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Last Updated: Monday, 26 April, 2004, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Parkinson takes chat show to ITV
Michael Parkinson
Parkinson has won many awards for his interviewing
Veteran talk show host Michael Parkinson has been poached by ITV, 33 years after he first joined the BBC.

Parkinson said he made the move after BBC bosses tried to move his talk show to a different slot to make way for the return of Match of the Day.

The broadcaster has signed a two-year deal to present his talk show on ITV1 on Saturday nights.

Parkinson, who has interviewed some of the world's most famous people, said he was "sorry" to leave the BBC.

The BBC said Parkinson will record his final BBC One show on Thursday with guests Bruce Forsyth and Boris Becker. It will be broadcast on 8 May.

However he will continue his weekly show on Sundays on BBC Radio 2.

Speaking about his chat show, Parkinson said: "I have spent 20-odd years of my working life with the BBC and I don't turn my back on that lightly.

Michael Parkinson is the doyen of talk show hosts and its been fantastic to have his show on BBC One
Lorraine Heggessey, BBC One controller

"But when the BBC brought back Match of the Day, effectively my spot had gone.

"When they bought the Premiership, they sold my playing field."

In 1982, Parkinson left the BBC to help found the breakfast station TV-am, but returned to his successful chat show format in 1998.

Lorraine Heggessey, BBC One controller, said Parkinson, who regularly attracts 4.2 million viewers to his chat show, had been a "fantastic" asset to BBC One over the years.

Parkinson interviews David and Victoria Beckham
He has interviewed many high-profile celebrities
She said: "Michael Parkinson is the doyen of talk show hosts and its been fantastic to have his show on BBC One.

"With Match of the Day returning to Saturday nights we were unable to offer Michael the slot he wanted.

"Of course I'm sorry to see him go but BBC One was already preparing for the future with big names from the next generation who are moving the talk show on."

Bea Ballard, executive producer on Parkinson said: "I've worked with Michael as his executive producer since Parkinson was brought back by the BBC six years ago, in 1998.

"The show has won many awards and I'm hugely proud of it. Michael is a brilliant interviewer and it's been a huge delight to work with him."

Bette Midler and Michael Parkinson
Bette Midler appeared on the show in 1979

Parkinson, who signed the contract with ITV on Monday, said he wanted a 10pm slot on a Saturday, which the BBC had been unable to offer.

He added: "I had a choice - either retire and walk away or go elsewhere.

"Saturday at 9pm was a very good offer but my view has always been it's a talk show and talk shows belong at 10pm.

"A show at 9pm has to become something else, like a variety show. There's nothing wrong with that but I didn't want to do it."

Parkinson said BBC bosses were "shocked" when he announced that he was joining ITV.

Meg Ryan
Meg Ryan proved to be one of Parkinson's more difficult interviewees
He added: "I just had this predicament and it wasn't one I enjoyed sorting out. ITV made the offer and what they did was give me what I wanted."

Nigel Pickard, ITV's director of programmes, said: "Television stars don't come much bigger than Michael Parkinson and I am delighted that he is joining us at ITV.

"There's no doubt that he is the very best in his field and will be a fantastic addition to ITV's Saturday nights.

Parkinson added: "The guests won't change, the show won't change," he said. "All I've done is move the show over. It's a proven show and will work just as well on ITV as on the BBC."

The BBC's Nick Higham
"Some say Parkinson's show and the quality of his guests aren't what they used to be"

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26 Apr 04  |  Entertainment
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14 Nov 02  |  Entertainment
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10 Mar 02  |  Entertainment
Parkinson's Saturday comeback
06 Oct 00  |  Entertainment


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