The actor and Game Show host Nicholas Parsons
has died at the age of 96.
Nicholas Parsons played Reverend Wainwright in the 1989 Doctor Who serial The Curse of Fenric
However he was best known as the host of the BBC Radio 4 panel game Just a Minute, working on the series since it was first broadcast on 22 December 1967. The show continues to be transmitted and Parsons has been heard in almost every edition.
Parsons was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire. 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 Windsor, Maidstone 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 show, Sale 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, In the late 1960s, he portrayed "David Courtney" on the short-lived American sitcom The Ugliest Girl in Town.
Nicholas Parsons died in the early hours of the 28th of January according to a statement issued by his agent Jean Diamond
on behalf of his family.
He was with his beloved family who will miss him enormously and who wish to thank the wonderful staff at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
BBC director-general Tony Hall
Very few people have done so much to entertain audiences over the decades, and no one deserves to be called a broadcasting legend more than Nicholas Parsons. His charm, inventive intellect and ability to create laughs were unsurpassed. Our thoughts are with his family and all who knew him. Mohit Bakaya
, controller of BBC Radio 4, said
Nicholas Parsons was one of the greats, a first class broadcaster and an icon in the world of British comedy. Nicholas always brought his sharp wit, brilliant poise and warmth to everything he did - but particularly as host of Just a Minute where his excellence shone in each episode without hesitation, deviation or repetition.