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TV review: School was out, but Connolly is in a class of his own in documentary Billy And Us

© BBC / Robert Pereira HindBilly Connolly
Billy Connolly

Whisper it, but Scotland’s favourite son might not be Oor Wullie. It may be another William – namely Billy Connolly.

If the outpouring of love for Billy in recent years is anything to go by then that’s true at least.

Last week BBC Scotland started their six part series about the life of The Big Yin, called Billy And Us, and the first episode focused on his Oor Wullie days, the ones which turned him into the character who looks askance at the world.

“I taught your father and he was an idiot, too,” said a teacher to Billy Connolly, he recounted.

It’s treatment like this which caused young Billy to switch off from school, and fuelled his unique take on the world – but it makes you wonder why we didn’t produce a million Billys.

This documentary used archive footage from ’60s and ’70s Scotland and as well as considering the comedian’s troubled childhood, made you wonder about how we used to treat schoolchildren.

It seemed at first as if Billy And Us would be a soft-soaping of the Big Yin’s life.

While it wasn’t a brutal interrogation, and nor should it be, there was a clip shown of an uncomfortable grilling by school pupils on a Scottish panel show.

Billy, at the height of his powers, attempted to deflect with humour but it was uncomfortable viewing. You begin to see why teachers were so harsh on children…

Billy And Us, BBC Scotland, Thursday, 10pm


The director of LaLa Land making a musical drama set in the Paris jazz scene? Hello – get in my eyes and ears, thanks.

The Eddy, starring Joanna Kulig, began on Netflix last week, the baby of Damien Chazelle, but while it wasn’t full of bum notes, neither was it sweet music to my ears. Like jazz there were different elements in play – from romance to drama. The moodiness of the world of itinerant musicians is compelling enough.

But then a murder plot which is neither expected or especially welcome arrives. It’s a bit like if John Coltrane introduced an electric guitar to his quartet.

The Eddy, Netflix, streaming now