Parkinson: The Man Behind The Headlines


Whilst any death is emotionally devastating for the immediate family and friends, the death of the TV talk show host, Michael Parkinson, has been treated by the mainstream media as a national tragedy. Countless hours of programming have been devoted to his life and career.

His popular chat show, Parkinson, was shown on BBC One from June 1971 to April 1982 and became a staple for Saturday night viewing. It was resurrected in January 1998 and was broadcast until April 2004. It is believed that Parkinson interviewed over 2,000 celebrities during the life of the show. Parkinson announced his retirement in June 2007.

He grew up in a council house in the pit village of Cudworth, near Barnsley. Coal mining was not for him though, unlike his father, who worked down the local pit. He began his career as a journalist on local newspapers straight after leaving school.

In 1968, Michael Parkinson was one of a few sports writers who expressed opposition against apartheid in South Africa, and the banning of blacks from participating in professional sports.

He was a founding member of the Anti-Nazi League (abbreviated to ANAL by Nationalists), a Socialist Worker Party front group, that was formed to oppose the rise of the National Front and the British Movement. His friend, the boxer Henry Cooper (who famously knocked down Cassius Clay in June 1963), was also a founding member in the 1970s. Speaking about the NF, our ‘Enery’ was quoted as saying, “I don’t know much about them, but I don’t like the sound of it.” Too many punches to the head, we think…

Within 18-months, the majority of its famous celebrity backers had jumped ship after its youth wing published a magazine featuring a ‘flying brick’. This infamous cartoon (in an official publication), urged its supporters to throw bricks through the windscreens of any car being driven by a ‘Nazi’.

Parkinson spars with Muhammad Ali over miscegenation:


Top Image: YouTube.

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