Grantham

Grantham-born Nicholas Parsons dies after short illness

Grantham-born Nicholas Parsons, host of BBC Radio 4’s Just a Minute, has died aged 96 after a short illness.

Christopher Nicholas Parsons was born on October 10, 1923, in Grantham and was the son of a GP. He was surrounded by his family when he died on January 28, 2020.

A statement issued by his agent, Jean Diamond, on behalf of his family, said: “Nicholas passed away in the early hours of January 28 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 moved to solo cabaret work in the 1950s and became a stand-up comedian at London’s Windmill Theatre. He also starred on radio and television, as well as starring in West End comedies including Boeing Boeing.

Parsons has hosted the comedy radio game show Just a Minute since its inception in 1967. He also hosted Sale of a Century on television for a record 14 years.

He has appeared annually at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival since 2001, presenting his comedy cabaret show The Happy Hour, as well as taking his comedy chat show The Nicholas Parsons Happy Hour to the event in 1999. He also played his one-man shows at other festivals and on cruise ships.

Parsons was awarded an OBE in the 2004 New Year Honours for services to drama and broadcasting. He was later promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 list for charitable services, especially to children’s charities.

He also previously held a Guinness World Record for the longest after-dinner speech (11 hours) until it was reclaimed by former holder Gyles Brandreth.

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