Vale Sir Michael Parkinson CBE

Sir Michael Parkinson CBE, affectionately known as Parky, has died aged 88, after a short illness.

He started out as a newspaper journalist before moving to television working on current affairs programs.

In July 1971 he began hosting the BBC series Parkinson which ran until April 1982 and again from January 1998 until December 2007.

Particularly memorable were interviews with Muhammad Ali, Madonna and Sir Paul McCartney (Parky is on the cover of McCartney’s Band on the Run album). His favourites, and regulars, were Billy Connolly, Dame Judy Dench and Dame Edna Everage.

Radio wise, Parkinson hosted BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs for three years from 1986 to 1989. Creator and original host Roy Plomley had died in 1985 and his widow was apparently unhappy with the new choice of host. Parkinson also faces criticism from the BBC Board of Management because of an apparent “Yorkshire bias”!

In the 1990s he hosted Parkinson on Sport on BBC Radio Five Live and, until 2007, a morning show called Parkinson’s Sunday Supplement on BBC Radio 2.

A lover of cricket and Australia, Parky visited here many times and would often stay for the duration of Ashes series. Parkinson gave the keynote address in Sydney on  Australia Day 2011, the first non-Australian to do so. In 2014 he agreed to become patron of the Reg Bartley Cricket Club in Sydney, Australia. He presented Symphony at the Movies at Sydney Opera House and even appeared as himself in an episode of Neighbours.

Parky made several memorable cameo appearances in various media, demonstrating his sense of humour. He featured on Paul McCartney’s Band on the Run album cover (that’s him on the left) and interviewing ‘Billy Mac’ in the movie Love Actually.

He is survived by his wife Mary, their three children and eight grandchildren.

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