Celebrities

Michael Parkinson and son ‘clashed’ behind scenes on famous chat show ‘Crossed line!’

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Michael Parkinson Jr, 53,  has spoken out exclusively to Express.co.uk on the difficulties of working for 15 years with his famous father Sir Michael Parkinson, 85, including on his extremely popular ITV chat show Parkinson. The TV director admitted that sometimes his dad can “cross the line”, but the pair have never had a disagreement that can’t be fixed by having an open debate.

I became ill

Michael Parkinson

Michael Jr revealed: “I’ve always had the ability to separate the personal from the professional, whenever he crosses that line in the studio, he’s not my father, he’s Michael Parkinson, once he leaves the studio he becomes my father again.

“The problems occur when you blur those boundaries because you can never bring the personal in with the business, because it’s not fair and it will destroy a relationship,” he added.

The son of the famed chat show host divulged that they have argued in the past because they both have their own “very strong opinions”.

He continued: “We have clashed. We have clashed simply because we both have very strong views of what is right.”

Speaking about the time the pair worked on Parkinson together, Michael Jr added: “We care about what we do, but we have never had a clash that… I mean from the outside, people have probably looked in and probably thought, ‘My God.’ 

“We go at it like a hammer and tongs, because we want the same thing. 

“There have been a couple of times we have had brutal and frank discussions, but always part as friends.”

The legendary TV star joked: “Well until now!”

The Parkinson show began airing on TV screens back in 1971 on the BBC, before switching over to ITV in 2004 where it was shown until 2007.

Sir Michael interviewed 2000 of the world’s most famous people, including musicians, actors and politicians.

His son worked as a producer on the show until he retired, when the duo decided to set up their own production company.

Following an appearance on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories back in May 2019, where he broke down over the death of his father,  the chat show host decided to write Like Father, Like Son.

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The book was co-written with his youngest son Michael Jr to explore their family bond and dynamic.

The TV producer explained: “This was a book that people wanted us to write, it was the appearance on Piers Morgan that really put things into motion for dad.”

Sir Michael agreed: “Yes absolutely, me breaking down nearly 40 years later over my father’s death, I thought I had stored that away, I thought I had got rid of that grief, but I hadn’t. 

“So it got me thinking, what was it about this man that made him unforgettable in my life.

“That was the starting point of the book, and then I became ill, I had gallstones removed. But when I came out of the hospital, I came back to work with Mike and he had struck something which I had not really thought about. 

“He had re-organised the book and made it more compelling. It kept changing shape, and in the end, we had a book that was not like a normal biography but it’s about a family. 

“It’s about a remarkable man, my father, but it’s more than that, it’s about family life,” he added.

Like Father, Like Son: A Family Story by Michael Parkinson and Mike Parkinson is available now (Hodder & Stoughton, Hardback, £20)

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