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Sir Michael Parkinson offers olive branch to Meg Ryan 18 years after car crash interview

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Sir Michael Parkinson has apologised for being “pompous” towards Meg Ryan 18 years after a car-crash interview.

The now 86-year-old host grilled the Harry Met Sally star in a skin-crawling 2003 chat whilst she was promoting critically panned erotic thriller In The Cut.

Ryan, now 59, faced off with an unusually prickly Parkinson after allegedly being rude to her fellow guests on the show, the fashion double act Trinny and Susannah.

After being accused of not enjoying fame, the Hollywood star eventually snapped to the host: ”Wrap it up.”

While the interview has gone down in history as one of the most memorable of Sir Michael’s career for all the wrong reasons, he has now offered an apology to Ryan.

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, Sir Michael said: “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.”

Sir Michael had previously slammed Ryan for being ”an unhappy woman” at the end of a punishing tour promoting an unpopular movie.

Ryan for her part branded him a ”nut” and said he had spoken to her “like a disapproving dad” in another interview in Marie Claire.

Watch: Michael Parkinson looks back on his early TV days with embarrassment

She said: “I don’t even know the man. That guy was like some disapproving father! It’s crazy. I don’t know what he is to you guys, but he’s a nut. I felt like he was berating me for being naked in the movie.

“He said something like: ‘You should go back to doing what you were doing’. And I thought, are you like a disapproving dad right now? I’m not even related to you. Back off, buddy. I was so offended by him.”

Sir Michael announced his retirement in 2007 after a glittering career as a TV interviewer.

            Best bits of the 2003 interview

When Parky Met Meg
Meg Ryan: I uh um think what I meant was that it always feels very awkward for me to be in front of an audience or in the spotlight. It doesn’t come all that naturally.Parkinson: So why do it?Meg Ryan: I don’t know. Maybe you can help me out with that.Parkinson: No, I couldn’t. It’s for you to debate and tell me.Frosty
Meg Ryan: Well I think you can certainly be an actor and not be a movie star.Parkinson: Well, but you are a movie star.Meg Ryan: Yes.Parkinson: By choice.Meg Ryan: Seemingly.Parkinson: So you’ve got a problem.Meg Ryan: Yes.Parkinson: And it seems that it’s one that’s not going to be resolved on this show either.Meg Ryan: No.On Journalism
Parkinson: Now that you’re wary of journalists, I mean does it give you an insight into what they’re after?Meg Ryan: Now that I’m wary of them.Parkinson: Yes you are wary of journalists. You’re wary of me, you’re wary of the interview. You don’t like being interviewed, you can see it in the way that you sit and the way that you are …Meg Ryan: True.Parkinson: So therefore, well, I mean it’s a perfectly easy question … a decent question to ask you about being a journalist. In other words, if you were me, what would you do now?Meg Ryan: Just wrap it up.Trinny and Susannah save the day
Parkinson: Have you had time to look at the outfit?Susannah: I’m very admiring of your shoes and the fact that you can walk in them, they’re so high.Meg Ryan: Yeah.Susannah: Amazing

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