Broadcasting legend Nicholas Parsons has died aged 96

Nicholas Parsons has died aged 96
(Image credit: PA Wire/PA Images)

Nicholas Parsons passed away in the early hours of this morning following a short illness...

Broadcaster Nicholas Parsons, host of BBC Radio 4's Just a Minute, has died at the age of 96, surrounded by family and friends.

Parsons hosted Just a Minute, a long-running and popular radio panel game where guests are asked to speak for a full minute on a single subject without hesitation, since it began in 1976.

He also appeared on the Benny Hill show for many years after joining in 1969 and also hosted ITV game show Sale of the Century, as well as appearing in Have I Got News For You and The Comic Strip Presents.

Nicholas Parsons has died aged 96

Just a Minute host Nicholas Parsons has died aged 96 after a short illness (Picture: PA Wire/PA Images) (Image credit: PA Wire/PA Images)

His agent, Jean Diamond, said on behalf of his family: "Nicholas passed away in the early hours of 28th 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 Manderville Hospital."

Also paying tribute, BBC Director General Tony Hall said: "His charm, inventive intellect and ability to create laughs were unsurpassed.

"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.

"Our thoughts are with his family and all who knew him."

Nicholas Parsons has died aged 96

Broadcasting legend Nicholas Parsons has sadly died (Picture: PA Archive/PA Images) (Image credit: PA Archive/PA Images)

Fans and celebrities have taken to social media to share their sadness at the news of Nicholas's death, with Stephen Fry sharing this thoughts: "He ruled Just a Minute for Just a Lifetime. A stunning achievement: never scripted, always immaculate.

"From a comedian's sidekick to great institution via Sale of the Century and much more. Unrivalled continuity, professionalism and commitment."

While Graham Norton added: "The sound of the final whistle. Nicholas Parsons was truly the kindest and most generous person I have ever worked with.

"His continued delight at being part of show business should be an inspiration to us all. Huge love to his wife Annie and his whole family."

Main image: PA Wire/PA Images

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.