Sir Michael Parkinson came to embody the region with his warmth and authenticity - The Yorkshire Post says

The king of British chat shows, a gentleman who was as authentic on screen as he was off it and a Yorkshireman in the truest sense.

Sir Michael Parkinson’s death at the age of 88 will not only leave a void in the lives of his nearest and dearest but in the region collectively.

He came to embody all that was great about Yorkshire. His warmth and candour made Sir Michael, or Parky as he was affectionately known across the county and beyond, such an endearing character.

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But behind the congenial personality, there was an inquisitive mind that managed to extract stories out of a range of celebrities.

Chat show host Sir Michael Parkinson has died at the age of 88. PIC: Parkinson Productions/PA WireChat show host Sir Michael Parkinson has died at the age of 88. PIC: Parkinson Productions/PA Wire
Chat show host Sir Michael Parkinson has died at the age of 88. PIC: Parkinson Productions/PA Wire

Parky’s professionalism made him the standard bearer of the British chat show. His style often imitated but never replicated.

In fact, his influence can be widely seen in the way British and American chat shows diverge. While American hosts have a bombastic approach to presenting, Parky showed that a much more thoughtful and considered presenting style could still be as entertaining if not more so.

Comedian Eddie Izzard is right to call him “the king of the intelligent interview”.

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It was clear for everyone to see that Parky genuinely cared about the story of the person that he was interviewing. And more importantly, he would listen, enabling Parky to get more insightful answers.

Of course, it didn’t always go to plan, for example the frosty interview with American actress Meg Ryan.

However, Parky would never shy away from reflecting on what he could have done better.

Away from the screen, like many Yorkshiremen, Sir Michael was a huge cricket fan, as well as following the fortunes of his beloved Barnsley FC.

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Prior to his broadcasting career, Parky and Barnsley Cricket Club opening partner Dickie Bird had trials at Yorkshire alongside future England batter Geoffrey Boycott.

Sir Michael once even kept the great Boycott out of his hometown Barnsley team but the pair, and Bird, a former international umpire, established lifelong friendships. They formed a trio that was Yorkshire through and through.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s minute’s silence for Sir Michael before the team’s One Day Cup game at Clifton Park in York against Hampshire was impeccably observed and poignant. He previously also served as president of Scarborough Cricket Club.

Sir Michael’s hit TV show Parkinson first aired on the BBC in 1971, running successfully until 1982. The chat show was revived on the BBC in 1998 and proved an instant hit. It switched from the BBC to ITV1 in 2004 and ran until 2007.

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His success inspired a generation of journalists and broadcasters from this region.

It gave Yorkshire folk the confidence that you could succeed in TV land without having to abandon your accent.

It’s why collectively Yorkshire is mourning the passing of one of its favourite sons.