BROADCASTING legend Sir Michael Parkinson - considered the king of British chat show hosts - has died aged 88.

The presenter brought interviews with some of Hollywood’s biggest names to millions of homes - including Jimmy Cagney, Fred Astaire, Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergmann.

Parkinson also interviewed a number of high-profile sportspeople, most notably former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali – widely regarded as the greatest boxer of all-time – with whom he had a couple of tense exchanges in the 1970s.

But he never forgot his Yorkshire roots and made several stops in Bradford throughout his busy life.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sir Michael Parkinson, pictured at Bradford WaterstonesSir Michael Parkinson, pictured at Bradford Waterstones (Image: Newsquest, Mike Simmonds)

Before his TV career, he started life as an only child, growing up in a council house in the coalmining village of Cudworth, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

As a teenager, his father, a miner, took him down the pit to put him off working there.

When his dreams of playing cricket for Yorkshire were dashed, he left school aged 16 and began working at a local paper, later joining the Manchester Guardian and then the Daily Express.

During an interview with the Telegraph & Argus in 2007, he said: "My entire young upbringing was from cinema.

"It was the time of the great stars and I fell in love with them - Astaire and Rogers, Cagney and Bogart, my great hero, and that love affair continued.

"If anyone had said to me in those days, when I was sitting next to my mom in this pit village cinema, that one day I'd interview all those people I'd have said you were mad."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Michael Parkinson at Bradford's National Science and Media MuseumMichael Parkinson at Bradford's National Science and Media Museum (Image: Newsquest, Mike Simmonds)

It was his love of Bogart and the image of being a reporter that fired him into becoming a journalist.

He said: "I wouldn't have known about journalists if I'd not seen movies.

“Where would I have come across them? When I started working in local newspapers at 16 it was my ambition to be Bogie, to wear the trenchcoat and trilby, cradle the phone and say 'Hold the front page!'."

His first TV job was as a producer at Granada, and he later moved to Thames TV, before landing his chat show Parkinson.

He told former T&A reporter Dean Loughran: "My memories of Bradford are sporting memories.

"I remember going to the old Park Avenue ground with my father to see Yorkshire play. It always seemed to be raining.

"I remember one day sitting on the steps with my father and Keith Miller, my great hero, the great Australian cricketer, came by.

"That's the first time I had that wonderful frisson that you get when you see a superstar."

In 2007, Parkinson joined esteemed guests Alan Bennett and Ken Loach for Bradford Film Festival.

Held at the National Media Museum, Michael Parkinson shared his memories of interviewing some of the world's top movie stars.

He was also on the bill at Ilkley Literature Festival in 2010.

Adam Renton, general manager at Bradford Theatres, said: “Sir Michael Parkinson has appeared at theatres in the Bradford district a number of times over the years and has always been warmly received by audiences.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time, we are sure that he will be greatly missed.”

The late chat show host also met hundreds of fans during a book signing at Bradford’s famous Waterstones store. 

People queued the length and breadth of the Hustlergate store as they waited to get a signed copy of his autobiography.  

In 2004, Sir Parkinson paid tribute to the man he called Bradford's own "Living Legend", Trevor Foster.

Speaking at "Help the Aged Living Legends" ceremony in London, he described the Bradford Bulls hero as "my mate" before presenting the trophy for runner-up in the sports section.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) said it was devastated to learn of the passing of Sir Parkinson, who was a huge fan of the sport and the club. 

In April, Sir Michael attended his close friend Dickie Bird’s 90th birthday party at Headingley. 

The pair were former team-mates at Barnsley Cricket Club in the 1950s, where he also played with Sir Geoffrey Boycott.

Darren Gough, managing director of cricket for YCCC and close friend, said: “He was a Barnsley boy, like myself, and it was an absolute pleasure to know him and his family.

“We are all devastated here at Yorkshire and thoughts of everyone at the Club are with Sir Michael’s family and friends at this sad time.”

A statement from Sir Michael’s family said: “After a brief illness Sir Michael Parkinson passed away peacefully at home last night in the company of his family.

“The family request that they are given privacy and time to grieve.”