Arts and Entertainment Piers Morgan thinks he's a better interviewer than his rivals

The former Britain's Got Talent judge isn't known for his modesty

Auntie talks Parky back into chat

He flirted with Shirley Maclaine, was verbally assaulted by Muhammad Ali and almost castrated by Emu, the manic puppet. Now Michael Parkinson, doyen of chat show hosts, is being wooed back by the BBC. The corporation is expected to make an announcement about Parkinson, 61, in the next few weeks and he is poised to sign a lucrative deal. He is likely to interview some of the stars he has sparred with before, including Diana Rigg, Raquel Welch and Richard Harris.

Pupils on parade: the cadet corps remembered

Michael Portillo's call to create a new "lads army" may have stiffened the sinews in the Tory shires, but for others it has stirred a more shadowy pool of reminiscence. The Defence Secretary's proposal last week to expand the Combined Cadet Force into most British schools was supported by John Major on the grounds that it would increase discipline, self-esteem, team- work and responsibility.

3 TO SEE

Ivanhoe (Sun BBC1) More swashbuckling than an Errol Flynn Convention.

A novel route to Howard's end

John Mortimer must learn to be a little less Rumpole-ish. Creevey hears that on the Michael Parkinson show on Radio 2, he claimed to be president of the Penal League for Howard Reform. Yes, that's the right way round. It's a new society dedicated to the political downfall of the Home Secretary.

The Hester Lacey Interview: Terry Wogan

Most TV could be presented by a dachshund, he says (though he likes Chris Evans). But does it hurt, not being top dog now?

Red alert: I actually like Sue Lawley

RADIO

HOW WE MET; MICHAEL PARKINSON AND DICKIE BIRD

Michael Parkinson, 61, was born in Cudworth, South Yorkshire. Best-known for the television talk show he hosted between 1971 and 1982, he now does most of his journalism for Radio 5 Live and the Daily Telegraph. Married with three sons, he lives in Berkshire. Dickie Bird, 63, was born in Barnsley. After a brief career as a county cricketer, he began umpiring at 32 and went on to become the world's most celebrated Test umpire; he will umpire his final Test at Lord's next month. In 1986 he received the MBE. Unmarried, he lives in Barnsley

the human condition: tales from the cutting room floor

Hair is the first thing strangers notice when they meet you, and the last thing they forget. No wonder hairdressers can rise to celebrity status. Here, four writers go for a haircut

`We always depended on the plug. Do you think Bing Crosby would give me his time just for the pleasure of my company? Bullshit.' Michael Parkinson, pioneer of the chat show

The baffled woman on the gate at the BBC, running her finger down a long list of telephone extension numbers, wondered if the Michael Parkinson I was looking for ever went under another name. "Mike, maybe?" she said. "Or Mick?"

Illingworth keen to put record straight

'Myself, Fred Titmus and Brian Bolus were especially irritated to hear that Michael had not wanted Mike Gatting. He was picked unanimously, and all Michael expressed was a worry about whether Gatting was a potential rival for the captaincy'; The chairman

Profile: No mercy for the Big Man: Billy Connolly, the comedian Scotland can't forgive

'I F YOU LEAVE Scotland,' said a friend of Billy Connolly, 'then get successful and come back, it's Who do you think you are? If you don't make it and come back, they say, I could have told you you needn't have bothered.' The trouble with Billy Connolly is that his native Scotland can't decide which category he's in.

Billions spent fail to save inner cities: Flagship schemes founder, but smaller towns benefit. Nicholas Schoon reports

URBAN DEPRIVATION and decay in the core of England's largest cities worsened through the 1980s, despite billions of pounds of public expenditure on inner-city programmes, a government-sponsored study has concluded.

Quango chief faces questions over cash

THE CHIEF executive of the Merseyside Development Corporation has been ordered to appear before the Commons public accounts committee to explain why his quango, set up to revive inner-city Liverpool, spent pounds 300,000 of public money organising an opera recital.

LBC to stay on air as receivers called in: Rhys Williams reports on the latest troubles to hit Britain's oldest commercial radio station

Britain's oldest commercial radio station, LBC, has gone into receivership six months before its successor is due to take over.
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The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

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After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
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Meet Racton Man

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Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

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