Months before his death, Sir Michael Parkinson made some frank remarks about his career in his last TV appearance on the BBC.
On Thursday August 17, it was announced that the former host of celebrated talk show Parkinson had died at the age of 88.
In a statement shared with the BBC, his family said: ‘After a brief illness Sir Michael Parkinson passed away peacefully at home last night in the company of his family.
‘The family request that they are given privacy and time to grieve.’
Following the news of his death, fans have been remembering many of Sir Michael’s most unforgettable moments on TV, from sparring with boxing legend Muhammad Ali to having a frosty exchange with Hollywood star Meg Ryan.
One of the journalist’s final TV appearances before his death took place in November last year for an interview on BBC Breakfast.
During the conversation, Sir Michael admitted that he didn’t ‘recognise’ his former self, describing his talk show persona as a ‘disguise’.
After being asked by Naga Munchetty if he ever ‘got sick’ of watching old clips of his TV show, he responded: ‘Absolutely.’
‘I don’t recognise the person,’ he continued. ‘It’s a disguise. This is a disguise. You’re not yourself at all – it changes you, no matter how considerate you might be with the problems of being famous. It changes you, and it’s bound to.’
Naga questioned ‘how’ it changes you, to which Sir Michael replied: ‘Just people’s reaction to you, and it makes you sometimes a worse person than you are.’
Later that month, Sir Michael appeared on 5 News for another interview with Dan Walker, where he expressed his desire to interview President Vladimir Putin and discussed the men’s World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
‘The interview any self-respecting journalist would want to do now is with President Putin. He’s the man who controls us, we are in the palm of his hand, our fate is there. What’s he going to do? What’s he all about?’ he said at the time.
‘I mean, you can’t be so far removed from reality that don’t you wake up every morning and think what the hell is going to happen today? I mean we are in a terrible political situation, the war is, and Putin is the man who has caused this concern. And so you would like to know, like to find out, what is he about?
‘What are his plans, what does he really want to achieve? Does he want a worldwide conflict? Does he want a nuclear war? I mean these are questions that affect us all and most certaibly will affect us all, unless we find a solution to this problem Putin has created.’
His talk show Parkinson aired from 1971 until 1982, before returning in 1988 until the final episode aired in 2007.
The host spoke to individuals including Sir David Attenborough, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Orson Welles on the show, with many remembering him after his death as the ‘king’ of interviewing.
Eddie Izzard wrote on Twitter: ‘Very sad to hear that Michael Parkinson has left us. He was the king of the intelligent interview.’
In a moving post, Stephen Fry shared: ‘The genius of Parky was that unlike most people (and most of his guests, me included) he was always 100% himself. On camera and off. ‘Authentic’ is the word I suppose.
‘For one of the shows I was on with Robin Williams, a genius of unimaginable comic speed and brilliance. Now they’re both gone.
‘One should get used to the parade of people constantly falling off the edge, but frankly one doesn’t. So long #parky.’
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