His family has revealed that broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson passed away at the age of 88. His seven decades on television were spent interviewing the top stars in the world for his long-running chat show.
According to a statement from Sir Michael’s family, “Sir Michael Parkinson died away quietly at home yesterday night in the presence of his family after a brief illness. The grieving family asks for space and time to themselves.
BBC director general Tim Davie led the tributes, describing Sir Michael as “truly one of a kind, an incredible broadcaster and journalist who will be hugely missed”.”Michael was the king of the chat show and he defined the format for all the presenters and shows that followed,” Davie said.”He interviewed the biggest stars of the 20th Century and did so in a way that enthralled the public. Michael was not only brilliant at asking questions, he was also a wonderful listener.”
According to radio host Nick Robinson of Radio 4, “He was the greatest interviewer of our age who owned Saturday night TV for year after year.” Stephen Fry, a comedian and broadcaster, said it was “impossibly thrilling” to talk to Sir Michael. “Parky was a genius because, in contrast to most people (and most of his guests, including me), he was always completely true to himself. On and off camera. I think the word is “authentic.”
“A nice guy”
“Such very sad news that Sir Michael Parkinson passed away,” singer Elaine Paige continued. I’ve known him for a long time, performed on his TV chat show, and gone to numerous events with him. “A renowned interviewer who will be regarded as the greatest in his field. We won’t ever see somebody like him again. Sir Michael’s discussion shows, according to broadcaster and novelist Gyles Brandreth, were “truly engaging conversations that brought out the best in his guests.” And such a variety of visitors,” he added. “‘Parky’ was a wonderful man and one of my heroes. An honor to have known and collaborated with him.
“I had the privilege of doing the Michael Parkinson show three times, and it was the most I ever felt like I was in ‘proper showbiz,'” said comedian Dara O’Briain. He was kind and supportive off-screen in addition to being a great professional on-screen.
In 1971, Sir Michael debuted the first Parkinson program on BBC television. In the first 11 years of the show’s existence, Sir Michael coupled his affable demeanor with a background in journalism in hundreds of episodes. In 1998, he went back to the BBC for a second season of the program. Sir Michael estimated that he had spoken with about 2,000 different people in all.
Sir Michael was the son of a miner who fostered a passion of cricket in his son. He was born in 1935 in the South Yorkshire village of Cudworth. He completed two O-Levels and was hired by a local newspaper to compile sports results. He served in the British army for two years before beginning his career as a journalist for the Manchester Guardian, subsequently changing its name to the Guardian. He then joined the Daily Express in London. Before being hired to host his own show on BBC One, he first entered the television industry as a current affairs reporter and presenter for both Granada and the BBC.
A special two-hour farewell edition starring David Beckham, Sir Michael Caine, Sir David Attenborough, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Edna Everage, Sir Billy Connolly, Peter Kay, and Jamie Cullum marked the end of Sir Michael’s conversation show after more than 30 years in 2007. He also appeared on ITV’s TV-am breakfast program, Give Us a Clue, and BBC One’s Going For a Song. In the 1980s, he spent three years hosting Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4. From 2012 to 2014, Sir Michael served as the host of the Michael Parkinson: Masterclass television program on Sky Arts. In 2000, he received a CBE, and in 2008, he was knighted.
The host admitted to being treated with radiotherapy for prostate cancer in 2013 and claimed to have received the all-clear from physicians two years later.
Sir Michael was referred to as a “broadcasting giant who set a gold standard for the television interview” by Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer. He was one of our most beloved TV characters and spent his entire life entertaining millions of us with his Saturday night discussion program, she said. “I’m thinking of Michael’s family and friends right now.” Before play on Thursday in York, the Yorkshire County Cricket Club said that it would observe a moment of silence “to show our respects” for Sir Michael. The Barnsley Football Club announced that it had “lost one of its favourite sons” and that it was “deeply saddened” to learn of Sir Michael’s passing. In honor of Sir Michael, a documentary called Parkinson at 50 will be rebroadcast on BBC One on Thursday at 21:00 BST.
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