Kong Does Billy Connolly

Member News  |  15 February 2022

Kong Studio animates comedy legend Billy Connolly, and his unusual life tales. ‘Billy Connolly Does…’ will air on UKTV’s Gold channel on 24th February 2022.

‘Billy Connolly Does…’ is a new TV show about the legendary comedian’s 50-year career as told by the man himself. Although the 79-year-old has retired from stand up, his presence continues on our screens, providing fans and viewers with a glimpse into his life. The show was commissioned by UKTV’s Iain Coyle, the Head of Comedy Entertainment in partnership with Moonshine Features. Each episode focuses on musings on a given topic like work, travel, parenthood, and love.

All the interviews took place at Connolly’s Florida home, filmed by his frequent collaborator, director Mike Reilly. Many of ‘The Big Yin’s’ weird and wonderful tales, were so evocative it struck Reilly that animation could prove the answer. Kong Studio stepped in to help Reilly realise his (and Connolly’s) vision.

The first thing to pin down was the design of Connolly himself – the avatar needed to be instantly recognisable. With Connolly being an accomplished artist himself, the Kong team had plenty of material to work with. Kong, inspired by Connolly’s line drawings, went to work replicating his signature hair, iconic lycra and banana boots. Kong’s animated Big Yin was born!

Billy Connolly is one of the world’s great storytellers, so we were thrilled to be asked to help bring his stories to life. Being the renaissance man, not only is he a dab hand on the banjo but he’s also an accomplished visual artist. This helped establish the style of the animation.

We needed something quick and expressive but also identifiably Billy Connolly – and we got this all from the great man’s signature. He does a little caricature of himself when he signs stuff. This small detail gave us a great insight into how he sees himself. It’s a given he was centre stage of every anecdote, so once we had a Billy that looked good the rest almost drew itself.

Tom Baker, Kong Co-founder

How do you improve a Billy Connolly story involving a boring salesman, a rock’n’roll roadie and a bowl of trifle? Animate it.

Mike Reilly, Moonshine

I’m really looking forward to sharing a few of my favourite moments from over the years… it’s been brilliant, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride!

Billy Connolly, Comedian

So, this is a career highlight, working with one of, if not THE, greatest comedians of all time.

Iain Coyle, Head of Comedy Entertainment at UKTV

The first episode of ‘Billy Connolly Does…’ will air on 24th February at 9pm on Gold.

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