Parky was a 'nut', says Meg Ryan

Key quote "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." - Meg Ryan

Story in full MEG Ryan, the Hollywood actress, has dismissed Michael Parkinson, as a "nut" who acted like a "disapproving dad" during their infamous encounter on the ITV chat show.

The episode of Parkinson has gone down in British television history due to the actress's bizarre behaviour in which she gave only one word answers to questions and stared icily at the host.

The actress appeared on the programme in October 2003 to promote an erotic thriller, In The Cut, but refused to answer Michael Parkinson's questions about the change in role from her usual romantic comedies.

At one point Parkinson said in exasperation: "What would you do now if you were me?" to which she replied: "Why not wrap it up?"

Yet in an interview with Marie Claire magazine, Meg Ryan insisted the failure of the interview was the fault of the veteran presenter and his paternal manner. Ms Ryan, 44, 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."

She went on: "I realised it's not like an American talk show where it's seven minutes and then there's a commercial break. I had to do 20 minutes straight with this guy, and I could either walk off - which wouldn't be good - or try to disagree with him very respectfully."

During the magazine interview it was suggested that in future she appear on Parkinson's rival, Jonathan Ross's chat show and she replied: "I like him. Maybe I should go on Jonathan Ross and talk about - what do you call him - Parky?"

Michael Parkinson has since said that the interview was his "most difficult TV moment", but that he felt her behaviour to his fellow guests, Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, whom she deliberately turned her back on was unforgivable. Mr Parkinson, 71, said: "I should have closed it. But listen, it happens. She was an unhappy woman. I felt sorry for her. What I couldn't forgive her for was that she was rude to the other guests."

He has since made light of the encounter. When he recently interviewed Naomi Campbell, the supermodel he said: "Well my next guest is a diva ... obviously never met Meg Ryan!"

Last night a spokesman for the Parkinson programme was unavailable for comment.

Those toe-curling moments when chat shows go bad

BRITISH TV has never been short on interview hell for presenters.

Top cringe-making moments include Clive Anderson fielding a star tantrum in 1997 when all three Bee Gees marched off his show.

When the brothers Gibb admitted that one early name for the group had been Les Tossers, Anderson quipped that they would always be tossers to him.

Barry Gibb shot back: "If anyone's a tosser round here, it's you, pal", and stormed off with his two brothers.

Other nightmare interviews include the late Russell Harty being slapped around by the Jamaican-born disco diva and model Grace Jones in 1981, and Michael Parkinson - again - being knocked off his seat by Rod Hull's puppet Emu.

Terry Wogan courted disaster in 1991 in an interview with a drunk George Best, when the ex-football star, who died earlier this year after decades of alcohol abuse, couldn't string a sentence together.