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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Parkinson rounds on chat rivals
Michael Parkinson
Parkinson's ITV chat show debut boasted a Tom Cruise interview
Veteran TV chat show host Michael Parkinson has criticised his younger rivals for being "smart arses".

Parkinson, 70, hit back at claims he gives interviewees an easy ride in an interview with Radio Times magazine.

The host, who moved to ITV1 from BBC1 last year, said: "I'm still there. All the smart arses and the people who ask tough questions - where are they now?"

Parkinson, who has a new ITV1 series, said modern interviewing was now "about the presenter" rather than the guests.

"We're not interviewing war criminals or paedophiles, we're interviewing entertainers," he added.

Parkinson, whose TV rivals include Jonathan Ross, Graham Norton and Frank Skinner, accused his younger counterparts of being self-centred.

Radio host

"So much interviewing these days is about the presenter: 'I'm a clever boy, I'm going to be smart with people'," he said.

"Or it's trivial - how do you like your eggs boiled? We give them the respect of having thought about the interview."

Parkinson, who has interviewed some of the world's most famous people, cited Jeremy Paxman, John Humphries and Richard Madeley as interviewers he admired.

Parkinson interviews David and Victoria Beckham
David and Victoria Beckham appeared together on Parkinson

He said he felt sorry for Meg Ryan, who was famously icy towards him during an interview in 2003.

He said: "It happens. She was an unhappy woman. I think she was tired, she didn't want to do it."

Parkinson moved to ITV, where he is about to start a new series, after BBC bosses tried to move his show to a different slot to make way for the return of Match of the Day.

He continues to present a weekly show on BBC Radio 2.

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