SIR MICHAEL Parkinson asked many tough questions during his broadcasting career when the ‘lad from Barnsley’ became a national institution as he quizzed the great and the good.
Yet it speaks volumes about changing attitudes in contemporary society that the most challenging question of call came at a photo-call when he asked a lady mayoress “Do you mind if I put my arm on your shoulder?” because he did not want to cause offence. “Not at all, why do you ask?” she replied.
Some will say that such gestures are out of place.
Others will contend that the country is becoming too sensitive. Either way, context is critical. And some people are, naturally, more tactile than others.
However, as TV viewers here will testify, ‘Parky’ remains the number one interviewer of all time. He got the best out of his guests – and they never complained. To be invited onto his show was regarded as a privilege. And just compare his programmes, and the entertainment they provided to millions, to the banality of The One Show and its like today. Now that’s a talking point.