Sophie Heawood: Bye, Parky. Again. Promise you won't change your mind?

Share

Short of carrying him into a burning longship, uniting the House of Commons in a Mexican wave and lowering all TV aerials to half-mast, it's unclear what more could be done to dispatch Michael Parkinson.

Not that the veteran broadcaster is dying, as far as we know; just retiring from the telly. And the radio. For a bit. "After 25 years of doing my talk show, I have decided that this forthcoming series will be my last," he announced earlier in the year, with peculiar mathematics. For he may well have begun hosting a chat show in 1971, but he already retired from it once, between 1982 and 1998 (not to mention his move from BBC to ITV), all of which adds up to a rather gaping hole in his claims of a quarter century.

Still, the 25 years, whether real or imagined, are being celebrated with the mother of all swansongs. We have had Parky's last- but-two show (sniff), his last-but-one show (double sniff), and let's not forget the Parkinson Music Special (treble sniff), which aired last month, featuring a montage of all the bland and family-friendly entertainers you could shake a big stick at. And Rod Stewart.

And now the ultimate, final, definitive, no wait I really am going this time, and it's goodbye from him, are you missing me already, Parkinson talk show, has already been recorded and will be broadcast on 15 December. In it, the 72-year-old host enjoys the company of such luminaries as David Attenborough, Judi Dench and Billy Connolly. David Beckham dances with Dame Edna and Jamie Cullum sings "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone", a choice of song that presumably explains why we are expected to talk about Parky so much while he is still here.

Of course, that little number was once sung by Frank Sinatra, a man who had several grand retirements of his own, each time only to return. Like amnesiac canoeists, you never know when entertainers are going to come back. Take That, the Spice Girls and Led Zeppelin have all paid the bill to their cryogenics companies so they can get back on stage this month. Yet when John Peel died this all happened organically, with the nation's tributes and grief being beyond anything the man could ever in his wildest dreams have expected, according to his widow.

But Parky's kind of departure smacks a little of one of those people who fake his own death so he could come back to enjoy his own funeral. In any case, Parky says he's only off so he can write his autobiography, which surely means lots of chat show appearances of his own when it comes out, and then the whole self-promotional farrago can begin again.

It's no wonder everybody's despairing of the younger generation failing in education, getting Asbos and loitering on the streets they know they'll never make it as a rock star or a TV presenter for as long as Parky and Led Zeppelin refuse to clear the stage.

What hope for our nation's stage-struck youth, when all they can see around them is the entertainment world's equivalent of carriage clocks and engraved cuff links being handed back and forth for ever more. Young stars such as Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse seem intent on not staying with us for very long, and even the cheerier Lily Allen has recently announced that she will only release one more album as she wants to make all her money while very young while simultaneously announcing that she has got a heart murmur.

Please, all you celebrity juniors, don't disappear all at once we need you to keep the old people on the streets. And off the telly.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Advisor - Opportunities Available Nationwide

£15000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to ...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Special Needs Support Worker

£12 - £14 per hour: Recruitment Genius: We are looking for someone to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Lily-Rose Depp is not 'all grown up' - she is a 15 year old girl who should not be modelling for an adult fashion magazine

Harriet Williamson
 

If I were Prime Minister: I would legislate for abortion on demand and abolish VAT on sanitary products

Caroline Criado-Perez
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence