Nicholas Parsons

Nicholas Parsons


10/10/1923, Grantham, Lincolnshire, UK

Birth Name

Christopher Nicholas Parsons


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Nicholas Parsons' career has spanned over fifty years. Whilst best known for his role as chairman/host of the Radio 4 gameshow Just A Minute since its inception in 1967, he is also an actor and television presenter. Born in Grantham in 1923, his father was a general practitioner…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • On beginning his apprenticeship, Nicholas' first pay-packet for doing a 48-hour week was 49p.

    • Nicholas is a leading member of entertainment industry charity The Grand Order of Water Rats, as well as being honorary chairman of the International Quizzing Association.

    • Between 1988 and 1991, Nicholas was appointed Rector of the University of St Andrews (a role which is chosen by the students of the university).

    • Nicholas was originally offered a larger role in his film debut Master Of Bankdam, that of Lancelot Handel Crowther. However, due to other work commitments, he had to take a lesser role.

    • Nicholas was originally chosen to play the Gamesmaster in the Channel 4 video game show of the same name. However, the application of the facial distortion techniques- as the character was partially digitised- did not work properly, so Patrick Moore was chosen instead.

    • Nicholas is one of two actors who appeared as a guest panelist on the game show Cluedo, before taking a role as one of the six suspects in a later series- he appeared in the Season 3 episode Murder In Merrie England (with Lynn Faulds-Wood) before taking the role of Reverend Green in Season 4. The other actor to do this is Leslie Grantham.

    • Nicholas was guest 'castaway' on the long-running BBC Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs on November 4 2007. Amongst his chosen pieces of music were 'Just One Of Those Things' by Ella Fitzgerald, Chopin's Minute Waltz and 'The Age Of Aquarius' from the stage musical Hair.

    • On July 5, 1994, Nicholas took the role of the Narrator for the 21st Anniversary Night performance of The Rocky Horror Show.

    • Nicholas has recorded a commentary for the DVD release of the Doctor Who story The Curse Of Fenric, alongside Sophie Aldred and Sylvester McCoy.

    • Nicholas can be heard on the 'Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Live Recording' of The Rocky Horror Show as the Narrator, opposite Jason Donovan.

    • Nicholas' charity work includes a long association with the Lord's Taverners and he is a patron of DeafBlind UK, The Spring Centre, The Stammering Association and Aspire as well as supporting The Variety Club, Childline and the NSPCC.

    • In 1994, Nicholas published his autobiography entitled The Straight Man: My Life In Comedy.

    • Nicholas was asked to stand for the Liberal Party (the forerunner to the Liberal Democrats) in Yeovil in 1976. He regretfully refused and instead Paddy Ashdown- who would go on to lead the Liberals in the 1980s- became the candidate and went on to win the seat.

  • Quotes

    • Nicholas Parsons: (about Just A Minute) It is my favourite job. It is professionally most demanding, but tremendous fun. I have to be alert and concentrate harder than in any other engagement I indertake. It's my responsibility to make instant decisions, generate the fun, control the show and listen to every word spoken and remember, so I can judge if a challenge is correct - especially if it is for repetition.

    • Nicholas Parsons: The joy of performing is that you overcome the insecurity of your nature and are reassured by the reaction of the audience.

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