Parky says he can’t wait to retire...'I’ll be able to watch my 2,000 shows all over again'


Last updated at 22:36 24 November 2007

He has interviewed 2,000 of the world's most famous people in a TV career spanning 26 years – and now Michael Parkinson plans to spend his retirement watching them all over again.

He will go back through his archive and "fillet" shows to create a major retrospective series.

Yet far from being a sign that the 72-year-old is clinging to past glories, he insists he "can't wait" for retirement.

He plans to visit Australia and write and promote his autobiography, as well as find a way of repackaging interviews with the likes of Orson Welles, James Cagney, Fred Astaire, Peter Sellers and Muhammad Ali.

One option is to combine the archive footage with fresh interviews, similar to Terry Wogan's Now And Then series on UKTV Gold.

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Parky and Billy Connolly

"I'm a very happy bunny, I cannot wait to jack it all in," Parkinson said, adding: "It's not with any sense of despair or longing that I look at my future. I look at the next two years, I'm totally booked up."

"I've got to do the book and it will take a year to promote it and I've also got 650 shows to fillet and produce and sell. That will keep me fully occupied for at least a year after I've done my autobiography. And then I shall be 75 and I should be thinking about lying down somewhere."

The final show was filmed last week with David Beckham, Sir Michael Caine, Sir David Attenborough, Peter Kay, Billy Connolly, Dame Edna Everage, Jamie Cullum and Dame Judi Dench. Parkinson scorned reports that he had shed tears as the credits rolled in his finale, which will be shown on ITV on December 15.

"All this b******t about me being tearful, it was b******s,' he said. Anyone who was there knows it was wonderful. I didn't cry. Judi Dench cried because she was singing this very lovely song to me – but nobody else cried for Christ's sake."

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Michael Parkinson with Meg Ryan

The Parkinson clip played most often is of him being wrestled out of his seat by Rod Hull's puppet Emu. But perhaps his worst guest was monosyllabic actress Meg Ryan.

He bristled at thoughts that he might have chatted to the likes of Jordan or Jade Goody.

"Look through my 2,000 guests and see if you can find anybody like Jordan or her husband," he said.

"Simon Shaps, ITV's head of programmes, would have got a rocket up his a*** if he'd have said that."

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