So the doyen of British chat show hosts, Michael Parkinson, has defected from the BBC to ITV – news which has generated metres of coverage in the newspapers this morning, all commenting on how things ain’t what they used to be with the show. It’s generally felt that his best interviews are a thing of the past. Sure, there were classics: John Wayne, Orson Welles, Muhammad Ali, Peter Sellers, but what all the commentators and critics forget is that they were all from a different and more innocent time.
We now live in an age where celebrities are multi-million dollar brands and are protected from the ravages of the media with the passion of an accountant. When the Parky production team lands a current Hollywood star it usually has to be complicit in this PR process. Suggesting hard deals have to be done might be a little strong, but to create prime time excitement the producers have to show due respect to some pretty powerful PR moguls. The flak of protective PR minders demand certain guarantees before they slacken the collars of their Best in Breeds. The certainties given usually result in banal and listless chats which will never cut into the memory as they did in Parkinson’s heyday.