Television great Michael Parkinson has been knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The talkshow legend, who received the honour for services to broadcasting in the New Year's honours list, said it was a "wonderful surprise".

"I never expected to be knighted - I thought there was more chance of me turning into a Martian really," he said after the publication of the list, which also includes former England rugby coach Brian Ashton and pop star Kylie Minogue.

The 73-year-old retired from his chatshow in December, more than 30 years after he first began presenting.

The Barnsley-born presenter hosted the show on the BBC for 11 years from 1971, before making a comeback in 1998.

However, he moved to ITV in 2004 in protest at the BBC's attempt to reschedule his show to accommodate Match of the Day.

Parkinson has interviewed Tony Blair, Tom Cruise, Billy Connolly and David Beckham among countless others, while the likes of Meg Ryan and Rod Hull and Emu would rank among his most memorable discussions.

Also knighted at today's ceremony was Marks and Spencer's chief executive Stuart Rose, for services to the retail industry and to corporate social responsibility.

And Christopher Steele, the resident doctor on ITV1's This Morning, received an MBE.

04/06/2008 11:48:00