Television presenters like Jonathan Ross are only pretenders to the throne of chat show king Sir Michael Parkinson, according to his fans in Northern Ireland.
Scores of people turned up at Eason’s bookstore at Donegall Place in Belfast yesterday to meet the legendary broadcaster who was in town to sign his bestselling autobiography Parky.
Sir Michael posed for photos and chatted to fans, including first-in-the-queue Magherafelt man Sean Henry.
The 55-year-old, who was accompanied by his sister Mary King, said he had grown up watching Parkinson’s iconic chat show every Saturday night — and that he was the best of the broadcasters.
“I’m a big fan of Parky’s, he was a brilliant interviewer,” he said.
“I particularly recall the show that he had George Best and the Beckhams on, and Victoria had no idea AA stood for Alcoholics Anonymous. It was great TV.
“Presenters like Jonathan Ross don’t touch Parky, there’s no comparison. I think Ant and Dec are great, but they’re not interviewers in the true sense. Nobody is as good as Parky.”
Sean’s sister Mary agreed: “He had a lovely, calm approach with people. He was interested in them and what they had to say and that showed.”
Castledawson woman Doreen McAleese travelled to Belfast to meet Sir Michael and said she remembered his interview with Rod Hull and Emu as her favourite.
“When the bird attacked Parky, that was hilarious,” she said.
Fifty-year-old Dessie Mullin from Belfast popped into Eason’s to buy the autobiography for his mother.
“She’s a huge fan of Sir Michael’s and will be delighted,” he said.
“None of the other presenters really compare to him. Jonathan Ross is trying. Actually, I find Jonathan Ross very trying.”
Dessie said his favourite interviewee was George Best.
“He was great with the likes of Cassius Clay, and of course our own George Best,” he said.”
And 26-year-old Jordanstown PR girl Alison Knox also said Sir Michael was the best at his game.
“Jonathan Ross does it his own way and can be quite funny, but I think Parky was a much more natural interviewer,” she said.
“It just seemed to flow with him and he always got to the heart of the story.”