BBC bosses made Michael Parkinson feel 'insecure' and 'questioned his talent', claims son

Sir Michael Parkinson

Sir Michael Parkinson suffered from 'imposter syndrome', his son has claimed

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 25/08/2023

- 10:38

Updated: 25/08/2023

- 10:38

Sir Michael Parkinson died at the age of 88 on August 16

The son of Sir Michael Parkinson has spoken out about his father's life after he died earlier this month aged 88.

Mike Parkinson spoke to John Wilson on BBC Radio 4’s Last Word about his father and the legacy he leaves behind after spending decades in the spotlight as one of the country's most successful interviewers.

Despite his global success on-screen, Parkinson is said to have suffered from "imposter syndrome", his son has claimed.

He also supposedly carried a "sense of working-class guilt" after propelling up the BBC's ranks after being brought up in the small South Yorkshire village, Cudworth.

And this appeared to be exacerbated by interactions Parkinson had during his time at the Beeb.

His son said: "There were people in positions of authority, at the BBC, that were questioning his talent, questioning his right to be an interviewer.

Sir Michael ParkinsonSir Michael Parkinson died at the age of 88 PA

"He was always acutely aware that he was with people that he felt were brighter than him, were more educated than him.

"He went to the BBC, and he felt very much… not inferior, (but) he was very insecure," the broadcaster's son added.

He continued: "He was a man who was constantly questioning himself and didn’t have as much self-confidence as he appears to have on television.

"I always think, as well, that he carried with him a sense of that working-class guilt, that, you know, when he became successful, when he became famous, in inverted commas, he always looked back to his childhood and looked back to what his dad endured."

Reflecting on his father's upbringing, he continued: "He always felt, not guilty so much, but almost responsible, and that’s why he always wanted to help his mum and dad, he did lovely things for them.

"He didn’t feel confident in his own skin for a long, long time," Parkinson's son added before he claimed his father "100 percent" had imposter syndrome.

GB News has contacted the BBC for comment on Parkinson's son's claims.

However, Parkinson's confidence in himself did begin to sway in the 1990s his son claimed after he "earned his stripes" following decades of interviewing the world's biggest stars.

The Queen and Michael Parkinson

Michael Parkinson was knighted back in 2008


Parkinson was even made a CBE in 2000 before being given a knighthood in 2008.

During his career on-screen, he interviewed several big names including the Beckhams, Muhammad Ali, Helen Mirren, Meg Ryan, Robin Williams, Billy Connolly, and many, many others.

Tributes for Parkinson flooded in following his death from the likes of David Attenborough, Dickie Bird, Geoffrey Archer and GB News presenter Eamonn Holmes.

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