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Still the host with the most, Parky at 82

Sir Michael Parkinson, Warwick Arts Centre, October 13 only.

As someone who looks back with great affection at those Saturday Nights in the 1970s when Match of the Day was followed by his chat show, I must say that I eagerly awaited seeing the great man ‘in the flesh’ for the first time

Like the rest of the audience I wasn’t disappointed as we were shown clips of some of the of the show’s most memorable moments and were treated to dozens of anecdotes, memories and perceptions.

To help the remarkably sprightly 82-year-old fill the two hours he was joined onstage by his youngest son Mike who ably demonstrated similarly impressive interview skills.

Parky began by describing his childhood in a Yorkshire mining village, his hatred of his grammar school education and his first steps into a career in journalism.

His move to broadcasting began with him joining the production team of the newly formed Granada TV in the early 60s. His first experience in front of the camera came when he interviewed a very young Mick Jagger and pointed out to him that the Rolling Stones had enjoyed two years of success. When he enquired how long he thought they’d last, Jagger modestly predicted ‘perhaps another year’!

However, it is for his Saturday night show for which Parkinson will be best remembered. He was initially contracted for 10 shows and ended up doing more than 800.

We were given excerpts from some amazing interviews from legends of the stage, film, television and sport. We did not get to see the often repeated assault by Rod Hull’s emu.

‘I strangled the bloody thing afterwards,’ Parky quipped.

He received a standing ovation from a very appreciative audience and you could not fail to be impressed by his remarkable memories, his insights and his humility.

I, for one, am pleased that he is keeping active by going on tour and will shortly be co-writing, with Mike Jnr, a further book about one of his favourite interviewees – Mohammed Ali.

Great stuff Michael – much better than making those dubious over 50 insurance adverts!

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