My Yorkshire background made me feel I didn’t belong at the BBC says Michael Parkinson

Michael Parkinson

Michael Parkinson

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HE WAS the ultimate Barnsley lad made good.

And last night Sir Michael Parkinson, the man who bridged journalism and showbusiness, was honoured with an interview with Kirsty Young.

This time, Parky, as he is affectionately known in his home town, was answering the questions, not asking them.

‘BAFTA A Life in Television’ is a strand of live onstage events that celebrate leading figures from the world of television, shining a light on their talent and their contribution to British television and culture. The strand has previously hosted Sheffield-born actor and presenter Michael Palin, journalist and presenter Sir Trevor McDonald and actress Julie Walters.

Taking his turn in the interviewee’s chair, he said: “I felt like I didn’t belong at the BBC.

“I felt I didn’t have the right education. The unease was never enforced, but it seeps into the woodwork.”

About growing up in the mining village of Cudworth, he said: “You can’t shake that off, no matter where you go, so it makes you less confident.

“I was always waiting to be found out...You never quite believe your luck.”

Sir Michael began his career as a journalist on local papers and as a features writer for the Daily Express and Manchester Guardian. His first foray into television came when he joined Granada Television in 1962 as a producer before appearing in front of the camera.

His best-known talk show Parkinson, which launched in 1971, ran for over 800 episodes and Sir Michael interviewed more than 2,000 of the world’s most famous people during its run including Fred Astaire, Orson Welles, Sir Alec Guinness, Sir Paul McCartney and Muhammad Ali.

The show initially ran until 1982 and in 1998 a new series of Parkinson started on BBC One, lasting until 2003 and winning many awards. Sir Michael went on to receive a string of BAFTA nominations for Parkinson in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

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