09:00PM, Wednesday 25 August 2021
Sir Michael Parkinson said he always knew he had the ‘best job in television’ as he looked back at archive footage for a new BBC show.
Parkinson at 50, due to be broadcast on Saturday celebrates the 50th anniversary of the show that made his name.
Sir Michael, who lives in Bray, talks about humble beginnings of the legendary talk show Parkinson and how he rose to become an award-winning Saturday night staple.
During his time hosting the show he filmed over 650 episodes and interviewed more than 2,000 guests.
The journalist, who celebrated his 86th birthday earlier this year, said: “Parkinson at 50 is my story of an unlikely journey from a pit village in South Yorkshire to the top of the Parkinson stairs.
“It provides a ringside seat opposite some of the biggest names in showbusiness and beyond, an insight into the interviewer's lot, as well as an honest assessment of my time as the host of what for me was the best job in the world.”
He said it was a ‘strange experience’ looking back at his younger self in the early footage but also a ‘delight’ to see the ‘wealth of talent I was lucky enough to sit opposite and sometimes emotional to recall my interviews with fascinating people that are sadly no longer with us.”
The first show aired in 1971, in a Q&A with the BBC ahead of the programme, Sir Michael added: “I was just happy to get through the first show without falling down the stairs or forgetting the name of guest sitting opposite. I had no idea how it had gone, I knew there was something in it that I wanted to pursue but I had no idea how it would turn out.”
Sir Michael decided to leave the interview game in 2008 after interviewing big stars including Jimmy Cagney, Fred Astaire and Muhammad Ali.
Since retirement he had kept himself busy in the village, becoming a patron for The Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Charity and Men’s Matters, which supports older men to live longer and better by helping them improve their social lives.
Parkinson at 50 will be shown on BBC One at 8.30pm on Saturday, August 28.
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