Billy Connolly: Portrait of a Lifetime


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Billy Connolly: Portrait of a Lifetime

Billy Connolly celebrates his 75th birthday by sitting for three Scottish artists - John Byrne, Jack Vettriano and Rachel MacLean.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Sensation seekers, welcome to the show.

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For God's sake, take it easy. We've got an hour to go.

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This programme contains some strong language

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I'm back in Scotland, in my home town - Glasgow.

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The comedian.

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-Billy Connolly.

-Billy Connolly. Is it?

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-Is it?

-Aye.

-Bloody hell.

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It's everything to me, it runs through my veins.

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I love it.

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I was brought up in Partick in Glasgow,

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where Partick Thistle originally came from, the football team.

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Partick Thistle FC.

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I say that because most Englishmen

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think they're called Partick Thistle Nil.

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I'm turning 75 this year - I know, I cannae believe it either -

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and I've come back for a birthday treat.

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There's my old street.

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'I'll be visiting some places that are very dear to me.'

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That's colossal.

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Good old Glasgow.

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'And I'll also be meeting three brilliant artists.'

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Lovely to see you.

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The hugely successful Jack Vettriano...

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You dirty bugger.

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..rising star Rachel Maclean...

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I bet you used to get notes from school,

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"Rachel has a fertile imagination."

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..and my dear old friend John Byrne.

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How great to see you.

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It's wonderful to see you, Billy.

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Each of them are going to make a birthday portrait for me.

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I've been very patient so far. I think I'll have an episode.

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I'll be suffering for their art.

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Excuse me.

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-What?

-You just walloped me in the bollocks there.

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And to top it off, Glasgow will give me

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the biggest birthday present of my life.

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I've never seen myself that size before.

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Glasgow belangs to me.

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Now, at this point, I'm going to explain my health issues to you.

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It will save you symptom spotting.

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LAUGHTER

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APPLAUSE

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I've got Parkinson's disease,

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and I wish to fuck he'd kept it to himself,

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but there you go.

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LAUGHTER

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I haven't lived in Glasgow for nearly 40 years,

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but it's a place that will always be home.

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In fact, I'm probably more famous for being a Glaswegian

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than anything I've ever done.

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Without Glasgow, I wouldn't exist as an entertainer.

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That's all I did, was spoke about Glasgow

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and how it felt to be, to come from Glasgow.

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I'm very proud to be Glaswegian.

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Big banana feet.

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BILLY CHUCKLES

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The place is almost unrecognisable now to the one I remember,

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a dark old city of soot-covered tenements,

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smoky bars and the bustling shipyards where I started out.

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Shipyard toilets are something to behold.

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There was no toilet seat, there was just a bar

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that ran the length of the place.

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You sort of hung your bum over it and swung on it, like that.

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And there was no toilet bowl.

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There was a sort of trough...

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..that ran the length of the place, of constantly running water.

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So if a guy at the end did a wee jobbie, it went...

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While I was still working in the yards,

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I formed a band with a guy called Tam Harvey.

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We were called the Humblebums.

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The Humblebums eventually became

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me and the immensely talented Gerry Rafferty.

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We used to get our album sleeves designed by a mutual friend

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and the coolest man in Scotland, the artist John Byrne.

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Gerry even wrote this song for him.

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# Patrick, my primitive

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# Painter of art

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# You will always and ever be near to my heart... #

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John is the first artist who's agreed to paint

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a birthday portrait of me.

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Well, I've just arrived in Edinburgh,

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in Dundas Street at the Fine Art Society.

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I'm about to meet John Byrne, the great artist.

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He used to be a friend of mine, I hope he still is.

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He should be.

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-Hey!

-Good God!

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THEY LAUGH

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Billy Connolly. How are you?

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As I live and breathe.

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I'm going out for a smoke.

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Come to the door with me.

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Do you still smoke Gold Flake?

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'John is some man.'

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As well as his extraordinary painting,

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he has written one of Scotland's favourite plays, The Slab Boys,

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and the TV drama Tutti Frutti.

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'He wants to do some sketches to help him with my portrait,

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'and it is brilliant to see him again.'

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The cigarette...

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Hey, Billy! Get your hair cut!

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Shut up!

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"Get your hair cut," how dare you, sir!

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-I know.

-Do you know who I was?

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And who you might be again.

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Given half a chance.

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So have you not thought of giving the smoking the elbow?

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Oh, God, no! Oh, no.

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-Will we go in?

-Why not?

-Yeah.

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O-o-o-o-oh!

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Look at that.

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How old is this one?

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It was about five or six years ago, I think. As far as I can remember.

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-It's beautiful.

-And this was the original.

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That's colossal, isn't it, in here?

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The vegetation stuff there is brilliant.

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Aye. Yeah.

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Oh, I recognise the pose here.

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Yeah.

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A very, very, very ugly child.

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-Particularly...

-There's no such thing as an ugly child.

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No, but that's a strikingly ugly child.

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The ears are modelled on my father's ears.

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He had the biggest ears on a human being I've ever seen.

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-Really?

-Yeah.

-Like clabby dos.

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John has already painted me a few times, back in the '70s.

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Including this stunning portrait

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that hangs in the People's Palace in Glasgow.

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And once he even turned me into a walking work of art on live TV.

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I must ask you about that suit.

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I mean, what's a working-class lad like you doing in a suit like that?

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Do you like it? It's a sort of substitute for tattoos.

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I'm frightened to get a tattoo, you know.

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LAUGHTER

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'My friend John Byrne in Glasgow, he is an artist,

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'he calls himself Patrick.

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'He did it for me by hand.'

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-It's beautiful, isn't it?

-Aye.

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'I feel like a star. It's magic.'

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The thing that always killed me about it

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is that the flaps on the pockets,

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if you lifted them up, it was identical underneath.

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You had painted it twice.

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-LAUGHING:

-I know.

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-It was brilliant.

-I'd forgotten that as well.

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'The pattern of the Glasgow streets is quite a very cruel...'

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The media generally didn't employ people with accents like that.

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They do now.

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But then, they wouldn't.

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'My best memory of Glasgow was standing...

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'My childhood, I was with a pal of mine called Gerald McGee.'

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We were doing a great Glasgow game called See Who Can Pee The Highest.

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Up in the air.

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And my father caught me.

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And he slapped... I'll never forget.

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He slapped me in the back of the head,

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and my willy shot back into my trousers.

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People say, "Why is he called the Big Yin?" or whatever.

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And I says, "Because onstage he looks ten feet tall."

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You just lit up the stage, everywhere you went.

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I used to say that I behaved very tall.

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You were just a phenomenon.

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Absolute phenomenon.

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There was no doubt of where you were going to end up.

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Look at you.

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And you, too. You were exactly the same.

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No, mine was a lower trajectory.

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But you always had a kind of rock and roll image.

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-Yeah.

-Well, to me you did, anyway.

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You created an atmosphere in your appearance

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and your extraordinary talent.

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It was a lovely thing.

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-Yeah.

-And you were the only painter I knew, so it was...

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Nobody to compare me with at all.

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So it's time to get to work.

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Well, John does the work and I just get to sit here quietly.

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Not my strong point, really.

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So, we'll do a couple of wee drawings.

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I know what you look like, for God's sake.

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I know what your soul looks like.

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So that's halfway there.

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-That is lovely.

-Yeah.

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I've never seen you draw before.

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How much time do you spend painting?

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Every day, 14 hours.

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Never!

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If it's worth doing, it's worth doing until you collapse.

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-I think so.

-I'm working harder now than I ever did.

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I've been very patient so far.

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I think I'll have an episode.

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I think I'm entitled to an episode before the day is over.

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I had a taxi driver once in Los Angeles who said,

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"What do you do?"

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I said, "I'm a comedian."

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And he said, "I tell you what you do," he says,

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"you get one of them Irish joke books,

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"you learn them jokes." He says, "You can't go wrong."

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-There you go.

-I said, "Thanks very much.

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"You know something, that is why you are sitting at the front."

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Away like the clappers.

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I wonder who the clappers were.

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I don't know.

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Cynthia and Dolores Clappers.

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Well, John, I guess that's it.

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I can tell that's it, because I've got cramp in my bum.

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Well, thank God, Billy, because I'm...

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Bored shitless.

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"Yeah, I've drawn some boring faces in my life."

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'It is a long time since I've seen him face-to-face.

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'I mean, he is exactly the same but slightly older.'

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Goodbye, my friend.

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God bless you.

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'It was just like yesterday I'd seen him.

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'Enjoyed it hugely.'

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'I was just thinking there, what a job I've got.

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'I mean, fly through to Edinburgh on a lovely day'

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and meet your old pal

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and spend the day talking to him and laughing.

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Thanks, John.

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'Does my heart good to spend days like that.

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'He's an absolute genius, I think.'

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I can't wait to see myself done by him.

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It's time for me to meet the next artist

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who's offered to immortalise me in canvas.

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Jack Vettriano.

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Jack's story is remarkable.

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He used to be a mining engineer,

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but has transformed himself

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into one of Scotland's most successful artists.

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His most popular painting, The Singing Butler,

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is among the bestselling prints in the UK,

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and his work changes hands for huge amounts.

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Oh, there he is.

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-Billy.

-Oh, nice to see you, man.

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-You too.

-I said, "I don't know what this guy looks like,

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"I couldnae pick him out in a police line-up."

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So it is lovely to meet you eventually.

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You too. You too.

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Come on in the kitchen and have a cup of tea.

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Oh, what a great idea!

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Come on.

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So, what gave you the idea to paint me?

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Well, I've followed your career since Final,

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and that first time on Parkinson.

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You were so endearing.

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And I think all of Scotland were right behind you,

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you know, in the joke, you know, the bums thing...

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Just, you know, astonishing.

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I hope I can get away with this. It's a beauty.

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"How is the wife?" He said, "Oh, she's dead."

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I goes, "What?"

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He says, "Dead. Out the game. Dead.

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"I murdered her. I'll show you if you want."

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I said, "Aye, show me." So we went away up to his tenement building,

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through the close - that's the entrance to the tenement...

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And sure enough there's a big mound of earth.

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But there's a bum sticking out of it.

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I says, "Is that her?"

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He says, "Aye."

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I said, "What did you leave her bum sticking out for?"

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He says, "I need somewhere to park my bike."

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LAUGHTER

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When I finished that show,

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I flew back to Glasgow

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and I was coming through the airport

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and the whole airport started to applaud.

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And I thought, "Well, I think I've done something here."

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I just wish I'd never looked back from that moment.

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Yeah.

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I do have an issue to bring up with you, Billy.

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-Oh, jeez.

-Because...

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Methil Steel Club.

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Methil Steelworks Club. Yes, I remember it well.

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When the dog came in and shat in the middle of the floor.

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It had obviously eaten something

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that it wasn't breaking down too readily, you know?

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The likes of maybe a billiard ball or a Coca-Cola bottle or something.

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That's my home town.

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And then, then...

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Then I moved to Kirkcaldy, and you insulted that as well.

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-That's right.

-The town you smell before you see.

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That's right, what's that smell?

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Kirkcaldy? Fabulous town.

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Where they used to make linoleum.

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Great place.

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Making linoleum is a kind of smelly thing.

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They were going to change the name of Kirkcaldy

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to What's That Fucking Smell?, because...

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LAUGHTER

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That is the first thing people said as they got off the train.

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It's lovely you've come from a working-class background.

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To step into the limelight, it is kind of weird, isn't it?

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It's astonishing, Billy,

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that I still get very sort of nervous

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because I think, "I don't belong here.

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"This isn't my patch."

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You just expect that the foreman's going to come up behind you and say,

0:14:560:14:59

-"Right..."

-Yeah.

-"..your time is up."

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-Yeah.

-"Your tea's oot."

-Aye.

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Well, I'm very proud to be painted by you.

0:15:030:15:06

Well, I'm very flattered to hear that.

0:15:060:15:08

I feel as if I should be standing on a beach with the tide going out.

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-And a bowler hat on?

-Aye, and a butler and...

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Aye. Yeah.

0:15:150:15:16

So this is your studio?

0:15:210:15:22

-Yeah.

-I like a floral studio.

0:15:220:15:24

Were you a gardener when you were young?

0:15:250:15:27

Jack is famous for two contrasting styles.

0:15:310:15:34

Some of his stuff is glamorous and romantic

0:15:340:15:37

and some is, well, rather dark and kinky.

0:15:370:15:41

I always liked watching women dress.

0:15:420:15:45

You know how all the fantasies are about undressing?

0:15:450:15:47

-I used to like watching them dressing.

-Me too, Billy, me too.

0:15:470:15:50

I mean, is there anything nicer than watching a woman put her...

0:15:500:15:54

-a finely fashioned stocking on her toes?

-Yeah.

0:15:540:15:56

And then, on the heel, the heel is reinforced.

0:15:560:15:59

Oh, Christ, I know too much about this.

0:15:590:16:02

You're a dirty bugger.

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I mean, I don't do that.

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But I was desperate to do it for many years.

0:16:070:16:10

You know, get into that...

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bit of the old tiesy-upsy, the fucking gear on... You know.

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But I don't last long enough to do any of those things.

0:16:160:16:19

Jack has promised me I won't have to get tied up

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or wear suspenders for my portrait.

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He works from photographs,

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and he has chosen a shot of me from a TV series I did in the '90s,

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my World Tour Of Scotland.

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We're up quite near John O'Groats here...

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in tropical Scotland.

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This was the first sequence that I saw and I thought,

0:16:400:16:42

"I really do like this."

0:16:420:16:43

And that there, I think, is the image.

0:16:450:16:48

Slightly imbalanced, and that is what the painting will look like.

0:16:480:16:52

Yeah, that's great.

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And that is corner to corner and it's very pleasing on the eye.

0:16:540:16:57

I think it's great. I think there's a sort of great dynamic

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in that shot.

0:17:000:17:01

You look really majestic.

0:17:010:17:03

There is a lot of life in it, isn't there?

0:17:030:17:04

With the water going and the hair and the pointing and the...

0:17:040:17:07

Yeah. In a way, this is a sort of return to the beaches.

0:17:070:17:10

I feel very proud about that.

0:17:100:17:12

But this will be a wee bit of a challenge.

0:17:120:17:14

It's trying to let people see that that is actually surf.

0:17:140:17:18

I tell you the biggest challenge

0:17:180:17:19

is finding where to put the man with the umbrella.

0:17:190:17:22

Well, it's been great seeing you.

0:17:250:17:26

Oh, it's been lovely.

0:17:260:17:28

Especially finding out you were a Fifer, I didnae know that.

0:17:280:17:31

I think I could say fairly safely

0:17:310:17:33

that that is the highlight of my career to date.

0:17:330:17:36

It's been a real pleasure to meet you, and more than that,

0:17:360:17:40

it's been an inspiration, getting to paint your portrait.

0:17:400:17:43

Oh, thank you very much.

0:17:430:17:45

-A pleasure.

-Now, get on with it!

0:17:450:17:46

-Right.

-See you later.

-OK.

0:17:460:17:48

'Every dinner party I go to from now until the day I die,'

0:17:480:17:52

I'll say, "Oh, did I ever tell you when I met Billy Connolly?"

0:17:520:17:55

There is one more artist who has agreed to create

0:18:040:18:06

a birthday portrait of me.

0:18:060:18:09

I'm off to meet Rachel Maclean,

0:18:090:18:11

and she is a different kettle of fish altogether.

0:18:110:18:14

Now is the time.

0:18:140:18:17

Rachel is the most exciting new artist in Scotland.

0:18:170:18:20

She is part performer, part film-maker,

0:18:200:18:22

and creates works set in strange fantasy worlds.

0:18:220:18:26

I am well out of my comfort zone on this one.

0:18:260:18:28

Well, Rachel, I tried to Google you last night,

0:18:300:18:33

and it came up with a big picture

0:18:330:18:36

with you with screeds of make-up on,

0:18:360:18:39

like it had been laid on by a bricklayer.

0:18:390:18:41

That will be me, yeah.

0:18:410:18:42

And so it gave me no clue as to what you actually do.

0:18:420:18:45

So I make mostly video work,

0:18:450:18:48

but video where I'm the only actor,

0:18:480:18:50

or the only model, so it is quite synthetic sort of worlds.

0:18:500:18:55

RACHEL CHUCKLES

0:18:550:18:56

Sounds OK to me.

0:18:560:18:58

I'm completely mystified.

0:18:580:19:00

Good, good.

0:19:000:19:01

This is a film I made,

0:19:010:19:03

a bit of a piss-take of various advertising formats.

0:19:030:19:06

And it is called Germs.

0:19:060:19:08

Is that you?

0:19:080:19:10

Yeah.

0:19:100:19:12

So I am all the characters.

0:19:120:19:14

'I've never seen anything like this before,'

0:19:190:19:21

and I am seriously starting to worry about what I've let myself in for.

0:19:210:19:25

Hello!

0:19:260:19:27

RETCHING

0:19:270:19:29

Tastes pretty good, huh?

0:19:290:19:30

Oh, dear.

0:19:340:19:35

That is the last thing on Earth I expected.

0:19:370:19:40

-Oh, really?

-This is extraordinary.

0:19:400:19:43

I really like it. It's, eh...

0:19:430:19:46

I'm kind of stuck for something to say about it.

0:19:460:19:48

I think that this kind of art suffers from that.

0:19:480:19:51

From the inability of the observers to say what they are looking at.

0:19:510:19:55

So what are you going to do with me?

0:19:560:19:58

RACHEL LAUGHS

0:19:580:19:59

So we're going to be taking a photograph,

0:19:590:20:01

and, if you're all right with it,

0:20:010:20:03

we're going to be getting you done up in a kind of...

0:20:030:20:06

18th-century sort of tartan regalia.

0:20:060:20:09

I don't have to do blue vomit or anything?

0:20:090:20:12

Only if you want to.

0:20:120:20:13

This is the costume that you are going to be getting into, here.

0:20:210:20:24

So there is...

0:20:240:20:25

-What?

-..a hat.

0:20:250:20:27

So it's kind of...

0:20:270:20:29

I don't know why I was thinking, like, Bonnie Prince Charlie-style...

0:20:290:20:32

-Yeah.

-..tartan regalia, but with loads of references to your jokes.

0:20:320:20:37

There is a wee... a wee beige jobbie in a toilet.

0:20:420:20:45

-Oh, I love it.

-It's in a tiny toilet.

0:20:450:20:47

'British Rail specialises in that one.'

0:20:490:20:52

Into the toilet, lock the door, turn...

0:20:530:20:55

Oh, for Christ's sake.

0:20:550:20:56

There's a wee jobbie...

0:21:010:21:03

A wee beige jobbie.

0:21:060:21:08

You flush and flush with all your might...

0:21:100:21:13

My God, you've done your homework.

0:21:170:21:19

And this is a sporran, which is hair growing out your ears

0:21:190:21:22

-and your nose when you get old.

-Absolutely.

0:21:220:21:25

I love it.

0:21:250:21:27

'My nose hair is accelerating, for reasons best known to itself.'

0:21:270:21:30

I used to cut it once every 30 years,

0:21:330:21:36

now it's like twice a month.

0:21:360:21:37

Presuming the body knows what it's doing, I'm very baffled.

0:21:390:21:41

I wonder what's going to happen to me that's going to need

0:21:410:21:43

long nasal hair to deal with it.

0:21:430:21:45

And the big slipper, which I don't know if it would have been that big,

0:21:460:21:49

-but I thought...

-Oh, is that what that is?

0:21:490:21:51

-LAUGHING:

-Yeah.

-That's wonderful.

0:21:510:21:54

Yeah, I was quite pleased with how that turned out.

0:21:540:21:57

-If it's that scale.

-When I did that big slipper stuff,

0:21:570:21:59

people started to send them to me.

0:21:590:22:01

-Really?

-Yeah.

0:22:010:22:03

You get these adverts for things that they obviously can't sell.

0:22:030:22:08

Have you seen the big slipper?

0:22:080:22:10

But it's one big slipper.

0:22:120:22:15

And you put your two feet in it.

0:22:150:22:17

We've also got... Can I grab the staff?

0:22:190:22:21

So this is the finger up the bum.

0:22:210:22:24

This is the staff.

0:22:240:22:26

'Doctors become obsessively interested in your prostate

0:22:260:22:29

'as soon as you turn 50.'

0:22:290:22:30

There are two ways in.

0:22:300:22:32

One is a camera through the hole in your willy.

0:22:320:22:34

Fuck that.

0:22:350:22:37

Wonderful. Well done.

0:22:390:22:41

'The other way...'

0:22:430:22:45

finger up the bottom.

0:22:450:22:46

Oh, for fuck's sake.

0:22:460:22:49

But he's messing around in there.

0:22:490:22:52

We're in a different game now.

0:22:570:22:59

I'm about to be humiliated, and I love it.

0:22:590:23:02

It is ten times better than I thought it was going to be.

0:23:020:23:06

I was living in terror of having make-up splashed onto me.

0:23:060:23:09

I wasn't looking forward to it.

0:23:110:23:13

Rachel has other ideas, of course, and I've only got myself to blame.

0:23:130:23:18

She wants me in make-up because of another old routine.

0:23:180:23:21

So I was looking, just your joke about the pale blue Scotsman.

0:23:210:23:25

-Pale blue Scottish person.

-I always liked...

0:23:250:23:27

My dad would always reference...

0:23:270:23:28

when we went on summer holidays to the beach.

0:23:280:23:30

I tend to frighten people on the beach, because being Scottish,

0:23:300:23:33

I'm pale blue.

0:23:330:23:36

It takes me a week to get white, you know?

0:23:360:23:38

-That's really good.

-Oh, my God.

0:23:380:23:41

I bet you used to get notes from school,

0:23:430:23:46

"Rachel has a fertile imagination."

0:23:460:23:48

I used to get them, as if it was a failing.

0:23:480:23:52

"Billy has a fertile imagination.

0:23:520:23:55

"We'll knock that out of him."

0:23:550:23:57

GIRLS LAUGH

0:23:590:24:01

Holy Jesus.

0:24:010:24:02

I look like a complete alien.

0:24:040:24:05

I think that looks about sporran height.

0:24:140:24:16

Sporran height? Sounds like a German word, doesn't it?

0:24:160:24:19

Just getting ready to step out for the groceries.

0:24:260:24:29

Looking great. So, into the big slipper.

0:24:340:24:38

'I was always going to buy two.'

0:24:380:24:40

I was going to buy a pair.

0:24:410:24:43

And leave them in the fireplace.

0:24:430:24:45

If I'm going out at night, in case a burglar comes in.

0:24:470:24:51

"Who lives here, for Christ's sake?!"

0:24:530:24:57

So I can show you the kind of image that we're going for.

0:24:570:25:01

We're thinking the kind of Bonnie Prince Charlie type of...

0:25:010:25:03

-Oh, right.

-So, yeah, that's good.

0:25:030:25:06

Yeah, yeah. And maybe the legs a wee bit...

0:25:060:25:10

-Jaunty.

-Yeah, a wee bit jaunty.

0:25:100:25:12

Yeah, that looks good.

0:25:120:25:14

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy,

0:25:170:25:21

doesn't try it on.

0:25:210:25:22

Excuse me.

0:25:250:25:27

-What?

-You just walloped me in the bollocks there.

0:25:270:25:30

RACHEL LAUGHS

0:25:300:25:32

Sorry.

0:25:320:25:33

When I came up with the idea of the costume,

0:25:360:25:39

I was thinking about that stereotype of a certain kind of Scottishness.

0:25:390:25:43

Then this idea of Billy in a contemporary sense,

0:25:430:25:47

representing Scotland abroad.

0:25:470:25:49

I guess it's kind of come together into something

0:25:490:25:52

that is maybe at a glance traditional,

0:25:520:25:54

but when you look closer,

0:25:540:25:56

all the materials are kind of cheap and plasticky.

0:25:560:25:59

There's a feeling of a culture

0:25:590:26:01

that's inauthentic and is being reconsidered.

0:26:010:26:03

I'd maybe try shocked.

0:26:050:26:06

It's been astonishing.

0:26:090:26:10

Absolutely astonishing.

0:26:100:26:11

It was great to take part in one of those post-modernist artworks.

0:26:110:26:17

It's lovely.

0:26:170:26:19

And maybe just very serious, kind of...

0:26:190:26:21

Yeah, that's good, yeah.

0:26:220:26:25

I think we've got it.

0:26:250:26:26

Yeah. Thank you so much. That was great.

0:26:260:26:29

-APPLAUSE

-Cheers.

0:26:290:26:30

I've never quite done anything remotely like that before.

0:26:300:26:33

Aw...

0:26:340:26:35

And the finger fell out of the bum.

0:26:350:26:37

What I'm going to do now is take the photos

0:26:400:26:42

and try and select which one will work best,

0:26:420:26:45

and then start thinking about the backgrounds.

0:26:450:26:47

So while Rachel, John and Jack get on with my portraits,

0:26:540:26:57

I thought I'd check out another artist in town.

0:26:570:27:00

A new kid on the block, as it were.

0:27:010:27:03

I am about to pay a visit to Scotland's greatest living artist...

0:27:060:27:11

..who bears a strange resemblance to me.

0:27:120:27:15

I had never really drawn before,

0:27:170:27:18

but I started doodling a few years ago

0:27:180:27:20

when I was bored in a hotel room,

0:27:200:27:22

and before I knew it, I had enough of them to fill a room.

0:27:220:27:26

I haven't seen them in such a long time,

0:27:260:27:28

they go on exhibitions without me.

0:27:280:27:30

I sound pathetic when I say that.

0:27:320:27:34

The first exhibition in Birmingham,

0:27:370:27:39

I thought there would be a lot of people going...

0:27:390:27:41

BILLY SNIGGERS

0:27:410:27:42

But it didn't happen. People liked it.

0:27:420:27:44

And I've been doing it kind of ever since.

0:27:460:27:49

I'm very proud of them.

0:27:490:27:51

It's all kind of random.

0:27:560:27:58

Same as the way I draw them, I don't set out to draw anything.

0:27:580:28:02

I didn't know it was Surreal Automatism

0:28:020:28:04

until I read it on the wall over there.

0:28:040:28:07

I feel terribly clever now that I'm a Surreal Automatist.

0:28:070:28:12

It takes ages to do, but it's kind of meditative.

0:28:140:28:17

You get carried away when you're doing it.

0:28:170:28:19

And I especially... I remember him at the time.

0:28:230:28:27

The Glaswegian Icarus.

0:28:270:28:28

It is lovely to see them again. They are like old pals.

0:28:320:28:35

It is especially nice they're in the People's Palace.

0:28:350:28:39

I've always loved this place.

0:28:390:28:41

I've had a long association with this gem of a building.

0:28:430:28:47

40-odd years ago, they asked me to open an exhibition here.

0:28:490:28:53

At the time I donated some bits and pieces for the collection,

0:28:530:28:56

and they have dug them out again.

0:28:560:28:58

It's strange being in a museum at all.

0:29:000:29:03

You feel duty bound to be dead.

0:29:030:29:05

You know? So... I have no intention of being dead.

0:29:050:29:09

So it is a kind of peculiar feeling.

0:29:100:29:12

Especially that guy up there,

0:29:130:29:15

I didn't remember that suit until I saw it today.

0:29:150:29:18

Glam rock was around.

0:29:180:29:21

It had three colours, they fitted much better than they fit him.

0:29:210:29:24

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I should look,

0:29:250:29:27

so I got more and more outrageous.

0:29:270:29:30

Ooooh!

0:29:300:29:32

# Our little dog is six years old... #

0:29:320:29:35

'I tried everything on stage,

0:29:350:29:37

'from wearing my pyjamas to dressing like a sparkly sweetie.'

0:29:370:29:41

-Do you like it? AUDIENCE MEMBER:

-No!

0:29:410:29:43

Like a liquorice boilie, isn't it?

0:29:430:29:46

But it was these fruity booties that became my trademark.

0:29:460:29:50

That's an actual pair of wellies in there.

0:29:500:29:53

But it took the country by storm, I'm delighted to say.

0:29:530:29:56

They were very, very comfortable.

0:29:560:29:58

The only trouble I had with them,

0:29:580:29:59

I had to wear a leotard and tights with them,

0:29:590:30:02

and pulling the tights on, the hair on my legs all went the wrong way.

0:30:020:30:06

And it was kind of uncomfortable.

0:30:060:30:09

But I refused to shave my legs.

0:30:090:30:10

They made one and sent it up to be tried on,

0:30:120:30:14

and I tried it on, thought it was amazing, you know?

0:30:140:30:17

And I... I said, "Right, carry on with the other one."

0:30:170:30:20

So he phones up and says, "The other one is ready," he said,

0:30:200:30:24

"I must warn you," he said, "They're not identical,

0:30:240:30:26

"but then bananas never are."

0:30:260:30:28

I don't remember ever referencing them at all,

0:30:330:30:36

I just came on like that and carried on with my act.

0:30:360:30:39

I couldn't think of anything of any length to say about them.

0:30:390:30:42

So I just let them speak for themselves.

0:30:420:30:45

'You ever notice about the Glasgow drunk, he walks with one leg?'

0:30:450:30:48

Like that.

0:30:480:30:50

LAUGHTER

0:30:500:30:52

APPLAUSE

0:30:520:30:54

And this is my portrait by John Byrne.

0:30:570:30:59

I was supposed to have this,

0:31:050:31:07

then he phoned me and said, "I've finished it," but he said,

0:31:070:31:10

"But it is too big for your house

0:31:100:31:11

"and the People's Palace want it, what do you think?"

0:31:110:31:14

And I said, "Great."

0:31:140:31:15

It's identical to how I looked then, as well.

0:31:170:31:19

It's an incredible likeness.

0:31:190:31:22

The great thing about being painted by John,

0:31:240:31:26

he paints great clothes on you. They don't exist.

0:31:260:31:28

He just painted them from his head.

0:31:290:31:31

This is astonishing.

0:31:330:31:35

Apparently the postcard sells quite well as well.

0:31:350:31:38

I've always loved this portrait since the first minute I saw it.

0:31:420:31:46

And I will soon have more to enjoy as well.

0:31:460:31:49

I just start, and it will just change or develop as I go along.

0:31:580:32:04

Because I want to be surprised at the end,

0:32:040:32:06

as opposed to having a finished image in my head.

0:32:060:32:10

Since he got...

0:32:140:32:15

..the onset of Parkinson's, he's very...

0:32:170:32:19

He sort of moves differently. You know, he was very...

0:32:230:32:26

..as you can imagine him onstage...

0:32:270:32:30

He would roam about the stage,

0:32:300:32:32

which he cannae do now.

0:32:320:32:35

I met Ian Holm, the actor, who suffers from it,

0:32:350:32:38

and he has had it longer than me.

0:32:380:32:41

And he says, "Do you shake much, your hands?"

0:32:410:32:44

And I said, "No, when I'm nervous or when I'm tired, it shakes a bit."

0:32:440:32:47

He said, "Oh, yeah. It probably will, yeah."

0:32:470:32:50

He said, "I'll give you a bit of advice.

0:32:500:32:52

"If it shakes, just stick it in your pocket."

0:32:520:32:55

He forgot to mention jacket pocket.

0:32:550:32:57

It's only a physical impediment.

0:33:030:33:06

He's very clear thinking and just as funny if not funnier than ever.

0:33:060:33:12

He seems slightly more thoughtful about everything,

0:33:120:33:17

as we all get to...

0:33:170:33:20

towards the end of this...

0:33:200:33:22

journey.

0:33:220:33:23

I haven't seen this for years.

0:33:330:33:34

There's a great...

0:33:370:33:40

a great sketch, if you like...

0:33:400:33:42

..called The Crucifixion.

0:33:440:33:47

The way The Last Supper really happened...

0:33:470:33:49

All the apostles were in there,

0:33:490:33:51

drinking wine and tearing lumps off the Mother's Pride.

0:33:510:33:54

Singing, shouting and bawling.

0:33:540:33:56

SHOUTING: We are the Christians!

0:33:560:33:58

Uh-oh, into these Romans!

0:33:580:34:01

Gie's another glass of that wine. Oh!

0:34:010:34:05

And The Crucifixion, I'm sure, was the first sketch that I ever heard,

0:34:050:34:10

you know, and I thought, "That is just amazing," you know?

0:34:100:34:14

So I said, "I think I'll have a kip on this dod of wood here."

0:34:140:34:16

So I lie down like that.

0:34:160:34:18

Woke up an hour later.

0:34:200:34:22

"Wait a minute!

0:34:220:34:25

"Some joker's been up and nailed me to the wood!

0:34:250:34:28

"Lying there in my Y-fronts like a right eejit."

0:34:290:34:32

There's quite a lot to whittle down,

0:34:400:34:42

but these ones are starting to get into something

0:34:420:34:44

a bit more kind of regal, which I quite like.

0:34:440:34:48

RACHEL CHUCKLES

0:34:480:34:50

I think I'm going for something that's serious, serious expression

0:34:510:34:55

to kind of react against the silliness of the costume.

0:34:550:34:59

But I think there is a kind of responsibility

0:34:590:35:01

in representing Billy,

0:35:010:35:03

because he is so well known

0:35:030:35:04

and he's this kind of national treasure within Scotland.

0:35:040:35:08

It is bloody terrifying.

0:35:080:35:10

It really is.

0:35:100:35:11

If you look at what I am copying from,

0:35:190:35:21

you just can't see any detail,

0:35:210:35:23

so I have been working from that and from this.

0:35:230:35:26

Just to get where the studs are

0:35:260:35:28

and how the sort of flaps come over, you know?

0:35:280:35:32

Bit of a bonus that he's wearing gloves,

0:35:320:35:34

because I am no' very good at painting hands.

0:35:340:35:36

Billy was wearing a blue shirt with tiny little stars all over it.

0:35:410:35:46

He liked the shirt and I didnae particularly like the shirt,

0:35:460:35:49

so I am going to give him a black shirt.

0:35:490:35:52

This is where I spent my childhood.

0:36:000:36:03

So we're just looking at some archive footage

0:36:030:36:07

and possibly take some of this imagery so that it can be used,

0:36:070:36:10

but then mixed with newer imagery.

0:36:100:36:13

And these are the big badlands of Glasgow.

0:36:130:36:15

To get the images for the backgrounds,

0:36:180:36:20

I am going to go out and just try and take some photographs

0:36:200:36:23

of contemporary Glasgow.

0:36:230:36:24

I kind of want it to also have the feeling

0:36:260:36:29

of maybe the Glasgow of Billy's sort of early career too.

0:36:290:36:33

# I started work up in Partick

0:36:380:36:42

# But my workmates were acting gae queer... #

0:36:420:36:46

When I was a child, it was like a village, Partick.

0:36:460:36:50

As was Govan, Maryhill and the other Glasgow districts.

0:36:500:36:52

And there were always colourful people wandering about the place.

0:36:540:36:57

There are many, many small men in Partick.

0:36:570:37:01

In Partick, we used to call those little men "talking bunnets",

0:37:010:37:05

you know, because you looked down on the top of their head all the time

0:37:050:37:08

when they're talking.

0:37:080:37:10

There are many men in Partick who have the face of a policeman.

0:37:100:37:13

I used to describe it as a city baker's Halloween cake face.

0:37:130:37:18

# As a hulking big 6'2 brickie

0:37:180:37:20

# For heaven's sake, lay them dead quick. #

0:37:210:37:24

So I am now working on a Scottish sky, you know,

0:37:310:37:35

trying to make it quite sort of kind of stormy-looking.

0:37:350:37:39

This is the last step, the whole thing comes down here

0:37:520:37:56

and ends right here.

0:37:560:37:58

Shit.

0:38:120:38:13

Christ.

0:38:160:38:17

JOHN HUMS TUNE

0:38:230:38:26

I was on Billy's old street where he grew up, and took some photographs.

0:38:380:38:44

But then found this chip shop and kind of doorway,

0:38:440:38:48

which seems like quite a banal, quite a boring photograph,

0:38:480:38:53

but I thought it would be fun in the sense of how realistic and grimy

0:38:530:38:58

and banal it is in comparison to the costume,

0:38:580:39:01

so now it is just a case of cutting Billy out

0:39:010:39:05

to try and make the two images

0:39:050:39:06

feel like they're part of the same world.

0:39:060:39:08

Do you think he'll like it?

0:39:300:39:31

So I hear the artists have all been working hard on my portraits,

0:39:350:39:39

but I've been working away as well.

0:39:390:39:41

I'm over in the fair city of Dublin finishing some shows.

0:39:410:39:45

Well, this is the end of the tour.

0:39:450:39:48

I did two nights in Belfast and I've got three nights in Dublin.

0:39:480:39:51

And it's lovely. The High Horse Tour.

0:39:520:39:55

It's the biggest crowds I've ever played to

0:39:570:39:59

since I toured with Elton in the '70s.

0:39:590:40:01

We did Madison Square Garden and things like that.

0:40:010:40:04

It's extraordinary.

0:40:070:40:09

My career has been like that since day one,

0:40:120:40:14

it's been growth all the way.

0:40:140:40:17

Right through, 50 years of growth.

0:40:170:40:20

It is remarkable, isn't it?

0:40:200:40:22

I don't know why.

0:40:220:40:24

Most careers are that shape, you know.

0:40:240:40:27

They just naturally tail off as you get older.

0:40:270:40:29

Mine has gone like that and kind of plateaued

0:40:290:40:32

and then up again like this at the end.

0:40:320:40:36

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:40:360:40:39

Hello.

0:40:550:40:56

I am easing towards this.

0:40:590:41:00

You'll find that most of the night I cling to this like a sailor...

0:41:000:41:04

clinging to a raft.

0:41:040:41:07

There's good reason for it, I'll tell you later.

0:41:070:41:10

But we'll get started.

0:41:100:41:11

Donald Trump.

0:41:120:41:13

LAUGHTER

0:41:130:41:15

'I've got a chair now.'

0:41:170:41:19

I don't sit on it, I haven't sat on it yet.

0:41:190:41:22

I've got this battle with this chair, I'm not sitting on you.

0:41:230:41:27

It's right behind me.

0:41:270:41:28

So I have a little personal vendetta with it,

0:41:280:41:31

that I'm not going to sit on it.

0:41:310:41:32

It is just one of those things, you know,

0:41:340:41:36

so I don't know how to handle it.

0:41:360:41:38

I just stand still and do it and people like it.

0:41:380:41:40

The strength's in the material.

0:41:400:41:43

Please, if you ever meet me and you want a selfie,

0:41:430:41:45

have your stuff ready.

0:41:450:41:46

Don't make me stand there as you go through your fucking bag,

0:41:470:41:50

looking for your camera.

0:41:500:41:52

Because it looks as if I asked you to do it, you know?

0:41:520:41:55

It actually helps me at the time.

0:42:030:42:05

I know before it, I tend to feel hellish.

0:42:050:42:09

When I come off, I don't feel all that brilliant,

0:42:090:42:11

but during it I love it.

0:42:110:42:12

I get a real buzz, a real boost of energy.

0:42:130:42:18

It's extraordinary.

0:42:180:42:20

Then I come off, I'm much better than when I went on.

0:42:200:42:23

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:42:250:42:26

MUSIC: Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On by Jerry Lee Lewis

0:42:270:42:31

I don't think it is a good enough reason to stop,

0:42:350:42:38

because you've reached a certain number.

0:42:380:42:40

I think I'll have plenty of reasons to stop as time goes by,

0:42:410:42:44

but until then, I'm OK.

0:42:440:42:46

As long as the stuff's going down well.

0:42:480:42:50

And I'll be able to spot it when it stops.

0:42:500:42:52

You know, with the slightest hint of it dipping,

0:42:540:42:56

I'll come out of there.

0:42:560:42:58

Out of the arena.

0:42:580:42:59

CHEERING

0:43:030:43:05

While I am in Dublin, someone's popped over to see me.

0:43:160:43:19

Rachel's here, and she has brought her finished portrait with her.

0:43:210:43:25

So this is the first time I've seen it framed,

0:43:270:43:29

so, yeah, it's really nice to see the finished piece.

0:43:290:43:32

It looks great, so I'm looking forward to seeing what Billy thinks.

0:43:320:43:36

It's been a good few months since we last met,

0:43:370:43:40

so what on Earth has she been up to since that strange photo shoot?

0:43:400:43:45

-Hello. How are you doing?

-Good to see you.

0:43:450:43:49

Nice to see you again.

0:43:490:43:50

-Hi, Rachel, lovely to see you.

-How have you been?

0:43:500:43:52

-I can't wait to see the thing.

-I know.

0:43:520:43:53

Yeah, looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

0:43:530:43:55

Because I haven't a clue what it's going to be like.

0:43:550:43:57

-Yeah.

-Will we go?

-Yeah, come through.

0:43:570:44:00

This better be good.

0:44:000:44:02

RACHEL LAUGHS

0:44:020:44:03

Oh, my God!

0:44:030:44:06

It's amazing!

0:44:060:44:08

RACHEL LAUGHS

0:44:080:44:10

This morning I was lying in bed saying,

0:44:180:44:20

"I wonder what it looks like."

0:44:200:44:22

I was trying to get a picture in my mind and I couldn't.

0:44:220:44:25

RACHEL LAUGHS

0:44:250:44:26

Because I'd forgotten what...

0:44:260:44:27

I hadn't forgotten what I looked like,

0:44:270:44:29

I didn't know what I looked like on the day.

0:44:290:44:31

Yeah, of course, of course.

0:44:310:44:32

-You know, there was no mirrors or anything.

-Yeah.

0:44:320:44:36

Yeah, we went through a few different expressions,

0:44:360:44:38

but I quite like the kind of serious middle-distance expression,

0:44:380:44:41

-it feels...

-I love that.

0:44:410:44:44

I think it's amazing. Well done.

0:44:440:44:46

-Good.

-I love my sporran.

0:44:460:44:48

Oh, yeah, the hairy sporran came out quite well.

0:44:480:44:51

THEY LAUGH

0:44:510:44:53

I had it in my mind that it was kind of female-looking, and it isn't.

0:44:530:44:57

No, no. It's got that kind of Bonnie Prince Charlie sort of pose.

0:44:570:45:01

Yeah.

0:45:010:45:03

But I quite wanted the background to be a bit kind of grubby

0:45:030:45:06

-and to feel like...

-Yeah.

0:45:060:45:08

-..Glasgow at night.

-Urban, yeah.

0:45:080:45:10

I quite like the way the sausage

0:45:100:45:12

sort of complements the banana horns.

0:45:120:45:15

-FRENCH ACCENT: The "sausage".

-Yeah.

0:45:150:45:17

I think they should make the Lord Provost dress like that.

0:45:180:45:22

-LAUGHING:

-Yeah, that would be good.

0:45:220:45:24

-Year round.

-Yeah. I know.

0:45:240:45:27

A kind of national dress.

0:45:270:45:28

LAUGHTER

0:45:280:45:31

It's lovely.

0:45:310:45:32

What a job Rachel's done on me.

0:45:360:45:39

Despite all the crazy gear I've worn over the years,

0:45:390:45:41

I don't think I've ever seen myself looking quite so absurd.

0:45:410:45:44

I look like a deep-fried Jacobean dandy.

0:45:460:45:49

And I absolutely adore it.

0:45:500:45:52

Oh, it's a great town, Partick.

0:46:060:46:08

And there's the most important building.

0:46:090:46:12

Partick Library.

0:46:120:46:13

Many a happy hour I spent in there.

0:46:130:46:16

I'm back in Glasgow and I'm here to meet up

0:46:180:46:20

with Jack and John and see their finished paintings.

0:46:200:46:24

I would presume he would say he liked it,

0:46:280:46:31

if only out of friendship...and pity.

0:46:310:46:34

HE LAUGHS

0:46:340:46:37

Mine is quite plain, it's obviously like him.

0:46:370:46:40

But I put a little wording around the frame...

0:46:400:46:43

..which might tickle him.

0:46:450:46:46

It is a difficult thing to prepare yourself

0:46:490:46:52

for someone's reaction to your work.

0:46:520:46:55

But it was a privilege, and it will be a privilege,

0:46:590:47:02

to meet Billy and see his reaction.

0:47:020:47:04

So I just hope that he likes it.

0:47:040:47:07

I'm meeting Jack and John

0:47:140:47:16

in what I think is one of the greatest buildings in the world -

0:47:160:47:19

the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

0:47:190:47:22

I was brought up just a mile away, and like many a wee boy,

0:47:230:47:26

the park here beside the gallery was a regular haunt.

0:47:260:47:29

There's a song - "Will you go to Kelvingrove, bonnie lassie-o?

0:47:310:47:34

"Through its mazes, let us rove, bonnie lassie."

0:47:340:47:37

I always wondered where the mazes were, you know?

0:47:370:47:39

It was well gone by the time I was a boy.

0:47:390:47:42

# Let us haste to Kelvingrove

0:47:420:47:46

# Bonnie lassie-o

0:47:460:47:50

# Through her mazes let us rove

0:47:500:47:54

# Bonnie lassie-o... #

0:47:540:47:58

I would be about nine, I think.

0:47:580:48:01

That was just about 500 yards away, just on the other side of the river,

0:48:010:48:05

looking this way.

0:48:050:48:07

We'd come here every Sunday, my sister and I and my friends.

0:48:070:48:10

My brother Michael was made to come with me.

0:48:100:48:12

He was only six and I was, like, 12,

0:48:120:48:15

so I would lock him in a telephone box down at the gate,

0:48:150:48:19

and go and play in the park.

0:48:190:48:21

# Though I dare not call thee mine

0:48:210:48:26

# Bonnie lassie-o... #

0:48:260:48:30

There's a fountain across here behind me.

0:48:300:48:33

Vinny Maron threw me in one day.

0:48:330:48:36

So when I look at this park,

0:48:370:48:39

I don't see trees and splendid scenery -

0:48:390:48:41

I see all the places where I was flung into the fountain,

0:48:410:48:44

where I watched the cleansing department

0:48:440:48:47

tipping snow into the Kelvin river, and it's lovely.

0:48:470:48:50

As well as looking forward to seeing my portraits,

0:48:520:48:54

I'm also going to enjoy a wander around the Kelvingrove Gallery.

0:48:540:48:59

I used to come here all the time,

0:48:590:49:00

but I haven't been in about 20 years,

0:49:000:49:02

and there's been a fair few changes.

0:49:020:49:04

Where's all the stuff?

0:49:050:49:06

Oh, my God! That's brilliant!

0:49:160:49:17

Good old Glasgow.

0:49:180:49:20

Oh, that's fantastic!

0:49:250:49:27

It is a great place. It was always a friendly place.

0:49:290:49:32

My sister and I would take our shoes off

0:49:320:49:35

and slide on our stockinged feet,

0:49:350:49:37

just slid down here...

0:49:370:49:39

..going that way.

0:49:400:49:41

God, it's weird being back here.

0:49:420:49:44

I remember that elephant very well.

0:49:470:49:49

They used to have a tiger called Sheila

0:49:490:49:52

and she escaped in Calder Park Zoo and had to be put down

0:49:520:49:59

and they had her stuffed and mounted in here.

0:49:590:50:01

'Like many a Glaswegian,

0:50:030:50:04

'there's one particular painting here that's burned into my memory.'

0:50:040:50:08

Oh, there it is.

0:50:090:50:12

This is Christ Of St John Of The Cross

0:50:180:50:20

by Salvador Dali.

0:50:200:50:22

It was bought by the city in 1952, when I was just ten years old.

0:50:220:50:26

God, I love that.

0:50:270:50:28

I've been looking at that since I was a little boy.

0:50:300:50:32

It's probably one of the most important paintings of my life.

0:50:320:50:34

You know, it was the first painting to instil in me

0:50:340:50:37

that a painting could be enjoyed by me

0:50:370:50:40

and I'm sure there was lots of people like me

0:50:400:50:42

who saw it as children and it instilled in them a love of painting.

0:50:420:50:45

As fond as I am of this painting, it's not the work I'm here to see.

0:50:460:50:51

The real treats are still to come.

0:50:510:50:53

If ever I wanted a cigarette, it's now.

0:50:540:50:57

JACK LAUGHS

0:51:000:51:01

As I live and breathe, Mr Vettriano!

0:51:010:51:03

-Do you remember me?

-Of course I do. How are you?

0:51:030:51:06

-Lovely to see you.

-You too.

0:51:060:51:07

But enough of the badinage. Show me the work.

0:51:070:51:11

This way.

0:51:110:51:12

'I can't wait to see what Jack has made.

0:51:130:51:16

'It's hard to believe a fleeting moment

0:51:160:51:17

'caught on a stormy day in the north-east has led to this.'

0:51:170:51:21

The whole thing comes down here...

0:51:210:51:22

Oh, my God!

0:51:240:51:27

Oh, it's great.

0:51:270:51:29

Well done. That's superb.

0:51:350:51:37

Thanks, Billy, thanks very much.

0:51:370:51:38

You've got it.

0:51:380:51:40

-Well, you remember that day...

-I remember the day so well.

0:51:400:51:43

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:51:430:51:44

-I remember the cold so well, and the wind.

-Yeah.

0:51:440:51:47

You've got the power of that day, there,

0:51:470:51:49

which must have been incredibly difficult to do.

0:51:490:51:52

It's a kind of rare thing, to be in at the beginning of it, you know?

0:51:520:51:56

The planning of it, with Jack explaining what he was going to do

0:51:560:52:00

and then to see it complete is just such a luxury.

0:52:000:52:05

It's an extraordinary piece of work.

0:52:050:52:07

I should tell you the title.

0:52:070:52:09

Oh, yeah?

0:52:090:52:10

The title is Dr Connolly, I Presume?

0:52:100:52:14

BILLY LAUGHS

0:52:140:52:16

Which I thought was all right. Do you...?

0:52:160:52:18

-Are you OK with that?

-Oh, that's lovely.

0:52:180:52:21

Yeah, I think it's good, that.

0:52:210:52:23

Oh, that's terrific.

0:52:230:52:25

There's an immense power in it, Jack.

0:52:250:52:27

You know, the power of the sky

0:52:270:52:28

and the power of the weather and the wind

0:52:280:52:30

and the power of this.

0:52:300:52:32

Yeah, yeah.

0:52:320:52:33

So I'm so pleased you like it.

0:52:330:52:35

Oh, I do. I love it.

0:52:350:52:36

Yes, I think you've passed your audition, Mr Vettriano.

0:52:370:52:40

-We'll let you do another painting.

-Thank you.

0:52:400:52:43

I'm absolutely over the moon

0:52:460:52:48

with the painting that Jack has done of me

0:52:480:52:50

and now it's time to see

0:52:500:52:51

what my dear friend John Byrne has been up to.

0:52:510:52:54

-How great to see you.

-Oh, it's wonderful.

0:52:580:53:01

It's wonderful to see you, Billy.

0:53:010:53:02

You'll not think so when you see your picture!

0:53:040:53:07

THEY LAUGH

0:53:070:53:10

You're looking very well.

0:53:100:53:12

I feel terrible.

0:53:120:53:14

THEY LAUGH

0:53:140:53:15

Shall we go through to see this?

0:53:170:53:19

Let's meander.

0:53:190:53:21

The big reveal...

0:53:210:53:23

Oh, my God!

0:53:230:53:25

It's horrible!

0:53:250:53:28

It's brilliant.

0:53:280:53:29

Thank you.

0:53:310:53:32

If I didn't know it before, I know it now for sure.

0:53:340:53:37

John is a genius.

0:53:370:53:38

This is like looking into a mirror.

0:53:380:53:40

That's fantastic, John.

0:53:420:53:43

-Thank you, Billy.

-So you do know my soul right enough.

0:53:430:53:47

You weren't just havering.

0:53:470:53:48

I was havering a bit as well.

0:53:480:53:50

THEY CHUCKLE

0:53:500:53:51

But behind every haver, there's a wee bit of slaiver.

0:53:510:53:54

I love the expression.

0:53:570:53:59

That was your expression that day.

0:53:590:54:01

One of pure contempt.

0:54:010:54:03

-It is, it's contemptuous, isn't it?

-I know it is.

0:54:030:54:05

I like the mugshot effect as well.

0:54:050:54:08

I know, I put that in.

0:54:080:54:10

And it's not just the painting.

0:54:100:54:12

John has included a surprise for me in the frame as well.

0:54:120:54:15

"A chucky in the water, see the baggy..."

0:54:150:54:19

Oh, aye.

0:54:190:54:20

That's a song I used to do. I didn't write it.

0:54:200:54:23

# Fling a chucky in the watter

0:54:230:54:27

# See the baggy minnies scattair

0:54:270:54:30

# Fine well they know what we're aftair

0:54:300:54:34

# Wi' wir jeely jaurs and nets in haund... #

0:54:340:54:38

# Ah got a stick o' rock for my Auntie Fanny

0:54:380:54:44

# And a salt dish for my mammy... #

0:54:470:54:52

Tear your heart out, wouldn't it, John?

0:54:520:54:54

I know, it's a heartbreaking song.

0:54:540:54:57

-I love the frame, though. Isn't it brilliant?

-Oh, aye.

0:54:570:55:00

It just came to me,

0:55:000:55:02

I had to put a legend on the frame as well as frame a legend.

0:55:020:55:07

Well, John, that's remarkable.

0:55:070:55:08

Oh, thank you, Billy.

0:55:080:55:11

It's remarkable because it's you.

0:55:110:55:13

To be with John and the painting is just fantastic, because John has

0:55:150:55:21

given me some of the happiest moments of my life.

0:55:210:55:24

It's a breathtaking likeness,

0:55:240:55:27

but that's what you would expect from John.

0:55:270:55:29

# Aw, Saltcoats...

0:55:290:55:34

# Goodbye. #

0:55:340:55:39

So that's my three birthday portraits complete

0:55:400:55:43

and what a pleasure it's been having them done.

0:55:430:55:46

And it's great to know they'll be hung together

0:55:480:55:50

at the People's Palace in Glasgow.

0:55:500:55:52

Now, I thought that would be the end of it,

0:55:550:55:56

but it turns out Glasgow has a big surprise in store

0:55:560:55:59

for little old me.

0:55:590:56:00

The paintings have been transformed into giant murals

0:56:270:56:30

right in the centre of Glasgow.

0:56:300:56:32

Oh, my God!

0:56:350:56:37

Jesus, that's amazing.

0:56:380:56:40

I've never seen myself that size before.

0:56:420:56:44

Oh, look at the wee bird.

0:56:460:56:48

There's a wee bird's nest

0:56:480:56:49

in my shoulder.

0:56:490:56:51

Isn't that great?

0:56:520:56:54

Very moving.

0:57:020:57:03

That's set my left arm going.

0:57:060:57:08

I try to stop it shaking but it's away again.

0:57:090:57:11

# Oh, I wish I was in Glasgow

0:57:180:57:23

# With some good old friends of mine

0:57:230:57:28

# Some good old... #

0:57:280:57:30

I'm very proud of that.

0:57:300:57:32

I'm deeply impressed by Glasgow doing this for me.

0:57:340:57:37

Especially when you don't live in your home town any more.

0:57:370:57:41

It's the strangest feeling, you become a kind of tourist

0:57:410:57:44

in your own home town,

0:57:440:57:45

but not any more, not with this.

0:57:450:57:49

Glasgow belangs to me.

0:57:490:57:50

# Oh, I was born in Glasgow... #

0:57:540:57:57

I'm shaking like a leaf, it's just had the most profound effect on me.

0:57:570:58:01

# I would take you there and show you

0:58:010:58:05

# But they've pulled the building down... #

0:58:050:58:09

My God.

0:58:110:58:12

Oh, that's extraordinary.

0:58:140:58:16

She's a clever girl, our Rachel.

0:58:190:58:21

I'm truly amazed at the effect these have had on me.

0:58:240:58:27

They have just completely stunned me.

0:58:270:58:29

They're so big, the effect on me is so profound.

0:58:300:58:33

People going to that length for me, it's just taken my breath away.

0:58:360:58:41

You're doing well, are you?

0:58:450:58:48

-Trying my best.

-That's good, that's good.

0:58:480:58:51

Look after yourself.

0:58:510:58:52

Can I shake your hand, Billy?

0:58:520:58:54

-Great to meet you.

-Look after yourself.

0:58:540:58:56

Brilliant, Billy, man. You gave us inspiration.

0:58:560:58:58

-All right, mate?

-Thank you very much.

0:58:580:59:00

God bless you, mate. All right?

0:59:000:59:02

Nae hassles at all.

0:59:020:59:04

Billy Connolly...

0:59:050:59:06

HE EXHALES

0:59:060:59:08

What can I tell you?

0:59:080:59:09

Thank you very much and... goodnight!

0:59:120:59:16

CHEERING

0:59:180:59:21

Celebrating Billy Connolly's 75th birthday and 50 years in the business, three Scottish artists - John Byrne, Jack Vettriano and Rachel MacLean - each create a new portrait of the Big Yin. As he sits with each artist, Billy talks about his remarkable life and career which has taken him from musician and pioneering stand-up to Hollywood star and national treasure.