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BBC Breakfast: Dickie Bird talks about his final call with Michael Parkinson
Sir Michael Parkinson told close friend Dickie Bird “I don’t know how much we have longer” in their final phone call just one day before he died.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Dickie shared details of their last conversation as he told Sir Michael to “keep going”.
Dickie recalled: “We had a long chat on Tuesday morning and he said to me ‘keep going mate’.
“And I said the same to him and we had a bit of a chat. His voice wasn’t as strong as I was used to, I thought.
“Then, he said, ‘Dickie I don’t know how much we have longer.’ I said, ‘Don’t talk like that, keep going.’
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“We said our goodbyes, we both said goodbye to each other. I was overwhelmed as I’m getting now.
“He was so close to me and he died the next day.”
Dickie said it was normal for the pair to call one another for advice as he recalled asking Sir Michael for help publishing his autobiography.
“If I had any problems or anything on my mind, he used to say to me, ‘You ring me,’ and I used to ring him and have a lot of conversations with him on the phone and we’d put the world to rights,” Dickie shared.
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“I also remember when I wrote my autobiography in 1996, there was all the publishers all over the world who wanted to do my book.
“So I rang Parky up and said, ‘What do you think mate?’ and he said, ‘I’ve got the publisher for you. My publishers will do your book,’ which they did.
“It was a tremendous success and it was all down to Parky. That’s friendship and you can’t buy that.
“If I had any problems, we’d call each other up and we’d end up talking about fishing.”
Many famous faces shared tributes to Sir Michael following his death with comedian and actor Matt Lucas tweeting: “Sir Michael Parkinson was a titan of television, the ultimate chat show host. We’ll never forget his brilliant interviews with Muhammad Ali, Dame Edna, Billy Connolly and, of course, ‘that bloody emu’.”
Monty Python star Eric Idle posted: “Farewell Parky. A great Yorkshireman and cricket fan and a lovely interviewer to be with.”
Eamonn Holmes shared: “Parky. King of The Chat Show Hosts.
“A privilege to know him on and off screen and to learn from him. They don’t make them like that anymore. Rip Sir Michael Parkinson.”
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