Monday night sees the start of a brand new prime-time chat show on BBC One, hosted by comedian Michael McIntyre.
The BBC’s flagship chat show has always been a challenge for any host, with some high-profile failures and controversies over the years.
As Michael McIntyre aims to become the new Parky, we look back at some of the chat show highs and lows of years gone by.
Parkinson (1971 – 2004)
The undoubted king of the chat show and the man who casts a daunting shadow for any newcomers, Michael Parkinson’s affectionate nickname of ‘Parky’ indicates his transcendence from great chat show host to national treasure. The series ran in three stints across 33 years on BBC One before moving to ITV in 2007.
The secret to Parkinson’s success is often attributed to his journalism background and the diligent research on guests that training encouraged, as opposed to comedians and celebrities more confident in their ability to improvise.
Classic guests: Muhammad Ali, Rod Hull and Emu, Oliver Reed
Incredibly, at the height of Terry Wogan’s BBC One glory years, his chat show was on three nights a week. Or perhaps that says more about what else television had to offer in the mid-1980s? Either way, Terry’s cheeky Irish charm and instantly recognisable voice rivalled the success of Parkinson at his best, even replacing his Saturday night slot from 1982-84. Rather cruelly, Wogan was replaced by ill-fated soap Eldorado in 1992.
Classic guests: David Icke, George Best, David Bowie
The Frank Skinner Show (1995 – 1999)
Riding on the back of his raucous football chat show Fantasy Football League and the subsequent mega-hit Three Lions, Frank brought a light-hearted comedian’s touch to the format, with guests slouched in a mock living room and sketches and songs interspersed with the chat. It proved a ratings hit and brought some memorable contributions from guests before a pay dispute saw the show switch to ITV in 2000.
Classic guests: Eric Clapton, Charlie Kray, Tony Blair, Tara Palmer Tomkinson
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (2001 – 10)
After building an impressive reputation as a host who could pull off both edgy and mainstream with ease, Ross progressed from the already daunting task of replacing Barry Norman on the BBC’s Film programme to the prime-time chat show slot in 2001. The nature of his departure is notorious, but before that nadir the show could boast an impressive stream of A-list guests and always the potential for ‘Wossy’ to flummox a star with an unexpected conversation from the leftfield.
Classic guests: Russell Brand, David Cameron, Amy Winehouse, Ross Noble
Perhaps the most high-profile failure on BBC One, Davina McCall’s series received widespread criticism and never really got off the ground, being cancelled after its first series. Airing on Wednesday nights, the show had to contend with Champions League football and The Bill on ITV and, ultimately, took a drubbing in the ratings (at one point The Bill had more than double Davina’s viewers). Despite what must have been a painful experience for Davina, it doesn’t seem to have harmed her appeal to the BBC or any other channel since.
Classic guests: Pierce Brosnan, Gordon Ramsay
The Graham Norton Show (2009 - present)
After rising to fame with his outrageous Channel 4 chat shows, Graham Norton’s switch to the BBC in 2007 was surprising on both sides, considering the Corporation’s adversity to potential controversy.
However, after proving he could rein in his style for a mainstream viewership on BBC Two for two years, Graham’s show moved to BBC One in 2009 and has gone from strength to strength since – eventually switching from its Monday night slot to replace Jonathan Ross in 2010.
Classic guests: Mark Wahlberg, Bill Murray, Helen Mirren, Daniel Radcliffe
Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge (1994)
OK, so it was axed after one series, never made it to BBC One and, less importantly, was entirely fictional, but who could argue against Alan Partridge as the number-one driver of TV’s Chat-a-nooga-choo-choo? Did Parky ever perform an Abba medley, finish a show in a hot tub with an all-male stripper troupe or sign off a series by killing a guest? Nope, didn’t think so.
Classic guests: Lawrence Knowles, Nina Vanier, Tony Hayers
Let us know your favourite BBC One chat show hosts in the comments section below.
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show begins at 10.35pm on Monday, March 10, BBC One.