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Griff Rhys Jones,
Only once did Parkinson present a programme without wearing a tie, which was his interview with Richard Burton in 1974. Following the broadcast, BBC controller Paul Fox told him that if he did it again he would be fired. See more »
Travolta, Hawn and Sergeant in Bland snooze fest...
ITV obviously bares a grudge against the BBC. The loss of the Premiership must still be fresh in the mind; why else would Parkinson air before Match Of The Day? As ruthless as it may sound, they're cunningly boring the audience to sleep.
Michael Parkinson has been peddling the same inoffensive, tired format for years now, and last nights episode was no exception. Guests included "the evergreen" Goldie Hawn, "the king of cool" John Travolta and, erm, "political correspondant" John Sergeant. 'Parky's golden rule is set out nice and clear from the outset: the bigger the star, the bigger the brown nosing.
He has neither the 'blokey' charm of Frank Skinner nor the wit of Jonathon Ross, but has somehow managed to remain increasingly popular throughout the years.
Unsurprisingly enough, Hawn was given an easy ride as far as questions go. Parkinson beamed on about her "glittering, successful career," clearly not having done his research. The fact remains that Hawn has not had a hit movie in nearly ten years. Her career is littered with far more misses than hits, but the way the he rambled on was like she'd won several Oscars. But she hasn't, and never will.
Next in the interviewee's chair was John Sergeant. Like Hawn, he too had a book to promote. This time though, it was about Margaret Thatcher. Sergeant claimed that with this book he "aimed to bring together the people who loved her and those who hated her." Parkinson agreed, but then again he would do. Hawn laughed uncontrollably at Sergeants mildly amusing political jokes, with one clear motive in her head: to make the audience believe that not all blondes are dumb.
John Travolta then took to the stage for his relentless barrage of lacklustre questioning. During his gruelling stint he was asked ridiculous questions such as "how do you manage to keep your feet on the ground?" This of course, was to a man, who, has two 747's parked in the driveway of his 60 acre mansion, and commands a $20 million fee for each film he's in. At one stage, Travolta told the story of the time he danced with Princess Diana - "I was told it was one of the highlights of her life" he beamed, "and one of mine too" he responded a good ten seconds later. At which point every middle aged housewife in Great Britain must of gone "Aw he's a lovely man." Parkinson then, for the first time in nearly 45 minutes asked a daring question - "Is their anytime in your career that you would point out as your lowest?" ("We've all had them," said Parkinson, obviously referring to the infamous Ali interview that occurred shortly after the invention of the wheel). Travolta though was allowed to skate around the question by referring to a time his car broke down.
And then it was back to sitting on the fence again for Parkinson, a position he's become rather too comfortable with throughout his career.
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