Sir Billy first revealed the abuse he suffered in a biography written by his wife Pamela Stephenson in 2001 – 12 years after his father, William, died. The 76-year-old said victims should open up about what they suffered and try to forgive the perpetrators as a way of moving on with their lives. He also insisted people should feel no shame about what had happened to them. Speaking to RTÉ Radio in Ireland, he said: “I got rid of it by talking about it. I just unleashed it on the public and it’s theirs to deal with now. I’m glad I did it.
“It was especially the forgiveness part. When you forgive the people for what they did to you, it releases you.”
Asked what he would say to survivors of sexual abuse, he said: “The shame is nothing to do with you, you are not to blame, you are the victim.
“But try the forgiveness, try to forgive the person for what they did to you, even if they are dead it doesn’t matter.
“It’s remarkable. You can lift your head up, it releases you completely, especially from the shame because people can get upset by the fact they have taken part in it. That’s what brings the shame.
“It’s very weird, it’s very complex.”
Sir Billy’s mother walked out on the family when he was three, leaving him to be brought up by his father and two aunts.
He and his father regularly shared a bed together in their flat in Glasgow and he was abused between the ages of 10 and 15.
In an interview in 2013, the comic, who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, said he still loved his father and considered him to be a “great man”.