Michael Parkinson admits he watches his old clips

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Sir Michael Parkinson, 86, admitted his doubts about being able to conduct his hard-hitting tell-all interviews in “our ultra-sensitive world” now, as opposed to the height of his career. The legendary talk-show host has been labelled the greatest in British TV history, but he revealed there’s a secret to being liked on-screen.

In this ultra-sensitive world I doubt I could actually do an interview nowadays

Sir Michael Parkinson

The hugely popular Parkinson Show ran from 1971-2004 on BBC then from 1987-2007 on ITV.

Of his own success, he said in a recent interview: “I think people have to like you.

“It’s as simple as that.”

He went on: “It’s about what they make of you, warts and all.

“That’s crucial – and if you knew the answer to it, you’d be a rich man indeed.”

But Parky wondered whether he’d be “sent off” if he conducted his interviews like he used to.

“In this ultra-sensitive world I doubt I could actually do an interview nowadays without being sent off,” he shrugged.

“There are so many pitfalls and booby traps in life now.

“I think I had the best of it.”

It comes after he issued an apology to actress Meg Ryan, after their awkward clash on-air in 2003.

She appeared on the show to promote her new film In The Cut, which was already soaring, but rather than watching the usual compelling interviews he was famous for, viewers were left cringing as their chat became one of the host’s most awkward of encounters.

Meg appeared alongside Trinny Woodhall and Susanna Constantine on the show, but came across to a lot of viewers as slightly uncomfortable.

After touching on her interest in journalism before she found her calling in acting, Parky claimed she was “weary of being interviewed” and asked what she would do if she were conducting this one.

Listening stoney-faced, she laughed bluntly: “Well I’d just wrap it up!”

“I wish I hadn’t lost my temper with Meg Ryan,” he told Radio Times ahead of a new BBC1 documentary Parkinson at 50, which airs on Saturday.

“I wish I’d dealt with it in a more courteous manner.

“I was quite obviously angry with her and it’s not my business to be angry towards the guests.”

He added: “I came across as kind of pompous and I could have done better.”

Parky admitted that if he saw the movie star again, he would apologise for how he acted.

He quickly added to Radio Times that he would tell her: “But you must understand that you played a part in it, too.

“Neither of us were on top form, and we were both discomforted.”

Parkinson’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.

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