Legendary British broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson has died at the age of 88 after a short illness.

The Yorkshire-born journalist made his television debut in the UK in the 1960s, before launching his eponymous interview program Parkinson, which ran on BBC from 1971 until 1982 before being revived in 1998. The show then moved across to ITV from 2004 to 2007.

Although his career spanned seven decades across British print, radio and television, he also had a close connection to Australia.

In parallel to the British Parkinson series, he also hosted Parkinson In Australia — initially for ABC in 1979 and 1980. By 1981 it was reported that he’d signed a $3 million deal to take Parkinson In Australia over to rival Network Ten and to host the network’s telecast of the TV Week Logie Awards.

Parkinson In Australia ran for three years at Ten. Although the series interviewed many prominent Australians, including prime ministers, performers, journalists, business leaders, actors, politicians and sportspeople, it also featured international guests, probably the most famous being HRH Princess Anne in 1983.

Last year ABC uploaded the series, including the episodes made at Ten, to ABC iview.

In 2007 he made a cameo appearance in Neighbours and in 2014 he hosted Ian Thorpe: The Parkinson Interview, broadcast here on Ten.

In 2011 he became the first foreigner to deliver the annual Australia Day address in its 15-year history, and was supportive of Australia becoming a republic: “‘Why should Australia not be a republic? It’s its own country, its own man,”

He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000, and was knighted in 2008.

Sir Michael Parkinson is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Mary, and their three children.

Source:BBC, IMDB, Wikipedia, Reuters, ABC, Sydney Morning Herald. TV Times, 31 March 1979.The Australian Women’s Weekly TV World, 4 April 1981. TV Week, 25 April 1981.

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