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Parky: My Autobiography [Hardcover]

Michael Parkinson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Oct 2008

From prize-winning journalist to chat show king on a show voted one of the top ten British TV programmes of all time, Michael Parkinson's starry career spans over four decades.

Now an international celebrity himself, the man from a humble but colourful Yorkshire mining family who can tease out the secrets of even the most reticent star guest, at last reveals his own story, with the easy manner and insight that has kept his audiences fascinated.

His distinguished career has involved working on highly acclaimed current affairs and film programmes. His wide interests and expertise include jazz, film, football and cricket.

Witty, humorous and blessed with exceptional intellectual clarity, Michael Parkinson's memoir is a joy to read.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; 1st Edition 1st Printing edition (2 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034096166X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340961667
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Parkinson was born in Cudworth, near Barnsley. He began his career as a journalist, but later moved to television where he worked for Granada on current affairs programmes before joining the BBC 24 hours team. In 1965 he began writing a weekly sports column for The Sunday Times. A passionate interest in film led to the publication of A Pictorial History of Westerns, his favourite film genre. His chat show Parkinson ran for 11 years, from 1971 until 1982 and he has interviewed almost everybody who was anybody with the exception of Frank Sinatra - a lasting regret. From 1979 to 1982 he also presented Parkinson for ABC and Channel 10 in Australia, and in the 1980s he was one of the founder members of TV AM.

From 1990-92 he presented the Michael Parkinson Show on LBC, a daily, live three hour radio show. From 1986-87 he presented Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 and from 1994-96 he presented Parkinson on Sport for Radio 5. In 1996 Michael launched a Sunday morning show, Parkinson's Sunday Supplement on Radio 2, with music and guests which is still on air today.

In 1990 Michael Parkinson joined the Daily Telegraph, writing a regular weekly column on sport. He has won numerous awards including, in 1995, Sports Feature Writer of the Year at the British Sport Journalism Awards. In 1998 he won awards for his work in three different branches of the media - a feat thought to be unique. He won a Sony Radio Award for Parkinson's Sunday Supplement, he was named Sports Writer of the Year at the Press Gazette British Press Awards and Media Personality of the Year by the Variety Club. In June 2000, Michael was awarded a CBE and Parkinson was named one of the top ten favourite British TV programmes of all time. A new series of Parkinson began on ITV in 2004 and continued till November 2007. He was awarded a knighthood for services to broadcasting in the 2008 New Year's honours list.

Happily married to his wife Mary for nearly fifty years, they have three sons, and liv

Product Description


I recommend it heavily. It's a wonderful book (Melvyn Bragg)

Parky's book is a joyous, breezy read, as much for the improbability of his early escapades as for his backstage anecdotes about the stars. It is also beautifully written (Daily Telegraph)

The early chapters about his childhood and early career ... are disarmingly modest and offer a proper glimpse into another world (Independent)

Crisp and detailed prose ... with an especially impressive account of a pre-second world war childhood in the north (Mark Lawson, Guardian)

Funny and self-deprecating and just as laid-back as he is on camera (Boyd Tonkin, Independent)

This autobiography is just like an extended edition of a brilliant Parkinson on television - engrossing and entertaining (Irish Times)

Book Description

The long-awaited autobiography of one of Britain's national icons.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classy autobiography 17 Oct 2008
Many of us only know Michael Parkinson through his second career as a talk show host, but he has a strong background in "serious" journalism, having worked his way up from being a reporter for local newspapers in his native Yorkshire.

What this means is that, unlike many autobiographers, Parky not only has a tale (or three) to tell; he has the skill the tell it.

Despite his TV popularity and 25-odd years hob-nobbing with the famous and (occasionally) infamous, this gritty miner's son has successfully kept his feet firmly on the ground. A wide range of interests, a passion for sport and, above all, cricket make for a rounded personality and a genuinely interesting life.

This classy autobiography is well above the run-of-the mill and will be a much-appreciated addition to many a seasonal stocking.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great but could have been better. 19 Mar 2010
Very well written and enjoyable. But found it a tad disappointing as it centred very much round his early days as a journalist and his relationship with his Dad, a Yorkshire cricket fanatic. But he brushes over life with Mary and the boys (in fact his youngest son barely gets a mention), also his infamous interviews with celebrities. I would have liked to hear much more about his experience with the hundreds of Cinema big screen legends and classic comedians /actors, rather than the brief snippets he included for us.
A good read nonetheless.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Parky's a legend 6 Oct 2008
Bought this at a signing last week and I haven't put it down since. Parky has met some of the most important people of the last 40 years and lead a fascinating life. Despite all that success he remains extremely charming and humble, wrote a lovely message in the book I bought for my mum. Perfect xmas gift.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much more interesting 30 Nov 2008
By Dutchy
Even as a non-Englishman (I'm Dutch) I was well-acquainted with the talk show Parkinson. I watched it whenever I had a chance to catch it and I admired the way Michael Parkinson was able to get interesting stories out of (almost) every one of his guests. That, combined with positive reviews of this book convinced me to buy it. Boy, was I wrong...
Unlike one of the other reviewers I was not hoping for gossip, but I would have liked some more details about the assorted guests on the show, especially the Hollywood stars from the days of old. He does tell us something about them, but not very much. Instead he just goes on and on about bloody cricket, which I couldn't care less about.
If you like Michael Parkinson: watch the shows, don't read this book!
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as I hoped 13 Oct 2008
By Sunglasses VINE VOICE
The is a very well written memoir this tells you so much about Parky himself through his passions, view of the world and recollections of some amazing meetings / interviews. A Biography that is well worth reading ( and for that see also Entirely Up to You, Darling)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misogynist drivel 15 Dec 2012
By Tor27
There are two major problems with this autobiography, the first is that the writer may have met many interesting people but he himself is incredibly dull and this permeates the whole book. Secondly, he has a view of women that belongs, not in the 70s, but in the dark ages. The creepy way he talks about every woman he meets (except his wife and a few very elderly women) makes my skin crawl and puts me firmly on the side of Meg Ryan. The fact that even a smart, talented actress like Helen Mirren suffers the same fate and describes him as 'a complete ass' says it all I think.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A trip down memory lane 1 Jan 2009
Got the book as a xmas pressie from my daughter. I lived in the same street as Michael Parkinson in Cudworth so much of the early part of the book was a definite trip down memory lane for me. Other reviewers have commented on the overload of cricket but as someone who knows nothing about the sport i didn't try to understand it from this book. What the cricket stories told me were more about his love for his father, his passions, his respect for sporting skill, his frustration with those that thrived on the adulation but resented the media interest and of how lifelong friendships are forged from a common love of a sport. Suppose its down to what you are looking for in an autobiog.

I found his writing style fantastic - easy, punchy and engaging. Loved all the snippets about the celebs. Had not realised he worked as a war correspondent and some of his stories are harrowing - but war is - and his attempts to make non-obvious political statements about the waste of war perhaps could have been more overt - having seen it first hand and now he is retired he should be entitled to voice his true feelings about it in a book like this.

His analysis of the BEEB was hard hitting and not something us viewers have much of an appreciation of.

Overall I found Parky quite self-deprecating in his book - something that is evident in reading other good autobiogs in my view.

Thoroughly enjoyed it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cricket and cronies 5 Aug 2012
By Bohaun
Format:Audio CD
What a dissapointing effort. He gives very little away (like Wogan). Apart from a few run-of-the-mill titbits about dead Hollywood stars and all the cricket related stuff, the rest seems to be a long list of names of people he's worked who are all boringly fantastic. Not good enough Parky! I would urge all to check out the Spike Milligan series of autobiographies to see how things should be done.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting
Really enjoyed this book. Very interesting and full of clever stories. Funny and well written. Well worth a read! Recommended.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting
some one told me this book was good and funny in places at the moment I still haven't finished reading it so to early to say
Published 6 months ago by mrs l barlow
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This is a fascinating book, he has literally met everyone! Also came used but in very good condition and arrived quickly.
Published 12 months ago by JB
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific
Reaaly well written and captivating to those of us who are in the same age bracket. Brought up so many memories of my own earlier life.
Published 14 months ago by Eric Snell
1.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as expected
1. There's too much name dropping. More substance would have been better.

2. I'm a 70s child and found that over half the book referred to celebrities I hadn't hear... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Biography lover
5.0 out of 5 stars parky: my autobiography
i thoroughly enjoyed this book - it is one you dont want to put down - so I didnt and found it a very easy read.
Published 17 months ago by sonia downs
5.0 out of 5 stars Parky's Sparky
In the spirit of the shallow effusion in this autobiography, I'll start by saying Michael Parkinson is the world's greatest celebrity interviewer and this is a great autobiography. Read more
Published 18 months ago by T. T. Rogers
5.0 out of 5 stars PArky's biography
I loved it. You could almost hear him saying it. A good read that I would happily recommend to anyone.
Published 21 months ago by Toddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Very engaging account of a fascinating life and career
This book chronicles the amazing transformation from son of a miner, through journalist to TV star, set against the background of enormous changes in society in Britian over this... Read more
Published on 19 Oct 2011 by Pete
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking read
Treat yourself to a cracking read. Humourous, sad at times, informative and hurray well written in good plain english.

Best bit, father in furs on a cruise ship.
Published on 12 Oct 2011 by Keiran McAllister
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