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David Attenborough and other stars pay tribute to Michael Parkinson

mandatory credit photo by julian makeyshutterstock 409981f sir david attenborough with michael parkinson wh smith peoples choice book awards, london, britain 18 mar 2003
Attenborough and others pay tribute to ParkinsonJulian Makey/Shutterstock - Shutterstock

Sir David Attenborough has led tributes to Sir Michael Parkinson following the talk show host's death aged 88.

The broadcaster's passing was confirmed on Thursday (August 17), his family saying in a statement: "After a brief illness Sir Michael Parkinson passed away peacefully at home last night in the company of his family."

A number of stars who were interviewed by the presenter during his career on legendary chat show Parkinson have shared their tributes, with Attenborough calling him "extremely generous".

mandatory credit photo by julian makeyshutterstock 409981f sir david attenborough with michael parkinson wh smith peoples choice book awards, london, britain 18 mar 2003
Julian Makey/Shutterstock - Shutterstock

"As a viewer, you knew if Michael was asking the questions, there were going to be good questions, and they would elicit good answers," the naturalist told BBC Radio 4's The World At One.

Attenborough, who was previously controller of BBC Two, called Parkinson "the best freelance interviewer in the business", adding: "He was always knowledgeable, he was absolutely classless. You knew he was not a southerner, you knew he was a northerner, and that was a very refreshing voice in those days.

"He wanted you to shine, and not particularly himself," he continued. "He would always laugh at your jokes, and give you an opportunity to make them sound funnier than in fact they were.

sir michael parkinson
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"When you were told that he was going to be the interviewer, it was like meeting a friend. Though in fact we didn't meet very often, but you knew that he was on your side as much as on his own."

David Beckham also shared a tribute on Instagram, writing: "We say goodbye to the best… Waking up to the sad news of Michael Parkinson passing, I was so lucky to not just be interviewed by Michael but to be able to spend precious time talking about football and family our 2 passions, plus the GoldenBalls moment… Sending love to Mary and the whole family".

Sir Elton John called Parkinson "a TV legend who was one of the greats", recalling on Instagram: "I loved his company and his incredible knowledge of cricket and Barnsley Football Club. A real icon who brought out the very best in his guests. Condolences and love to Mary and his family."

Good Morning Britain's Susanna Reid labelled Parkinson "the King of Interviewers", while Match of the Day's Gary Lineker tweeted he was "a truly brilliant broadcaster and wonderful interviewer".

Meanwhile, Davina McCall tweeted: "He was totally unique. Always so well researched. Loved by ALL THE BIGGEST stars in the world and they were all desperate to be interviewed by him. Funny, self deprecating, sharp, charming, strong, honest and a fantastic listener. His legacy is enormous."


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