BROADCASTING legend Sir Michael Parkinson lifts the lid on the highlights of his 60-year career when he arrives at Warrington Parr Hall on October 18.
From Muhammad Ali to Billy Connolly, Orson Welles to Tom Cruise, John Lennon to Bing Crosby, Lauren Bacall to Madonna and Meg Ryan to Emu, “Parky” has interviewed everybody who’s anybody during his career.
In conversation with his son Mike and sharing highlights from the Parkinson archive, this is a unique opportunity to get an intimate, entertaining and informative look at his remarkable journey, from a pit village in Yorkshire to the top of those famous stairs, whilst reliving the best moments from a show that for many defined their Saturday night.
Here he takes part in a Q&A ahead of his show. Tickets are still available CLICK HERE
You are hosting ‘An Audience With Sir Michael Parkinson’. Can you let us know what the audience can expect?
Well, I’m co-hosting. The show is myself in conversation with son and long-term Producer Mike who takes me through my life and career with the help of some classic clips from the Parkinson archive. It’s the story of how I made it out of a pit village to the top of those famous stairs with all the highs and low along the way in the company of Connolly, Ali, Lauren Bacall, Sir David Attenborough, Joan Rivers, Sir Michael Caine. Madonna, Dane Edna Everage to name but a few. It’s a great show which I love doing and If I wasn’t on stage, I buy a ticket!
Looking forward to being in front of live audiences again?
What a treat! I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been affected by the lockdown mainly because like anyone in my age group where this virus is stalking you like a hungry wolf it has been a frightening period of my life. But getting out on the road again and sharing my enjoyment at remembering what was for me the best job in the World with an actual audience will be a real tonic.
In your mind what is the role of the media in society?
I’ve never found a better description than the original mission statement of the BBC – to inform, educate and entertain.
Not one you would expect me to say. It was with the eminent scientist Professor Jacob Bronowski. He was the writer and presenter of that landmark book and television series The Ascent of Man. It was the one time that the shape and progression of the interview went exactly the way I had prepared. But that was more to do with Professor Bronowski’s perfect command of the English language and his forensic mind then my interviewing skills.
Once, when they were still with us, I sat down with Alan Whicker and David Frost, both of whom I liked and deeply admired, and we agreed to write down on a piece of the paper the worst interviewee we had all interviewed. We then showed each other at the same time. Each of us had written down Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian anthropologist most famous for the Kon-Tiki expedition in the Pacific. We all agreed he would not be our first choice as a crewmate on a deep-sea cruise.
Top 3 songs ever written?
Too many. Here are 3 that are near the top of my list. I’ve Got You Under my Skin by Cole Porter, sung by Frank Sinatra with the arrangement by Nelson Riddle. Summertime by George and Ira Gershwin, sung peerlessly by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Love for Sale, again by Cole Porter, played as an instrumental by the Buddy Rich Big Band.
Proudest moment from your career?
Being awarded Honorary membership of the Musicians Union. Music has given me such joy in my life and my respect for anyone with musical talent knows no bounds. To be accepted into their inner circle without an ounce of musical talent is a real honour.
What do you make of current British television?
Slick, brilliantly produced, and full of talent yet sadly often soulless and derivative. I was lucky to come into television when I did.
Any advice for up-and-coming broadcasters/interviewers today?
It’s difficult to do so because the media environment they are coming into is not one I recognize nor to be honest understand. The only piece of advice I can give any aspiring interviewer is do your homework and listen.