05 March 2009

PARKY My Autobiography

by Michael Parkinson

Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. Biographical, Adult Non-Fiction. Hardback rrp $49.99
Guest Reviewer - Jill Smith

This is a delightfully written narration of a remarkable life and career. Sir Michael Parkinson is everything he appears to be when interviewing his wide variety of entertaining guests. This is where most of us have seen him at work. The conversational style of the book leads the reader to believe ‘Parky’ could be sitting opposite recounting the tales of his life.

Starting life as the only son of a coal miner ‘Jack’s Lad’ left his lowly beginnings driven on by his mother whom he refers to reverently as ‘The Engine of My Ambition.’ He took up the trade of journalism, and learned his basic skills well enough to go on through writing newspaper columns, hosting radio shows and onto the well known television chat shows interviewing the famous entertainers, athletes, politicians and even tycoons. Clearly a romantic with strong beliefs in how to present a talk show, he admits his own failings with graciousness and modesty.

Indeed his whole life is shaped by learning through people, his father instilled a love of cricket, his mother equally an intense love of theatre and movies, and his colleagues taught him the art of questioning. Never one to sit on his laurels, ‘Parky’ clearly took the good with the bad in the cut-throat world of television, enduring castigation and being thrown from the peak ratings host to the dogs by the BBC and then moving to ITV to be equally badly treated. This did nothing to stop him creating a legacy of historic records by way of verbal interviews that will be difficult to rival.

My husband bought me Parky as a Christmas present and I feel it is one book I will treasure to retrieve quotes from. It is available in book shops right now and on Amazon. I recommend it to anyone who admires this remarkable Yorkshire born journalist. He also has a great website
http://www.michaelparkinson.tv/ where you can relive interviews, buy his book and CD or browse through pictures of the pub he owns called The Royal Oak. He loves Australia and calls this his second home. We are fortunate to be able to share his joy of life.

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