My Week: Sir Michael Parkinson

The broadcaster champions the cause of dignity in old age – and keeps putting off writing an article for the 'Wisden' almanack


Monday


I go to the gym and have a massage. I lie there thinking about what I have to do and things I've put off.

I've been commissioned by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack to write an article about Ricky Ponting, the Australian cricket captain, who I know well and admire greatly. I've been putting it off for ages. I think about what to write but I decide to go to the pub for lunch instead. I'm a typical journalist.

Tuesday

I'm in town because my report on being the dignity ambassador is published today. From 7am to 4pm I do interviews for press, TV and radio. I've had a year looking at how we treat our older people, in care and at home, and come to all sorts of conclusions, the main one being that we should look at the way we as a society treat and regard old people. We've lost that respect and view of them as a useful resource.

The year I had was extraordinary; I felt privileged to get this insight into the NHS and a lot of what I saw was deeply admirable. I was on a conducted tour and I'm not daft enough to pretend they're going to show me the real horror stuff but that came in the form of letters and emails. I had some horrendous emails from people detailing the kind of treatment you wouldn't give to a dog. The NHS is a wonderful thing but it's a huge bureaucracy and it lacks any engagement one to one with the client. There's no personal touch or warmth and that needs to be addressed. We've persuaded 2,500 people in the industry to sign up to our notion of dignity and care. One of the virtues of celebrity is that occasionally you get to use it in a positive way.

Wednesday

I'm still trying to write about Ricky Ponting but I give up. Australia are playing a Test match against Pakistan at the moment and there's been much criticism about Ponting in the Australian press. It's extraordinary how they doubt their heroes. I decide that Ponting is going to do something spectacular in this Test, as that's life, so I'm going to wait to see what he comes up with before I write my article.

Thursday

Today I do press for Sport Relief which I've been involved with since 2002 when I interviewed Nelson Mandela to kick off the entire event. I'm looking forward to the next one in March. I wear my Sport Relief socks and do all the stuff you do to promote a day which will raise a huge amount of money. Afterwards I go to the Westfield shopping centre in west London where I have the worst Chinese food I've ever eaten. I buy myself a watch for consolation.

Friday

During my massage I think about Ricky Ponting again and then go to my office to deal with some paperwork. I will definitely write my article tomorrow. And you know what? Ponting ended up scoring 210 runs. What a hero. I never doubted 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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future