Sir Michael Parkinson has been hailed as a “broadcasting giant” who was the “king of the intelligent interview” following his death at the age of 88.
Sir Michael became a familiar face on both the BBC and ITV with his intimate celebrity interviews, most notably on the BBC show Parkinson.
Some of the celebrities he interviewed have paid tribute after his family announced he died “peacefully at home” on Wednesday.
“The genius of Parky was that unlike most people (and most of his guests, me included) he was always 100 per cent 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.” – comedian Stephen Fry via Instagram.
“He was so close to me. We were friends since we were youngsters, his father and my father worked down the mines together in Barnsley and we have been friends all of our lives. His friendship meant more to me than anything else. It meant so much to me. Our friendship, if I wanted any advice I would ring Parky up. He helped me in so many, many ways. There will never be a chat show host like Michael Parkinson. He was the best. There will never be anyone better than him in your lifetime, my lifetime or anyone else’s lifetime.” – former cricket umpire Dickie Bird in a statement.
“He was a Barnsley boy, like myself, and it was an absolute pleasure to know him and his family. We are all devastated here at Yorkshire and thoughts of everyone at the Club are with Sir Michael’s family and friends at this sad time.” – Yorkshire Cricket Club managing director of cricket Darren Gough in a statement.
“We’ll never forget his brilliant interviews with Muhammad Ali, Dame Edna, Billy Connolly and, of course, ‘that bloody emu’.” – comedian and actor Matt Lucas.
“Michael arrived, chatted away to us, not a nerve in sight, when the band starting playing the theme tune. Michael paused, smiled and said ‘They’re playing my tune’ and walked straight out and started the show. Lovely.” – comedian Dara O Briain via Twitter.
“They don’t make them like that anymore. Rip Sir Michael Parkinson.” – Irish broadcaster and journalist Eamonn Holmes via Twitter.
“Very sad to hear that Michael Parkinson has left us. He was the king of the intelligent interview.” – comedian Eddie Izzard via Twitter.
“Such very sad breaking news that Sir Michael Parkinson has died. Have known him for many years, sang on his TV chat show & attended many events with him. A legendary interviewer that will be remembered as the best of his profession. We will never see his like again.” – British singer and actress Elaine Paige via Twitter.
“A broadcasting giant who set a gold standard for the television interview. He spent his life entertaining millions of us with his Saturday night talk show & was one of our most treasured TV personalities. My thoughts are with Michael’s family & friends.” – UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer.
“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. Michael was truly one of a kind, an incredible broadcaster and journalist who will be hugely missed.” – BBC director-general Tim Davie in a statement.