Thursday 17 August 2023

Michael Parkinson - a superb source of TV humour

Parky, RIP
There are two episodes of Parkinson's programme on the Beeb that I remember with particular fondness: both relate to comments made by guests, reacting to something said earlier in the programme in an exchange with another guest.

1.  Raquel Welch / Eric Morecambe

The glorious Raquel said:  "I never thought of myself as pretty-pretty ... but then when I got a little bit older and the equipment arrived ...".  After Parky had finished wetting himself and she'd departed, on came Eric Morecambe (and Little Ern - but he contributed less than nothing).  Said Morecambe:  "I was 15 when my equipment arrived ... (relapse of Parky) ... pause ... I was 40 when it left!"  (more collapse).  "I'm 45 now, and I think it's coming back again."

2.  John Conteh / Peter Cook

I'm not the only one who remembers this one: here's the Graun in 2018

... Parkinson asked another of his guests, the boxer John Conteh, whether it was true that he avoided sex before a fight. As Conteh squirmed, Cook delivered a comeback of extravagant brilliance. “I wouldn’t ask you if you have sex before a show,” he said to Parkinson. A beat, then: “I can see that you have.

Unscripted television humour.  They don't make 'em like that any more.  Any of them.



dustybloke said...

Two of my favourites. Now about Morecombe and Cook, they were so funny…

Anonymous said...

Helen Mirren in her glorious prime*, asking her in so many words if she could be a serious actress with tits like those.

* her naked entrance scene in Ken Russell's Savage Messiah left a deep impression on teenage me.

Anonymous said...

Guardian today:

"The energy price cap was typically set below £1,200 a year before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered a global energy crisis."

But I thought us cutting off Russian oil and US cutting off Russian gas had nothing to do with it?

dearieme said...

Not usually the sort of show we used to watch but we did see the Connolly bicycle joke. It had us falling out of our chairs. It wasn't spontaneous though, I'll grant you.

But can any of them compare to the great Emu business? I still can't watch it without guffawing. And Emu went international: there's a pretty good youtube of Emu with Johnny Carson.

Anonymous said...

Sad end for Rod Hull, fell off his bungalow roof while adjusting his TV aerial one March evening. Dead at 63. Managed to father 5 kids in that time.

I get up on the roof occasionally (also in 60s), with a ladder. But not in the dark!

Bill Quango MP said...

Watched Emu yesterday.
Probably the only bit of 1970s TV my own kids have ever seen.

Daughter had an Emu glove puppet.

Anonymous said...

Yer sad end to Rod Hull

Reminds me of the very bad taste joke when he died

What have Rod Hull and Emu got in common ?

Neither can fly

dearieme said...

I've just watched the youtube of Maggie Smith and Kenneth Williams on Parkinson, reading Betjeman's "Death in Leamington". Them wuz the days.

Elby the Beserk said...

Peter Cook and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Those who saw it at the time will remember this well, I hazard...

E-K said...

EMU - I watched it the other day and had forgotten how funny it was. Mostly because Parky clearly disliked it. His comeuppance.

"I'll forever be remembered for that bloody bird !" Parkinson.

Yup. It was comedy gold and pretty witty too when you listen to what Rod Hull says.

It's really odd to see a TV chat show with only blokes on it. No sofa on it (only swivel chairs), no coffee table with drinks on it and guests smoking fags.

Parkinson was a bit of a sexist, could be nasty at times (Meg Ryan) and he used to bang on a bit too much about being a Yorkshire man - and what's so special about that ?

I think Graham Norton gets the laughs and the information in a much nicer and funnier way.

E-K said...

Anonymous - Helen Mirren just got better and better with age but the Parkinson line was a disgrace. I even thought so in the day. Condescending old prat (even though he was only 40 himself at the time.)

Anonymous said...

E-K - Ms Mirren ages beautifully but I think I still prefer the 1969-72 model.

Funny thing is that while she was (in "Savage Messiah") a complete lust object for 18 year old me, I fell in love with Dorothy Tutin's portrayal of Sophie Brzeska. You wanted to care for her and protect her - and indeed Ms Brzeska died in what was once called a "loony-bin". Ms Tutin was a bit before my time, but I could see why she was rated a great actress.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but I see the traditional grand festival of lesson-learning is about to commence at Chester Hospital. I'm sure "procedures have been changed" and I see that the moment she was charged, a mighty wind blew all the senior people, medical or administrative, off to other hospitals where they've been earning a good living ever since.

The one thing that bothers me, we've heard that since the nurse was suspended there's only been one infant death - what hasn't had so much publicity is that they stopped taking such sick infants. Be nice to know where the sick infants were moved to and what the rates were like at that hospital. There's an easy way to be a doctor or surgeon with a high patient survival rate - don't take on anyone who's seriously ill!

Some of the best surgeons will be people who are prepared to take on the most hopeless cases.

Anonymous said...

PS - I am already flipping forward or turning off the radio when I hear or read her name.

dearieme said...

My reaction to the news of her guilt rather surprised me. To wit: "I hope they've got this one right".

I have been struck by the erroneous rape conviction in the news. I was not surprised that a mistake was made - there will always be some - but was horrified that the CPS and the investigating body did next-to-nothing to deal properly with the new DNA evidence.

Of course the personnel in those bodies would all have been Blairites. I note too that the head of the CPS at the time was "Sir" Kneel Starmer. Has he had anything to say about the business?

Anonymous said...

I think Sir Kneel has already joined in the chorus that she should have been taken by force to the dock to hear the verdicts/judge remarks/sentencing.

I have no objection to this, but a number of villains have decided to sit these out in recent years and I don't remember him kicking up a fuss then. He just can't pass a bandwagon by.

Nick Drew said...

When we hear 'experts' on the Beeb stating that "you can't just use 'any force necessary' to drag them into court", there are so very many people who'll have a pithy response

dearieme said...

But if you could just use 'any force necessary' to drag them into court then you're applying corporal punishment. In which case stop fannying about and give her a good whipping every month.