Parky’s final sign-off: Broadcasting legend Sir Michael Parkinson drops the mike at 88 (video)

Picture courtesy of the BBC.

Heartfelt tributes poured in after news broke earlier that chat host and broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson has died at the age of 88.

Parkinson enjoyed a glorious television career that spanned seven decades and saw him engaging with the world’s most prominent stars on his enduring chat show.

A statement from Parkinson’s family revealed his peaceful passing.

“After a short illness, Sir Michael Parkinson departed peacefully at his home last night, surrounded by family. The family kindly request that they are granted the privacy and time to grieve.”

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BBC Director General, Tim Davie, led the tributes, eulogized…

“Truly one of a kind, an incredible broadcaster and journalist who will be hugely missed.

“Michael was the king of the chat show and he defined the format for all the presenters and shows that followed.

“He interviewed the biggest stars of the 20th Century and did so in a way that enthralled the public. Michael was not only brilliant at asking questions, he was also a wonderful listener.”

Radio 4 presenter Nick Robinson added…

“He was the supreme interviewer of our era and dominated Saturday night television year after year.”

The popular TV presenter launched the first Parkinson show in 1971 on BBC television. His first guest was the famous American jazz singer Marion Montgomery. Initially running for 11 years, the show amassed hundreds of episodes where Parkinson seamlessly amalgamated an avuncular demeanour with a journalistic approach. He made a return to the BBC in 1998 for another stint. Over the years, Parkinson estimated to interview over 2000 guests.

Among his high-profile guests were luminary figures such as Sir Billy Connolly, Muhammad Ali, Sir Elton John, Madonna, and Dame Helen Mirren.

Born in 1935 in the South Yorkshire hamlet of Cudworth, Parkinson, the son of a miner, developed a love for cricket, largely influenced by his father. His early achievements included two O-Levels and a job collating sports results for a local newspaper.

Following a two-year stint in the British army, he pursued a career in journalism, making his mark in the Manchester Guardian (later renamed The Guardian) before joining the Daily Express in London. He then ventured into television as a current affairs presenter and a reporter for both Granada and the BBC, before he was selected to present his eponymous show on BBC One.

Among the multitude of high-profile guests, Parkinson named boxer Muhammad Ali as his favourite.

His television career spanned various other shows, including ITV’s TV-am breakfast show, Give Us a Clue, and BBC One’s Going For a Song, as well as the Sky Arts series called Michael Parkinson: Masterclass from 2012 to 2014. Recognised with a CBE in 2000, he was knighted in 2008.

Parkinson revealed in 2013 that he was undergoing radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, assuring fans two years later that he had received the all-clear from doctors.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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