I have no lack of love for my father. I love his memory now, as much as I loved him when he was alive.

"It was disloyal of him to do that to me. But there were other facets of his character that were great.

"But still, I kept thinking, if I'm still troubled by this, if I'm still carrying it around like a big rucksack full of bricks and my father's dead, I need someone to tell me how to get rid of this great weight."

Connolly said he was abused for five years from the age of ten, part of a disruptive childhood which saw his mother leave home when he was three years old, leaving him and his sister Florence in the care of their two aunts.

He added: "The most awful thing was that it was kind of pleasant physically, you know. That's why nobody tells.

Brass eye

"I remember it happening a lot, not every night, but every night you were in a state thinking it was going to happen, you'd be awakened by it.

"I would pray for the holidays. I couldn't wait for us to go to the seaside because then we had separate beds." Last month Connolly hinted at his past as he defended the controversial Brass Eye spoof documentary on paedophilia, which sparked uproar when it was broadcast in July.

He said: "I didn't see it, but it's a field that should be explored. I think there's no boundary at all, whether it's that subject or another."

Channel 4 has since been ordered to broadcast an apology after the Independent Television Commission ruled the programme had breached its code by not giving sufficient warnings about the programme and failing to consider the expectations of viewers.

See also:

06 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
Watchdog orders Brass Eye apology
13 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Connolly backs TV satire
11 Jul 01 | Scotland
Connolly's anger at job losses
21 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Connolly wins web name battle
21 Jun 01 | Scotland
Honorary degree for Charles
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