'˜Gaelic Billy Connolly' Norman MacLean dies at 80

COMEDIAN, musician and writer Norman MacLean has died at the age of 80.

Norman MacLean, the 
Uist comedian has died aged 80. Picture: Contributed
Norman MacLean, the Uist comedian has died aged 80. Picture: Contributed

Famously described as the Gaelic Billy Connolly, Glasgow-born MacLean enjoyed a career that spanned decades.

Norman grew up on Uist and Lochaber and quickly developed a passion for languages. Later years would see the comic work both English and Gaelic into his routines.

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At age 30, MacLean’s natural talent as a writer and performer was recognised at the National Mòd where he won two gold medals for poetry and singing.

But it was during a gig in 1975 that he would discover his true calling. Booked to sing at an Oban hotel, MacLean received a lukewarm reception from his mainly English audience and began telling jokes instead. They went down a storm.

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From then on, MacLean focused on improving his repertoire as a comedian and he soon became renowned all over the Highlands and Islands.

Norman was also able to forge a career on television, going on to enjoy a starring role in groundbreaking Gaelic comedy show Tormod air Telly.

Many believe Norman would have gone on to taste international success had it not been for a series of a alcohol struggles throughout his adult life.

Norman MacLean spent his latter days living in Uist.