'Parky' defects to ITV

Chat show host Michael Parkinson has sensationally quit the BBC and defected to ITV, he announced today.

The veteran presenter made the move after BBC bosses tried to shunt his talk show into a different slot to make way for the return of Match Of The Day.

"I'm very sorry to leave the BBC, of course I am," he said.

"I have spent 20-odd years of my working life with the BBC and I don't turn my back on that lightly. But when the BBC brought back Match of the Day, effectively my spot had gone.

"When they bought the Premiership, they sold my playing field."

Parkinson said he was sorry to be saying goodbye to the BBC, explaining: "You can't walk away from somewhere after so many years without some regret."

But he was left with no choice but to join a rival broadcaster after "long and protracted" negotiations with the BBC came to nothing.

BBC bosses tried to move the Parkinson show to 9pm on a Wednesday, which he rejected. Their final offer was 9pm on a Saturday - an hour earlier than its current slot.

"In the end, I wanted Saturday and I wanted 10 o'clock on a Saturday, and they wouldn't give it to me. I had a choice - either retire and walk away or go elsewhere," Parkinson said.

"Saturday at 9pm was a very good offer but my view has always been it's a talk show and talk shows belong at 10 o'clock.

"A show at nine o'clock has to become something else, like a variety show. There's nothing wrong with that but I didn't want to do it."

The chat show veteran said BBC bosses were "shocked" when he made the bombshell announcement that he was joining ITV.

He signed the contract only this afternoon after taking the weekend to decide his future.

Describing the reaction of BBC executives, he said: "Of course they were not pleased. They were shocked in a sense because nobody saw this coming. But what can I do? Could I have stayed on doing a show I would be unhappy with? I think not and I think they understood that."

He added: "I just had this predicament and it wasn't one I enjoyed sorting out. ITV made the offer and what they did was give me what I wanted."

Parkinson said his ITV show would be much the same as the one he has presented on BBC1 for the past 18 years.

"The guests won't change, the show won't change," he said. "All I've done is move the show over. It's a proven show and will work just as well on ITV as on the BBC."

The BBC said the last Parkinson show would be broadcast on May 8, with Bruce Forsyth and Boris Becker as guests.

BBC1 controller Lorraine Heggessey said: "Michael Parkinson is the doyen of talk show hosts and it has been fantastic to have his show on BBC1.

"With Match of the Day returning to Saturday nights we were unable to offer Michael the slot he wanted.

"Of course I'm sorry to see him go but BBC1 was already preparing for the future with big names from the next generation who are moving the talk show on."

Executive producer Bea Ballard said: "I've worked with Michael as his executive producer since Parkinson was brought back by the BBC six years ago, in 1998.

"Since then we've completed 12 fantastic series, with many notable and headline-grabbing interviews.

"The show has won many awards and I'm hugely proud of it.

"Michael is a brilliant interviewer and it's been a huge delight to work with him."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager (EMEA) - City, London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?