Sunday 4 December 2016

Michael Parkinson: 'I've wiped my memory of Meg Ryan, I didn't like her'

Sasha Brady & Independent.ie Agencies

Published 22/08/2016 | 12:28

TV host Michael Parkinson has spoken out about some of his most memorable interviews.

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Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ Radio 1 today, Parkinson recalled some of the best, and most challenging, interviews he has ever conducted over his 50-year career.

“Shirley MacLaine and I had a very, sort of, interesting relationship. She was a great tease; a very provocative woman” he said.

“And there were disasters too,” said the knighted broadcaster.

“Helen Mirren and I didn’t get on at all,” he told Ryan.

“Nor that woman... what’s her name..? The one I had a slight contretemps with... I’ve wiped my memory of her. I didn’t like her.”

He was talking about Meg Ryan.

She, famously, gave one of the worst live television interviews ever when she was promoting the film In The Cut back in 2003. She refused to hide her obvious boredom and irritation at being interviewed, which made for very awkward viewing.

“On a show like that what you do hope is that you get through the plastic facade and veneer... to something approaching a frank statement,” said Parky.

“I didn’t like that person – you’re allowed not to like people - she didn’t like me and so there’s an impasse, as in real life.”

Sir Michael also talked about his difficult days at Barnsley Grammar School and his "sadist" headmaster: He loved beating boys.

"I loathed every moment of it. It was a complete and utter total waste of time," he said of his five years there.

Michael Parkinson with Ryan Tubridy. Photo: Twitter
Michael Parkinson with Ryan Tubridy. Photo: Twitter

"It was a very good school academically but I just couldn't get along with people. The things I was interested in they seemed to treat with contempt. My entire process throughout my five years there was to work out a way to leave."

The much-loved chat show host revealed that he went through a dark time during the first ten years of his fame but sought professional help through his wife's encouragement.

"I was confused by the kind of circles I'd come from to where I'd got," the 81-year-old explained.

"All of a sudden these famous people were my friends and it was a big shift from where I grew up in Yorkshire to that. Fame didn't come to me until I was about 35 or so and I should have been more mature than I was but I was confused."

He also explained the reason why he was absent from comedian and dear friend Victoria Wood's funeral in April.

"I didn't go. I was depressed by the thought of it. She was too young and she'd so much to give.

"You get to a certain point in your life where you don't just miss people you worry about the possibility of that happening to you."

Parkinson, who just turned 81, admitted he doesn't feel his age despite "slowing down physically and mentally".

"I've never been frightened about going old," he said.

"When I'm in a frivolous mood or in a bar with a pint I sometimes feel 45."

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