Sir Michael Parkinson's ill-health put his marriage to the test.

Sir Michael Parkinson

Sir Michael Parkinson

The 83-year-old legendary broadcaster hasn't had to easiest of times with his health over the years as he battled prostate cancer back in 2013 and had to undergo spinal surgery last year to repair ruptured discs, but he has admitted his wife Mary - whom he has three grown up sons with - has kept him going mentally through it all.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror newspaper, he said of his wife of nearly 60 years: "She has been wonderful all the way through. That's one of the tests of marriage.

"There have been awful moments when she must have felt lousy treating this bad-tempered oaf who wanders around the house and falls down ­occasionally but she's never let it affect our relationship. She gives me a good b*****king now and again."

The television talk show host is still recovering from his back injury and is learning to walk again "properly" but he's determined to stay active for as long as possible.

He explained: "I'm still recovering from the back injury.

"I had to learn how to walk again ­properly. If I see stairs in front of me and no hand rail it's a bit of a problem but I'm getting stronger. The thing at my age is to retain a degree of fitness where you don't become a doddering old talk show host."

And, although he was adamant his health woes wouldn't break him, he has admitted he did battle with a bit of depression at times but never let his mood get too low.

He said: "I'm not a very religious man and I don't believe in an afterlife so I am just resigned to one day, I suppose, dying with as much dignity as I possibly can.

"I can't pretend I didn't get depressed at times, but I didn't get to a crying depression stage, that's not really in my nature. Keeping working was important."