Billy Connolly discusses love of nature and fears for the planet in new TV series

Sir Billy Connolly has opened up on his love of nature and his fears for the future of the planet.

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The legendary Glasgow comic speaks passionately in a new TV documentary series about his belief that animals are the "brothers and sisters" of the human race.

But he also admits his concerns that humans may have "blown it" by not treating the planet with enough respect.

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In the new seven-part series for UKTV’s Gold channel, Connolly credits his childhood days as a Cub Scout for his love of nature.

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    Scottish entertainer Billy Connolly leaves Glasgow on a sponsored cycle ride to Inverness in August 1980. Billy sets off from a rain-soaked George Square

    He recalled camping trips to Aberfoyle, in Perthshire, where he was mesmerised by the night sky.

    After making his name as a stand-up, Connolly went on to film documentary series all over the world, including in the Arctic, Australia, New Zealand, and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, via the Northwest Passage.

    His latest series was filmed at his home in Florida, where Connolly and his wife Pamela moved to in 2016, three years after the comic was diagnosed with Parkinson’s diseased.

    He officially retired from live appearances in 2018, but has continued to make new TV series looking back on his life and career.

    Asked if nature was one of his great loves, Connolly said: "Oh yeah. I love it. I’ve loved it since I was a boy, since I was in the Cubs. I love it. The first time I saw a stickleback or a rabbit, it just changed my life.

    “When I was a kid we used to go camping at Aberfoyle. We would go up at night time and just with a sleeping bag and move the cows out of the road. Where the cow had been lying down, we would lie down. That was your electric blanket.

    "We would lie and just look at the sky at night. A wonderful thing happens. There’s a kind of star, people point it out to you, that you can only see on the periphery of your eye.

    "If you look over there you can see it here but when you look it’s not there. It’s as if it’s hiding behind a star. I used to love stuff like that.”

    Connolly’s new series – which his dogs Rascal and Django appear alongside him in – features clips of the star’s stand-up routines over the decades, including him poking fun at pop stars “shouting about” their concerns for the environment.

    In a forthcoming episode of his new series, Connolly says: “I believe that the animals are our brothers and sisters and I don’t believe all this nonsense about soul separating us. I don’t believe in that kind of thinking.

    "We share the world with everybody and everybody has a function and when the function goes, we’re in trouble.

    "The world is an amazing place. There’s an immensity about the world. You’re not supposed to understand it. You’re supposed to be wowed by it. And I’ve been seriously wowed by it.

    “It’s given me the belief that the world is bigger than me. You have to treat it with deep respect. It will bite you in the arse and it’s proceeding to do that right now. The forests are all on fire. And this virus careering through the planet. I hope we haven’t blown it.”

    A version of this article first appeared on our sister site, The Scotsman