Parkinson (TV Series 1971–2007) Poster

(1971–2007)

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Travolta, Hawn and Sergeant in Bland snooze fest...
StockportLad835 October 2005
ITV obviously bares a grudge against the BBC. The loss of the Premiership must still be fresh in the mind; why else would Parkinson air before Match Of The Day? As ruthless as it may sound, they're cunningly boring the audience to sleep.

Michael Parkinson has been peddling the same inoffensive, tired format for years now, and last nights episode was no exception. Guests included "the evergreen" Goldie Hawn, "the king of cool" John Travolta and, erm, "political correspondant" John Sergeant. 'Parky's golden rule is set out nice and clear from the outset: the bigger the star, the bigger the brown nosing.

He has neither the 'blokey' charm of Frank Skinner nor the wit of Jonathon Ross, but has somehow managed to remain increasingly popular throughout the years.

Unsurprisingly enough, Hawn was given an easy ride as far as questions go. Parkinson beamed on about her "glittering, successful career," clearly not having done his research. The fact remains that Hawn has not had a hit movie in nearly ten years. Her career is littered with far more misses than hits, but the way the he rambled on was like she'd won several Oscars. But she hasn't, and never will.

Next in the interviewee's chair was John Sergeant. Like Hawn, he too had a book to promote. This time though, it was about Margaret Thatcher. Sergeant claimed that with this book he "aimed to bring together the people who loved her and those who hated her." Parkinson agreed, but then again he would do. Hawn laughed uncontrollably at Sergeants mildly amusing political jokes, with one clear motive in her head: to make the audience believe that not all blondes are dumb.

John Travolta then took to the stage for his relentless barrage of lacklustre questioning. During his gruelling stint he was asked ridiculous questions such as "how do you manage to keep your feet on the ground?" This of course, was to a man, who, has two 747's parked in the driveway of his 60 acre mansion, and commands a $20 million fee for each film he's in. At one stage, Travolta told the story of the time he danced with Princess Diana - "I was told it was one of the highlights of her life" he beamed, "and one of mine too" he responded a good ten seconds later. At which point every middle aged housewife in Great Britain must of gone "Aw he's a lovely man." Parkinson then, for the first time in nearly 45 minutes asked a daring question - "Is their anytime in your career that you would point out as your lowest?" ("We've all had them," said Parkinson, obviously referring to the infamous Ali interview that occurred shortly after the invention of the wheel). Travolta though was allowed to skate around the question by referring to a time his car broke down.

And then it was back to sitting on the fence again for Parkinson, a position he's become rather too comfortable with throughout his career.
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a British Institution
djamesc23 December 2001
Michael Parkinson is an institution. The most loved interviewer in Britain, he has interviewed everyone from Ali to Lopez. He instantly puts his guests at ease which means they forget the are on a TV show and just go off on there own little anecdotes like they are with a close friend. On no other show would John CLeese admit to being a virgin till his mid 20s!! And no where else would Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) say her husband wears her underwear and his nickname is Golden Balls!

This is definitly a show worth watching, he has the biggest stars and the best technique, he is what all hosts should be. Watch and enjoy.
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8/10
The golden chat show of the golden age
matthew-5823 March 2008
The 1970s was the golden age of British television for so many reasons, not least because it was a time when television executives still assumed their viewers were intelligent enough to watch somebody sitting in a chair and speaking at length, without the need for regular interruptions and jokes from the interviewer. Michael Parkinson, unlike today's chat show hosts, was not a comedian, he was a journalist, and his talent was simply for researching his subjects and showing an interest in what they had to say. The remarkable thing about Parkinson was the variety of the guests. His abilities as an interviewer meant that he was able to successfully deal with guests as different as raconteurs (Kenneth Williams, Peter Ustinov), poets (John Betjeman), authors (Leslie Thomas), musicians (Duke Ellington) and scientists (Jacob Bronowski). Parkinson never dominated the show, he was quite happy to let the guests do that. As a result, he gave British television its greatest chat show, a standard that most subsequent chat shows didn't even bother to attempt.

In the 1970s the big stars rarely gave interviews, there were three television channels and no videos, DVDs or Internet. Parkinson had provided a rare opportunity to see these people. Clearly, things could not be the same when, in 1998, the BBC decided to resurrect the series, 16 years since it had ended. A great deal had changed in television over that period. As the 1990s progressed, the talk show increasingly became the domain of comedians as hosts: Jonathan Ross, Clive Anderson, Frank Skinner and Graham Norton. As such, chat shows became more lightweight and more about the host than the guest. Also, with the explosion of the media in the 1980s and 1990s, another effect was the decline in the meaning of celebrity. The revival of Parkinson lasted for nearly ten years but, unfortunately, the show was dying a slow death, with the man all too often having to interview celebrities so minor that you couldn't have made them up in the 1970s: Trinny & Susannah, Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Gordon Ramsay for examples. As hard as he tried, Parkinson could never convince me that he was as interested in these people as the great stars of the original series. I certainly wasn't.

In fairness, when he had a good guest he was still better than anyone else. One of his greatest abilities was to interview celebrities who are instinctively private and dislike the spotlight on themselves as subjects. He was better than anyone else at making these stars feel comfortable and able to talk, with Rowan Atkinson and Bobby Charlton being prime examples. I actually think that from what I have seen, only his contemporaries David Frost and Melvyn Bragg rival Parkinson in this regard.

Parkinson has now wrapped up his chat show. He has said himself that his show was the last survivor of the talk shows based on conversation. Now, all we have are the comedy shows based on the American format. In some ways it's a shame, in other ways it isn't. Most of the really fascinating stars are now dead or very, very old. Very few modern stars captivate the attention for very long, as Parkinson found in the last few years. Because even Parkinson couldn't make people interesting if they simply weren't.
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Thanks Parky
walkerus13 August 2004
I have just seen a 'Parky' show with the delightful Lesley Garrett. Apart from her marvelous voice, I was amazed at her vivacity and sense of humour. It was entertainment at it's best. Lesley was introduced as styling herself more like Gracie Fields than Maria Callas ... I'm sure she is truly loved for being herself.

If it wasn't for this type of show (and Parkinson show is the best of this genre) One would never see the other side of some of these celebrities, and we would be poorer for it.

It seems some people don't like the Parkinson show, these few people shouldn't watch it, especially when their jealousy for Parkinson's popularity shows so much.
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Enjoyable late evening chat
chris_gaskin12328 February 2005
Michael Parkinson recently moved his chat show from BBC1 to ITV as BBC1 had offered him an earlier evening slot which he refused and ITV had no problem screening it at similar times as on BBC1. It is now usually shown at around 10 to 11:15 pm on Saturdays.

He has interviewed many stars over the years including some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Some of these stars include Michael Caine, Jimmy Tarbuck, John Wayne, Bruce Forsyth, Cilla Black, Julie Walters, Bruce Willis, Anne Widdecombe, Will Smith, Samual L Jackson and Kenneth Williams. One actor I'm surprised he has not interviewed yet is Leonardo DiCaprio, but there is time yet.

I quite enjoy watching Parkinson on Saturdays, even though sometimes he has guests on that I have never heard of. Certainly better than Johnathan Ross's Friday chat show.

Long may Parky be chat show king.
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8/10
Parkinson
jboothmillard18 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
BAFTA winning (and three-time nominated) Michael Parkinson, otherwise known as "Parky" has been doing chat shows since the 70s. He is probably the most popular chat show host there has ever been. He always invites the best guests for a laugh, the latest talk about them, or to perform, and every episode is good. He has had nearly everybody you can think of in entertainment. He's had Muhammad Ali, Charlton Heston, David Niven, Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, Dudley Moore, Jack Lemmon, Kenneth Williams, Sir Peter Ustinov, Bing Crosby, George Best, Dame Maggie Smith, James Stewart, Orson Welles, Phil Silvers, Gene Kelly, Bette Davis, Sir Elton John, Fred Astaire, Peter O'Toole, Michael Crawford, Sir Alec Guinness, Billy Connolly, Shelley Winters, Barry Humphries (as Dame Edna Everage), Olivia Newton-John, Ken Dodd, James Cagney, Joanna Lumley, Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball (as Cannon and Ball), Jacqueline Bisset, Bob Hope, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Paul Merton, Sir David Attenborough, George Michael, Alan Davies, Sir Michael Caine, Harry Enfield, Oprah Winfrey, Robbie Coltrane, Eddie Izzard, Dame Diana Rigg, Sir Paul McCartney, Sting, Martin Kemp, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Richard Briers, Richard E. Grant, Alistair McGowan, Minnie Driver, Griff Rhys Jones, Vanessa Feltz, Lulu, Kenneth Branagh, Bob Monkhouse, Victoria Wood, Dawn French, Sir Tom Jones, Mike Reid, Jennifer Saunders, Ben Elton, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julie Walters, Robson Green, Hugh Laurie, Jane Horrocks, Lord Sir Richard Attenborough, Richard Wilson, Sir Terry Wogan, Dolly Parton, Kirk Douglas, John Cleese, Martin Clunes, Kevin Costner, Lee Evans, Sir John Mills, Tamzin Outhwaite, Hugh Grant, Robbie Williams, John Hurt, Ulrika Jonsson, Jack Dee, Sir David Jason, Ronan Keating, David and Victoria Beckham, Jim Davidson, Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Anne Robinson, Noddy Holder, Ricky Tomlinson, Cher, Stephen Fry, Gabrielle, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Martine McCutcheon, Cilla Black, Liza Tarbuck, Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe, Kylie Minogue, Mel Gibson, Dame Judi Dench, Kevin Spacey, Céline Dion, Ian Hislop, Sacha Baron Cohen (as Ali G), Tony Bennett, Jeff Bridges, James Nesbitt, Rob Brydon, Timothy Spall, Chris Tarrant, Brian May, Tom Hanks, Ricky Gervais, Michael Palin, Gillian Anderson, Madness, Paul O'Grady, Nigella Lawson, Steve Coogan, Charlotte Church, Jools Holland, Beverley Knight, Jamie Oliver, Ardal O'Hanlon, Rowan Atkinson, Pierce Brosnan, Jeremy Clarkson, Neil Morrissey, Denise Van Outen, Gloria Gaynor, Sir Ian McKellen, David Dickinson, Hugh Jackman, Des O'Connor, Matthew Perry, Heather Small, Dame Shirley Bassey, Ronnie Corbett, Amanda Holden, Jo Brand, Annie Lennox, Dame Helen Mirren, Ronni Ancona, Dido, Sir Sean Connery, Boris Johnson, Sheryl Crow, Clint Eastwood, Shane Richie, Meg Ryan, Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, Rod Stewart, Emma Thompson, Peter Kay, Will Young, Gwyneth Paltrow, David Bowie, Alicia Keys, Katie Melua, Johnny Vegas, Robson Green, Harry Connick Jr., Lionel Richie, Patrick Stewart, Jon Culshaw, Bill Nighy, Jimmy Carr, Ross Kemp, Nigel Harman, Joss Stone, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Mick Hucknall, Davina McCall, Gordon Ramsay, LeAnn Rimes, Bruce Forsyth, Tom Cruise, Kelly Holmes, Naomi Campbell, Simon Cowell, Denzel Washington, Lenny Henry, Frank Skinner, Dame Julie Andrews, Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, Kevin Kline, Sir Cliff Richard, Joan Rivers, Lauren Bacall, Tina Turner, Mel Brooks, Renée Zellweger, Joe Pasquale, Barbara Windsor, Sir Bob Geldof, Bruce Willis, Will Smith, Patsy Kensit, Jerry Springer, Ray Winstone, Sandra Bullock, Billie Piper, John Sergeant, John Travolta, Anastacia, James Blunt, Robert Lindsay, Matt Lucas and David Walliams, Susan Sarandon, Madonna, Chris Evans, Matthew Kelly, Stevie Wonder, Dave Spikey, Rachel Weisz, John Williams, Tony Blair, Kathy Burke, Sharon Stone, Bette Midler, Jane Fonda, Daniel Day-Lewis, Noel Edmonds, Kathleen Turner, Martin Freeman, Melvyn Bragg, Jamie Foxx, Jeremy Paxman, Corinne Bailey Rae, Jude Law, Justin Timberlake, Kate Winslet, Wendy Richard and many more famous faces. It has been nominated the BAFTAs for Best Entertainment (Programme or Series), and it has won 3 National Television Awards for Most Popular Talk Show. It has been on nearly all 100 Greatest TV Treats programmes so far, and it was number 8 on The 100 Greatest TV Programmes. Very good!
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10/10
Just great
speedyholm27 August 2006
Absolutely the best interviewer around. Has an amazing ability to make his guest feel at home. They simply talk about other things on Parkinsons than they do on any other talk show. With a lot of humor and intelligence, we get little anecdotes, funny and interesting stuff. Parkinson can get away with questions, the stars would normally not even bother to answer. But on Parkinsons there's this great atmosphere that makes everyone relax. Off course there's many funny shows on TV, but when you have watched Parkinsons, you feel not only entertained, but also a little wiser. Many times, you will sit around after the show, with a little happy smile on your face. To put it shortly, it doesn't get any better than this.
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9/10
Sad
jaybrumbaugh24 February 2019
If you don't like Parkinson with Peter sellers, or Michael Caine, or Elton John you must be in a constant state of nausea suffering through illiterate morons like Fallon or seth Myers Colbert report was great but as a talk show host he is a D- Craig Ferguson was good but he's gone. Maybe you should stick to screaming hags in the audience of those old bags on the view
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2/10
A very boring interviewer
DavidYZ24 April 2017
Michael Parkinson is probably the most boring presenter who's ever been given a show on British television. He has a droning, mumbling voice. He completely lacks likability and charisma.

He had a lot of good guests on, but his interviewing style was so bad that the interviews were usually awful.

He often asked the wrong questions and failed to ask the most important ones. He often went off-topic. He was toadying towards some guests and patronising/dismissive towards some others.

He often had guests on his sofa together who were from different fields and whom didn't know or understand each other. That made for awkward conversations.
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Simply the best
antiquar16 August 2005
Watched him since the 70's, always polite , draws guests out like no other, the only one Oprah would go on!he is the grand daddy of them all.His kind,gentle but probing manner puts his guests at there ease and in doing so they give more, the feeling is more of "old pals" chatting to each other than the stereotype chat show interview that seems to aim at "tripping up" the guest. Who could forget the interviews with Muhamid Ali and Helen Mirren to name but two.His abiding interest in sports journalism helps many interviews as his anicdotes role out, and his constant support of poor George Best over the years teaches so many of us what a "True" friend is really like.
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Parkinson represents his audience
rayaudrey28 December 2003
I don't blame Meg Ryan for being upset with the lousy job the surgeon did on her mouth and the break up of her marriage, but it's not the British audience's fault. If she is anything of an actress she could at least have acted as if she was gracious and intelligent.

She came across as a wannabee intellectual snob without an intellect to be snobbish about.
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A fun watch
cdentler10 July 2000
I saw this show on BBC America and I must say it is a fun show to watch. The host isn't particularly funny, but the guest just go off into humorous tangents with their own little anecdotes You don't have to be British to enjoy it so I suggest you catch.
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