Actor and comedian Billy Connolly has joked that he surprised that he is not gay because “the women in my life are nightmares”.

The 70-year-old made the comments during a BBC interview about his difficult upbringing.

Connolly described how his Aunt Mona had regularly humiliated him by rubbing his underpants in his face and leaving notes saying “thief” in the biscuit jar, having once discovered an erotic poem in his possession.

“And I had a teacher Rosie MacDonald who was a bit of a psychopath so I would leave my aunt and go to Rosie. It’s astonishing I’m not gay because the women in my life are nightmares.”

Connolly continued: “I remember my sister standing outside school teaching me long division. I was scared to go in because I didn’t know long division and I knew Rosie would kill me. My sister, who became a school teacher, explained it to me. She was my guardian angel.”

In the interview Connolly spoke of how he still loves his late father, despite being sexually abused by him for five years.

He said the power of forgiveness was “immense”.