Paul McCartney has paid tribute to the late Michael Parkinson, calling him a “great guy” and a “good friend”.
The broadcaster “passed away peacefully at home” this week (August 16) at the age of 88 after a brief illness, his family revealed. Parkinson’s TV career spanned seven decades, which saw him welcome the worlds biggest stars to the studio including Muhammad Ali, Elton John, Madonna and many more.
He also appears on the album cover of Wings‘ ‘Band On The Run’ as an escaped convict, and was a personal friend of McCartney’s.
Taking to Twitter yesterday (August 19), McCartney wrote of Parkinson: “I first met Michael Parkinson in Liverpool when he and his team came to see us at the Cavern Club. He was a very likeable guy and we eventually did our first TV performances with Granada in Manchester, where Michael worked.
“Through the years I got to know him more and more, and appeared on his chat show quite a few times. He was a pleasure to talk to and we always had fun. He appeared on the front cover of ‘Band on the Run’ as one of the escaping convicts in the title song. He was very knowledgeable about many subjects and a keen sports-lover.”
He added: “I will miss him personally, as a good friend. I send all my love to his family and friends. Cheers Michael, you’re a great guy okay!”
I first met Michael Parkinson in Liverpool when he and his team came to see us at the Cavern Club. He was a very likeable guy and we eventually did our first TV performances with Granada in Manchester, where Michael worked.
Through the years I got to know him more and more, and… pic.twitter.com/o0fMiXsWwN
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) August 19, 2023
The first Parkinson show aired in 1971 on BBC television, with US jazz singer Marion Montgomery appearing as his first guest. The show initially ran for 11 years and spanned hundreds of episodes.
Parkinson later returned to the BBC in 1998 with another run of the show. The presenter estimated he had interviewed more than 2,000 guests in total.
Paying tribute to the late broadcaster, BBC Director-General Tim Davie said: “Michael was the king of the chat show and he defined the format for all the presenters and shows that followed.
“He interviewed the biggest stars of the 20th century and did so in a way that enthralled the public. Michael was not only brilliant at asking questions, he was also a wonderful listener.
“Michael was truly one of a kind, an incredible broadcaster and journalist who will be hugely missed.”
Following his death, a clip of George Michael‘s classic introduction during his 1998 interview with Parkinson has resurfaced online.
One of the many memorable moments from Parkinson unfolded when Wham! star Michael appeared on the show in 1998, just months after his arrest in LA for “engaging in a lewd act” in a public toilet.
He recalled being and eight or nine years old when his mother allowed him to stay up late to watch Parkinson, adding: “She thought it would be a bit of quality watching so I’m very, very privileged to be here.”
Parkinson politely told the singer his words were “very kind”, before Michael added: “She probably wouldn’t have been quite as thrilled that I had to take my willy out to get on here.”