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The Story Of Britains Grandfather,
This review is from: Parky - My Autobiography (Hardcover)
Michael Parkinson is a celebrated journalist and TV broadcaster who forced his way into our households in the 1970s, with his perfected manner of being able to sit on a chair opposite a much larger profiled celebrity, whilst pretending to be interested in their personal lives. Undoubtedly the man will only ever be recognised for his chatshow in which he interviewed some of the worlds most famous people and creating some of the most memorable interview moments. From Muhammad Ali to Tony Blair there's no doubting that "Parky" has met them all and who would have thought that a man such as this could carry a chat show for so long.
When comparing "Parkinson" to some recent chat shows in the UK, we will notice that the new shows are very much comedy based and don't really tell us much about the celebrity. Michael Parkinson had a talent for speaking with what some would believe to be some of the more private celebrities and allow them to open up to the world. He would feed them a well planned and well fitting question and sometimes make that one question the entire interview. Other celebrities such as Orson Welles simply told Michael to get rid of the questions and just talk to each other as friends would.
Although many of the celebrities who appeared on "Parkinson" made his show famous, there's no doubting the celebrity making power of the show. He's created a few superstars in his time by inviting people on as guests who were at the time relatively unknown entertainers and thanks to "Parky" they became household names. Some of the biggest names that will openly accept that it was their appearance on "Parkinson" that launched their careers would be Billy Connoly, Peter Kay and Katy Melua. His interviewing style managed to bring out something special in all his guests as he had them telling hysterical stories, going on political tyrades or simply opening up. The new format of "Chat Shows" will never allow interviews like his to take place as comedy only masks what a celebrity really wants to say
The Autobiography now gives Michael the format that will allow him to talk about himself and his life in its entirety. Going from his childhood talking about his relationship with his Mother and Father, his time in grammar school all the way up to his very last series of "Parkinson" on ITV in 2007. The relationship between him and his Father is very heartwarmingly documented as he talks about his Father with fondness as they played Cricket together, and how his Father always wanted Michael to become a professional cricket player. His wife, Mary and his three sons are also documented with obvious heartwarming fondness.
I think many British and American fans will agree that he's someone they would want in their family. Whether that be a distant relative or as my title suggests, your replacement grandfather. When finishing this book, I was brought to tears when coming to the conclusion that we will never have a man like this again. Michael was truly one of a kind, his interviewing style was second to none and there's no doubt that he had that magical friendly touch. He's not a man you could see yourself spending a night on the town with, but he's a man you could see sitting in your living room having a nice cup of tea and a chat with.
A wonderful book and it gets one of my highest recommendations.