Legendary writer and broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson returned to his Yorkshire roots today to receive an honorary doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University.
The Barnsley-born television star and talk show host took part in a graduation ceremony at Sheffield City Hall.
But it was in journalism and broadcasting that he really excelled, starting out in the regional press before moving to the Daily Express.
In the 60s he moved into television and never looked back. He worked on Manchester-based Granada television securing his first celebrity interview with Lawrence Oliver in the late night film review show Cinema.
His famous series ‘Parkinson’ ran on the BBC from 1971 to 1982 and from 1998 to 2007. During this time he interviewed over 2,000 of the world’s most famous celebrities including Mohammed Ali, Madonna, Liberace, Bing Crosby, George Best, John Lennon, Cher, David and Victoria Beckham, David Bowie and Rod Hull and Emu, among others.
Offering careers advice to the Sheffield Hallam students graduating today, Sir Michael said: “The only thing I learned from interviewing 2,000 of the world’s most successful people was that there is no substitute for hard work, just put your head down and do it. I’ve never met anyone who was very successful who did not work hard.”
Speaking about being honoured by SHU he said: “It’s doing very well this university, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Sir Michael met journalism students at the University and took part in interviews with them, he then had lunch with documentary maker Louis Theroux who also received an honorary doctorate today.
Sir Michael is married to wife Mary and they live in Berkshire. They have three grown-up children Andrew, Nicholas and Michael Junior.
When made a Knight in 2008, he remarked that he was ‘not the type’ to get a knighthood being from Barnsley – adding: “They give it to anyone nowadays.”
Sir Michael received his honorary doctorate in recognition of his lifetime’s work in broadcasting, alongside students graduating from the University’s Faculty of Arts, Communication, Engineering and Sciences.