Sir Michael Parkinson CBE is a broadcaster, journalist and author. An impressive and entertaining after dinner speaker and auctioneer, Sir Michael’s career spans over 50 years. He is best-known for presenting his long-running television talk show, Parkinson during which he interviewed over 2000 people including such greats as Muhammad Ali and Lauren Bacall. And the most memorable of all his interviews is probably the one with Meg Ryan
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Sir Michael Parkinson 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 TV came when he joined Granada Television in 1962 as a producer before appearing in front of the camera. He returned to Granada to write and present Cinema which introduced him to a significant TV audience before moving to the BBC to join the 24 Hours team. His talk show Parkinson was launched in 1971 and ran until 1982.
He has also had a successful career on radio. In 1996 Michael launched a Sunday morning show on Radio 2 – which ran for 12 years. In 1998 he was separately honoured for his work in journalism, radio and television. The same year saw a new series of Parkinson start on BBC1 lasting until 2003 and winning many awards including a BAFTA in 1999. Parkinson was voted in the top ten in a British Film Institute poll of the Best Television Programmes Of All Time. The show ran for over 800 episodes and Michael interviewed more than 2,000 of the world’s most famous people during its run.
He was awarded a CBE in June 2000 and a knighthood for services to broadcasting in the 2008 New Year’s honours list. He was installed as Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University in 2008, a post he held until 2014, started his own Production Company and his autobiography, Parky, topped the Best Sellers charts in 2008/2009. 2009 saw Michael embark on a tour entitled Parky: The One Man Show in which he told of his life and career to packed-out venues in Australia and New Zealand. 2010 saw the launch of two further projects, headed by Michael and Parkinson Productions – the release of another book – Parky’s People – and a Best Of Parkinson DVD. In March 2011 Michael and Sir David Frost collaborated in Sydney to produce two programmes for Channel 9 Australia – Frost Over Parkinson and Parkinson: The Frost Interviews. In 2011 Michael recorded a series of radio shows for BBC Radio 2 entitled My Favourite Things. 2012 saw the launch of a new series for Sky Arts – Parkinson : Masterclass and another DVD – Parky’s Picks. In 2013 Michael recorded the second series of Parkinson: Masterclass for Sky Arts and a further series of My Favourite Things for BBC Radio 2. During 2014 Michael recorded a series for Waitrose TV, an interview with Ian Thorpe for Australia’s Channel 10 television network and a radio series for Australia’s 2CH and Magic radio stations called My Kind of Music. 2015 has seen the recording of three programmes for Australia’s Network 10 – Parkinson’s Australians, Billy Connolly – The Parkinson Interviews and Muhammad Ali – The Parkinson Interviews.
Photographer: Richard McLaren