Parkinson declares the end of a TV era

Michael Parkinson, the president of the Sports Journalists’ Association, has announced that the next series of his eponymous chat show will be his last, ending a 36-year career that had become a tradition of Saturday night television.

“After three enjoyable and productive years at ITV, and after 25 years of doing my talk show I have decided that this forthcoming series will be my last,” Parkinson said.

“I’m going to take next year off to write my autobiography and consider other television projects.

“My thanks go out to all those who have worked on the shows down the years and the viewers for their loyal support and occasional kind words.”

Parkinson, first on the BBC, where it began in 1971, and most recently on ITV1, became a benchmark for big-name interviews, with stars of Hollywood and politics appearing as guests alongside top sportsmen and women, notably including Muhammad Ali and George Best.

The veteran interviewer will have a final 12-week run in the autumn.

The ITV director of entertainment and comedy, Paul Jackson, said: “He has defined the talk show in British television and no-one has come near to equalling his record. His name is synonymous throughout the English speaking world as a benchmark for integrity and quality in the talk show genre and being invited to appear on his show is a recognised landmark in any star’s career.”