Michael Parkinson who for me was the best talk show host on either side of the Atlantic (including Carson) has retired.

Over the years I have thoroughly enjoyed his interviews. He always sounded as if he had really done his homework and his easy style ensured that the focus was on the guest not on himself

From The Guardian
He has defined the talkshow in British television, and no one has come near to equalling his record

Presenter survived TV-am defeat and encounter with an emu to return to the top

Maev Kennedy
Friday June 29, 2007
The Guardian

Obviously, at a mere 72 the man who once said his greatest fear was unemployment is not retiring: he's done that several times already.
However, Michael Parkinson, the chatshow king, is finally leaving his chair after 36 years during which he was bested only by a glove puppet which wrestled him to the ground, and a Hollywood actor who turned her back and snapped answers in monosyllables.
Even then he got the last word: he recently listed "an irrational love of emus" among his achievements, and disclosed an unlikely secret - "I love Meg Ryan".
Article continues

Paul Jackson, head of entertainment at ITV - to which Parky defected in 2004 when the BBC turned over his cherished Saturday night slot to Match of the Day - said: "He has defined the talkshow in British television, and no one has come near to equalling his record."
For Michael Grade, chairman of ITV since following him out of the BBC, Parky was the one who got away, and he has followed his career with avid interest.
"Thirty years ago when he was a brilliant sportswriter and very occasional TV contributor I tried to persuade him that I should be his agent. The fact that he turned me down and his television career took off, I hope, is just coincidental."
He described the Parky archive as "beyond value - all the legends of his lifetime", adding: "The reason he is such a great interviewer is because of his talent for listening as much as talking."
"He's Mr Cool, is Parky," said Paul O'Grady, one of the younger generation of chatshow hosts who grew up watching Parkinson gently nail giants such as John Wayne, Muhammad Ali, James Cagney and Bing Crosby.
"He likes to think of himself as a miserable git, but he's such a nice man. If Meg Ryan had done that act with me I'd have told her to sling her hook."
Dickie Bird has known him since they were opening partners at Barnsley cricket club. Both had trials for Yorkshire, but while Bird went on to county cricket and an international umpiring career, Parkinson listed "never scoring 100 at Lord's" as his greatest disappointment in life.
Yesterday Bird called him "sheer class - and that never goes out of fashion. "He could always talk to anyone, from the time we first met, and I knew he'd go a long way. We've both been called ambassadors for Yorkshire, but that's our upbringing, it never leaves you. When we were lads times were hard here in Barnsley, and that makes you tough, strong, hungry to succeed in life."
Both have certainly done that. Bird recently joined Parky and Mary, his partner of 50 years, in their private box at Lord's, and often drops in when he's in London. "We share a nice drop of red wine, and his wife always gives us beef sandwiches - very good beef, I think she gets it from that big shop, what's it called? Harrods."
Parkinson went straight into local newspapers from school - armed with the traditional journalistic training of a handful of O-levels -and did the rounds in print journalism in both hard news and sport, including a stint on the Manchester Guardian, before he went near a television studio. It proved a sound apprenticeship: for the chatshows he did his own research, refused to run through questions with the guests in advance, and liked to spend barely more time recording the shows than the eventual transmitted length.
The lowest ebb of an apparently effortless career came in 1982, when he, David Frost, Angela Rippon and Robert Kee all left their jobs to set up TV-am. They won the ITV breakfast franchise, only to lose the company in a bitter boardroom battle.
"It was the time I was most worried about him," Dickie Bird said yesterday. "None of his friends saw much of him. He got very low about it all. I used to ring him up, and I knew really he'd come good - but I still worried."
Parkinson himself has readily revealed that he was drinking far too much until sobered up by his wife telling him he looked ugly when drunk: "That stopped me short."
In 1998, after 16 years away, he returned to the BBC chatshow, slightly crinklier about the eyes and with a shock of silver hair, otherwise apparently quite unchanged.
His deceptively mild style has been endlessly parodied, and occasionally attacked, but as he said himself: "There's more than one way of skinning a rabbit."
He quietly questioned a visibly startled Woody Allen about marrying his own stepdaughter, and got Tony Blair to concede that God would judge him over the Iraq war.
All in all, mused Dickie Bird, his fellow Barnsleyite hasn't done too badly. "He's going out at the top, and he'll always be remembered. He was a very, very good cricketer, you know. I'd say he could have been a professional - but he went into that journalism in a big way."
The CV
Born: March 28 1935 in Yorkshire
Education: Barnsley grammar school
Family: Married Mary Heneghan in 1959 (three sons: Andrew, Nicholas and Michael)
Career: TV and radio presenter, journalist and writer; founder-director Pavilion Books, 1980-97.
Honours: Awarded CBE 2000 Awards: Fellow, BFI, 1998; honorary doctorate, Lincolnshire and Humberside, 1999; sports feature writer of the year, British Sports Journalism Awards, 1995; Sony Radio Award, 1998; Yorkshire Man of The Year 1998; Sports Writer of the Year, British Press Awards, 1998; Media Personality of the Year, Variety Club, 1998; Best Light Entertainment, Bafta, 1999; Media Society annual award, 2000.