Parkinson is a British television chat show that was presented by Michael Parkinson. It was first shown on BBC1 from 19 June 1971 to 8 May 2004 then on ITV from 4 September 2004 to 22 December 2007.
Parkinson began when the host was offered a series of eight shows by the BBC’s Head of Light Entertainment, Bill Cotton. It was to be transmitted during the “summer lull” in a late-night slot on Saturdays (which continued throughout its run), plus from 1979 a second mid-week edition when the series was on air.
Initially, Bill Cotton was keen on a format more akin to the USA’s Ed Sullivan Show, featuring entertainment and chat. However, Parkinson and his producer, Richard Drewett (who had worked on Late Night Line-Up), envisioned a combination of guests whose celebrity had been achieved in different fields. Their plan was that the final section of each show would become a conversation rather than a formal interview. The pair wanted to move the style as far as possible from the American prototype, even down to the removal of the host’s desk, which Parkinson viewed as the “biggest obstacle to a proper interview”.
A typical programme included three interviews, each lasting around 15 minutes. It was customary for the first two guests to remain after their own chats to observe and occasionally participate in those that followed. There was usually a musical interlude at some point, featuring a current recording star. If a solo singer, he/she was accompanied by the show’s musicians, who also provided the walk-on music for each guest. In the 1970s, the group was led by organist Harry Stoneham, who composed the show’s distinctive theme tune. The role was undertaken by Laurie Holloway in the relaunched show.
Parkinson was once asked if there was anyone that he regretted never having interviewed. He replied, “Sinatra was the one that got away. Otherwise, I’ve met everyone I have ever wanted to meet.” [Wikipedia]