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Parky: My Autobiography (2008)

by Michael Parkinson(Favorite Author)
3.49 of 5 Votes: 4
034096166X (ISBN13: 9780340961667)
Hodder & Stoughton
review 1: From a coal mining area to a knighthood the boy’s done good as Michael Parkinson recollects the hard life in the coalfields of Yorkshire to the pinnacle of his journalistic and broadcasting life. He knew the hardships of his father and vowed never to follow in his footsteps but idolised the man all the way through his life. His mother was more refined but none the less influential, he recollects friends and enemies along the way and for some readers may be staggered at the lifestyle in Britain in the 1940’s and 50’s and into the 60’s.Tin baths, no central heating, black and white TV, when it was invented, before that it was the wireless (radio) but the one constant throughout this story is Michael’s and his dad’s love of that quaint English game, cricket. Now f... moreor the writer of this summary I do not share this enthusiasm having attended a few matches with friends and often falling asleep waiting for something to happen, yes even when it was Michael’s beloved Yorkshire.But for Michael it was his passion as was writing and instead of going down the pits on his hands and knees he ended up at various newspapers as a journalist, first local then national, even the prestigious Sunday Times. But he is best remembered for his Saturday night talk show at the BBC which became a must watched programme for quite a big chunk of the British people. Some of stars he had on his show were his own idols of the big screen, another of his passions.As you would expect from such a high profile celebrity the name dropping of the stars he knew, interviewed and even mixed with are impressive. From Orson Wells through to the tragic George Best to one of his best friends Billy Connolly, some of these stars appearing many times on his show. Pop stars to politicians all appeared at it became as much as a must do show as Morecambe & Wise was in those glorious days for British TV. In some cases, like Billy Connolly, they got their big TV break through on TV through the Parkinson show, and others, like Peter Sellers, who were reluctant to do such shows had no qualms about appearing with Michael. He touches on a couple of catastrophe’s like Rod Hull and Emu and Meg Ryan, for those not familiar with Rod Hull and Emu, basically it was a puppet on Rod Hull’s hand that went haywire with people, biting and snarling at them. Rod Hull was notorious for such behaviour but with Parkinson he went into overdrive and they all ended up on the floor of the studio during transmission with Michael losing his shoes in the process. This was the one time when Parkinson was visibly irritated by his guests another guest who behaved impeccably but was not a big hit with Parkinson was Meg Ryan. The interview started off frostily and went downhill from there onward, but this was a rarity when the likes of Bette Davis, Dr Jacob Bronowski, Bing Crosby and Sir Michael Cane made up for the occasional hiccup. Parkinson did stints in America and Australia, a place he became to love not only for its people and climate but it was also home to some of the world’s finest cricketers. The book is an easy read and charts the rise and rise of a boy from the back streets, but something he never looked down on or forgot.Along the way he met and married another formidable TV presenter, journalist, Mary, who forged her own career as well as bringing up the children whilst Michael was rising up the popularity ladder. As I say a rags to riches story and has much to read about the celebrities as to Michael himself.
review 2: I read this in dribs and drabs so to speak. It lends itself well to that sort of reading. I like Parky and I found him a very easy read. It was good to read about his life before the main show. I learned so many things about him! Of course he has interviewed some of the most fascinating and famous people of our time. I thought he might have given more away than he did about those celebrities but then again it's not that surprising that he kept it brief. Naturally Meg Ryan featured (what a disaster that was!) and I was surprised with Muhammad Ali being such an influence on him - and taking a chapter or so of the book. But what I did like, was that with each chapter, it was like I was tuning into one segment of his show. He showed us just enough to make us wanting more. On ya Parky! :) less
Reviews (see all)
An interesting insight into the world of Parkinson, somewhat bittersweet towards the end.
Great little book, very intresting, and good insights on how he percieved his guests.
You feel as if you are in the audience and he is interviewing himself.
How can you go wrong with this?
Great read!
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