Just A Minute presenter Nicholas Parsons dies aged 96 after short illness - Too Interesting

Just A Minute presenter Nicholas Parsons dies aged 96 after short illness

Legendary English presenter and Just A Minute host Nicholas Parsons has died at the age of 96, his agent confirmed today, with celebrities already sharing emotional tributes. A statement issued by his agent Jean Diamond, on behalf of his family, said: ‘Nicholas passed away in the early hours of the 28th of January after a short illness at the age of 96. ‘He was with his beloved family who will miss him enormously and who wish to thank the wonderful staff at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital.’ Parsons’ career spanned more than half a century, with the star clocking up numerous acting and comedy parts – but he was best known for his years as question master of TV quiz Sale Of The Century and for his role as host of BBC Radio 4’s Just A Minute, which he helmed from its inception in 1967. Piers Morgan was quick to pay tribute to the presenter, writing on Twitter this morning: ‘A wonderful man who brought so much fun, charm, wit & pleasure to so many millions of people over so many decades. ‘What a life.’

 

In 2012, Parsons celebrated the 45th anniversary of Just a Minute – in which celebrity guests strive to talk about a subject for 60 seconds without hesitation, repetition or deviation – while in 2016, Prince Charles, a fan of the show, performed a cameo on the programme’s Christmas special. On June 4, 2018, the presenter had fans worried when he missed his first ever episode of Just A Minute after 50 years at the helm, and was replaced by regular panellist Gyles Brandreth. With his absence sparking concerns for his health, BBC’s head of radio comedy explained that Parsons was ‘taking a couple of days off’. When introducing the show, Brandreth said: ‘After 50 years at the helm, [he] quite rightly thinks he should be allowed a day off.’

 

Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by ITV/REX (727032ef) 'Just a Minute' - Nicholas Parsons and Tony Slattery. ITV Archive

 

Only last month Nicholas recalled a ‘nasty fall’ on the train to Edinburgh, ahead of his scheduled Fringe Festival performance, that landed him in hospital back in England. ‘At 96 years of age, one thing this experience has taught me is to be aware of the number of years you have lived and, after an illness, accept that it takes much longer to return to anything resembling normal health,’ he wrote for the i. ‘Pace yourself according to the age you have reached and count the blessings that age has brought and any wisdom that goes with it.’ He insisted he would be back on set to record more Just A Minute, even though Parsons said his fall and subsequent treatment was ‘a very slow and uncomfortable recuperation’.

 

NICHOLAS PARSONS on SALE OF THE CENTURY TELEVISION PROGRAMME: THE STORY OF ITV: THE PEOPLES CHANNEL looks at the network s 50 year history and talks to many of the players, celebrities and key executives who helped shape Britain s most popular commercial channel. The five-part series is written and presented by Melvyn Bragg, presenter and editor of ITV1 s The South Bank Show and Granada s Controller of Arts and Features. Programme 1 - 'The Peoples Channel' This programme tells the story of how ITV came into being, how its character was formed, and how it developed a uniquely warm relationship with people. ITV first aired from London s Guildhall on 22nd September 1955 at 7.15pm. From the outset the channel reached for the stars to attract its viewers. Lew Grade created ATV to give ITV showbiz sparkle and programmes such as Sunday Night at the London Palladium became must-see television. But the birth of ITV was plagued with problems. ITV s troubled gestation in the 1950s was the source of heated debates in parliament. In the north, the Bernstein brothers Granada gave us Coronation Street, the country s favourite soap and its creator, Tony Warren, describes where it came from and its grip on people s imagination. This programme also explores how ITV has put ordinary people on the box. Ant and Dec, Chris Tarrant and NICHOLAS PARSONS look back at the quiz and games shows, Simon Cowell at the talent shows and Jeremy Beadle at the hidden camera programmes. ITV Picture contact - Sandra Powell - 020 7261 3466 This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV. Once made available by ITV Plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the TX date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee.

 

Parsons was born on October 10 1923, in Grantham, Lincolnshire, where his father was GP to the family of Baroness Thatcher. After studying at St Paul’s School in London, he headed to Clydebank as an apprentice engineer, despite his own hopes of becoming an actor. But his impressions were featured in a radio show and, following performances with amateur concert parties after the Second World War, he moved into acting – working in rep at Bromley in Kent.

 

Television Programme: The Arthur Haynes Show. Nicholas Parsons 'Haven' is the living room of his Buckinghamshire home. 14.3.2012 His Items Frame Nos 1. a cricket bat ? signed by england players etc 25-28 (frame 29 list of players who signed the bat, not in the main picture is for ref only) 2. a fire screen with family crest 30-33 3. a clock NP made / assembled as a boy 34-36 4. a TV reproduction cabinet from Sale of the Century ? a model given away to contestants on the show 37-38 5. NP's favoruite cravats 39-48 6. a pic of NP and Arthur Haynes when they were a double act 49-50 7 . a Variety Club radio personality of the year award 51-53 8. a valued chest of drawers / family heirloom 54 9. Picture of Nicholas with Anna his wife at their wedding in Barbados.

He found TV fame appearing with comic Arthur Haynes in his ITV show in the early 1960s, and he was also a regular on The Benny Hill Show. At the tail end of 1967, he introduced Just A Minute for the first time – and the show is still going strong today. Within a few years, he had also become known for hosting ITV’s Sale Of The Century, which launched as a regional show in 1971, and was broadcast nationally by 1975.

Parsons also had guest roles in Doctor Who, children’s series Bodger And Badger, as well as taking a cross-dressing role in a touring production of The Rocky Horror Show in his 70s, and performing a number of seasons with his one-man shows at the Edinburgh Festival. In 1990, he starred in London’s West End in Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into The Woods, and his autobiography The Straight Man – My Life in Comedy was published in 1994. He was a regular guest on television and radio comedy shows, and in 1999 he took his comedy chat show The Nicholas Parsons Happy Hour to the Edinburgh Festival, returning to the event in years that followed.

 

No Uk Rights Until 22/07/04 Picture must be credited ?Alpha 055205 22/06/04 Nicholas Parsons with his wife Annie after receiving a OBE from the Queen at a Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace London

Parsons was ‘flattered and delighted’ at being awarded a CBE for his charitable work in December 2013. He said at the time that he would save celebrations for his day at the palace, joking that his 90th had been enthusiastically marked. ‘I received the letter two months ago and was told to keep quiet about it or it might be taken away so my wife and I kept quiet about it,’ he revealed. He added: ‘We won’t be celebrating until the day we go to the palace – I’ve done so much celebrating for my 90th birthday this year.’ 10 years previously, Parsons received an OBE for services to drama and broadcasting. Only last year Parsons was given a Broadcasting Press Guild (BPG) award for his outstanding contribution to broadcasting.

BPG chairman Jake Kanter said of Parsons: ‘His warmth, sharp wit and clear-headed determinations in rooms full of fast-talking show offs have kept him at the top of his game.” Parsons married his second wife Ann Reynolds in 1995, and had two children from his first marriage to Denise Bryer.

 

source : meteo.co.uk

 

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