Michael Parkinson has denied shedding any sentimental tears while recording his last ever chat show recently. Indeed he had every reason to smile as he was joined by his "wish list" of star names. "Anyone who was there knows it was wonderful. I didn't cry. Judi Dench cried because she was singing this very lovely song to me – but nobody else cried."
As well as the Oscar-winning actress, the 72-year-old broadcaster was joined by David Beckham, Sir Michael Caine, David Attenborough, Dame Edna Everage, Billy Connolly and Peter Kay for the two-hour special which will air on ITV1 on December 15. Jazz singer Jamie Cullum, who hit the big-time after Parky promoted him on his show, performed Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone.
"Over the years it has been a privilege to meet some of the most intelligent and interesting people," Parky said.
There were plenty of laughs during filming for the show, as Alfie star Michael - who's been on the show more than any other actor - asked his host if he would be signing up for benefits. And comedian Peter had suggestions for an alternative career - resulting in Parky wandering the set dressed as a lollipop man.
The veteran interviewer, who will also end his weekly programme on BBC Radio 2, says he is booked up for the next two years with projects, including writing his autobiography and editing previous shows for a retrospective series. "I'm a very happy bunny, I cannot wait to jack it all in," he commented. "It's not with any sense of despair or longing that I look at my future." When he's 75, he added, he'll be thinking "about lying down somewhere", however.