A TV watchdog has cleared a documentary about Sir Billy Connolly over a joke about a cat being run over by a car.

ITV's Billy Connolly: An Absolute Pleasure aired over the festive period and complaints from two people about the joke led to Ofcom reviewing the segment from the show. 

Those who complained said that a story told by the Glaswegian comedian, 79, about the death of the feline was cruel towards animals, reports The Scottish Sun. 

The National:

The joke involved a man who accidentally runs over a cat while travelling through the Highlands. After the collision, the man sees a cat lying at the side of the road and hits it with a hammer to "put it out of its misery".

He, however, discovers to his horror that the cat he struck with his car was lying dead in the wheel arch - and the one he hit with the hammer was perfectly healthy and had been "sunbathing".

Ofcom said they assessed the footage and found it did not raise issues that warranted an investigation under the Broadcasting Code. 

The National:

It was revealed in the documentary that Connolly was told the story by actor Liam Neeson. It was said that the incident happened to a crew member on the 1995 film Rob Roy. 

He said: "The cat story is one of my all-time favourites. It's joined the pantheon of things I'm proud of.

"It's very encouraging that you can take reality and dress it up and make people fall about laughing.

"Shock is an intrinsic part of comedy. The shock of the punchline from nowhere just gets people, they love it."

Connolly, who is suffering from Parkinson's disease, announced his retirement from stand-up in 2018.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: "We had two animal welfare complaints on this, related to a joke about a cat being run over.

"After careful assessment, Ofcom has decided not to pursue the complaints because they did not raise issues warranting investigation."