The BBC has announced that it will broadcast a series of programmes dedicated to and featuring the late Nicholas Parsons. Nicholas Parsons Day will be broadcast on Christmas Eve (24th) via BBC Radio 4 Extra.
Nicholas Parsons was born on the 10th of October 1923. He was known to Radio 4 audiences as the chairman of Just a Minute, the show from its launch in 1967 to 2019. Parsons was also an actor, performing alongside Comedian Arthur Haynes in the 1950s and 1960s. Between 1971 and 1983, he was the host of the ITV game show Sale of the Century. He passed away on the 28th of January 2020.
The day will be hosted by regular Just a Minute panelist Paul Merton, and marks 100 years since Parsons’ birth by celebrating his long career. Highlights of the day will include:
A Christmas Carol by Candlelight
Recorded in 2018 when Nicholas was 95, never broadcast before and produced now for Radio 4 Extra’s Nicholas Parsons Day, Nicholas narrates a new musical version of Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas story, the tale of the redemption of miser Ebenezer Scrooge. Adapted – and with new songs – by Tony Norman.
Steve Wright and Nicholas Parsons in the Afternoons
Especially made for Radio 4 Extra’s Nicholas Parsons Day – Steve Wright looks back at the many times he talked with Nicholas about his life and career on his BBC Radio 2 show.
Nicholas Parsons: Paul Merton talks to Sue Perkins
For Nicholas Parsons Day – Paul talks to Sue Perkins about their shared memories of Nicholas on Just a Minute, from his warmth, foibles and good humour to how he was the perfect host. Sue also reflects on the her challenge of following his remarkable 50 year legacy, as chair of Just a Minute.
How Pleasant To Know Mr Lear 1/2
In 1995 for BBC Radio 2, over two shows, Nicholas recorded his tribute to one of his favourite comic writers, the creator of The Owl and the Pussycat, Edward Lear. From 1995. Part 2 will be broadcast on the 25th of December at 9:30pm.
Doon The Watta
Nicholas Parsons goes ‘doon the watta’ to the Clyde where he worked as an apprentice engineer in 1940s Glasgow. From 2010.
The Grantham Connection
Nicholas travels to his first childhood home, where his father was the local GP, and the Roberts family were his patients, with a daughter who was to be better known as Margaret Thatcher. From 1994.
The Arthur Haynes Show
In his big break in entertainment, Nicholas Parsons gives a masterclass of his comic straight man gifts dealing with a most disagreeable visitor, played by comedian Arthur Haynes. From 1962.
Listen To This Space
Nicholas stars in his own comic creation, in the wake of TV’s That Was The Week That Was, one of BBC Radio’s first radio satire shows. From 1966.
Just A Minute (1976)
A classic episode of the show Nicholas chaired from 1967 to his death in 2020, with Kenneth Williams, Peter Jones, Alfred Marks and Shelia Hancock. From 1976.
Just a Minute’s Indian Adventure
Nicholas Parsons travels to India to explore how Just a Minute inspired ‘Jamming’ tournaments in Indian colleges. From 2012.
Just A Minute (2017)
The last episode where future chair Sue Perkins played the game with Nicholas Parsons as host, alongside Gyles Brandreth, Andy Hamilton and Paul Merton. From 2017.
The synopsis for the programmes originates from the BBC press release, which can be found here.