Wednesday, 21 May 2008

When Parky met Sally

Political Correspondent Sally Biddulph blogs from Parliament

The guy is a living legend, a broadcaster, knighted for his chat-show prowess and on Tuesday I met him – the one and only Sir Michael Parkinson. I had gone to Guy’s and St Thomas’s hospital in Westminster to interview him about his new role as Dignity Ambassador for the NHS. Yes me, interviewing Parky! Having seen him talking to the great and the good for my entire life on the telly, I was, I have to admit it, a tiny bit nervous. But he was a dream, a consummate professional and utterly charming. Being married to a Barnsley boy myself, maybe I’m a bit biased, but he had a little twinkle in this eye and the first thing he did when I shook his hand was serenade me with, “Sally, Sally, pride of the Alley!”, that Gracie Fields classic I’ve heard more than a few times in my life, but never before sung by a Sir.

Before the interview began I asked him to tell me his name so we could check his sound level on the camera equipment, not, I add, because I didn’t know who he was. “I’m Ross, Jonathan Ross”, came the reply followed by a little snigger from my crew. So then I asked, “How does it feel to be interviewed, rather than doing the interviewing,” “Oh I like it, it’s much easier,” he replied. The next few minutes passed without incident as we talked about his new role promoting dignity and compassion in elderly care. He spoke passionately and candidly on the subject and talked about his mother’s last few years suffering from dementia and the care she received in the Thames Valley.

When the interview was over we chatted a bit more, that warm Yorkshire accent holding my attention. I mentioned that a little bird had told me he was a Reading fan, living as he now does in Berkshire, so I asked what Barnsley FC made of him supporting the Royals. “Were they jealous?” I uttered. “Oh I support three teams, Sally, and in a very specific order, Barnsley first, Man U second and Reading third, so I’m looking forward to Reading playing Barnsley next year in the Championship!”

Watch Sally's
Parkinson report here on ITV Local.

1 comment:

Rosie H said...

Enjoyed this Sally, am keeping an eye on your blog