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Match of the Day and Michael Parkinson's chat show have this in common: they were invented in the 1970s, and in the 21st century are in crisis

By David Herman   September 2004

ITV executives are still crowing over snatching Parkinson from the BBC. At the same time, BBC executives were licking their lips over seizing back Premiership football on Saturday nights from ITV. Both are totally deluded.

This may seem counterintuitive. Michael Parkinson’s Saturday night chat show is a television legend. Starting in 1971, it ran for 11 years, clocking up over 350 editions. Everyone over 40 remembers the famous programmes with Muhammad Ali and Rod Hull and Emu, the stuff of which Saturday-night archive compilations are made. Successfully revived in the late 1990s by executive producer Bea Ballard, who learned her…

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