Muhammad Ali

Sir Michael Parkinson dies aged 88: the chat show host’s most iconic TV interviews

Parkinson was the man high-profile guests like Sir Elton John, Madonna, or Muhammad Ali would come sit down for a chat with

Legendary TV broadcaster Sir Michael Parkison has died at the aged of 88. His family confirmed his passing after a TV career that spanned seven decades and saw him interview the world’s biggest stars.

Whether they were from the world of showbiz, sport or elsewhere, Parkinson was the man high-profile guests like Sir Elton John, Madonna, or Muhammad Ali would sit down to be interviewed by.

Born in 1936 in South Yorkshire, he first landed a spot on the BBC in 1971.

Back in 2013, he revealed he was undergoing radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer and was in remission two years later.

A statement from Sir Michael’s family read: “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.”

In light of his sad death, NationalWorld takes a look back at his most iconic interviews and chats.

Muhammad Ali

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Back in 1974, Muhammad Ali had all eyes firmly on him. The heavyweight boxing champion is well remembered for appearing on Parkinson’s show to give British audiences a glimpse of his charisma.

The two were quickly pulled into a spicy debate where race, faith, and materialism dominated the conversation.

Helen Mirren

An interview that today probably would have landed Parkinson in some bother. His chat with Dame Helen Mirren was famously been hit with the ‘sexist’ label over the years.

Mirren was asked about her sex appeal, attributes, and her “equipment” – a remark Parkinson was quick to be pulled up on.

In 2015, he doubled down when he refused to apologise and called the interview “good television.”

Whatever your opinion, the interview was certainly one to be remembered.

George Best

Different to other interviews, Parkinson didn’t sit down for a chat with George Best on his own show. Instead, they were close friends who guested on radio shows together and on on Thames Television’s ‘Today’ programme.

Parkinson has previously spoken about his emotion on how Best’s life tragically panned out.

11th March 1975: George Best and his biographer Michael Parkinson on Pete Murray's Radio 2 show 'Open House'.
11th March 1975: George Best and his biographer Michael Parkinson on Pete Murray’s Radio 2 show ‘Open House’.

Parkinson has even written a biography dedicated to George Best.

Orson Welles

A rare interview from the Citizen Kane director, Orson Welles sat with the British TV host in 1970.

Instead of being asked questions, Welles said “we’ll talk” instead. In true Orson Welles fashion, of course.

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David and Victoria Beckham

Perhaps Parkinson’s most famous interview with a moment that would have blasted all over social media if it existed back then.

in 2001, David Beckham was left squirming in his chair after his wife Victoria spilt the beans that her nickname for him was Goldenballs – a revelation she regretted only seconds later.

George Michael

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In 1998, Sir Michael sat down with George Michael for a chat on his rebooted BBC show.

The episode aired at a pivotal time for George. He’d had a turbulent year prior to the chat where he was arrested in a public lavatory and it was revealed that he was gay.

The chat also included open and progressive discussions around mental health which was ahead of its time in the 1990s.

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