An Evening with Sir Michael Parkinson celebrates the life and career of a man who has interviewed over 2000 of the most important cultural figures of the 20th and 21st centuries.The legendary, and now former BBC light entertainment interviewer, who has questioned a huge array of stars from Billy Connolly and Peter Sellers to Les Dawson and Muhammad Ali.
With a career that spans five decades, Parkinson certainly has plenty of stories to tell. Chatting to his son and long-term producer Mike, the first half sees the 83-year old talk about his early career, from his first ever TV interview with a young aspiring musician named Mick Jagger, to the launch of his talk show Parkinson, where he interviewed the likes of George Shearing, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby.
The best material is, of course, the footage and stories we haven’t seen or heard before. A tale of drunken night out in which Dudley Moore forces Parkinson to sing Moon River in front of a packed London bar is re-enacted on stage with the help of singer/songwriter Joe Stilgoe. Previously lost footage of Parkinson interviewing John Lennon inside a giant sack – at the instance of Yoko Ono after he asked a question about The Beatles – is also played on the big screen, as the award-winning broadcaster holds his head in shame.
The second half focuses on the many stars whose careers Parkinson helped to launch, most notably Jamie Cullum, Michael Bublé and Diana Krall. Here, Parkinson also shares some material from his 2012 show for Sky Arts, including a clip of when he put Elton John’s song writing skills to test by asking him to improvise a song about the overflowing River Thames, a test which is later given to Joe Stilgoe who is given his own audience-inspired medley to improvise.