Bill Nighy ponders his longevity – ‘missed a lot of days’

This Morning: Bill Nighy 'turned down' Dad's Army five times

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While Bill Nighy is 73, he is adamant he has “missed a lot of days through just bad habits”. In a candid interview, the Love Actually (2003) actor was reportedly talking about smoking, drinking, sugar, and “anything else that shortens [his] life”. Let’s take smoking, for example, which is “one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK”, according to the NHS.

Smoking is linked to 70 percent of lung cancer cases, in addition to cancer in the mouth, throat, bowel, and cervix.

Smoking damages the heart and blood circulation, increasing the risk of:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Pneumonia.

When Nighy referred to drinking, there’s no doubt he would be talking about alcohol consumption.

Drinking alcohol carries health risks, especially when people regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

Up to 20 years of regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week can lead to:

  • Mouth cancer, throat cancer and breast cancer
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Brain damage
  • Damage to the nervous system.

“There’s also evidence that regular drinking at high-risk levels can make your mental health worse,” the NHS adds.

When it comes to sugar, the overconsumption of it can lead to weight gain and tooth decay.

Obesity is also linked to adverse health, such as: diabetes, high cholesterol, and asthma.

Turning towards his emotional health, Nighy told the Metro that he suffers from “personal anxiety [and] feelings of inadequacy”.

“I’ve been trying to correct that; trying to, you know…” he teetered, “have a good time. Which is not always easy.”


The health body describes anxiety as “a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe”.

While “everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life”, when it begins to affect day-to-day life, it could be generalised anxiety disorder.

“People with generalised anxiety disorder feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed,” the NHS clarifies.

While the exact cause of this condition is not known, research suggests it could be linked to a history of stressful experiences and an imbalance in brain chemicals.

Most specifically, there seemingly is an imbalance between the brain chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline.

The About Time (2013) character said: “You get to a certain age and you look at the clock and you think, ‘Hang on, I’m nearly dead.'”

Pondering on his life, he questioned: “When do we really get started? When are you going to stop just reacting to stuff?

“And when are you going to ask those big questions like: what makes you happy?”

Bill Nighy starred in Dad’s Army, which is showcasing on Saturday, December 17 on BBC Two at 6.55pm.

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