Did you happen to see the final interviews on the Parkinson show on Saturday night? What did you think? I thought it was all a touch indulgent and a bit sad really. Not because he’s going but because it looked like a tired format which had long overrun its time – an old silver-haired guy chatting to 3 other grey-haired old geysers whose conversations were re-hashes of previous chats. Then a change in pace with a less-than challenging chat with David Beckham followed by ‘young’ Peter Kay, whose routine was just embarrassing. Dressing Parkinson up as a lollypop man wasn’t exactly cutting edge. Then a song tribute from Dame Judy and a 2 minute chat with her which was hi-jacked by Billy Connolly, which was immediately followed by… a song tribute from Dame Edna with both songs trying futilely to find a decent rhyme with Parky. Now if Dame Judy had sung about the ‘flirt from Yorkshire who chats… whilst he porks yer’ I’d have shown more interest.
The thing about Parkinson is that he seriously believes in the old-fashioned notion of showbiz aristocracy. The reason he’s stopping he says is that he believes there are no stars any longer; they’ve all been replaced by vacuous celebrities. Elizabeth Taylor has given way to the likes of Elizabeth Hurley. In the press he was belittling people like Victoria Beckham which is fine but then in Saturday’s show he showed a clip of an interview of her and husband David where she called him Goldenballs and claimed this as a scoop. You can’t have it both ways Parky. I tend to think he’s stopping because ITV know his style is no longer drawing the big audiences. Most people would prefer to see the more irreverent style of Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton. Parkinson just seems to fawn on the big names on his show and there’s no danger.
That’s a real shame because I can just about remember his very first or at least a very early show where he quizzed a member of the paparazzi (Ray Bellisario?) quite toughly about their increasingly intrusive activity. But that challenging style quickly gave way as the lad from Barnsley seemed to become entranced by the glitzy guests. Can you remember all those indulgent chats with Peter Ustinov one of the world’s great raconteurs? Wanker would be more accurate.
All that professional eh up Yorkshire shtick grated with me too. He wore it like a cloak when it suited. You’d never hear it when he was interviewing Ursula Andress but as soon as Alan Bennet came on, it was like watching t’Emmerdale, tha knows. I bet neither of them had supped a beer in a Barnsley pub in 40 years.
To be fair he can be a v good broadcaster. I really enjoyed his presenting the Film ’71 etc series earlier in his career and his radio 2 show on Sunday mornings is excellent though I never really thought he made a good host of Desert Island Discs, as the format seemed too restrictive for him. But I am glad the Parkinson show’s now ended and the star system is officially over. Get some new talent on the box for Gawd’s sake. Who might make a good replacement presenter/interviewer…Tim Lovejoy maybe or what about a feisty woman? Davina McCall was hopeless at it but is there a Parkyette out there do you think?