EVERYBODY loves a comeback kid, though some take longer to warm to than others. Take Michael Parkinson, for example.

One might have thought a period of silence would be in order for the former talk show host after his recent comments on Billy Connolly. Speaking about the last time he met Sir Billy, who has Parkinson’s, the professional Yorkshireman said the encounter had been “very sad” because the Scot’s “wonderful brain has dulled”. Parkinson wondered whether Sir Billy knew who he was.

Being a generous sort, I expect the sentiments came from a place of love and concern, but that did not stop them being crass, inaccurate, and about as welcome as Theresa May at an EU summit. Pamela Stephenson, Sir Billy’s wife, called the presenter a “daft old fart” who did not know what he was talking about when it came to a condition in which the symptoms are primarily, but not solely, physical. Billy was doing great, she said, and was still “funny as hell”. Lang may his lum reek.

But here we are, just a month later, and Parky has surfaced again. Anyone would think he had a book coming out. Oh, hang on, he has. It is a biography of George Best, to sit alongside the one he published about Muhammad Ali two years ago. To be fair, his article in this week’s Radio Times did not directly mention the book, but being the sort of piece that generates news stories it keeps him in the public eye and will doubtless lead to other invitations to appear when he might, just possibly, mention it.

Parky argued that British TV needed a five-nights-a-week talk show, as they have in America. He revealed that he had been offered the gig 40 years ago, only for “disgruntled hacks” in the NUJ, in alliance with “old ratbags like Dennis Skinner” to whip up a campaign against the move, arguing that it would lead to a trivialisation of debate.

Not so, said today’s Parky. It could cover a wide range of subjects, serious and otherwise, including sport and politics. The man to give it oomph, according to Mr P, is Piers Morgan. “Let him off the leash … and we might just see this format succeed in Britain.”

Leaving aside the enormous difficulty in getting the painfully shy, retiring Morgan to do anything (WHOOP WHOOP! SARCASM ALERT! TAKE COVER!), is there an appetite for such a show, never mind a big enough pool of talent and news from which to draw?

As Parky says, such is the power of the internet, almost everything about most famous people is already out there for anyone to access. Interviews, when given, are tightly controlled and short. Long gone are the days of accompanying someone for a day, or even sitting down with them for an hour. Go to a junket today and the slot is likely to be 12-15 minutes.

Power has shifted from interviewer to interviewee (or rather their management). If journalists do not play the game according to the rules set by the other side, access is denied. It can be an exasperating business. Self-defeating, too, because the interviews that result can be horribly bland and not worth reading. Still, as long as the PRs get their person looking good on the cover, it is seen as a result.

Channel 5 had a five-night chat programme when it launched in 1997. The Jack Docherty Show, starring our own dear Chief Commissioner Cameron Miekelson of Scot Squad as now is, took a pasting on a par with ITV’s recent The Nightly Show. Quickly running out of guests worth having, The JD Show puttered to a close. Ditto The Nightly Show, though that was more of a train wreck.

Talk shows could be packed with fascinating guests night after night, but finding them takes energy, organisation, and lots of bodies. American shows can do it because they are run like Broadway musicals; British programmes are more like village hall pantos. We shouldn’t be too in awe of American shows in any case. We tend to see the highlights. The rest of the week can be as much of a plod as anything a UK show might produce.

As long as there is television there will be talk shows. You can understand why commissioning editors are so keen on them. They are topical and, in the right hands, fun. Above all, they are cheap. It is for that latter reason one suspects they might feature heavily on the new BBC Scotland channel, which goes live next year.

Who knows, in Scotland at least, Parky might get his five-night-a-week talk show. We can only hope it does not turn out to be a be “careful what you wish for” affair.

Unless, of course, Jack Docherty, in his Scot Squad incarnation, wants to be host again. Now that I would watch.