Rare restored 1975 Billy Connolly documentary footage to screen at Glasgow Film Festival

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The footage is restored from one of only two 16mm prints in existence and follows Billy Connolly as he travels through Ireland at the height of the troubles

Incredibly rare footage of the 1975 documentary, Billy Connolly: Big Banana Feet, has been restored and will screen at the Glasgow Film Theatre next month.

The restoration process has brought back Billy Connolly’s rarely seen documentary, Big Banana Feet, which was shot during his 1975 tour of Ireland. It has been resurrected by the British Film Institute and the first screening will be at the Glasgow Film Festival, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the city in 2024.

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Originally released in 1976, the footage was found by chance on eBay of all places - there are only two 16mm prints of the documentary known to exist, and both were snatched up by the BFI for around £50.

It has been restored thoughtfully by the British Film Institute in collaboration with the film’s original director, Murray Grigor. Made over two days, the film follows Billy as he travels through Ireland at the height of the troubles.

Billy Connolly: Big Banana Feet, will premiere at the Glasgow Film Theatre next month.Billy Connolly: Big Banana Feet, will premiere at the Glasgow Film Theatre next month.
Billy Connolly: Big Banana Feet, will premiere at the Glasgow Film Theatre next month. | GFT / BFI

Programme Coordinator at the Glasgow Film Festival, Christopher Kumar said: “Big Banana Feet kind of fell in our lap in a sense, our friend at the British Film Institute got in touch to let us know he was able to source the only 16mm print of the film.

“He found it on Ebay, it was like £50 and he bid for it and managed to get it, so that’s in the hands of the BFI who’ve now restored it.

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“He’s been in touch with Billy who’s happy for the film to get a second lease of life. We’re so happy he came to us with it, we just thought what better place to premiere the new restoration of the film than in Glasgow?

“It’s something that people haven’t seen, it’s not really been seen that much, so I think it’s going to be a great little gem. If you’re younger and you’ve never seen it, there’s a chance to discover Billy Connolly at the height of his greatness, and if it’s something you remember from back in the day, it’s a little nostalgia trip.”

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