Subtitled ‘My Autobiography’, this illustrated account of the life of the TV journalist, Radio and TV presenter, and occasional Quizmaster, reads as though the man is speaking to you.
A Yorkshireman (my own home county) through and through, Parky relates his life through events, family, the multitude of personalities he’s met and interviewed, and the experiences and situations that have formed him. From coal mining stock, a fate he was personally fortunately spared by his parents, he slowly rose to the position of a much-loved public figure. Along the way, he played cricket but never made the grade to join his beloved Yorkshire club. But serendipity, coincidence, and a network of influential people undoubtedly played important roles in moving him toward his ambition to interview interesting and influential people and some of his heroes, preferably on TV.
The list of those he interacted with on the small screen reads like a who’s who of entertainment and sport and, to a lesser extent, politics. Although he was clearly aware of the faults and occasional inadequacies of many of his subjects, he manages to resist judgment, merely reporting the facts and the outcomes of the interviews. It’s a shame more of his colleagues as reporters can’t do the same on the more serious topics with which they deal. But that’s another story.
He has undoubtedly led a fascinating and often fortunate life. He’s certainly enjoyed most of it, and has managed to maintain a lifelong love for his wife, Mary, a well-known performer in her own right.
During his life he’s been kissed by the glamorous, teased by the comic, sometimes threatened by fighters, and attacked by a man with his arm suggestively thrust up the neck of an artificial emu.
The story of his life comes across as a conversation and is full of anecdotes about those he met. There’s a good deal of humour here, too; it had me laughing out loud in places. But there’s sorrow, too, though not too much.
Autobiographies are not a regular part of my reading, but I enjoyed this one for its apparent honesty, balance, and good humour. An enjoyable read.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]
2 thoughts on “Parky, by Michael Parkinson: #BookReview.”
He ran a long series of chat shows here in UK, and another in Australia. They were very ‘English’ and most were extremely good, though he did have a few disasters along the way. I liked his honesty in the book, often telling stories against himself as well as revealing interesting snippets about some of the famous people he met.
I have never heard of him before. Autobiographies are not something I usually read, either, although yes, sometimes an interesting one comes along.
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