Nicholas Parsons

Last updated 28 January 2020

Nicholas Parsons (1923-2020)
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Christopher Nicholas Parsons

Born: Wednesday 10th October 1923
Died: Tuesday 28th January 2020 (age: 96)

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Nicholas Parsons OBE is a British radio and television presenter and actor.

Parsons is best known as the host of the BBC Radio 4 panel game Just a Minute since it was first broadcast on 22 December 1967. The show continues to be transmitted and Parsons has been heard in every edition. 

He played Reverend Wainwright in the Doctor Who serial The Curse of Fenric.

Parsons was in GranthamLincolnshire, the middle child, with an older brother and a younger sister.

He started his career while training as an engineering apprentice; he was found by Canadian impresario Carroll Levis, doing impressions and working in small repertory theatres in Glasgow.

Parsons made his film debut in Master of Bankdam in 1947. He continued his stage career in small parts in West End theatre shows, then did two years in repertory at Bromley, Kent and later WindsorMaidstone and Hayes. After becoming a resident comedian at the Windmill Theatre in 1952, Parsons became well known to TV audiences during the 1950s as the straight man to comedian Arthur Haynes. After the pair appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1961, the partnership broke up at Haynes request allowing Parsons to return to the stage, before he became a regular on The Benny Hill Show from 1969 to 1974. After Haynes' sudden death, Parsons appeared as a personality in his own right, culminating in the long-running Anglia Television game showSale of the Century, broadcast weekly from 1971 to 1983.

He was the non-singing voice of Tex Tucker in the TV series Four Feather Falls at the suggestion of his then wife, actress and voiceover artiste Denise Bryer. During the late sixties he presented a satirical programme on Radio Four called Listen to This Space, which by the standards of its time was very risqu�. Also, in the late 1960s, he portrayed "David Courtney" on the short-lived American sitcom The Ugliest Girl in Town.

In 1988 he appeared as himself in The Comic Strip Presents episode "Mr Jolly Lives Next Door", in which he had the misfortune to encounter two incompetent escort agency directors (Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson in their usual cheerfully-violent, dipsomaniac personas) followed by the psychopathic and misnamed Mr Jolly himself (played by Peter Cook).  Another guest role in 1989 was in The New Statesman, where he played host to a daytime quiz show. He has also taken the role of the narrator in the stage musical The Rocky Horror Show. In 1993 he appeared in the final fourth series of the UK TV show Cluedo as Reverend Green. In 2010, he made a brief appearance as Father Gorman in Marple: The Pale Horse but was killed off three minutes into the show.