The nation is fondly remembering one TV’s greatest star’s Sir Michael Parkinson who has died at the age of 88.

He was mostly known for his legendary chat show self-titled Parkinson which originally aired on BBC from 1971 until 1982.

Parkinson then relaunched the show years later in 1998 before it moved to ITV in 2004.

In 2007, he retired from the programme, but it’s thought around 2,000 famous faces appeared across four decades.

Announcing his death in a statement today (August 17), his 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."

Here are some of the most iconic chat show guests who were part of the Parkinson series over the years – many who appeared more than once.

Some of Sir Michael Parkinson’s most iconic chat show guests

Muhammad Ali

Boxer Muhammad Ali spoke to Parkinson multiple times on his talk show including during 1974 and 1981.

“When people ask me who I most enjoyed interviewing, I’m unable to give them an answer”, said Sir Michael.

“If they ask me who was the most remarkable man I ever met, I answer without hesitation – Muhammad Ali.

“I interviewed him four times – I lost on every occasion.”

George Best

Parkinson also spoke to footballer George Best numerous times and the pair reportedly became “good friends.”

Shirley Temple

Hollywood child star Shirley Temple was a guest alongside host Parkinson in 1972 and she was praised for her “positive spirit” by viewers during the episode.

Sir David Attenborough

Broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough arrived at the BBC studios to be interviewed by Parkinson multiple times in 1998, 2000 and 2002.

Sir Paul McCartney

Journalist Sir Michael agreed to be pictured on the cover of the 1974 Wings album Band On The Run if the Beatles star returned the favour by being a guest on his chat show.

Featuring in 1999, Sir Paul said: “I owed him one. It’s been a long time coming but this is it.”

Peter Sellers

Peter Sellers was interviewed by Sir Michael Parkinson 1974.

Commenting on a YouTube video of the show, one person said: “I was fortunate to have been in the audience at the BBC Television Centre when this was recorded in November of 1974. 

"After the taping was over, Sellers was very gracious and thanked the audience for their attendance at the interview. It was an evening I’ll never forget!”

David Bowie and Tom Hanks

In 2002, one popular episode of Parkinson saw Starman hitmaker David Bowie and actor Tom Hanks appear together for a chat.

Billy Connolly

Another star who was welcomed by Sir Michael on his show over the years was Scottish actor and comedian Billy Connolly in 1975, 1987 and 1999.

The Big Yin will always be remembered for, 'that joke'.

Dame Helen Mirren

The BBC reported: “Parkinson was criticised for questioning Helen Mirren about her ‘equipment’ and ‘physical attributes’ in 1975 - she returned 31 years later when she starred in The Queen.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Take a look at some of Sir Michael Parkinson's biggest guestsTake a look at some of Sir Michael Parkinson's biggest guests (Image: PA)

Peter Kay

One of the UK’s favourite comedians Peter Kay brought his irresistible humour to the Parkinson show.

He was originally Sir Michael's “warm-up man”, before appearing as a guest himself.

George Clooney

In 2003, George Clooney sat down for a good chat with Parkinson and opened up about his family life and his introduction to showbiz.

Meg Ryan

The actress took offence at Parkinsons' questions about her “risqué” film In The Cut, as she gave one-word answers and ignored fellow guests Trinny and Susannah.

When Sir Michael asked in desperation what she would do if she were conducting the interview, she snapped: “Wrap it up.”

He later called her “an unhappy woman”, while Ryan called him a “nut” and said he had spoken to her “like a disapproving dad”.

However, in 2021 Sir Michael apologised to Ryan over their infamous encounter in 2003.

Speaking to the Radio Times, he said: “I wish I hadn’t lost my temper with Meg Ryan. I wish I’d dealt with it in a more courteous manner.

“I was quite obviously angry with her and it’s not my business to be angry towards the guests. I came across as kind of pompous and I could have done better.”

Asked what he would say to Ryan if he saw her again, he added: “I’m sorry. But you must understand that you played a part in it, too. Neither of us were on top form, and we were both discomforted.”