Credo: Michael Parkinson

Broadcaster, 73
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The Independent Online

I believe...

What I do isn't hard work. I saw my father go down a pit; now he worked hard. But he never wanted me to go down, and I forever bless him for that decision.

There are no talk shows like mine any more. Mine was a conversational talk show; the rest are now comedy shows. The TV bosses seem to be chasing a mythical audience of 16- to 34-year-olds who they believe – I think wrongly – don't want conversational shows.

Interviewing is about listening. I've been interviewed by people and all I've ever seen is the top of their heads because they're looking at their notes and not paying attention to what I'm saying.

David Attenborough is our greatest broadcaster of all time. He is a born teacher and has that great gift of transmitting his enthusiasm and knowledge, on often very technical matters, easily and comfortably so that even the biggest nitwit understands.

There are no shortcuts to fame. Any wannabe who thinks that should watch the interview I did with Madonna. Then you might learn how to succeed; it's not glamorous, it's a great deal of hard work... mixed with some talent, of course.

People don't want to watch hosts struggle with guests, except on the odd occasion when there's a Meg Ryan figure, and there's nowhere to go. The public love seeing that level of discomfort.

Any proper football supporter supports the team of the place he was born in and that's what I've done with Barnsley. The Premiership has lost any sense of sportsmanship. Players dive around and try to convince us it's terrible playing football for £100,000 a week.

You shouldn't turn down anything because you think it might be a bit too much. Have a pop; better to fail, falling on your arse, than die wondering.

'Parky: My Autobiography', by Michael Parkinson (£20, Hodder & Stoughton), is out now

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