October 09, 2019 22:31:25
Legendary talk show host Sir Michael Parkinson says the current nature of celebrity means a TV program like his would not work in today’s world.
Sir Michael, who has hosted celebrity chat shows since 1971, said technology had made it easy for people at home to access the private lives of their idols.
“The mystery is gone,” he told 7.30’s Leigh Sales.
Before the advent of social media, talk shows provided a unique insight into the person behind the famous face, Sir Michael said.
“When I had the great stars on, like Orson Welles and Fred Astaire and all my heroes, I knew not a thing about them that wasn’t written by a publicity department in Hollywood,” he said.
“From my point of view, it was virgin territory because whatever I asked them, the people had never heard it before.
“It was a lot more revealing, you felt much more part of that excitement than you get today.
“Today they’re blase. They know everything about these people.”
Celebrity Culture: The most charming person he’s met
Out of all the film stars, musicians and public figures Sir Michael has met, he said Tom Hanks was the most charming of them all.
He said he was struck by Hanks’s modesty and humour.
“He’s very intelligent, very bright,” Sir Michael said.
“He treats fools as charmingly as he does other people, and I just admire that in anybody.
“There’s a ritual involved in being Tom Hanks, or being anybody as famous as that. You’ve done every interview show in the world. You’ve been asked all the questions, good ones and dumb ones, so you’re bound to be a bit tested.
“And you’re bound at times to think, ‘oh God, what am I doing here?’ But he’s never revealed that, although I’m sure he feels it.”
Celebrity Culture: He wouldn’t say no to interviewing Trump
Sir Michael said “no journalist worth their salt” would not want a sit down interview with US President Donald Trump “and find out why he is such a ridiculous man”.
“And I think you’d have to be equally ridiculous, in a sense, to try to imagine you might get something from him.”
He said Mr Trump was “impenetrable in his idiocy”.
“He’s a very dangerous man. And you feel sorry for America in that sense,” he said.
Watch Leigh Sales interview Sir Michael Parkinson tonight on 7.30.