Thursday, August 17, 2023

Michael Parkinson

Michael Parkinson was a legend.

That is the most appropriate opening sentence I can give this afternoon after switching my laptop on and finding out that the presenter has passed away.

I grew up in the 1980s, so I wasn't born when my most favourite interviews of his took place. They were with Muhammad Ali and played countless times on TV over the years. Parkinson and Ali, even though it wasn't the intention, became quite a double act whenever they met for a one-on-one.

Muhammad Ali and Michael Parkinson

Of course, seeing as I've established that most of my childhood was spent hanging out in the 1980s, I cannot write about Michael Parkinson without mentioning one more classic moment from his career. It also took place before I was born. However, it involved someone - or rather: something - I would enjoy watching as a kid.

Michael Parkinson with Rod Hull & Emu

In one of the most iconic moments in television history - and I am 100% sure will be mentioned in obituary pieces over the coming days - Parkinson interviewed Rod Hull and his puppet, Emu.

The interview turned into a delightful farce with Emu attacking the interviewer. 

I've only focused on the first two (three if we're going to count Rod Hull!) interviewees I thought of upon hearing of Parkinson's passing. There are tons, and tons, of other subjects he spoke with throughout the years. 

I'm close to certain that it was during an interview with Michael Parkinson when Victoria Beckham announced that her pet name for David Beckham was 'Goldenballs'. It led to the footballer being tagged with that moniker from that moment onwards.

The next day or so will be filled with some great tributes. 

I hope there is at least one programme dedicated to Parkinson showing off some of his work. It'll be intriguing to see how it works because he spent his career being associated with both the BBC and ITV, so both channels could bring out their own content honouring their former employee and colleague.

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