SIR MICHAEL Parkinson is characteristically modest when he reflects on his unparalleled career in journalism and broadcasting. “I just look back and reflect on how lucky I was, basically,” he ventured while recalling his breakthrough interview with the legendary actor Laurence Olivier.
Yet, in hindsight, luck only played a very small part, if at all, because of the Yorkshireman’s uncanny ability to put his TV guests at ease and coax the biggest names in showbusiness, sport and politics to divulge their innermost secrets to a presenter who will always be known as ‘Parky’.
To them, they only knew that they had made it to the top when they received an invitation from the Cudworth-born inquisitor whose enduring appeal can be explained by his belief that the viewer watching at home was the most important person of all. If only this approach was heeded by today’s generation of chatshow hosts who think that they’re the story. They’re not.