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Legendary broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson has died aged 88

Joe Harker

Published 
| Last updated 

Legendary broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson has died aged 88

Legendary interviewer and chat show host Sir Michael Parkinson has died at the age of 88, his family have confirmed.

"After a brief illness Sir Michael Parkinson passed away peacefully at home last night in the company of his family," his family told the BBC in a statement.

"The family request that they are given privacy and time to grieve."

In a long career where he became an icon of British telly, he interviewed countless celebrities and was known for developing an incredible rapport with those he spoke to.

The BBC show Parkinson ran first between 1971 and 1982 before another stint, which started in 1998, and hopped over to ITV in 2004 before concluding in 2007.

He was also part of the BBC's infamous Ghostwatch show in 1992 which tricked viewers into believing that the broadcast was being disrupted by an actual ghost.

Sir Michael Parkinson and his wife Mary pictured at Wimbledon in 2022. Credit: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Sir Michael Parkinson and his wife Mary pictured at Wimbledon in 2022. Credit: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

He was knighted in 2008, a year after the end of Parkinson and his retirement from his Sunday morning slot on Radio 2.

Growing up in Yorkshire, Parkinson initially dreamed of playing cricket for the county before leaving school aged 16 and working for his local paper.

He moved to the Manchester Guardian and the Daily Express before becoming a TV producer at Granada and then Thames TV before getting his own chat show with the BBC.

Welcoming the likes of Muhammad Ali, David Beckham, John Lennon and David Bowie onto his show, Parkinson soon became the place where the biggest stars in the world were interviewed for British audiences.

There were, of course, some controversial interviews, including a 1975 interview with Dame Helen Mirren where he introduced her as the Royal Shakespeare Company's 'sex queen' and asked if her 'physical attributes' stopped people from seeing her as a serious actress.

Sir Michael Parkinson had a legendary career on TV as an interviewer. Credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images
Sir Michael Parkinson had a legendary career on TV as an interviewer. Credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

His legendary career as a chat show host and interviewer ended in 2007 with a special episode of his show featuring David Beckham, Sir Michael Caine, Sir David Attenborough, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Edna Everage, Sir Billy Connolly, Peter Kay and Jamie Cullum.

On his final show, he said it had been a 'privilege to meet some of the most intelligent and interesting people' and said he would miss his time on TV.

It closed the book on a glittering career as British TV's top interviewer having spoken to hundreds of celebrities over many decades.

In addition to his prolific and prestigious body of work for TV, he was also highly respected as a radio broadcaster and sports writer, having presented shows such as Desert Island Discs while he put his love of cricket into the written word.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: UK News, Celebrity

Joe Harker
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