Parkinson walks out on BBC after 33 years



Michael Parkinson dramatically quit the BBC today 33 years after he first joined the corporation, lashing out at the inconsistent scheduling of his famed Saturday night chatshow.
He has been snatched from under the corporation's nose by ITV bosses just days before he was due to sign a new contract.

"I'm very sorry to be leaving the BBC. I've spent 30-odd years of my working life in TV at the BBC. I don't find it easy at all. You can't walk away from an organisation after 30 years without regrets.

"[The BBC] were not pleased - I think they were shocked in a sense. They never saw this coming," he said.

Parkinson, 69, today said he was defecting to ITV because the return of Premiership football highlights to BBC1 on Saturday nights meant the channel was no longer able to guarantee him the prime 10pm slot.

"They have sold my playing field," he said.

"Basically it's because the BBC has brought in Match of the Day and once they did that, effectively my slot had gone.

"We've been in long and protracted negotiations with the BBC. They offered me a midweek slot and then a 9pm Saturday night slot, which was a good offer. But my view is that it's a talkshow and it has to be at 10pm. If it's at 9pm it becomes something else."

"But I'm a long way off retiring, and I had this predicament. ITV gave me the 10pm slot, guaranteed it, for the same number of shows [I was doing at the BBC].

His decision to quit comes five years after Des Lynam defected from the BBC in a £5m transfer deal citing the same scheduling issues as Parkinson.

"My problem with the premiership highlights is because it has to go out at 10.30pm. Then as a scheduler you have to start scheduling backwards, having that rigid thing there. I went through this with the BBC. 'Can you move it?' they said," said Parkinson.

Channel Hopper

Suffering fools, so you don't have to.
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Why they didnt put Match of the Day on another channel (BBC2) or on interactive is anyones guess.


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Dhould get David Beckham, Victoria and Rebecca Loos on the same show!!