Billy Connolly lends face to manbags and mousemats

HE is a former Clyde shipyard worker who went on to become the edgy wildman of stand-up comedy. But now Billy Connolly has unveiled his own range of clothing and household good - including manbags and tea towels.

The comedian is flogging a range of wacky merchandise to fans on his website, all emblazoned with the “Big Yin’s” face and best-known gags.

Images of the well-kent face of Connolly appear on almost all of the promotional material – in the form of the “Vitruvian Man” logo from his The Man Live tour and an Andy Warhol-style colourful mouse mat and mug range.

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His Fairtrade cotton “manbag”, which features the logo inspired by the famous artwork by Leonardo da Vinci, is being sold for £4.50, while caps and beanies emblazoned with the slogan “Too old to die young”, are on sale for £10 and £8 respectively.

The £10 tea towels are inscribed with one-liners including “Never trust a man who, when left alone with a tea cosy, doesn’t try it on” and “Marriage is a wonderful invention: then again so is a bicycle repair kit” and bear Connolly’s signature.

Leigh Sparks, professor of retail studies at Stirling University, said merchandise was sold to enhance a celebrity brand.

“You can never be surprised what some people will buy – though whether it is for themselves or as a gift for someone else is another question,” he said.

“It is all about branding – some celebrities do it at one end of the market by endorsing certain products and others are looking more at where else can they sell the souvenirs that people would otherwise be buying at gigs.”

In 2012, Connolly launched a range of his art work, which sells on the Castle Galleries website from between £625 to £3,500.

He also appears as a celebrity voice for TomTom sat nav devices, where he berates drivers with instructions such as “Make a U turn. None of this would have been necessary had you been listening a minute ago”.