David Attenborough and Elton John speak out on Michael Parkinsons death

Sir Michael Parkinson dies aged 88

Stars such as Sir David Attenborough and Sir Elton John were among those to publicly commemorate Sir Michael Parkinson today after hearing the sad news of his death.

They are among more than 2,000 subjects who were seen on-screen with the legendary broadcaster during his long career – and they have spoken warmly of him after learning he’d died last night aged 88.

David declared Michael the “best freelance interviewer in the business” at the time when he’d been the controller of BBC Two.

“He was extremely professional, you knew that he would know all the background and you didn’t have to fill in anything,” he continued.

The 97-year-old added: “He was extremely generous, he wanted you to shine and would always laugh at your jokes and give you an opportunity to make them sound funnier than in fact they were.”

David had been speaking during a pre-recorded interview for BBC Radio 4’s The World At One – and he made it clear he’d noticed Michael’s distinctive accent, calling it “refreshing”.

“He was always knowledgeable, he was absolutely classless,” he joked.

Then he hastily added: “That’s not quite true, you knew he was not a southerner, you knew he was a northerner and that was a very refreshing voice in those days.

“You knew that he would do his homework and that he would ask questions that didn’t occur to you.”

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David added that he’d regarded him as “a friend” who was welcoming to everyone, recalling a time when he was simultaneously interviewing comedian Billy Connolly, but never made him feel left out.

Meanwhile, Sir Elton John delivered equally glowing praise for the legendary broadcaster when he took to Instagram to pay his respects.

The Rocketman singer exclaimed: “Michael Parkinson was a TV legend who was one of the greats. I loved his company and his incredible knowledge of cricket and Barnsley Football Club.

“[He was] a real icon who brought out the very best in his guests.”

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Sporting star turned broadcaster Gary Lineker had warm words for the departed TV giant too, exclaiming: “Saddened to hear that Michael Parkinson has died.

“A truly brilliant broadcaster and wonderful interviewer. He was very much part of Saturday nights growing up: Parkinson then Match Of The Day. RIP Parky.”

Meanwhile Channel 5 star Dan Walker declared him a “TV titan”, adding: “It was always a pleasure to talk to him, on & off camera, about cricket, football, politics & TV. He was full of advice, picked up over his remarkable career, & always brought the best out in others. A proper gent who will be missed be many.”

Matt Lucas, formerly of Little Britain and The Great British Bake Off, also described him as a “titan” and added that he was the “ultimate chat show host”.

Stephen Fry chimed in to say that it was “impossibly thrilling” to be interviewed by Michael, while praising his “authenticity”.

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