HE may be famous for his television interviews with the great and the good, but Sir Michael Parkinson will talk about himself instead at the Grand Opera House, York, on February 19.

What’s more, keeping it in the family, he will be interviewed by a Parkinson, his son and long-time producer Mike, as Yorkshireman Parky presents An Evening With Sir Michael Parkinson, wherein the broadcasting legend will “relive historic and iconic moments from his remarkable career”.

“I’m co-hosting,” says Sir Michael, 83, who has interviewed more than 2,000 of the most significant figures of our time, including Nelson Mandela, Marlon Brando and Muhammad Ali. “The show is myself in conversation with Mike, who takes me through my life and career with the help of some classic clips from the Parkinson archive.

“It’s the story of how I made it out of a pit village [Cudworth, near Barnsley] to the top of those famous stairs, with all the highs and lows along the way in the company of Billy Connolly, Muhammad Ali, Lauren Bacall, Sir David Attenborough, Joan Rivers, Sir Michael Caine. Madonna and Dame Edna Everage, to name but a few. It’s a great show, which I love doing, and If I wasn’t on stage I’d buy a ticket!”

Sir Michael’s tour show will see him both recount and breathe new life into these encounters, as well as turning the spotlight on to the man himself, highlighting his relationships with friends, family and colleagues along the way.

What does he consider to have been his best interview? “Not one you would expect me to say. It was with the eminent scientist Professor Jacob Bronowski. He was the writer and presenter of that landmark book and television series The Ascent Of Man,” says Sir Michael.

“It was the one time that the shape and progression of the interview went exactly the way I had prepared. But that was more to do with Professor Bronowski’s perfect command of the English language and his forensic mind than my interviewing skills.”

Worst interview? “Once, when they were still with us, I sat down with Alan Whicker and David Frost, both of whom I liked and deeply admired, and we agreed to write down on a piece of the paper the worst interviewee we had all interviewed,” Sir Michael recalls.

York Press:

Chat-show host Michael Parkinson with South African leader Nelson Mandela in 2002

“We then showed each other at the same time. Each of us had written down Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian anthropologist most famous for the Kon-Tiki expedition in the Pacific. We all agreed he would not be our first choice as a crewmate on a deep-sea cruise.”

Picking the proudest moment from his long career, he plumps for: “Being awarded honorary membership of the Musicians’ Union. Music has given me such joy in my life and my respect for anyone with musical talent knows no bounds,” he says. “To be accepted into their inner circle without an ounce of musical talent is a real honour.”

While on the subject of music, which featured on both his television and radio shows, Sir Michael strives to nominate the top three songs ever written. “Too many,” he says at first. “But here’s three that are near the top of my list. I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Cole Porter, sung by Frank Sinatra with the arrangement by Nelson Riddle.

“Summertime by George and Ira Gershwin, sung peerlessly by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Love For Sale, again by Cole Porter, played as an instrumental by the Buddy Rich Big Band.”

What does he make of today’s British television? “Slick, brilliantly produced and full of talent yet sadly often soulless and derivative. I was lucky to come into television when I did,” he says.

He goes on to suggest it would be difficult to give advice to up-and-coming broadcasters and interviewers because the media environment is no longer one he recognises or, “to be honest, understands”. “The only piece of advice I can give any aspiring interviewer is ‘do your homework and listen’.”

One final thought, Sir Michael, what is the role of the media in society? “I’ve never found a better description than the original mission statement of the BBC: to inform, educate and entertain,” he says, decisively.

Tickets for February 19’s 7.30pm show are on sale on 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york.